Ross Spano

Ross Spano
Ross Spano, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 15th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Preceded byDennis Ross
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 59th district
In office
November 6, 2012 – November 6, 2018
Preceded byRedistricted
Succeeded byAdam Hattersley
Personal details
Born
Vincent Ross Spano

(1966-07-16) July 16, 1966 (age 53)
Tampa, Florida, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Amie Spano
Children4
EducationUniversity of South Florida (BA)
Florida State University (JD)
WebsiteHouse website

Vincent Ross Spano (born July 16, 1966) is an American Republican politician currently serving as the U.S. Representative from Florida's 15th congressional district. He was first elected to Congress in the 2018 elections.

Spano gained widespread attention when he quoted civil rights leader Coretta Scott King to explain his opposition to the Equality Act, which would outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; King was a leading supporter of LGBT rights.[1]

History[edit]

Ross Spano was born in Tampa, and graduated from Brandon High School. He later attended the University of South Florida, where he graduated with a BA in history in 1994, and the Florida State University College of Law, receiving a JD cum laude in 1998, where he was a member of the FSU moot court team and the FSU Journal of Transnational Law and Policy. Ross Spano was admitted to the Florida bar the same year.

Florida House of Representatives[edit]

In 2012, following the reconfiguration of the Florida House of Representatives districts, Spano ran in the newly created 59th District, and faced Joe Wicker, Betty Jo Tompkins, and Mike Floyd in the Republican primary. He emerged victorious with 40% of the vote, with Wicker close behind having 38% of the vote. Spano ran in the general election against the Democratic nominee, Gail Gottlieb. Spano defeated Gottlieb with 51% of the vote, coming out ahead by 1,051 votes.[2]

In the Florida House of Representatives, Spano serves on the Choice and Innovation Subcommittee, Civil Justice Subcommittee, Health Quality Subcommittee, Higher Education & Workforce Subcommittee, and Judiciary Committee. Ross Spano also served on the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission during his tenure in the Florida House.

While serving in the legislature Spano authored numerous pieces of human trafficking legislation. He sponsored a bill to allow judges "to vacate certain criminal convictions if the offender can prove that they committed them under duress," as would happen in a situation in which someone had been illegally trafficked.[3].

In 2017, Ross Spano sponsored a resolution declaring that the viewing of pornography was causing a "public health crisis.”[4] News media pointed out in response that Ross Spano's Twitter account had liked a pornographic video depicting two women engaged in oral sex. Spano defended himself stating that "it will be easy to see that this is not my doing."[5][6][7][8][9][10]

US House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

2018 General election[edit]

In 2018 Ross Spano ran to represent Florida's 15th Congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. He defeated Neil Combee in the Republican Primary, winning approximately 44% of the votes to Combee's 34%[11]. Spano went on to face Democratic candidate Kristen Carlson in the general election, whom he defeated receiving 53% of the vote to Carlson's 47%.[12]

Tenure[edit]

During Spano's election to the House of Representatives in 2018, he loaned his campaign more than $100,000 from what he reported as personal funds - a move that drew media attention as financial disclosures forms filed by Ross Spano indicated that he did not have the necessary funds to loan himself the reported amount. Later reporting revealed that he had in fact been lent the money by personal friends.[13][14]

In December 2018, Ross Spano admitted in a news release that his campaign financing "may have been in violation of the Federal Campaign Finance Act".[15]

A separate funding controversy occurred when Ross Spano reported receiving only $1 in small donations in the first quarter of 2019 - an unexpectedly small amount.[16][17] A spokesman for Spano later admitted that the donation came from the Spano campaign itself, with the statement that "“The $1 donation was a test to ensure our systems were working post-swearing in."[18]

Committee Assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Electoral History[edit]

Republican primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ross Spano 26,868 44.1
Republican Neil Combee 20,577 33.8
Republican Sean Harper 6,013 9.9
Republican Danny Kushmer 4,061 6.7
Republican Ed Shoemaker 3,377 5.5
Total votes 60,896 100.0
Florida's 15th congressional district, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ross Spano 151,380 53.0
Democratic Kristen Carlson 134,132 47.0
Independent Dave Johnson (write-in) 15 0.0
Independent Jeffrey G. Rabinowitz (write-in) 3 0.0
Independent Alek Bynzar (write-in) 2 0.0
Total votes 285,532 100.0
Republican hold

