Shelley Moore Capito

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Shelley Moore Capito
Shelley Moore Capito official Senate photo.jpg
United States Senator
from West Virginia
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Serving with Joe Manchin
Preceded by Jay Rockefeller
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from West Virginia's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 3, 2015
Preceded by Bob Wise
Succeeded by Alex Mooney
Personal details
Born Shelley Wellons Moore
(1953-11-26) November 26, 1953 (age 64)
Glen Dale, West Virginia, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Charles Capito
Children Charles
Alma mater Duke University
University of Virginia
Religion Presbyterianism
Website Senate website
Campaign website
Official Facebook
Shelley Moore Capito on Twitter

Shelley Wellons Moore Capito (born November 26, 1953) is the junior United States Senator from West Virginia. She was a member of the United States House of Representatives for West Virginia's 2nd congressional district from 2001 until her election to the United States Senate in 2014.

A graduate of Duke University and the University of Virginia, she is the daughter of the late Governor of West Virginia Arch Moore. Capito was the only Republican in the West Virginia congressional delegation until 2011 and the first Republican woman elected to Congress from West Virginia. Capito was elected to the Senate in 2014, becoming the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate in the history of West Virginia[1] and the first Republican to win a full term in the Senate from West Virginia since 1942. She won mostly on large majorities in the counties along the Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia borders.

In Congress, Senator Capito has sponsored over 113 pieces of legislation, making her the most prolific federal legislator of the freshmen Senators elected in 2014.[2] Senator Capito is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety and Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch; she is the only freshman Senator to chair a subcommittee on the powerful Appropriations Committee. She is a member of the Main Street Partnership, with three fellow Republican senators including John McCain, focused on centrist goals in Congress.[3] The group is the rough equivalent of the Blue Dog Democrats.[4]

Senator Capito has been mentioned as the possible vice presidential nominee of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election; if elected, she would be the first woman Vice President.[5][6]

Personal life and career

Capito was born Shelley Wellons Moore in Glen Dale, West Virginia, the daughter of Shelley (née Riley) and Arch Alfred Moore, Jr., who served three terms as the state's Governor. A resident of Charleston, Capito was educated at the Holton-Arms School; Duke University, where she earned her bachelors degree in zoology; and the University of Virginia Curry School of Education, where she earned her masters degree.[7] She is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority[8] and represented the state of West Virginia as the 1972 Cherry Blossom Princess.[9] Capito was elected to the 31st district of the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1996 and served two terms from December 1, 1996 to December 1, 2000. The district included a portion of the Charleston area. Capito was named Minority Chairman of the Health and Human Resources Committee and a member of the Judiciary and Banking and Insurance Committees. She is married to Charles L. Capito and they have three children: sons Charles and Moore and daughter Shelley.[10]

United States House elections: 2000-12

2000, 2002, & 2004

When 2nd district U.S. Congressman Bob Wise ran for governor in 2000, Capito decided to run and she won the Republican nomination for West Virginia's 2nd district, which was anchored in Charleston and stretched from the Ohio River in the west to the Eastern Panhandle, which borders with Virginia and Maryland. She narrowly defeated millionaire asbestos lawyer Jim Humphreys 48%–46%.[11] She was the first Republican to represent West Virginia in Congress since 1983, as well as the first woman elected to Congress from West Virginia in her own right. She won re-election to a second term, defeating Humphreys in rematch 60%–40%. She won every county in the district except Braxton.[12] She became the first West Virginia Republican to win reelection to Congress since her father, who represented the 1st district in the state's northern region from 1957 to 1969. She won re-election to a third term, defeating former newscaster Erik Wells 57%–42%.[13]

2006 & 2008

Capito was mentioned as a possible challenger to Senator Robert Byrd, a longtime foe of her father, in 2006, but opted to run for re-election to her House seat. She won re-election to a fourth term, defeating the state's Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Mike Callaghan, 57%–43%. She won all but two counties: Braxton and Clay.[14] Capito won re-election to a fifth term, defeating Anne Barth, a longtime former aide to U.S. Senator Robert Byrd, 57%–43%. She won all but two counties: Braxton and Jefferson.[15]

