John Barrasso

Last updated

John Barrasso
John Barrasso official portrait 112th Congress.jpg
Chair of the Senate Republican Conference
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Deputy Joni Ernst
Leader Mitch McConnell
Preceded by John Thune
Chair of the Senate Environment Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded by Jim Inhofe
United States Senator
from Wyoming
Assumed office
June 25, 2007
Servingwith Cynthia Lummis
Preceded by Craig L. Thomas
Chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee
In office
January 3, 2015 January 3, 2017
Preceded by Jon Tester
Succeeded by John Hoeven
Member of the Wyoming Senate
from the 27th district
In office
January 3, 2003 June 22, 2007
Preceded byBruce Hinchey
Succeeded by Bill Landen
Personal details
Born
John Anthony Barrasso III

(1952-07-21) July 21, 1952 (age 68)
Reading, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s)Linda Nix (divorced)
Bobbi Brown
(m. 2008)
Children3
Education Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Georgetown University (BS, MD)
Signature John Barrasso signature.png
Website Senate website

John Anthony Barrasso III ( /bəˈrɑːs/ bə-RAH-soh; born July 21, 1952) is an American physician and politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Wyoming. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served in the Wyoming State Senate.

Contents

Born and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania, Barrasso graduated from Georgetown University, where he received both his B.S. and M.D. He conducted his medical residency at Yale University before moving to Wyoming and beginning a private orthopedics practice in Casper, Wyoming. Barrasso was active in various medical societies and associations.

Barrasso initially ran for the U.S. Senate in the 1996 election, narrowly losing the Republican primary to Mike Enzi. In 2002, he won election to the State Senate, where he stayed until his appointment to the U.S. Senate after the 2007 death of incumbent Craig L. Thomas. He was elected to finish Thomas's term in 2008 and reelected in 2012 and 2018. In 2018, Barrasso was selected as chair of the Senate Republican Conference. [1]

Early life, education, and medical career

Barrasso was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1952, the son of Louise M. (née DeCisco) and John Anthony Barrasso, Jr. He is of Italian descent. [2] He is a 1970 graduate of the former Central Catholic High School, which, in 2011, combined with Holy Name High School to form Berks Catholic High School, in Reading, Pennsylvania.[ citation needed ] Afterwards, Barrasso attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (where he became a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity) for two years before transferring to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. He also received his M.D. degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1978. He conducted his residency at Yale Medical School in New Haven, Connecticut.

In 1983, following the completion of his residency at Yale, Barrasso moved to Wyoming, together with his wife at the time, Linda Nix. [3] He joined a private orthopedic practice in Casper, Wyoming, and for a time served as chief of staff of the Wyoming Medical Center. [3] He served as State President of the Wyoming Medical Society, President of the National Association of Physician Broadcasters, and as a member of the American Medical Association Council of Ethics and Judicial Affairs.

Barrasso was also a rodeo physician for the Professional Rodeo Cowboy's Association (and a member of the "Cowboy Joe Club") and volunteered as a team physician for Casper College as well as several local high schools. [4] He was named the "Wyoming Physician of the Year". In addition, he was awarded the "Medal of Excellence" by the Wyoming National Guard for his services to the National Guard, and received the "Legislative Service Award" from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) for his support of Wyoming's veterans.

Barrasso was a board-certified orthopedic surgeon in private practice in Casper for 24 years, from 1983 until 2007. [4] [5]

1996 U.S. Senate election

Barrasso ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1996 for the seat being vacated by Republican Alan K. Simpson. Barrasso narrowly lost the primary election to state Senator Mike Enzi, 32% to 30%, in a nine-candidate election. [6]

Wyoming Senate

Barrasso was elected to the Wyoming Senate unopposed in 2002 [7] and won re-election unopposed in 2006. [8]

During his time in the State Senate he served as Chairman of the Transportation and Highways Committee. [9]

U.S. Senate

Barrasso with President Donald Trump in 2018 Donald Trump and John Barrasso.jpg
Barrasso with President Donald Trump in 2018

Appointment

Barrasso was chosen on June 22, 2007, by Democratic Governor Dave Freudenthal to replace Senator Craig L. Thomas, who died earlier in the month. Under state law, Freudenthal was able to consider only three individuals whose names were submitted to him by the Republican State Central Committee because the seat was vacated by a Republican. The others were former State Treasurer Cynthia Lummis of Cheyenne, later Wyoming's only member of the United States House of Representatives, and former Republican State Chairman and lobbyist Tom Sansonetti, a former aide to Thomas. Matt Mead, grandson of former Senator Clifford P. Hansen, had also sought the nomination but was eliminated by the central committee in fourth place. So had the previous gubernatorial nominee from 2006, Ray Hunkins, a Wheatland rancher and lawyer. Mead later went on to be elected Governor of Wyoming in 2010, and Lummis was elected to Congress in 2008. When he was appointed, Barrasso indicated that he would also run in the November 2008 special election to fill the remainder of Thomas' term.

