Henry Ross, a Eupora native and a fifth generation Webster Countian, has lived and served in Mississippi most of his life. He is a product of Eupora public schools and received his business and law degrees from the University of Mississippi. His wife, the former Anne Booth of Eupora, also attended Eupora public schools, is an Ole Miss alumnus, and completed her graduate work in accounting at Mississippi State. They have three children: Henry, an Ole Miss graduate who works at the Central Service Grill, a family business in Eupora, John, a medical student at the Ole Miss School of Medicine in Jackson who will graduate in May 2015, and Catherine, an interior designer and Miss. State alumnus, who lives with her husband Shawn Davis in Dallas, Texas. Henry and Anne attend and serve with their brother-in-law, Rev. Randy Wilson, in Eupora’s Miracle-Land Mission Church, reaching the under-privileged in the community. Before pursuing other ministry interests, their life-long church home was First Baptist Church of Eupora, where Henry taught Sunday School for 20 years and served as a deacon.
Henry has long been a practicing lawyer, having been admitted to the Mississippi Bar in 1981. However, his real passion is public service. Early in his career, he clerked for U.S. Circuit Judge J. P. Coleman and later entered service in the U.S. Navy as a JAG Corps officer. After completing three and a half years of active duty in 1987, Henry continued his military service in the U.S. Naval Reserve, retiring at the rank of Commander in 2005. In 2001, he was recognized as one of the nation’s top three Naval Reserve senior JAG Corp officers. The JAG Corps unit he had commanded was also recognized that year by the Naval Reserve as runner-up to the nation’s best.
After leaving active duty, Henry worked for nearly four years as the only Assistant District Attorney in Mississippi’s sprawling seven-county 5th Circuit Court District, prosecuting a full range of felony crimes on behalf of the State. In 1993, he was appointed by Governor Kirk Fordice as one of the district’s two Circuit Judges, filling the post vacated by Judge James Sumner. Henry’s reputation was that of a tough but fair judge. Notably, only one case of the many he presided over was reversed by a higher court, underscoring his record of excellence as a jurist. After completing Judge Sumner’s term, he returned to the practice of law for the next several years in Eupora and was elected the city’s mayor in 1997, serving a four year term ending in 2001.
During Henry’s tenure as mayor, he changed the long settled paradigm of what a small city could accomplish. Often assisted by private citizens and local industry, many city facilities received renovation. City services and a sizable portion of city infrastructure were improved, and every city department enjoyed tremendous gains in productivity and efficiency through modernization initiatives. Outside revenue in the form of grant funding increased significantly, and additions to the city reserve fund exceeded that of any previous four-year period. All this was accomplished without any increase in city tax rates during the last three years of Henry’s administration and without any curtailment of city services.
His latest opportunity for public service came in 2008, when Henry received a Bush Administration appointment in the United States Department of Justice, serving as Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General in the Environment and Natural Resources Division. Among his many contributions, he successfully argued on behalf of the United States before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco and assisted with the defense of the Navy’s use of sonar in federal court challenges. He served in this capacity through the completion of President Bush’s second term in January 2009.
Additionally, Henry has a long history of involvement in community civic affairs. During his years as president of the Eupora Rotary Club, he consistently brought in high-quality programs, which educated and inspired the membership and the community at large. His fundraising efforts enabled the club to sponsor various community enrichment projects, such as college scholarships for local high school seniors, downtown landscaping and beautification, and the annual Christmas parade, for which he served as master of ceremonies for many years. Henry had the pleasure of being cast as Foster Wilson in the 2003 Eupora Little Theater production of Annie Get Your Gun, the proceeds of which benefited an area non-profit organization. Henry also volunteered in a local church’s rebuilding efforts for Gulf Coast residents after Katrina. He is a past president of the Eupora Jaycees, a 1997 graduate of Leadership Mississippi, a former chairman of the Webster County Republican Party (1995-2000), and a former member of the Mississippi Republican Party’s state executive committee (1992-1993).
Henry’s reputation of honesty, integrity, and courage of conviction has been evidenced time and time again during his many years as a lawyer, judge, and public servant. These years of service have also proven him to be a visionary leader, a true conservative, and one who unflinchingly holds to his values, even under the most difficult circumstances. A committed Christian, Henry sees the promise of our future lying in the scriptural truth, “Righteousness exalts a nation.” He believes our national leaders must be men and women, who above all else, consistently seek the Lord’s wisdom.
Henry ran for the U.S. Congress in Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District in the June 2010 and March 2012 Republican primaries. Outspent over four to one in each race and battling entrenched political interests, Henry very narrowly missed a run-off in the 2010 primary. In March 2012, he held the incumbent to the second lowest primary vote percentage (57%) of any Republican returning to the U.S. House that year. Only three Republicans lost their House seats in the 2012 cycle.
Henry’s parents are the late Joe and Janice Ross of Eupora. Anne’s parents are the late Dr. James E. Booth and Mattelyn Booth of Eupora. Henry and Anne reside in Eupora in the home his grandparents built nearly 90 years ago. In addition to his professional endeavors, Henry and Anne are small business owners, leasing commercial and residential real estate in the Eupora area, and operating the Central Service Grill, a landmark restaurant employing 20 people in downtown Eupora. Henry and Anne will celebrate their 33rd year of marriage in June.