Louie Gohmert

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Louie Gohmert
Louie Gohmert Portrait.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 1st district
Assumed office
January 3, 2005
Preceded by Max Sandlin
Personal details
Born Louis Buller Gohmert, Jr.
(1953-08-18) August 18, 1953 (age 65)
Pittsburg, Texas, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kathy Gohmert
Children 3
Residence Tyler, Texas
Alma mater Texas A&M University(B.A.)
Baylor University (J.D.)
Profession Lawyer
Religion Southern Baptist[1]
Awards Meritorious Service Medal[2]
Military service
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1978–1982
Rank US military captain's rank.gif Captain[2]
Unit Judge Advocate General's Corps

Louis Buller "Louie" Gohmert, Jr. (born August 18, 1953) is a current Republican U.S. Representative from Texas's First Congressional District. On January 4, 2015, Gohmert announced he would challenge John Boehner for the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives. He was defeated in the challenge by Boehner two days later, on January 6, 2015.[3]

Early life and education

Gohmert was born in Pittsburg, Texas, the son of Erma Sue (née Brooks) and Louis Buller Gohmert. He is of German descent on his father's side.[4][5] Gohmert was raised in Mount Pleasant, Texas, where he graduated from the local high school in 1971.[6] He then enrolled in Texas A&M University, receiving his B.A. in history in 1975.[7]

Gohmert spent a summer as an exchange student in Ukraine.[8] He received a U.S. Army scholarship while at Texas A&M, where he was a brigade commander of the Corps of Cadets and class president.[9] He later received a law degree (Juris Doctor) from Baylor Law School in Waco, Texas in 1977, where he was also class president.[10]

Early political career

Gohmert served in the United States Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, at Fort Benning, Georgia, from 1978 to 1982.[11] The majority of his legal service in the U.S. Army was as a defense attorney.

Gohmert was elected as a state district judge for Texas's 7th Judicial District, serving Smith County (Tyler, Texas) from 1992 to 2002. He was elected to three terms.[11] He first saw national recognition for a 1996 probation requirement where he ordered an H.I.V. positive man, who was convicted on motor vehicle theft charges, to seek the written consent from all future sexual partners on a court provided form notifying them of his H.I.V. status.[12] The order angered LGBT activists and civil libertarians.[12] In 2002, Gohmert was appointed by Texas Governor Rick Perry to fill a vacancy as Chief Justice on Texas's 12th Court of Appeals, where he served a six-month term, which ended in 2003.[10]

U.S. House of Representatives


A mid-decade redistricting made the 1st District significantly more conservative than its predecessor. Tyler, which had long anchored the 4th District, was shifted to the 1st District. In the 2004 Republican primary, Gohmert defeated State Representative Wayne Christian of Center, Texas. He defeated Democratic incumbent 1st District Congressman Max Sandlin with 61 percent of the vote. Gohmert has never faced another contest even that close, and has been reelected five times. In 2006, he won his second term by defeating Democrat Roger L. Owen, a swimming pool builder from Hallsville, Texas. He faced no major party opposition in 2008 (facing only an independent) and 2010 (facing only a Libertarian).[citation needed]

In November 2012, Gohmert was elected to his fifth term with 182,621 votes (71.7 percent) to Democrat Shirley J. McKellar's 67,758 (26.6 percent).[13]


R-L: House Chaplain Daniel P. Coughlin presents pastor David Dykes a certificate in honor of his September 10, 2008 Invocation of the US House, while Gohmert and Speaker Nancy Pelosi stand by.

In 2007 Gohmert said, "I would submit to you that Washington, D.C. is also the only city in the entire country that every Senator and every Member of Congress has a vested interest in seeing that it works properly, that water works, sewer works, and no other city in America has that."[14] When residents began calling Gohmert's office complaining about issues like trash and parking, he told them to speak to local government officials instead.[15]

On July 29, 2009, Gohmert signed on as a co-sponsor of the defeated H.R. 1503. This bill would have amended "the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require the principal campaign committee of a candidate for election to the office of president to include with the committee's statement of organization a copy of the candidate's birth certificate, together with such other documentation as may be necessary to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications for eligibility to the office of president under the Constitution".[16]

