Charlotte Ross

My 5 Minutes with the President

Born and raised in Winnetka, Ill., actress and multi-Emmy nominee Charlotte Ross can be seen on the hit Fox series “Glee.” She is best-known for her five-season role as Detective Connie McDowell on “NYPD Blue.”

Early in her career, Ross worked at Second City and the Goodman Theater in Chicago before landing her first major role, as Eve Donovan on the long-running soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” Ross’s other television series include the CBS comedy “The Five Mrs. Buchanans” by Marc Cherry and NBC’s “ER.” She also starred in Showtime’s critically acclaimed “Beggars and Choosers.”

Her film credits include co-starring in Nicolas Cage’s “Drive Angry” and “Street Kings: Motor City” opposite Ray Liotta.

Additionally, Ross is an animal-rights activist (widely known for participating in PETA’s “I’d rather go naked … ” 
campaign).

Robin Bronk: If you had five minutes in the Oval Office with President Obama, what would you discuss with him? What issue would you like him to know about? 

Charlotte Ross: I would ask him to get rid of tenure of teachers in public schools. The great teachers should be rewarded, and the teachers with the lowest results and most parent complaints should, simply, be removed. Give passionate teachers the financial perks they deserve and give incentives to teachers to continue to be the best they can be.

And I’d beg him to add more money to the publicity of our local county and city animal shelters that are so overwhelmed with beautiful, healthy, adoptable animals that no one knows about because they are hard to find and not publicized. So, tragically, millions of animals are killed by our human hands. Or, even better, make all shelters no-kill shelters.

Lastly, I would urge him to save some easy money by passing the Chimpanzee and Cost Savings Act that’s currently on the table in Congress that is overdue, as we are the only industrialized nation that still tests on chimps. Ninety percent are just sitting there and not being used, at taxpayers’ expense, and now, finally, the medical community has spoken that they are, simply, not a solid human model for testing of AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, and it’s time to let them retire and live out their days in chimpanzee sanctuaries for one-10th the cost 
of keeping them in inhumane and isolated small cages.

RB: If you could give President Obama one piece of advice, what would that be? 

CR: Keep your positive attitude, although it is such a hard time for most people. It’s amazing how infectious a positive attitude is, and it raises our spirits, as I think he does it in a very humble, classy way. He’s got movie-star charisma, in my opinion, but, I would mainly say, don’t let all the negativity get the best of you. Keep fighting for our job growth and watch your popularity shoot for the roof!

RB: If you could ask President Obama one question, what would that be?

CR: I would ask him, “How do you handle the deaths of our solders in Iraq without crying and with a clear conscience?” I couldn’t ... seems like such an unneeded waste of such beautiful lives.

 RB: What book would you offer to lend President Obama? Why?

CR: I would suggest Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now.” The president has so much on his plate, to say the least, that dealing with each issue clearly, patiently and fairly will keep him from feeling scattered and have less things get only partly achieved. It never ceases to amaze me how we all are our worst enemies and if we could just, clearly, focus and be present when needed — we’d all be unstoppable to accomplish whatever we can dream.

RB: If you were going to send the president to one place in the United States for one day, where would that be? Why?

CR: I’d send him to Yosemite National Park to remind him that nothing is more beautiful than untouched nature and animals that are free, and that we should do everything in our power to make sure that generations and generations after us can see and feel its beauty as well by protecting as much as we can.

RB: Would you ever consider a political career?

CR: Run for president? Not a chance. ... Hollywood has enough drama for 
me, thank you.

Robin Bronk is CEO of The Creative Coalition — the leading national, nonprofit, nonpartisan public advocacy organization of the entertainment industry. Bronk is a frequent speaker on the role of the entertainment industry in public advocacy campaigns and represents The Creative Coalition and its legislative agenda before members of Congress and the White House. She produced the feature film “Poliwood,” airing on Showtime, and edited the recently published book “Art & Soul.” Bronk pens this weekly column with assistance from Risa Kotek.