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Rep. Mike Ross Statement on ProPublica Story

Ross Statement on ProPublica Story

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                             
September 22, 2009
Contact: Brad Howard, (202) 225-0753

Ross Statement on ProPublica Story

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Mike Ross, D-Ark., today responded to the allegations made in a September 22, 2009, ProPublica story printed in Politico.

“This style of gotcha politics is why many folks are fed up with Washington and it is a shame serious debate on reform has, once again, fallen off course.  Instead of having civil dialogue over true and substantive disagreements about reforming our broken health care system, outside groups are trying to taint a completely legal and respected small business that my wife and I worked hard for 14 years to establish.

When we sold our family business, Holly's Health Mart, over two years ago, we reported and disclosed all the transactions required by the House Ethics reporting requirements. I also accurately reported the property on my personal financial statement in 2007, when I sold the business.  I sold it for the amount that I have indicated it was worth on every personal financial statement since 1999.  I spent $316,000 in 1998 constructing the building that houses the pharmacy and sold it for $420,000 in 2007 – the annual return on investment is less than four percent.  I would have made more during that time period if I had invested in a certificate of deposit (CD).

I have never done a favor for the buyer, who I have only met a few times in my life.  The buyer did not just buy brick and mortar; he bought a successful, trusted, centrally-located and profitable pharmacy in my hometown.  In two of my closest races, the buyer supported my Republican opponent in both of them.  He has since supported my campaign. 

I welcome any debate and review on my voting record and my positions on the issue.  I have said all along that we need health care reform in this country; in fact, I ran for Congress to address our broken system.  It is for these reasons why I supported health care reform legislation in the Energy & Commerce Committee in order to ensure that we could move forward with the legislative process and give Members of Congress time to read the bill and talk it over with their constituents.  We need common sense health care reform that reduces costs, increases access, forces insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions and protects patient choice.  My ultimate goal has always been to pass a health care reform bill that will offer the kind of reforms I can support – a common sense plan that reflects Arkansas values.”