Clay Higgins

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Clay Higgins
Clay Higgins official portrait.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 3rd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded by Charles Boustany
Personal details
Born (1961-08-24) August 24, 1961 (age 57)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Eloisa Rovati (Divorced)
Stormy Rothkamm Hambrice
(Divorced)
Becca Higgins
Children 4
Education Louisiana State University,
Baton Rouge
Website House website

Glen Clay Higgins (born August 24, 1961) is an American politician and law enforcement officer from the state of Louisiana. He is the U.S. Representative for Louisiana's 3rd congressional district. He won the runoff election held on December 10, 2016, in which he defeated fellow Republican Scott Angelle. Although an elected official, he also holds a current law enforcement commission as a Reserve Deputy Marshal of Lafayette.

Career

Higgins served in the Military Police Corps of the Louisiana National Guard for six years.[1][2] He then worked as a manager of a car dealership in Opelousas, Louisiana. He left the job in 2004 to become a reserve officer for the Opelousas Police Department. After serving in the department for four years, he resigned in lieu of accepting disciplinary action for his striking of a handcuffed suspect before spending the next three years working for the Port Barre Police Department. He joined the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office in 2011. When the office's public information officer was reassigned in October 2014, Higgins succeeded her in the role and was promoted to captain.[3][4]

As public information officer, Higgins made videos for Crime Stoppers. He began by using standard scripts in his first weeks, but then began to highlight various criminals by name.[5] His videos went viral, and he was referred to as the "Cajun John Wayne".[1][6] One of his videos was featured on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in 2015.[5] He resigned from the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office in February 2016 because of the public outcry against one of his videos.[7][8] In March 2016, he was sworn in as a Reserve Deputy Marshal in Lafayette, Louisiana.[9]

The former deputy of St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office[10] resigned in lieu of being fired for making controversial statements after the Sheriff warned him against using disrespectful and demeaning language toward the public. The Sheriff ordered him to "Tone down his unprofessional comments on our weekly Crime Stoppers messages"[11], underlining "a growing undertone of insubordination and lack of discipline on Higgins’ part"[12]. The Sheriff also took issue with Higgins's misuse of the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office's badge of office for personal profit and gain, citing Higgins's fully uniformed appearance with his marked patrol unit in a commercial for Acadian Total Security as well as its use in the sale of t-shirts and shot glasses from Higgins's personal website. In an investigative article published in Salon it is revealed that "He also negotiated paid speaking appearances with other police departments. In one email, Higgins discussed his request for a speaker’s fee that included shopping money for his wife and part of the fuel for his friend’s private plane[13]. Clay Higgins had previously worked for the Opelousas Police Department but also resigned under allegations of unprofessional and unlawful conduct. The Opelousas Police Department’s Discipline Review Board found that "Clay Higgins used unnecessary force on a subject during the execution of a warrant and later gave false statements during an internal investigation. Although he later recanted his story and admitted to striking a suspect in handcuffs and later releasing him". Higgins resigned before disciplinary action could be imposed.[14]

U.S. House of Representatives

2016 campaign

After Higgins' resignation from the St. Landry Police Department, Chris Comeaux, a Republican campaign staffer, recruited Higgins to run for office.[5] In May 2016, Higgins declared his candidacy for the 2016 election to represent the Third District of Louisiana.[15] He finished in second place in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on November 8, behind Scott Angelle.[16] He faced Angelle in a runoff election on December 10 and won with 56.1 percent of the votes cast.[17]

Tenure

Higgins was sworn into the House of Representatives on January 3, 2017.[18]

Higgins sleeps on an air mattress on the floor of his Capitol Hill office.[19] He works out and showers in the House gymnasium in the early morning and spends more time at his desk in the evenings to prepare for the expected House votes the next day. Throughout a typical week, Higgins sits on three committees and six sub-committees and keeps in consultation with the party leadership. The Louisiana delegation, Higgins said, is united on most issues but must serve many constituencies. There is civility in the delegation even when members disagree with one another, he added. He rejected claims that he is "a bomb thrower" in the political process, despite his own nonconventional congressional campaign and support for President Donald Trump.[20]

