Dennis Ross was born October 18, 1959 in Lakeland, Florida. He was the youngest of five children born to Bill and Loyola Ross who moved to their Polk County home in 1955. Being raised on modest means, Dennis attended Catholic school for nine years before going to high school at Lakeland Senior High School, where he graduated in 1977. Throughout his high school career, Dennis was active in Student Government where he met his wife, Cindy. In 1977, The Ledger’s prestigious Silver Garlands Award gave their first Award of Citizenship to Dennis for his efforts in outstanding citizenship in Polk County as a high school senior.
After high school, Dennis attended the University of Florida for one year before transferring to Auburn University where he graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Management from the School of Business.
In 1983 Dennis and his wife Cindy were married in Lakeland. Within one year of their marriage Dennis went off to law school at the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Upon completion of law school, Dennis returned to Lakeland to begin his work as an Associate Attorney for the firm of Holland & Knight. After two years at Holland & Knight, Dennis then went in-house counsel with Walt Disney World handling the workers’ compensation defense matters for this company.
Having always wanted to have his own law practice and exercise his entrepreneurial skills, Dennis borrowed $10,000.00 from a neighbor and started his own law practice in October of 1989. That firm grew to seven lawyers and twenty-seven employees. Not only did Dennis get involved in the practice of law, having served as past president of the Lakeland Bar Association, but he also served as a Board Member of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce and on various charity and community boards as well.
In 1990, Dennis was the President of the Greater Lakeland Young Republicans and in 1992 was elected as Chairman of the Polk County Republican Executive Committee. He served in that position until 1995. During his term as Chairman of the Polk County Republican Executive Committee, the party elected many local Republican officials and developed a tremendous organization which helped spread strong principles of individual freedoms, personal responsibility, less government and lower taxes.
In 2000 Dennis had an opportunity to run for the State House of Representatives and was elected overwhelmingly.
Dennis continued to serve in the Florida House of Representatives until he was term limited in 2008. Throughout his term as a member of the Florida House of Representatives, Dennis distinguished himself as a strong proponent of conservative principles and was well respected by members of both parties. In 2007, Dennis, along with his friend Rep. Don Brown, were the only two legislators to vote against the property insurance bill that made Citizens the largest property insurer in Florida.
For voting against his party and with his free market principles, Dennis was stripped of his Chairmanship and many said his career was over. But Dennis is a conservative leader, not only of independent thought but of independent action as well.
In 2010, Dennis was elected to the United States Congress, running on a platform of common sense conservative leadership. In his first year in office, Dennis voted against the debt ceiling increase, was the first Republican to sponsor a bill to stop insider trading by members of Congress, and end the pension perks and benefits that members of Congress receive.
Dennis and Cindy have two boys, Shane who graduates from high school in 2009 and Travis who will graduate from high school in 2011. The family enjoys traveling throughout the United States.