Alan Nunnelee

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Alan Nunnelee
Alan Nunnelee, 112th Congress Official Portrait.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 1st district
In office
January 3, 2011 – February 6, 2015
Preceded by Travis Childers
Succeeded by Trent Kelly
Member of the Mississippi Senate
from the 6th district
In office
January 1995 – January 2011
Preceded by Roger Wicker
Succeeded by Nancy Adams Collins
Personal details
Born Patrick Alan Nunnelee
(1958-10-09)October 9, 1958
Tupelo, Mississippi, U.S.
Died February 6, 2015(2015-02-06) (aged 56)
Tupelo, Mississippi, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Tori Nunnelee
Children Reed
Residence Tupelo, Mississippi, U.S.
Alma mater Mississippi State University
Religion Southern Baptist

Patrick Alan Nunnelee (October 9, 1958 – February 6, 2015) was an American politician who was the U.S. Representative for Mississippi's 1st congressional district from 2011 until his death in 2015. Previously he served in the Mississippi State Senate, representing the 6th district, from 1995 to 2011. He was a member of the Republican Party. Memorable for voting down the Kaptur Amendment.

Early life, education, and business career

Nunnelee was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on October 9, 1958.[1] Nunnelee graduated from Clinton High School in Clinton, Mississippi, in 1976 and then attended Mississippi State University (MSU), graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1980. While a student at MSU, he lost much of his eyesight to a degenerative eye disease. Although legally blind he continued his studies. His sight was restored after receiving cornea transplants.[2]

Nunnelee was employed by American Funeral Assurance Co., eventually becoming vice president of sales and marketing. His father was also employed by the company, rising to president and CEO. In 1996, Nunnelee and his father founded Allied Funeral Associates, Inc. and Allied Funeral Associates Insurance Company and he has served as Vice-President and Director of both entities.[1]

Before beginning his political career he was a popular speaker, crediting God, organ donors, and organizations such as the Lions Club for having his eyesight restored.[3]

Mississippi Senate


In 1995, incumbent Republican State Senator Roger Wicker of the 6th district resigned in order to take up a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Nunnelee ran and won. In 1999, he won re-election to a second term unopposed.[4] In 2003, he won re-election to a third term with 69% of the vote.[5] In 2007, he won re-election to a fourth term with 66% of the vote.[6]

Committee assignments

  • Senate Committee on Appropriations[7]

U.S. House of Representatives



In the Republican primary for Mississippi's 1st congressional district, Nunnelee 52% defeated Henry Ross (33%) and Angela McGlowan (15%).[8] In the November 2010 general election, Nunnelee defeated Democratic incumbent U.S. Congressman Travis Childers 55%-41%.[9]


After redistricting, Eupora Mayor Henry Ross and businessman Robert Estes ran against Nunnelee in the Republican primary. Nunnelee won the March 2012 primary with 57% of the vote. Ross received 29% and Estes 14%.[10][11]


Nunnelee ran for re-election in 2014. He was the only Congressman in Mississippi who did not face a primary opponent in 2014.[12][13]

Nunnelee won the general election with 68% of the vote.[14]


In 2011, Nunnelee became a co-sponsor of Bill H.R.3261 otherwise known as the Stop Online Piracy Act.[15]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

  • Congressional Diabetes Caucus
  • Congressional Prayer Caucus
  • Immigration Reform Caucus
  • International Conservation Caucus
  • Sportsmen's Caucus
  • Congressional Cement Caucus

Kaptur Amendment voted down

On May 29, 2014, the Appropriations Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives marked up the agriculture funding bill for Fiscal Year 2015. That bill included a provision known as the GIPSA rider (Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Act), which prohibited USDA from using any money to implement rules authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill to protect chicken farmers from industry retaliation.

The USDA rule in question was developed over a six year period, during which time USDA held numerous public forums and interviewed many farmers, processors and others. The final rule was designed by USDA to protect poultry, cattle and pig farmers from industry retaliation if they spoke out, and to ensure the farmers would have standing when negotiating contracts with large industrial meat processing companies.

