Ross forms exploratory committee

City Councilor Mike Ross has formed a federal campaign exploratory committee, a possible first step in running for the U.S. Congress seat in the 4th District this year.

The seat will become vacant next year. Congressman Barney Frank announced last month that he will retire after his current term, ending his 30-year Congressional career.

“I know it would be a real uphill battle, but I’m seriously looking at this race,” Ross told the Gazette this week. “The skills you learn in local government are desperately necessary for the level of accountability we deserve at the national level.”

Ross grew up in Newton, part of the 4th District, but lives in Mission Hill. Mission Hill is in the 8th District, but Ross would not need to move in order to run. Residency in the district is not required of the candidates.

Ross’s father was Steve Ross, founder of the New England Holocaust Memorial. The senior Ross provided a wide variety of support to Boston youth for decades, including jobs and healthcare.

“If all the families of all of the young people that Steve helped in countless ways throughout his service in Boston’s poorest neighborhoods got out and voted, Mike Ross would win in a landslide. Whether Michael decides to run or not, is up to him,” said Richard Rouse, executive director of Mission Hill Main Streets.

Joseph Kennedy III just announced his intention to run for this seat last week. Kennedy is the son of former U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II and a grandson of the late Robert F. Kennedy.

“I think no one should be able to walk into any seat,” Ross said. “I know Joe Kennedy. I like him very much. But I think some of the problems in Washington need someone who can bring about solutions, no matter how hard they are, and that’s what I’ve done for 12 years.”

Also in the running for the seat are Marty Farren, a Democrat from Sharon; Jules Levine, a Democrat from Brookline; Herb Robinson, a Democrat from Newton; and Elizabeth Childs, a Republican from Brookline. Republican Sean Bielat, from Brookline, has said he will make an announcement on whether he will join the race on Jan. 16.

The recently-reshaped district spreads from Newton and Brookline down to New Bedford and Fall River.

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