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Brian Babin

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Brian Babin

Brian Babin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 36th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded by Steve Stockman
Mayor of Woodville, Texas
In office
1982–1984
Personal details
Born (1948-03-23) March 23, 1948
Port Arthur, Texas
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Roxanne (1972–present)
Children Marit, Leif, Kirsten, Lucas, Laura Larua
Residence Woodville, Texas
Alma mater Lamar University
University of Texas Dental School
Occupation Dentist
Religion Southern Baptist

Brian Babin (born March 23, 1948) is an American dentist, politician and member of the Republican Party who has served as the U.S. Representative from Texas's 36th congressional district since January 2015.

Babin, a graduate of Lamar University and the University of Texas Dental School, served in the United States Air Force from 1975 to 1979. He then opened a dental practice in Woodville and became involved in Republican politics.

He worked for various state and federal campaigns and held numerous local and regional government positions, including President of the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (1981–1987), on the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (1982–1984), Mayor of Woodville (1982–1984), on the Woodville City Council (1984–1989), on the Texas Historical Commission (1989–1995), Chairman of the Tyler County Republican Party (1990–1995), on the Woodville Independent School District Board (1992–1995) and on the Lower Neches Valley Authority (1999–2015).

Babin was the Republican nominee for Texas's 2nd congressional district in 1996 and 1998, losing to Democrat Jim Turner on both occasions. He ran again in 2014 to succeed Steve Stockman, who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate, and was elected to succeed him.

Early and personal life

Babin graduated from Lamar University in 1973 and later went on to serve as an officer in the United States Air Force from 1975 to 1979, leaving with the rank of Captain. While serving, he earned a B.S. in biology from Lamar University in 1975 and then enrolled in the University of Texas Dental School and graduated with his D.D.S. in 1976.[1] To pay for his tuition, he worked as a janitor, merchant seaman and postman and sang folk and country music in local restaurants with his wife Roxanne, whom he met in college.[1][2]

Babin and his wife Roxanne have been married since 1972 and they have five children: daughter Marit, an attorney and former press staffer at the National Republican Congressional Committee; son Leif, a former Navy SEAL; twins Kirsten, an educator, and Lucas, a model and actor; and daughter Laura Larua.[1][2] He is also the father-in-law of journalist and Fox News Channel anchor Jenna Lee, who is married to his son Leif.[3] As of 2015, he has 12 grandchildren.[4]

Career

Babin has been engaged in general dental practice in Governor of Texas.

Additionally, he has variously served as the Mayor of Woodville (1982–1984), a Woodville City Councilman (1984–1989), Chairman of the Tyler County Republican Party (1990–1995), a member of the Woodville Independent School District Board (1992–1995) and Director of the Tyler County Chamber of Commerce.[1] He has also served as President of the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (1981–1987), on the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (1982–1984) and on the Texas Historical Commission (1989–1995).[1][8] In 1999, he was appointed by Governor Bush to the Lower Neches Valley Authority and was reappointed to the body by Governor Rick Perry, most recently in 2013, for a term that was to expire in 2019.[1][9][10] He resigned before being sworn in to Congress.

1996 Congressional election

When twelve-term Democratic Congressman Charlie Wilson of Texas's 2nd congressional district decided to retire in 1996, Babin ran to succeed him. In the Republican primary, he came second out of five candidates, with 7,094 votes (31.01%), behind Donna Peterson, the nominee for the seat in 1990, 1992 and 1994, who took 8,047 votes (35.18%). As no candidate secured a majority, Babin faced Peterson in a runoff, and defeated her 7,405 votes (66.83%) to 3,675 (33.16%). In the general election, he lost to Democrat Jim Turner, a State Senator and former State Representative, by 102,908 votes (52.24%) to 89,838 (45.6%).

After the 1996 election, Babin became involved in a campaign finance scandal concerning $37,000 in illegal donations from businessman Peter Cloeren that were moved through "vehicles" to circumvent the individual contribution limit of $1,000. Cloeren asserted in an [11][12] Babin and DeLay denied his allegations.[13] Cloeren pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and paid a $400,000 fine and received a two-year suspended prison sentence. Babin paid a $20,000 civil penalty and paid back $5,000 in excessive contributions for "accepting an excessive contribution and a contribution in the name of another and failing to disclose financial activity properly."[14]

1998 Congressional election

Babin sought a rematch with Turner in 1998. Unopposed in the Republican primary, he was again defeated in the general election, by 81,556 votes (58.42%) to 56,891 (40.75%).

