Brian Mast

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Brian Mast
Brian Mast official congressional photo (cropped).jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 18th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded by Patrick Murphy
Personal details
Born (1980-07-10) July 10, 1980 (age 37)
Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.[1]
Political party Republican
Residence Hutchinson Island, Florida, U.S.
Alma mater Harvard Extension School (ALB)
Occupation Military veteran and politician
Website House website
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 2000–2011
Rank Staff Sergeant
Unit 28th Ordnance Company[2]
Awards Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Army Commendation Medal

Brian Jeffery Mast (born July 10, 1980) is an American politician and United States Army veteran who serves as the U.S. representative for Florida's 18th congressional district. He is a member of the Republican Party.

Early life and education

Mast was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the son of James Mast and Tixomena Trujillo. His maternal grandparents were immigrants from Mexico.[3] Mast graduated from South Christian High School, in 1999.[4] In 2016, he obtained an A.L.B. from the Harvard Extension School, where he studied economics, with minors in government and environmental studies.[5][6]

Military service

After graduating from South Christian High School in 1999,[7] Mast enlisted in the United States Army Reserve in May 2000 and went to become a combat engineer. In 2006, he transitioned to the active U.S. Army and became an explosive ordnance disposal technician. Mast later joined the elite 28th Ordnance Company.[8] He served in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. On September 19, 2010, while clearing a path for United States Army Rangers in Kandahar, Mast took a wrong step into an IED along the road. The explosion resulted in the amputation of both his legs and one of his fingers.[9][10]

Mast and his family were the recipients of a custom ADA-compliant home awarded to them by the non-profit organization Helping a Hero.[11]

Civilian career

After being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army, Mast was hired as an explosives specialist for the United States Department of Homeland Security.[1] While recovering from his injuries at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Mast provided explosive and counter-terrorism expertise to the Office of Emergency Operations at the National Nuclear Security Administration from July 2011 to February 2012[12] and as an instructor of Home Made Explosives for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.[13][14]

U.S. House of Representatives

2016 campaign

Mast first considered running for office while recovering from his injuries at Walter Reed Medical Center.[1] It was reported in May 2015 that Mast was considering a run for Congress.[15]

On June 8, 2015, Mast announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination United States House of Representatives in Florida's 18th congressional district.[16] Mast faced five opponents in the August 30, 2016 primary; he won with 38% of the vote.[17] Mast faced Democratic businessman Randy Perkins in the November 2016 general election.[17]

Mast won the November 8, 2016, general election with 53% of the vote.[18]

In 2016 Mast was briefly linked with World Patent Marketing, a company the Federal Trade Commission would shut down as an invention promotion scam. World Patent Marketing donated money to Mast's campaign fund and said in a press release that he sat on their advisory board. Mast claimed no knowledge of being given a position on the board and said he only had a couple encounters with members of the company.[19]

Tenure

Mast participating in an overflight assessment with the Coast Guard during Hurricane Irma

Mast was sworn in on January 3, 2017. He is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership.[20]

After voting in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, his constituents rated him at a 40 percent approval rating and 45 percent said they were disappointed with his work in Congress.[21]

Committee assignments

Political positions

As of January 2018, Mast had voted with his party in 89.9% of votes in the 115th United States Congress and voted in line with Trump's position in 94.9% of the votes.[22][23]

In June 2016, Mast said he supported Donald Trump "unanimously and wholeheartedly" in the 2016 presidential election. After the Billy Bush tape became public, he called Donald Trump's remarks "inexcusable and disgusting."[24]

In February 2017, he voted against a resolution that would have directed the House to request ten years of Trump's tax returns, which would then have been reviewed by the House Ways and Means Committee in a closed session.[25]

Mast is in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). On May 4, 2017, he voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and pass the American Health Care Act.[26][27]

In October 2017, Mast voted against the original version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 due to "out of control" federal spending, fear of the national debt growing, and a desire to see lower tax rates with loopholes closed.[28] In December 2017, he voted in favor of the final version of the bill.[29] He says the bill "provides a lot of confidence to a lot of people" and is "a great moment for our country and our community."[30][21]

Mast said he would support a Republican proposal to cut U.S. funding to the United Nations.[5]

Honors

During his twelve years of service in the U.S. Army, he received the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and Army Commendation Medal with "V" for valor device.