Gohmert stated in a House Judiciary Hearing on May 15, 2013, that he believed the FBI did not act with due diligence concerning alleged bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. His contention was that the FBI was more interested in Christian groups such as those led by Billy and Franklin Graham than in groups that might be considered less politically correct to target. Attorney General Eric Holder responded to his claims: "The only observation I was going to make is that you state as a matter of fact what the FBI did and did not do. Unless somebody has done something inappropriate, you don't have access to the FBI files ... I know what the FBI did. You cannot know what I know. That's all". Gohmert objected to this on the grounds that Holder had "challenge[d]" his character and made several unsuccessful attempts to inject his viewpoint as a point of personal privilege.[17]

On January 3, 2013, Gohmert broke ranks with the House leadership to nominate outspoken Florida Representative Allen West for Speaker of the House, although West narrowly lost his bid for re-election in November 2012, and was no longer a member of Congress.[18]

Although he has previously ruled out the possibility of a bid for the U.S. Senate, he has recently been boosted by at least one "tea party" group (Grassroots America We the People) as a primary challenger to current Republican Senator John Cornyn.[19]

On January 4, 2015, Gohmert announced he would formally challenge Speaker John Boehner for the Speaker of the House position. He announced the move on Fox & Friends Weekend. He lost to Boehner two days later, on January 6.[3][20]

In July 2015, Gohmert delivered a speech to the U.S. Congress in which called upon the Democratic Party to disband due to its historical support of slavery and racism.[21][22]

Fiscal policy

Gohmert has signed the Americans for Tax Reform's Taxpayer Protection Pledge.[23] He offered an alternative plan to kick-start the economy with his tax holiday bill that would allow taxpayers to be exempt for two months from having federal income tax taken out of their paychecks.[24] He was one of a number of Republicans who voted against the Budget Control Act of 2011 on grounds it did not do enough to deal with the government's growing debt.[25]

Gohmert was one of four Republicans who voted against, joining 161 Democrats to oppose a balanced budget Constitutional amendment in November 2011.[26]

Gohmert does not believe in man made climate change, and has asserted that data supporting the theory is fraudulent. He opposes cap-and-trade legislation, such as the one that was passed in the US House when it was Democratic controlled, and supports expanding drilling, and exploration and drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).[27]

In a 2012 meeting of the House Natural Resources Committee, Gohmert stated his strong support of a trans-Alaskan pipeline, as a means for caribou to have more sex.[28][29][30]

According to Gohmert, "When [the caribou] want to go on a date, they invite each other to head over to the pipeline. So [his] real concern now [is] ... if oil stops running through the pipeline ... do we need a study to see how adversely the caribou would be affected if that warm oil ever quit flowing?” Gohmert's comments were not favorably received by the rest of the committee.[31][32]

Gohmert supports for and voted for legislation in favor of school vouchers.[33]

Gohmert strongly supported the Baseline Reform Act of 2013 (H.R. 1871; 113th Congress), a bill that would change the way in which discretionary appropriations for individual accounts are projected in CBO's baseline.[34] Under H.R. 1871, projections of such spending would still be based on the current year’s appropriations, but would not be adjusted for inflation going forward.[34] Gohmert said that "conservatives have advocated for years that there should be no automatic spending increases in any federal department's budget... that has been a trap so when we simply slow the rate of increase, we are accused of making draconian cuts."[35] He argued that this legislation would make clearer "what is an increase and what is a cut", put the government in the same situation as American families (who do not get automatic increases), and help with the task of getting the debt under control.[35]

Social policy

Gohmert has a pro-life voting record. He has stated that he believes that life begins at conception. Gohmert sponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Act. Gohmert voted for the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, a bill that prohibits the transportation of a minor across state lines for the purposes of an abortion without the consent of the minor's parents. He has 100% pro-life voting record rating from the NRLC.[36][37]

At a congressional hearing on May 23, 2013, on an abortion bill that would ban the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy, Gohmert told the story of another couple he knew that decided to go through with their pregnancy despite learning of fetal anomalies. He told Zink, a woman witness, that she should have gone through with her pregnancy despite some doctor's opinion that the brain function was impaired, and then have a better assessment of the baby's health once it was born. Gohmert explained: "Ms. Zink, having my great sympathy and empathy both, I still come back wondering, shouldn’t we wait, like that couple did, and see if the child can survive before we decide to rip him apart? ... So these are ethical issues, they're moral issues, they’re difficult issues, and the parents should certainly be consulted. But it just seems like, it’s a more educated decision if the child is in front of you to make those decisions", Gohmert said.[38]

