Morgan Griffith

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H. Morgan Griffith
Morgan Griffith, Official Portrait, 112th Congress B.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 9th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Preceded by Rick Boucher
Majority Leader of the House of Delegates
In office
2000 – December 5, 2010
Preceded by Richard Cranwell
Succeeded by Kirk Cox
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 8th district
In office
January 12, 1994 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by G. Steven Agee
Succeeded by Greg Habeeb
Personal details
Born (1958-03-15) March 15, 1958 (age 60)[1]
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Hilary Davis
Children 3
Residence Salem, Virginia, U.S.
Alma mater Emory and Henry College B.A., Washington and Lee University J.D.[1]
Profession Lawyer
Committees Energy and Commerce
Religion Episcopalian[2]

Howard Morgan Griffith (born March 15, 1958) is an American politician who has been the U.S. Representative for Virginia's 9th congressional district since 2011. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district takes in a large swath of southwestern Virginia, including the New River Valley.

He was the majority leader of the Virginia House of Delegates and represented the 8th District, serving from 1994 until 2011. The district included all of Salem, Virginia and parts of Roanoke County.[3]

Early life, education, and career

Griffith was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but his family moved to Salem, Virginia while he was a baby. He attended Andrew Lewis High School, graduating in 1976. He attended Emory and Henry College, graduating in 1980. Griffith completed his education with a J.D. from the Washington and Lee University School of Law in 1983.

After law school, Griffith settled in Salem where he worked as a private attorney with a focus on traffic violations and DUI. On June 23, 2008, Albo & Oblon LLP, a law firm run by fellow Republican delegate Dave Albo, announced that Griffith was joining the firm as head of its new Roanoke/Salem office.[4]

Early political career

Griffith first became seriously involved in politics in 1986, when he was chosen as the chairman of the Salem Republican Party. He held that position from 1986 to 1988 and from 1991 to 1994.

Virginia House of Delegates

In 1993, Griffith was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, defeating Democrat Howard C. Packett. He served as the Vice-Chairman of the Rules Committee in the House of Delegates. He served on the Courts of Justice Committee, and was the chairman of its Criminal Law Subcommittee. He also served on the Commerce and Labor and the Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committees.[citation needed] He was elected House Majority Leader in 2000 and was the first Republican to hold that position in Virginia's history.[5]

U.S. House of Representatives



Griffith was the Republican nominee to face longtime U.S. Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA) who was first elected in 1982. A "GOP Young Gun", Griffith won the election.[6] Griffith's home in Salem was located just inside the neighboring 6th District, represented by fellow Republican Bob Goodlatte. The bulk of his House of Delegates district, however, was located in the 9th.


Griffith defeated Democratic nominee Anthony Flaccavento 61.3 percent to 38.6 percent.[7]

Committee assignments

Electoral history

Virginia House of Delegates, District 8: Results 1995 to 2009[8]
Year Republican Votes Pct Democrat Votes Pct Third Party Party Votes Pct
1995 Morgan Griffith 14,052 100% no candidate Write-ins 35 0%
1997 Morgan Griffith 15,383 100% no candidate Write-ins 12 0%
1999 Morgan Griffith 11,066 100% no candidate Write-ins 19 0%
2001 Morgan Griffith 17,401 70% D. Martin 7,581 30%
2003 Morgan Griffith 10,860 59% M Q Emick Sr. 7,469 41%
2005 Morgan Griffith 20,484 98% no candidate Write-ins 417 2%
2007 Morgan Griffith 13,670 96% no candidate Write-ins 563 4%
2009 Morgan Griffith 16,790 69% E. Carter Turner III 7,563 31%
Virginia's 9th congressional district
Year Republican Votes Pct Democrat Votes Pct Third Party Party Votes Pct
2010 Morgan Griffith 95,726 51.2% Rick Boucher 86,743 46.4% Jeremiah Heaton Independent 4,282 2.3%
2012 Morgan Griffith 184,882 61.28% Anthony Flaccavento 116,400 38.58% Write-ins 376 0.12%
2014 Morgan Griffith 117,465 72.15% no candidate William Carr Independent 39,412 24.21%

Political positions


Griffith has voted to allow the Commonwealth of Virginia to enforce federal immigration laws to criminalize knowingly employing illegal immigrants or undocumented workers,[9] and also voted to criminalize possession of firearms by illegal aliens.[10]

Gay rights

While serving in the Virginia House of Delegates, Griffith supported a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage by defining marriage as between one man and one woman.[11] He voted in favor of a motion to effectively kill a bill to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for government employees in Virginia.[12]

Gun rights

Griffith voted in favor of several bills to reduce restrictions on gun ownership, including a bill to allow concealed weapons in vehicles without a permit[13] and to allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry their firearms in restaurants and bars.[14] Griffith also voted to prohibit consumption of alcohol while in possession of a concealed weapon.[15] In 2004 Griffith voted to prohibit carrying firearms or ammunition in the non-secure areas of airport terminals, including baggage claim areas.[16][17]