Elections

2008

Barrasso announced on May 19, 2008, that he would run in the general election in 2008 to serve the remainder of Thomas' term, though he had already stated that intention before his appointment. Tom Sansonetti, one of the three Republican candidates selected for consideration by Freudenthal, said he would not challenge Barrasso in the primary. The other candidate for selection, former state Treasurer Cynthia Lummis, was a candidate for the Republican nomination to replace retiring U.S. Representative Barbara Cubin for the state's at-large seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The filing deadline in Wyoming was May 30, 2008, and ultimately Barrasso did not face a primary opponent. The Democratic nominee was Nick Carter, a lawyer from Gillette. Pundits unanimously rated the race "Safe Republican." As expected, Barrasso won the general election in a landslide, garnering 73% of the vote.

2012

Barrasso ran for re-election to a first full term in 2012. He faced three opponents for the Republican nomination, which he won with 90% of the vote. In the general election, he faced Democratic nominee Tim Chestnut, a member of the Albany County Board of Commissioners. Barrasso won the election with 76% of the vote.

2018

Barrasso won re-election with 67% percent of the vote, the lowest percentage of his three U.S. Senate campaigns and the closest a Democrat came to winning the U.S. Senate seat since the 1996 election.

Tenure

Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John Barrasso in Jerusalem on January 3, 2014 Secretary Kerry Meets With Senators McCain, Graham, Barrasso (11728192345).jpg
Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John Barrasso in Jerusalem on January 3, 2014

At the time of his temporary appointment to the U.S. Senate in 2007, Barrasso was quoted as saying on his application: "I believe in limited government, lower taxes, less spending, traditional family values, local control and a strong national defense"; he also said that he had "voted for prayer in schools, against gay marriage and [had] sponsored legislation to protect the sanctity of life". [10]

Political positions

Abortion

In 1996, when Barrasso ran for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate for Wyoming he presented himself during the primary as a candidate in favor of abortion rights. [11] [3] Subsequently, during his tenure in the Wyoming Legislature, he sponsored an unsuccessful bill to treat the killing of a pregnant woman as a double homicide. [3] He has voted to prohibit federal funding for abortion. [12]

Gun laws

In 2002, he received an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association. According to a Washington Post survey, he has voted with Republicans 94 percent of the time.[ citation needed ]

In April 2013, Barrasso was one of 46 senators to vote against the passing of a bill which would have expanded background checks for all gun buyers. Barrasso voted with 40 Republicans and 5 Democrats to stop the bill. [13]

Health care

Barrasso voted against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in December 2009, [14] and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. [15] Barrasso was part of the group of 13 senators drafting the Senate version of the American Health Care Act of 2017, a proposed replacement for Obamacare that ultimately failed to pass. [16] [17] [18] [19]

Environment

Barrasso opposed the CIA's creation of its Center on Climate Change and National Security in 2009. [20] In 2011, Barrasso introduced a bill that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from limiting carbon dioxide emissions. [21]

Barrasso denies anthropogenic climate change, [22] rejecting the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is progressing, dangerous, and primarily human-caused. Asked in 2014 on the C-SPAN interview program Newsmakers if human activity contributes to climate change, Barrasso said, "The climate is constantly changing. The role human activity plays is not known." [23] [24] [25] As of January 2019 Barrasso has a 8% lifetime score on the National Environmental Scorecard of the League of Conservation Voters. [26] [27] Barrasso was a leading critic of the climate change policies of the administration of US President Barack Obama. [28]

Along with Pat Roberts and Mike Enzi, Barrasso introduced a bill to remove tax credits for electric cars. [29] In December 2018, he penned an op-ed in the New York Times stating his belief in climate science and climate change, but opposition to a carbon fee and dividend. [30]

Barrasso co-authored and was one of 22 senators to sign a letter [31] to President Donald Trump urging the President to have the United States withdraw from the Paris Agreement. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Barrasso has received over $585,000 from the oil and gas industry since 2012. [32] In 2018 alone Barrasso received over $690,000 in funding from oil and gas companies. [33]

In 2019, Barrasso inaccurately claimed that "livestock will be banned" as a result of the Green New Deal, and said we needed to "say goodbye to dairy, to beef, to family farms, to ranches. American favorites like cheeseburgers and milkshake would become a thing of the past." [34]

In September 2020, Barrasso supported a measure to dramatically limit the use of hydrofluorocarbons, used in refrigerants and other applications that have contributed to global warming. Sixteen other Republican U.S. Senators joined him in voting for the bill, [35] which represented a substantial departure from climate change denialism and mimics the Kigali Amendment, which has not been supported by the Trump administration. Joint efforts by U.S. manufacturers, environmentalists, and even right-wing operatives such as Freedom Works, [36] appear to have persuaded those lawmakers. "This agreement protects both American consumers and American businesses," Barrasso said. "We can have clean air without damaging our economy." [35]

Criminal justice

He opposed the FIRST STEP Act, legislation which sought to reform the federal prison system. Nonetheless, the bill passed 87–12 on December 18, 2018. [37]

