John Barrasso

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John Barrasso
John Barrasso official portrait 112th Congress.jpg
United States Senator
from Wyoming
Assumed office
June 25, 2007
Serving with Mike Enzi
Preceded by Craig Thomas
Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded by Jon Tester
Member of the Wyoming Senate
from the 27th district
In office
January 3, 2003 – June 22, 2007
Preceded by Bruce Hinchey
Succeeded by Bill Landen
Personal details
Born John Anthony Barrasso III
(1952-07-21) July 21, 1952 (age 66)
Reading, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Linda Nix (Divorced)
Bobbi Brown
Children Peter
Alma mater Georgetown University
Religion Presbyterianism
Website Senate website

John Anthony Barrasso III (born July 21, 1952) is the junior United States Senator from Wyoming and a member of the Republican Party. He was appointed to the Senate in June 2007, following the death of Craig L. Thomas, and won a special election in 2008 to fill the remaining four years of Thomas's term. He was re-elected to a full six-year term in 2012.

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.[1] 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 HS, in Reading, PA. Barrasso began his college career at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (where he became a member of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity) and transferred to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., graduating with a bachelor of science degree in 1974. 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 addition to his private orthopedic practice, Barrasso was Chief of Staff of the Wyoming Medical Center, State President of the Wyoming Medical Society, President of the National Association of Physician Broadcasters, and 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.[2] He has also been awarded the "Wyoming Physician of the Year." He has been awarded the "Medal of Excellence" by the Wyoming National Guard for his services to the National Guard as well. Barrasso also received the "Legislative Service Award" from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) for his support of Wyoming's veterans. He is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon in private practice in Casper. He is known by many as "Wyoming's Doctor."[3]

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 lost the primary election to State Senator Mike Enzi, 32% to 30%, in a seven-candidate election.[4]

Wyoming Senate

Barrasso was elected to the Wyoming Senate unopposed in 2002[5] and won re-election unopposed in 2006.[6]

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

U.S. Senate


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.



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, 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.


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.


Barrasso was quoted as saying, “I believe in limited government, lower taxes, less spending, traditional family values, local control and a strong national defense,” and said he has “voted for prayer in schools, against gay marriage and [has] sponsored legislation to protect the "sanctity of life".[7]

Barrasso joined Wyoming colleague Mike Enzi in endorsing the nomination of Richard Honaker of Rock Springs to the U.S. District Court in Cheyenne. The nomination was pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee from 2007 until Barack Obama became president.[citation needed]

In 2007, Roll Call called Barrasso the least powerful member of the Senate.[8]


In 1996, Barrasso ran for the U.S. Senate as a pro-choice candidate.[9] During his career in the Wyoming Legislature, he sponsored an unsuccessful bill to treat the killing of a pregnant woman as a double homicide.[10]

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.[11] 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.[12]

Health care

Barrasso voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009,[13] and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[14]


Barrasso opposed the CIA's creation of its Center on Climate Change and National Security in 2009.[15] In 2011, Barrasso introduced a bill that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from limiting carbon dioxide emissions.[16]

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.[18][19] 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.[20] They were married on January 1, 2008, with their children in attendance in Thermopolis.[21]

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 and the Casper Rotary Club.[citation needed]

Barrasso is a perennial local host for the Jerry Lewis Telethon and a frequent guest on Utah Public Television and the Casper ABC affiliate, KTWO-TV, where he offers commentary on a wide range of medical topics. He is author of a regular newspaper column, "Keeping Wyoming Healthy."[citation needed]

Election history

United States Senate special election in Wyoming, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican John Barrasso 183,063 73.35%
Democratic Nick Carter 66,202 26.53%
United States Senate election in Wyoming, 2012
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican John Barrasso 184,531 75.90% +2.55%
Democratic Tim Chesnut 52,596 21.60% -4.93%
Wyoming Country Joel Otto 6,138 2.60%

See also


  2. "John A. Barrasso - Washington Post". August 25, 2010. Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  3. "Barrasso's Biography". John Barrasso for Senate. Retrieved 12 November 2014. 
  7. Bob Moen (June 22, 2007). "Wyoming governor appoints GOP state Sen. John Barrasso to replace late U.S. Sen. Craig Thomas". 
  8. Lancaster, John (31 May 2011). "Rising from the Right". WyoFile. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  9. Kraushaar, John (2007-06-22). "State senator John Barrasso appointed to fill vacant Wyoming Senate seat". Politico. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  10. Lancaster, John (2011-05-31). "Rising from the Right". Wyo File. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  11. cn
  12. Silver, Nate (April 18, 2013). "Modeling the Senate's Vote on Gun Control". The New York Times. 
  13. [1]
  14. "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". U.S. Senate. Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  15. C.I.A. Climate Center Irks Barrasso October 6, 2009
  16. Broder, John M. (January 31, 2011). "Wyoming Senator Seeks to Lasso E.P.A.". The New York Times. Retrieved October 24, 2012. 
  17. "Senate Leaders Announce Bipartisan Committee To Investigate Judge G. Thomas Porteous" (Press release). Senate Democratic Caucus. March 17, 2010. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  18. Morton, Tom (2007-06-23). "Casper wishes Barrasso well in D.C.". Casper Star Tribune. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  19. "Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)". Roll Call. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  20. The Crypt's Blog -
  21. U.S. Senator John Barrasso Press Office

External links

United States Senate
Preceded by
Craig Thomas
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Wyoming
Served alongside: Mike Enzi
Preceded by
Jon Tester
Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee
Party political offices
Preceded by
Craig Thomas
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Wyoming
(Class 1)

2008, 2012
Most recent
Preceded by
Lisa Murkowski
Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference
Succeeded by
Roy Blunt
Preceded by
John Thune
Chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jon Tester
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Roger Wicker