Higgins voted in favor of the American Health Care Act of 2017.[21]

On June 5, 2017, Congressman Higgins announced a 'historically rare' feat, securing an additional $10 million from the Army Corps of Engineers' discretionary fund to support dredging the Calcasieu Ship Channel.[22]

In December 2017, Higgins voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, believing it will lower taxes for Americans and improve the economy.[23][24]

Committee assignments

2018 campaign

Higgins is being challenged by Republican Josh Guillory, an Iraqi war veteran and Lafayette family law attorney.[25]

Political stances

Domestic issues

Gun law

Higgins is pro-gun. In 2017 he stated "The modern hysteria over guns is another example of our weakened society. Guns weren't really regulated at all prior to the 60s in America. Throughout our history, prior to just 50 years ago, a child could purchase a gun from any seller, if daddy sent him with the money. Prior to just 50 years ago, a child could purchase a gun from any seller, if daddy sent him with the money."[26]

National security

Higgins supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to temporarily curtail travel from countries known to be hotspots of terrorism until better screening methods are devised. He stated that “The president’s executive order for a short-term restriction on visa entries from seven countries, that are known to foster terrorists, combined with a systematic review of our immigration and vetting procedure, is reasonable.”[27]

On June 4, 2017, Higgins posted a message advocating that "Christendom" should kill all "radicalized Islamic suspects".

"The free world... all of Christendom... is at war with Islamic horror. Not one penny of American treasure should be granted to any nation who harbors these heathen animals. Not a single radicalized Islamic suspect should be granted any measure of quarter. Their intended entry to the American homeland should be summarily denied. Every conceivable measure should be engaged to hunt them down. Hunt them, identify them, and kill them. Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all."
-Clay Higgins[28]

Social issues

Abortion

Higgins is pro-life.[26]

LGBT

Higgins is against same-sex marriage and believes that marriage is between a man and a woman. He says, despite having "one very good gay friend" he believes that states should have the right to dictate their own marriage laws, rather than the Supreme Court deciding it.[26]

Auschwitz video

In early July 2017, Higgins posted a five-minute video on YouTube from Auschwitz concentration camp, including from within one of the gas chambers where he stated that "this is why homeland security must be squared away, why our military must be invincible".[29] This video was widely condemned as inappropriate, including by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum who said in a Twitter post that "the building should not be used as a stage".[30][31] Higgins later removed the video from YouTube and issued an apology.[32][29]

In July 2017, Higgins posted on Facebook a call to hunt and kill suspected Muslim extremists.[33][34]

Personal life

Clay Higgins is the seventh of eight children. He was born in New Orleans, but his family moved to Covington, Louisiana, when he was six years old.[3] After graduation from Covington High School, he attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.[2]

Higgins had a child with his first wife, Eloisa Rovati Higgins. The child, a daughter, died a few months after she was born. Higgins and his wife divorced; she later died as a result of her injuries from an automobile accident.[1] Higgins and his second wife, Rosemary "Stormy" Rothkamm Hambrice, have three children. They divorced in 1999 (she filed on grounds of adultery).[2][35][36] He lives in Port Barre with his wife, Becca Higgins.[2]