2010 & 2012

During the 2010 election cycle, she was mentioned as a Republican candidate to challenge Joe Manchin for the vacated United State Senate seat of the late Robert C. Byrd. Capito ultimately decided against a Senate bid, pointing out that, even though the West Virginia Legislature passed a law allowing her to run for both her House seat and the Senate, "running for two offices simultaneously is not who I am as a person. More importantly, this is not about me, but what is right for the people of West Virginia."[16] Capito won re-election to a sixth term, defeating Lynch Graf,[17] 68%–30%.[18] For the first time in her career, she won all 18 counties of the district. After redistricting, Capito was challenged in the Republican primary for the first time in her career. Capito said she planned on fighting to "dismantle the federal health care overhaul and challenge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency."[19] She defeated Delegate Jonathan Miller and Michael Davis 83%–11%–6%.[20] She won re-election to a seventh term, defeating former gubernatorial aide Howard Swint, 70%–30%.[21][22]

United States Senator: 2014—present

File:West Virginia Senate Election Results by County, 2014.svg
Capito gained large majorities of the vote along the Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia borders.

2014 election

On November 26, 2012, Capito announced her intention to seek the United States Senate seat in play for the 2014 election, intending to challenge longtime incumbent Jay Rockefeller,[23] but he subsequently announced his retirement. Capito’s “Shared Values” commercial featured her saying “We want our country back; we don’t want government coming in and telling us how to pick our doctor, how to educate our children.”[24] Despite initial protests from Tea Party groups and anti-establishment conservatives that Moore Capito's House voting record was "too liberal," partially due to her pro-choice views,[25] she ultimately won 87% of the Republican primary vote.

Rockefeller dropped out of the race on January 11, 2013, making Capito the overwhelming favorite in the general election. She went on to defeat Democratic Secretary of State Natalie Tennant in the general election, 62% to 35%—the largest victory margin for a Republican running in a statewide race in West Virginia history.[26] She also carried every county in the state. This gave West Virginia the distinction of being represented in the Senate by two Senators whose views on abortion diverge from the majority stance of their party; her Senate colleague, Manchin, is pro-life.

Congressional tenure

Capito Congressional photo 2013

Senator Capito has attributed her emphasis on bipartisanship and working through ideological differences as a reason for her successful political career.[27] Along with Rob Portman and Deb Fischer, Senator Capito is one of Mitch McConnell’s counsels to leadership in the Senate.[28] In Congress, Senator Capito has sponsored over 113 pieces of legislation.[29] Since being in Congress, Capito has voted with her party 93% of the time.[30] As of 2012, she had a lifetime rating of 70 from the American Conservative Union.[31] She is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership. Capito served on the House Page Board during the Mark Foley congressional page incident, but wasn't made aware of Foley's conduct until informed by the press.[32][33]

Vice presidential speculation

Since at least March 12, 2015, Senator Capito has been considered a contender for Vice President on the Republican ticket in 2016, cited for her “years of legislative heft.” [34] That speculation was amplified in May 2016. [35] On May 12, Capito was one of several Senators to meet with Trump in Washington, D.C.[36]

Political positions

Social policy

Senator Capito is sponsoring the Gender Advancement in Pay (GAP) Act, saying:

“In 2016, it should be common sense that women and men get equal pay for equal work. Your salary should be based on your experience and qualifications – not your gender. But unfortunately, gender-based wage differences still exist, and for many women, discrimination in the workplace is an ever-present concern.”[37]

Senator Capito has sponsored 8 bills on health.[38] Senator Capito is sponsoring the Rural Access to Hospice Act to improve the quality, access, and retention of hospice facilities in rural parts of the nation.[39] In response to the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, Senator Capito released a statement after noting that her state’s greatest asset are its caring people:

“Regardless of our differences, we care for our neighbors, friends and communities in need. Acknowledging that we have differing views, the Supreme Court has made its decision. While I would have preferred that the Supreme Court leave this decision to the states, it is my hope that all West Virginians will move forward and continue to care for and respect one another.”[40]

Senator Capito supports reproductive rights, including the right to a safe and legal abortion. Senator Capito is partnering with Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand to sponsor the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA) to help stop sexual assaults on college campuses.