Positions[edit]

LGBT rights[edit]

In 2019, Spano voted against the Equality Act, a bill that would expand the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.[19] He said the legislation would infringe on religious freedom.[20]

During Spano's election to the House of Representatives in 2018, he loaned his campaign more than $100,000 from what he reported as personal funds - a move that drew media attention as financial disclosures forms filed by Ross Spano indicated that he did not have the necessary funds to loan himself the reported amount. Later reporting revealed that he had in fact been lent the money by personal friends.[21][22]

In December 2018, Ross Spano admitted in a news release that his campaign financing "may have been in violation of the Federal Campaign Finance Act".[23]

A separate funding controversy occurred when Ross Spano reported receiving only $1 in small donations in the first quarter of 2019 - an unexpectedly small amount.[24][25] A spokesman for Spano later admitted that the donation came from the Spano campaign itself, with the statement that "“The $1 donation was a test to ensure our systems were working post-swearing in."[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Contorno, Steve (May 17, 2019). "How Florida members of Congress voted on historic LGBTQ protection bill". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  2. ^ "Ross Spano "excited" to have Dem contender for District 59 race". St. Pete Times]]. June 26, 2013. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
  3. ^ Johnston, Caitlin (April 18, 2014). "Human trafficking issue rises to the forefront". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  4. ^ Perry, Mitch. "Ross Spano files bill declaring pornography a 'public health crisis'". Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  5. ^ https://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/archives/2017/09/20/twitter-account-of-florida-lawmaker-whos-trying-to-declare-porn-a-public-health-crisis-liked-a-porn-clip
  6. ^ EDT, Maria Perez On 9/20/17 at 8:00 PM (September 20, 2017). "Ted Cruz is not alone—an anti-porn Florida lawmaker also liked a porn video on Twitter". Newsweek. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  7. ^ "Anti-porn politician caught liking porn". indy100. September 21, 2017. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  8. ^ Smith, Nancy (September 22, 2017). "Porn, Ross Spano and Hypocrisy". Sunshine State News - Florida Political News. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  9. ^ "Anti-Porn GOP Lawmaker 'Likes' Twitter Porn Video on Twitter". The Daily Beast. September 20, 2017. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  10. ^ Lisi, Brian. "Porn-fighting Republican's Twitter 'Liked' lesbian sex clip". nydailynews.com. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  11. ^ Roldan, Roberto. "Ross Spano Beats Out Neil Combee To Be Republican Nominee For U.S. Rep Seat". wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  12. ^ Taylor, Langston. "Florida election results: Follow Governor, U.S. Senate and all races here". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  13. ^ March, William. "So where exactly did Ross Spano get more than $100,000 in his bid for Congress?". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  14. ^ March, William. "Missing: Ross Spano's financial disclosure required to run for Congress". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  15. ^ March, William. "Ross Spano acknowledges possible 'violation' of campaign finance law". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  16. ^ https://floridapolitics.com/archives/293889-natl-democrats-pounce-on-continued-oddities-in-ross-spanos-fundraising-reports
  17. ^ https://www.rollcall.com/news/congress/gop-rep-spano-got-just-1-grassroots-donations
  18. ^ https://www.rollcall.com/news/campaigns/some-democrats-and-republicans-raised-hundreds-of-thousands-but-got-less-than-500-in-small-donations
  19. ^ Final Vote Results for Roll Call 217
  20. ^ "House Debate on the Equality Act". C-SPAN. May 17, 2019.
  21. ^ March, William. "So where exactly did Ross Spano get more than $100,000 in his bid for Congress?". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  22. ^ March, William. "Missing: Ross Spano's financial disclosure required to run for Congress". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  23. ^ March, William. "Ross Spano acknowledges possible 'violation' of campaign finance law". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  24. ^ https://floridapolitics.com/archives/293889-natl-democrats-pounce-on-continued-oddities-in-ross-spanos-fundraising-reports
  25. ^ https://www.rollcall.com/news/congress/gop-rep-spano-got-just-1-grassroots-donations
  26. ^ https://www.rollcall.com/news/campaigns/some-democrats-and-republicans-raised-hundreds-of-thousands-but-got-less-than-500-in-small-donations

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Dennis Ross
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 15th congressional district

2019–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Abigail Spanberger
United States Representatives by seniority
415th
Succeeded by
Greg Stanton