Dennis Ross

Dennis Ross for Congress

Times recommends: For U.S. House: Webster, Bilirakis, Castor, Ross, Buchanan

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Times recommends: For U.S. House: Webster, Bilirakis, Castor, Ross, Buchanan

Rep. Dennis Ross has contributed to gridlock in Washington, often inflaming the partisan divide instead of seeking commonsense solutions that serve his moderate district. But he has been effective on some local issues, better understands the constituents he would serve and would be more effective than his opponent.

Ross, 56, is an attorney and Lakeland native who was elected to Congress in 2010 after serving in the Florida House. He stands with the far right on hot-button issues, using immigration, the Affordable Care Act and other issues to score points with anti-Obama voters at the expense of his larger constituency. Still, Ross has been helpful on some local issues, from pushing relief to costly price increases for flood insurance to fighting the spread of Zika. He also has helped to keep the state-federal Everglades restoration project on track.

Jim Lange, 55, a business consultant who lives in Lutz, offers a more progressive agenda. But the first-time candidate appears to know little about the three-county district, which includes Lake, Polk and Hillsborough counties, and covers the fast-growing areas of Plant City, Brandon and Temple Terrace. The Democrat rightly criticizes Ross for championing what he opposes rather than measures he supports. Still, Ross has a better feel for the legislative process, the diversity of this district and the growing pains in Hillsborough lawmakers have to confront.

For U.S. House District 15, the Tampa Bay Times recommends Dennis Ross.

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