Health care

Early in 2010, Griffith voted in favor of a bill to prohibit any individual mandate to purchase health insurance.[18] This law passed Virginia's legislature before the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was enacted, which Virginia has used to challenge the individual mandate in federal court.[19] However on July 17, 2013 Griffith was the lone GOP member of the House to vote against delaying the implementation of the individual mandate.[20]

Just prior to the United States federal government shutdown of 2013, Griffith issued press release in which he endorsed the final House version of Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014, which would have continued funding for federal government operations while delaying implementation of the Affordable Care Act.[21] Griffith voted against the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014, the Senate-proposed compromise that ended the shutdown without defunding the Affordable Care Act.[22]

Death penalty

Griffith has voted consistently for expansions of the death penalty to include eligibility for accomplices to a murder, as well as for those who murder a judge or a witness.[23][24][25]


When surveyed in 1999 on his political positions by Project Vote Smart, Griffith indicated that he supports legalized abortion in the first trimester and to save the life of the mother,[26] while favoring the restriction of abortion through parental notification laws and prohibition of partial-birth abortion. Griffith's voting record has generally been consistent with his 1999 survey, voting in favor of restrictions on late term abortions such as parental-notification and parental-consent, while voting against bills that would restrict first-term abortions. In 2010 Griffith voted to restrict state funding of abortions,[27] and to require abortion clinics to meet the same licensing requirements as surgical centers. In 2006 Griffith voted to restrict state funding for fetal stem cell research.[28]

In 2007 Griffith voted against [29] a bill in the Virginia General Assembly, HB 2797, which stated: "That life begins at the moment of fertilization and the right to enjoyment of life guaranteed by Article 1, § 1 of the Constitution of Virginia is vested in each born and preborn human being from the moment of fertilization"[30] This was the only bill introduced to the General Assembly during Griffith's tenure that would have affected the legality of first-term abortions on the principal of the fetal personhood as opposed to regulating abortion on other grounds.[citation needed]

Griffith's 2010 campaign website reported that Griffith has a "100% pro-life" voting record and an "A" rating from the Virginia Society for Human Life (VSHL). However, VSHL's report on 2007 legislation in Virginia omits reference to HB 2797[31] Project Vote Smart indicated that Griffith declined to take their survey again in 2010.[26]

Taxes and spending

Griffith supports raising the retirement age and reducing the number of American troops serving overseas as means of reducing the federal budget deficit.[32]

Medical marijuana

In 2014, Griffith introduced legislation to move marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II narcotic, which would effectively make the drug legal for medical purposes under federal law.[33]

Personal life

Griffith is married to the former Hilary Davis. The couple has three children.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Zanona, Melanie (November 6, 2010). "112th Congress: Morgan Griffith, R-Va. (9th District)". Congressional Quarterly.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. [1]
  3. Giroux, Greg (2010-02-23). "Griffith Touts Support For Bid Against Boucher – The Eye (CQ Politics)". Retrieved 2010-08-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "H. Morgan Griffith to join Albo & Oblon LLP". MarketWatch, Inc. 2008-06-23. Retrieved 2008-08-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "About the Congressman".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "GOP's Griffith ousts 14-term Va. Democratic Rep. Boucher". The Virginian-Pilot. Associated Press. November 2, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Archer, Bill (6 November 2012). "Griffith re-elected in Va.'s 'Fightin' Ninth'". Bluefield Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 14 November 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Election Results Virginia State Board of Elections
  9. Project Vote Smart
  10. Virginia State Legislature archives
  11. Project Vote Smart website
  12. SB 66 – Prohibiting Sexual Orientation Discrimination in State Government Employment – Voting Record
  13. Project Vote Smart
  14. Project Vote Smart
  15. Project Vote Smart
  17. Virginia State Legislature archives
  18. Project Vote Smart
  20. U.S. News & World Report: "House votes to postpose individual mandate"
  21. "Griffith Statement on Latest House Efforts to Keep the Government Open"
  22. Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives: Final Vote Results for Roll Call 550
  23. Project Vote Smart
  24. Project Vote Smart
  25. Project Vote Smart
  26. 26.0 26.1 Project Vote Smart
  27. Project Vote Smart
  28. Project Vote Smart
  29. Virginia State Legislature archives
  30. Virginia State Legislature archives
  32. Melissa Hipolit (14 July 2011). "Local congressmen react to debt talks". Retrieved 18 July 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. Jackman, Tom (30 April 2014). "Va. Rep. Griffith introduces federal 'Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marijuana Act'". Washington Post. Retrieved 2 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Rick Boucher
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 9th congressional district

January 3, 2011 – present
Succeeded by
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Trey Gowdy
R-South Carolina
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Richard L. Hanna
R-New York