Foreign policy

Barrasso opposed the Russian-backed Nord Stream 2 — a pipeline for delivering natural gas from Russia to Germany. Bloomberg News reported that "Congress brought forward bills authorizing the administration to levy sanctions against a consortium of five European energy companies that have partnered with [Russia's main gas company] Gazprom; at least one bill, sponsored by Republican Senator John Barrasso, would make them mandatory." [38]

Donald Trump

After it was revealed in November 2018 that President Donald Trump had business dealings with Russia while a candidate during the 2016 election, Barrasso said, "The president is an international businessman; I’m not surprised he was doing international business." Asked if Trump should have disclosed those business ties to voters during the campaign, Barrasso said, "There were so many things involved in the 2016 campaign, it’s hard to point to what one thing influenced voters." [39] [40] Barrasso joined President Donald Trump on Thanksgiving 2019 in a surprise visit to American troops stationed at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. At the time, approximately 370 Wyoming National Guard soldiers were deployed in Europe and the Middle East, the most since 2009. [41]

In December 2019, Barrasso appeared to promote Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)'s views supporting the discredited conspiracy theory of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. [42]

Committee assignments

Personal life

Barrasso has three children: Peter, Emma, and Hadley. He is divorced from Linda Nix. Barrasso is married to his second wife, Bobbi Brown. [43] [44] On August 11, 2007, during Cheyenne's annual Race for the Cure, Barrasso and Brown, herself a breast cancer survivor and at the time, the state director for Barrasso's state senate offices, announced that they would marry. Once the two were engaged, Brown resigned her position in Barrasso's state Senate offices. [45] They were married on January 1, 2008, with their children in attendance in Thermopolis. [46]

Barrasso is a member of the board of directors of Presidential Classroom, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that brings young people to Washington, D.C. to learn about government. Barrasso is a member of the Casper Chamber of Commerce. [47] He identifies as a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA). [48]

Election history

Republican primary results [49]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican John Barrasso (incumbent) 68,194 100.00
Total votes68,194 100.00
United States Senate special election in Wyoming, 2008 [50]
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Republican John Barrasso (incumbent) 183,063 73.35% +3.37%
Democratic Nick Carter66,20226.53%-3.33%
NoneWrite-ins2930.12%
Majority116,86146.83%+6.70%
Turnout 249,558
Republican hold Swing
Republican primary results [51]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican John Barrasso (incumbent) 73,516 89.9
Republican Thomas Bleming5,0806.2
Republican Emmett Mavy2,8733.5
Republican Write-in2790.3
Total votes81,748 100
United States Senate election in Wyoming, 2012 [52]
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Republican John Barrasso (incumbent) 185,250 75.66% +2.31%
Democratic Tim Chesnut53,01921.65%-4.88%
Wyoming CountryJoel Otto6,1762.52%N/A
n/a Write-ins4170.17%+0.05%
Total votes244,862 100.0% N/A
Republican hold
Republican primary results, Wyoming 2018 [53]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican John Barrasso (incumbent) 74,292 64.76%
Republican Dave Dodson32,64728.46%
Republican John Holtz2,9812.60%
Republican Charlie Hardy (withdrawn)2,3772.07%
Republican Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente1,2801.16%
Republican Anthony Van Risseghem8700.7%
Write-in 2670.23%
Total votes114,714 100%
United States Senate election in Wyoming, 2018 [54]
PartyCandidateVotes%±%
Republican John Barrasso (incumbent) 136,210 66.96% -8.70%
Democratic Gary Trauner61,22730.10%+8.45%
Libertarian Joseph Porambo5,6582.78%N/A
Write-in 3250.16%N/A
Total votes203,420 100% N/A
Republican hold

See also

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Wyoming Senate
Preceded by
Bruce Hinchey
Member of the Wyoming Senate
from the 27th district

2003–2007
Succeeded by
Bill Landen
Party political offices
Preceded by
Craig Thomas
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Wyoming
(Class 1)

2008, 2012, 2018
Most recent
Preceded by
Lisa Murkowski
Vice Chair of the Senate Republican Conference
2010–2012
Succeeded by
Roy Blunt
Preceded by
John Thune
Chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee
2012–2019
Chair of the Senate Republican Conference
2019–present
Incumbent
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Craig Thomas
U.S. senator (Class 1) from Wyoming
2007present
Served alongside: Mike Enzi, Cynthia Lummis
Incumbent
Preceded by
Lisa Murkowski
Ranking Member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee
2009–2015
Succeeded by
Jon Tester
Preceded by
Jon Tester
Chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee
2015–2017
Succeeded by
John Hoeven
Preceded by
Jim Inhofe
Chair of the Senate Environment Committee
2017–2021
Succeeded by
Tom Carper
Preceded by
Tom Carper
Ranking Member of the Senate Environment Committee
2021–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jon Tester
United States Senators by seniority
30th
Succeeded by
Roger Wicker