Dennis Ross
GOP lawmaker's announcement 'upstaged' by Ryan
01:33 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Florida Republican Rep. Dennis Ross is retiring after eight years of serving in the US House, citing the polarization in Washington as part of his decision.

“The polarization is a factor in it, but I also know that I wasn’t going to do it for a career,” Ross told CNN’s Kate Bolduan in an interview Wednesday after announcing his decision he won’t seek re-election.

“After eight years, it’s time. It’s been a great run. I’ve been very blessed. I’m not angry. I’m not upset with anybody,” said Ross, who was elected in 2010, adding that it was always his plan to serve no more than 10 years.

The Florida Republican had made his announcement in a statement shortly after the Tampa Bay Times first reported he told his staff he was retiring.

“After thoughtful prayer and consideration, my wife Cindy and I decided that I will not seek re-election for a fifth-term in office,” his statement read.

Ross plans on returning to Lakeland, Florida, the district he represents, to practice law and told CNN he wants to teach the next generation “about getting involved in a citizen democracy.”

“We’ve got to focus on bringing civility and respect back, and as much as I would like to do it from the pulpit of the Congress, I would be tainted with having an agenda that would suit a particular group,” he said. “This way I can do it in a fashion that I think reinstates the fundamentals of our democracy that require some respect and some decorum.”

The retirement announcement of Ross, who joined House leadership in 2014 as senior deputy majority whip, comes the same day that House Speaker Paul Ryan said he won’t seek re-election and will hang up his gavel after this year.

“Quite frankly, I thought it was going to be a slow news day until I got upstaged by the speaker who announced just after I did, and so I’m OK with that, too. That keeps a little humility in me,” Ross quipped to CNN.

Ross admitted that the path ahead for Republicans in the midterms is tough, but said that he’s confident a Republican will hold his seat in Florida’s 15th Congressional District.