During the campaign, Babin's campaign manager was 21-year-old Jon-Marc McDonald. McDonald gained national attention when he simultaneously came out of the closet as a gay man and resigned as campaign manager.[7][15] In August 1998, McDonald abruptly stepped down, citing "irreconcilable differences" with Babin over the issue of homosexuality.[7][16] According to The Dallas Morning News, McDonald announced his resignation via press release without discussing it with Babin, and his sudden departure left those in the campaign shocked and confused.[17][18][19]

McDonald generated further press coverage when he stated in an interview after his resignation that Babin had made disparaging remarks about homosexuals in private, which Babin adamantly denied.[20] In some press reports, Babin claimed that McDonald was not the campaign manager, but instead a "volunteer coordinator", also a paid position.[20] An article by Hastings Wyman of the Southern Political Report suggested that McDonald was forced to resign by the local media threatening to "out" him.[21] The resignation received widespread national media attention because of the sensationalistic way it transpired.[22]

U.S. House of Representatives

2014 Congressional election

After Republican Congressman Steve Stockman of Texas's 36th congressional district made a late decision to run for the U.S. Senate instead of for re-election, Babin ran to succeed him in the 2014 elections.[23] In the twelve-candidate Republican primary–the real contest in this heavily Republican district–Babin finished first with 17,194 votes (33.36%). As he did not receive a majority, he proceeded to a runoff with the second-placed candidate, mortgage banker and candidate for Texas's 10th congressional district in 2004 Ben Streusand, who had received 12,024 votes (23.33%). In the runoff, Babin defeated Streusand by 19,301 votes (57.84%) to 14,069 (42.16%).[24] He then faced Democrat Michael Cole in the general election,[25] defeating him by 100,933 votes (75.97%) to 29,291 (22.04%).[26]

Committee assignments

Source: [27]

Caucus memberships

Tenure

On January 6, 2015, Babin was one of twenty-five House Republicans to vote against John Boehner's re-election as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Boehner, who needed at least 205 votes, was re-elected with 216 votes.[29] 24 Republicans voted for another candidate and Babin voted "present", effectively abstaining from the vote.[30] Two days later, Babin explained his vote. He said that he didn't want to vote for Boehner, to reflect dissatisfaction with the Speaker in his district, particularly over the Cromnibus. However, he declined to vote for another candidate because "he would have preferred to see Boehner denied reelection on the first ballot, forcing a closed-door GOP caucus meeting at which a replacement might emerge."[31]

On January 25, in an interview with The Daily Caller, Babin said that President Barack Obama "deserves impeachment", but he doubted that Congress would act on that. He also criticised President Obama's foreign policy, calling him an "appeaser deluxe".[32]

In June 2015, after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in King v. Burwell that the tax subsidies in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) were constitutional, Babin introduced the "SCOTUScare Act". His bill would force the Supreme Court Justices to enrol for Obamacare and purchase healthcare insurance under the health exchanges, so that they could, as he said, "understand the full impact of their decisions on the American people [and] see firsthand what the American people are forced to live with!" The name of Babin's bill references conservative Justice Antonin Scalia's dissent, where he said that, after the Court had upheld the law twice, "we should start calling this law SCOTUScare."[33][34]

In July 2015, Babin endorsed Texas Senator Ted Cruz for President. He praised Cruz' "conservative leadership and fortitude" and said that he "will speak honestly to the American people".[35]

In September 2015, in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, Babin introduced the Resettlement Accountability National Security Act, designed to oppose President Obama's plan to expand the country's refugee program.[4][36] The bill calls for a "a temporary halt to the refugee program until the general accounting office can do an assessment of just exactly how much this is costing the taxpayer."[4] Babin said that this was urgently necessary because the refugee program amounts to an "open invitation" to the "problems of the Middle East, of terrorism, oppression of women and all the things that go along with it."[4] Babin also claimed that over 90% of refugees "are already on some sort of entitlement program when they come in" and that American cities could end up with "no-go zones", claiming that such places already exist in London, Liverpool, Paris, Amsterdam and Copenhagen.[4][36]

On October 9, 2015, Babin chaired a hearing of the House Space Committee attended by various NASA executives. He criticised the Obama administration for cutting the NASA budget, saying that they would have a negative effect on the agency's space exploration programs and that budget uncertainty would impair efficiency. Babin also noted that the recent discovery of liquid water on Mars and the release of the Ridley Scott film The Martian had "garnered the public's attention, and rightly so" which would prompt the public to ask when there would be a Human mission to Mars.[37]

Political positions

Babin cites water conservation, repealing the Affordable Care Act and stopping illegal immigration as his main priorities.[5] He believes in the Protestant work ethic and the concept of "if you don’t work, you don’t eat, if you are able to work." He supports term limits and wants to reduce the number of out of wedlock births and restore the traditional family unit.[5] He also believes that taxes are too high and the tax code is too complex.[5]

Although Babin helped found and is a member of the Tyler County Patriots, he does not identify as a member of the Tea Party, saying "I believe with all my heart in less government, lower taxes and more individual responsibility and more economic freedom, and you can put whatever label you want to on it."[6]

References

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External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Steve Stockman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 36th congressional district

January 3, 2015 – present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Brad Ashford
D-Nebraska
United States Representatives by seniority
381st
Succeeded by
Don Beyer
D-Virginia
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