On December 16, 2012, two days after the Sandy Hook shootings, Gohmert appeared on Fox News Sunday and suggested that the tragedy would have never happened had the teachers been armed. He told host Chris Wallace, "I wish to God that she [principal Dawn L. Hochsprung] had an M4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out... and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids." He claimed that the 20 victims who had been killed with a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle had "defensive wounds".[39]

"Terror baby" national security vulnerability

On August 12, 2010, Gohmert appeared on Anderson Cooper 360° to defend recent comments he made on the floor of the House regarding "terror babies". In a speech about national security made on the House floor in June 2010,[40] Gohmert stated that a retired FBI agent had told him that one of the things the FBI had been looking at were terrorist cells overseas sending young women to become pregnant so they would deliver the baby in the United States, and then take the baby with them back to be raised as a terrorist. When adult, this operative—a U.S. citizen by birth—could be easily infiltrated in the U.S. to carry out terrorist actions.[41]

On Fox Business News, Gohmert later claimed that an airline passenger with a relative in Hamas had a grandchild who was to be intentionally born in the United States.[42] In the interview, Gohmert asserted that pregnant women from the Middle East are traveling to the US on tourist visas, planning to deliver the child there.[43] According to the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, this automatically grants citizenship to the child. He said that the child would then be returned to the mother's home country and be submitted to a life of terrorist training. Rep. Gohmert said he could not reveal the identity of the retired FBI agent who provided him the information, but he pointed out to a The Washington Post article,[44] which described "birth tourism" packages, mainly directed at Chinese tourists. These "birth tourism" packages, Gohmert pointed out, take advantage of a "gaping hole in the security of our country."[45]

Letter To Director of National Intelligence

On June 13, 2012, Gohmert was one of five Republican United States representatives (including Michele Bachmann, Trent Franks, Tom Rooney, Lynn Westmoreland) to send letters to the Inspectors General[46] of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the Department of State outlining their "serious national security concerns", and asking for "answers to questions regarding the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical group's access to top Obama administration officials." In the letter, Gohmert and the other U.S. lawmakers wrote about information they claim "raises serious questions about Department of State policies and activities that appear to be a result of influence operations conducted by individuals and organizations associated with the Muslim Brotherhood."[47]

One of the letters in particular to Ambassador Harold W. Geisel, the Deputy Inspector General of the United States Department of State, mentioned the Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, as an example of the undue influence. The letter said that Abedin, wife of former U.S. representative Anthony Weiner, who had access to sensitive national security and policy information, "has three family members–her late father, her mother and her brother–connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations", as backed up by a study by the Center for Security Policy.[48][49][50]

Gohmert and his colleagues were praised by Newt Gingrich as the "National Security Five" in an editorial on the Politico website. Gingrich expressed he favors investigating the Muslim Brotherhood, and made clear his support to Gohmert and the other four state-elected representatives for rising up concerns that improve national security.[51] Columnist Cal Thomas replied, to accusations of "McCarthyism", that the real possibility of infiltration by Islamic extremists deserves to be investigated.[52]

Committee assignments

Committee on the Judiciary

Committee on Natural Resources

Caucus memberships

Electoral history

Texas' 1st congressional district election, 2004[53]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Louie Gohmert 157,068 61.47%
Democratic Max Sandlin (incumbent) 96,281 37.68%
Libertarian Dean L. Tucker 2,158 0.84%
Texas' 1st congressional district election, 2006[53]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Louie Gohmert (incumbent) 104,099 68.00%
Democratic Roger L. Owen 46,303 30.24%
Libertarian Donald Perkison 2,668 1.74%
Texas' 1st congressional district election, 2008[53]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Louie Gohmert (incumbent) 189,012 87.57%
Independent Roger L. Owen 26,814 12.42%
Texas' 1st congressional district election, 2010[53]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Louie Gohmert (incumbent) 129,398 89.72%
Libertarian Charles F. Parkes III 14,811 10.27%
Texas' 1st congressional district election, 2012[53]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Louie Gohmert (incumbent) 178,322 71.4%
Democratic Shirley J. McKellar 67,222 26.9%
Libertarian Clark Patterson 4,114 1.64%
Texas' 1st congressional district election, 2014[53]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Louie Gohmert (incumbent) 115,084 77.47%
Democratic Shirley J. McKellar 33,476 22.53%

Personal life

Gohmert and his wife Kathy are parents to three daughters. Gohmert attends Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, where he has served as a deacon and teaches Sunday school.[55]


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External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Max Sandlin (D)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 1st congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Virginia Foxx
R-North Carolina
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Al Green