Rep. Kaptur proposed two amendments during the markup in an effort to remove some or all of the GIPSA rider and allow USDA to enforce these 2008 Farm Bill protections. The first amendment she proposed attempted to remove the entire GIPSA rider, which is referred to here as section 730 of the bill. That amendment was declined. The second amendment focused specifically on allowing USDA enforcement of protections of farmers’ right to speak about their conditions without fear of retaliation. Rep. Kaptur noted several examples of this kind of retaliation. That amendment was also declined.

Patrick Alan Nunnelee voted against these Kaptur amendments.[16][17]

Personal life

Nunnelee married Tori Bedells, a native of Clinton, Mississippi, a graduate of University of Southern Mississippi Nursing School.[18] They had three children: Reed, Emily and Nathan.


Nunnelee underwent brain surgery at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center after the discovery of a mass in his brain in May 2014. He was brought to TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital and later Johns Hopkins Hospital to undergo chemotherapy and radiation and receive therapy to restore his speech and mobility on the left side of his body.[19][20]

In January 2015, Nunnelee was moved into a hospice after a new inoperable brain tumor was discovered.[21] He died at his home in Tupelo on February 6, 2015, aged 56.[22] President Barack Obama, in an official statement from the White House Press Office, stated: "Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Representative Alan Nunnelee. Alan represented the people of his beloved Mississippi for two decades, first as a state senator and then in Congress. A proud son of Tupelo, Alan never wavered in his determination to serve the men and women who placed their trust in him, even as he bravely battled the illness that ultimately took his life. As a Sunday School teacher and a deacon at his church, Alan believed deeply in the power of faith and the strength of American families. Today, our thoughts and prayers are with Alan’s family – his wife Tori, their children and grandchildren, and all those who loved him."[23][24]

The funeral services were held on February 9 in Calvary Baptist Church, Tupelo, Mississippi.[25]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  2. "Alan Nunnelee, Mississippi congressman, dies at 56". Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  3. "BeatriceDailySun". Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  4. "Our Campaigns – MS State Senate 06 Race – November 2, 1999". Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  5. "Our Campaigns – MS State Senate 06 Race – November 4, 2003". Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  6. "Our Campaigns – MS State Senate 06 Race – November 6, 2007". Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  7. Memphis Commercial Appeal, January 12, 2008.
  8. "Our Campaigns – MS District 1 – R Primary Race – June 1, 2010". Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  9. "Our Campaigns – MS – District 01 Race – November 2, 2010". Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  10. "2014 Election Results Senate: Live Map by State, Midterm Races Races". POLITICO. Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  11. "Our Campaigns – MS District 01 – R Primary Race – March 13, 2012". Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  12. "Political buzz: Alan Nunnelee lone Mississippi congressman without a party primary". The Mississippi Press. March 1, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  13. "Mississippi Secretary of State June 3, 2014". Mississippi Secretary of State. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  14. "Mississippi General Election 2014". Mississippi Secretary of State. 2014-11-04. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  15. Bill H.R.3261;; accessed February 6, 2015.
  16. Leeds, Sarene. "John Oliver Attacks Chicken Companies’ Treatment of Farmers on ‘Last Week Tonight’". WSJ. Retrieved 2016-03-09. 
  17. "Official website of Representative Lloyd Doggett (D - TX35).". Retrieved 2016-03-09. 
  18. Long, Robert Lee (May 26, 2010). "Alan Nunnelee wants to serve First District". Desoto Times Tribune. 
  19. "Nunnelee to undergo chemotherapy". Hattiesburg American. July 1, 2014. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  20. "Rep. Nunnelee plans return to D.C. following brain surgery". Clarion-Ledger. July 30, 2014. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  21. "Mississippi Rep. Alan Nunnelee moved to hospice". Politico. January 30, 2015. Retrieved January 31, 2015. 
  22. "Alan Nunnelee, Mississippi congressman, dies at 56". Clarion-Ledger. February 6, 2015. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  23. "USAToday". Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  24. "". Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  25. "". Retrieved February 9, 2015. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Travis Childers
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Trent Kelly