He was invited by President Barack Obama as a guest to his 2011 State of the Union Address and was seated with First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden.[31] Mast was named one of 10 House freshmen to watch by the Washington, D.C. newspaper The Hill, out of 55 new members of the House elected in 2016.[5]

Personal life

Mast lives in Hutchinson Island in St. Lucie County, Florida with his wife, Brianna, and their three children.[32] He attends the evangelical Calvary Chapel.[14]

In January 2015, Mast volunteered with the Israel Defense Forces, working at a base outside Tel Aviv, packing medical kits and moving supplies.[14]

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Former Grand Rapids man wounded in Afghanistan considers bid for Congress". Mlive.com. Retrieved October 31, 2016. 
  2. https://www.armytimes.com/story/military/capitol-hill/2015/10/26/eod-tech-double-amputee-runs-congress/74284938/
  3. Manjarres, Javier (September 15, 2015). "Brian Mast: Illegal Immigration Is A National Security Issue". Hispolitica. 
  4. "Meet Brian". MastforCongress.com. Retrieved November 14, 2016. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Treasure Coast's Brian Mast gets celebrity reception in Congress". TCPalm. Retrieved 2017-01-09. 
  6. Brian Mast Ballotpedia. 2017. Retrieved May 27, 2017
  7. "MastForCongress.com". MastForCongress.com. Retrieved 2016-11-13. 
  8. "UXO News Wire Service (UXO Blog): Retired EOD Seeks to Continue Service as Congressman". Uxoinfo.com. 2015-11-11. Retrieved 2017-03-17. 
  9. "A Combat Veteran Runs for Congress, and the Scrutiny Intensifies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-11-13. 
  10. "Rangers receive awards for recent deployments". Army.mil. Retrieved 2016-11-13. 
  11. "Wounded U.S. Army Veteran Receives Keys to New Home". Coralspringstalk.com. October 14, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2016. 
  12. http://combatveteransforcongress.org/cand/3281
  13. "Brian Mast at Abacoa on September 14". Palm Beach County Tea Party. Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 "Pro-Israel US Army vet runs for Congress — on prosthetic legs". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2017-01-09. 
  15. "Double-amputee vet might enter CD-18; Grayson’s Twitter trouble; the Rubio blueprint revealed; more Cuba moves in Miami; FL bear-hunt controversy". Politico. Retrieved October 31, 2016. 
  16. Bennett, George (June 8, 2015). "Two more Republicans announce run for Patrick Murphy seat". Palm Beach Post. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 Bennett, George (October 31, 2016). "First time candidates Brian Mast, Randy Perkins to vie for U.S. House". Palm Beach Post. 
  18. "Analysis: Brian Mast's military story wins Patrick Murphy's U.S. House seat". Tcpalm.com. Retrieved November 13, 2016. 
  19. Caygle, Heather (16 March 2017). "Freshman lawmaker linked to company accused of million-dollar marketing scam". Politico. Retrieved 4 January 2018. 
  20. "Members". Republican Mains Street Partnership. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 Schmitz, Ali. "Treasure Coast voters don't support GOP tax plan, according to new poll". TCPalm. Retrieved 24 December 2017. 
  22. Willis, Derek. "Represent". ProPublica. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  23. Bycoffe, Aaron (2017-01-30). "Tracking Brian J. Mast In The Age Of Trump". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  24. Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster (2016-10-08). "Brian Mast calls Donald Trump's comments 'inexcusable and disgusting'". Florida Politics. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  25. "These are all the Republicans who don’t want you to see Donald Trump’s tax returns". indy100. 2017-02-28. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  26. "How the House voted to pass the GOP health-care bill". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  27. "Health care vote puts pressure on dozens of vulnerable GOP reps". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  28. Schmitz, Ali. "U.S. Rep. Brian Mast among 18 GOP representatives to vote against budget bill". TCPalm. Retrieved 24 December 2017. 
  29. Almukhtar, Sarah (19 December 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2017. 
  30. Bennett, George. "Trump in Palm Beach: President arriving on heels of tax bill victory". The Shiny Sheet. Palm Beach Daily News. Retrieved 24 December 2017. 
  31. "Sgt. Brian Mast, wounded in Afghanistan, touched by president's thanks to military". Mlive.com. Retrieved October 31, 2016. 
  32. "Brian Mast: Candidate". Tcpalm.com. Retrieved November 14, 2016. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Patrick Murphy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 18th congressional district

2017–present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Roger Marshall
R-Kansas
United States Representatives by seniority
411th
Succeeded by
Donald McEachin
D-Virginia