Hambrice later filed a lawsuit against Higgins making his unpaid child support arrearages in the amount of over $140,000.00 executory in Louisiana[35] [37]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Holley, Peter (May 6, 2015). "Meet the 'Cajun John Wayne,' the deputy whose meme-worthy videos terrify criminals". Washington Post. Retrieved December 10, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Stickney, Ken (September 16, 2016). "Higgins: God led him to challenge Angelle". Jackson Sun. Retrieved December 10, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Cook, Lanie Lee (May 13, 2015). "St. Landry deputy finds new meaning, viral fame in his role of no-nonsense sheriff's spokesman". The Advocate. Retrieved December 10, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Meet the man hailed as the "John Wayne" of Cajun country". CBS News. September 3, 2015. Retrieved January 4, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Stickney, Ken (December 16, 2016). "Higgins carves unlikely path to Capitol". The Daily Advertiser. Retrieved January 4, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "UPDATE: Sheriff issues expanded statement; Clay Higgins leaves the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office". KATC. February 29, 2016. Retrieved December 12, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Dickerson, Seth (May 18, 2016). "Clay Higgins announces run for congress". The Daily Advertiser. Retrieved December 10, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Ng, Alfred (February 29, 2016). "La. officer quits because he can't make 'demeaning' comments". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 10, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Dickerson, Seth (March 17, 2016). "Higgins sworn in as reserve Lafayette deputy marshal". The Daily Advertiser. Retrieved December 10, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "St. Landry Parish Sheriff". St. Landry Parish Sheriff.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "UPDATE: Sheriff issues expanded statement; Clay Higgins leaves the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. (PDF). St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office http://theind.com/file-69-.pdf. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Kopplin, Zack. "Uniform misconduct: Inside the rise and possible fall of "The Cajun John Wayne," GOP congressional candidate Clay Higgins". Salon.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Clay Higgins resigned from OPD in 2007 on cusp of major disciplinary measures". Retrieved July 5, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Clay Higgins announces run for Louisiana third congressional district seat". KATC. May 18, 2016. Retrieved December 10, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Ballard, Mark (December 3, 2016). "3rd Congressional District race pitting Scott Angelle against Clay Higgins seen as tossup". The Advocate. Retrieved December 10, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Ballard, Mark (December 10, 2016). "Clay Higgins – Cajun John Wayne – defeats Scott Angelle in 3rd District congressional race". The Advocate. Retrieved December 10, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Barfield Berry, Deborah (January 4, 2017). "New Louisiana lawmakers sworn in". USA Today. The Daily Advertiser. Retrieved January 4, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Ken Stickney (August 2017). "Does Clay Higgins still sleep in his office?". theadvertiser.com. Retrieved January 29, 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Ken Stickney (February 21, 2017). "Meet the Cajun congressman who sleeps on his office floor". The Shreveport Times. Retrieved February 25, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 256".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Fontenot, Emily. "Historically Rare: Higgins secures extra $10 million for port". American Press. American Press. Retrieved June 12, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Almukhtar, Sarah (19 December 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "GOP tax plan has Louisiana-specific benefits, senators say". The Times-Picayunne. Associated Press. Retrieved 31 December 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "Josh Guillory for Congress". 2017-10-31. Retrieved 2017-10-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Bess, Gabby (6 January 2017). "An Incredibly Upsetting List of All the New Republican Congress Members". Broadly. Retrieved 31 December 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. Blake, Aaron. "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved January 30, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. Jennifer Bendery (June 5, 2017). "GOP Congressman On Suspected Islamic Radicals: 'Kill Them All'". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 5, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. 29.0 29.1 Press, Associated (July 6, 2017). "Congressman apologies for video in gas chamber at Nazi concentration camp". The Guardian. Retrieved July 6, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. "US congressman condemned for Auschwitz gas chamber video". BBC. July 6, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. News, A. B. C. (2017-07-05). "Auschwitz Memorial condemns congressman's gas chamber video". ABC News. Retrieved 2017-07-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. Elliott, Debbie (July 5, 2017). "Congressman Retracts Auschwitz Video And Apologizes, After Criticism". NPR. Retrieved July 6, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. https://www.facebook.com/captclayhiggins/photos/a.655256107910738.1073741829.581436541959362/997878010315211/?type=3&theater
  34. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/06/05/kill-them-kill-them-all-gop-congressman-calls-for-holy-war-against-radical-islam/
  35. 35.0 35.1 Stickney, Ken (November 16, 2016). "Will dusty child support case hobble Higgins?". The Advertiser. Retrieved July 6, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. Ballard, Mark (December 8, 2016). "In newly released tape recordings, Higgins says winning election will help him pay $100K-plus in child support". The Advocate. Retrieved December 10, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  37. Ballard, Mark (November 11, 2016). "Clay Higgins, in runoff for 3rd District seat, faces child support lawsuit from former wife". The Advocate. Retrieved December 10, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles Boustany
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 3rd congressional district

2017–present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Josh Gottheimer
United States Representatives by seniority
400th
Succeeded by
Trey Hollingsworth