Former U.S. Rep. Mike Ross continued a statewide tour announcing his candidacy for governor on Thursday in Pine Bluff, telling supporters Pine Bluff was an important part of his first campaign.
“I never would have been elected to Congress the first time if it were not for Pine Bluff,” Ross said at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.
Describing himself as a “proud Arkansas Democrat with mentors like Bill Clinton, David Pryor, Dale Bumpers and Mike Beebe,” Ross said he is running for governor “because I believe in our future and I want to use my experience of bringing people together to unite our state and move Arkansas forward.”
He announced his intention to seek the office Wednesday in his hometown of Prescott, and will visit 30 cities and towns over the next 10 days to talk about his candidacy.
Ross served six terms as in Congress representing Arkansas’ Fourth District before deciding not to seek a seventh term and leaving office in January of this year. He accepted a private-sector job as a senior vice president with Southwest Power Pool in Little Rock before resigning to run for the state’s highest office.
Before being elected to Congress, Ross served in the Arkansas State Senate where he served with current Gov. Mike Beebe.
“In the same tradition as Gov. Beebe — who I worked shoulder to shoulder with for a decade in the Arkansas Senate, we need to build on all the unique things that make Arkansas the best place to live, work, start a business and raise a family,” Ross said.
He also said his campaign will place a heavy emphasis on education and job creation.
“We must ensure that our children and our grandchildren have the educational opportunities they deserve, including access to a world-class education with well paid teachers and safe schools,” Ross said. “Securing our children’s future requires all of us, working together, to once again embrace this state as the Land of Opportunity for all of God’s children.”
In addition to Ross, former Lt. Governor Bill Halter has announced his intention to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for Governor, while former Congressman Asa Hutchinson and Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman have announced their candidacy as Republicans.