On Wednesday former U.S. Representative Mike Ross announced his candidacy for the office of governor of Arkansas in his hometown of Prescott and began a whirlwind tour of 10 communities in just two days. Thursday he landed in Helena for the 77th annual Chamber of Commerce banquet.
For the most part Ross' Helena appearance was pretty much low key. He was briefly introduced among the special visitors on hand for the gala event.
During a brief interview near the conclusion of the evening's activities, Ross said he hoped to build on the success of current Governor Mike Beebe.
“My campaign will focus on Arkansas's future – particularly in the areas of education and economic development,” stated Ross. “I will use my experience to bring people together, fight for the middle-class and move Arkansas forward.”
Ross was elected to the Arkansas Senate in 1990 at age 29. At the time, he was the youngest member of the Senate. He served alongside then Senator Beebe. In 2000, Ross defeated U.S. Rep. Jay Dickey to win a seat in U.S. Congress from the Fourth Congressional District.
Choosing not to seek a seventh term, Ross left Congress in January of this year. During his tenure, Ross was considered one of the most conservative Democrats.
“I'm running for governor, because I love our state and the people who call Arkansas home,” commented Ross. “I'm running for governor to build on the foundation and progress that Governor Beebe has made in the areas of education and economic development.”
Former Lt. Governor Bill Halter previously announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for governor. Former Representative Asa Hutchinson and businessman Curtis Coleman are seeking the Republican nomination for governor.
Ross appeared to be impressed by the efforts the Helena community and Phillips County is attempting to turn things around in the areas of education and economics. He promised return visits to the area during the gubernatorial campaign.