As a representative, Capito voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly called ObamaCare or the Affordable Care Act) in March 2010. In January 2009, Capito voted to expand the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as part of its re-authorization. The expanded coverage would include about four million more children in the program.[41] In May 2008, Capito voted for the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 (commonly called the new G.I. Bill), which expanded the educational benefits for military veterans who have served since September 11, 2001.[42]

Foreign policy

Senator Capito has sponsored approximately 40 bills about international trade and international finance, the most of any other legislative topic during her career.[43] Senator Capito has criticized the vulnerabilities in current national security policy in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist massacre[44] and has sponsored 8 bills on the military and national security.[45] Senator Capito was one of 47 Republican senators to sign Senator Tom Cotton's open letter to the Iranian government.[46] The letter, which sought to dissuade Iran from reaching an agreement with President Obama regarding nuclear peace, was described by the White House as "undercutting foreign policy".[47]

Capito has a nuanced record on issues concerning fair trade, as follows.[48] Capito voted No in 2005 on CAFTA, the major trade agreement negotiated under President George W. Bush. She voted Yes in 2003, 2004, and 2007 to approve free trade agreements with Chile, Singapore, Australia, and Peru. She is rated 22% by the Cato Institute, indicating her pro-fair trade voting record. She supports tariffs against countries that manipulate currencies, and she sponsored a bill that would create an import fee on countries with an undervalued currency.

Interior policy

Senator Capito has sponsored 9 bills on environmental integrity,[49] and has a clear voting record on the issue, including increasing prohibitions against animal fighting.[50] Senator Capito supports the Republican Main Street Partnership’s motion to elevate the E.P.A. to be a Cabinet-level department, which would bring more oversight to the entity.[51] Capito opposes legislation aimed at capping greenhouse gas emissions.[52] In January 2010 she reportedly asked the president if he would reconsider "job-killing" policies like limiting greenhouse gases.[53]

Fiscal policy

In the House, Capito voted for the Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment of 2011.[54] In December 2010, Capito voted to extend the tax cuts enacted during the administration of President George W. Bush.[55] Capito has sponsored 13 bills on the domestic financial sector, including protections for small, family-operated banks.[56] Capito supports a federal prohibition on online poker. In 2006, she cosponsored H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act,[57] and supported H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.[58] In June 2003, Capito introduced the Family Fairness in Taxing Act of 2003. The bill would accelerate the increase to the child tax credit, increase the qualification age for children, and revise refundability criteria for the credit.[59]

Committees and caucuses

Senate committee assignments

House committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Capito is a former Chairman of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues and a member of the Congressional Arts Caucus. After an explosion responsible for the death of 29 coal workers, Capito founded the Congressional Coal Caucus.[60]


  1. "West Virginia Senate Election Results: Shelley Moore Capito Is State's First Female Senator". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  2. "Shelley Moore Captio". Ballotpedia. 4 May 2016. 
  3. "Three New Congressional Members Join Main Street". Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  4. Lucas, DeWayne; Iva Deutchman (June 19, 2008). "Looking for the Productive Center in the 2006 Elections: Running for Congress as a Blue Dog or Main Streeter" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  5. Taylor, Jessica (March 12, 2015). "First female president or vice president near-certain come 2016". The Hill. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  6. Pindell, James (4 May 2016). "Seven pols who could be Donald Trump’s VP pick (and two who won’t)". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 8 May 2016. 
  7. "Transcript of interview with Rep. Shelley Moore Capito". Q & A. October 30, 2005. Retrieved 2014-11-29. 
  8. Huston, Andy. "23% of House & 41% of Senate is Greek". North-American Interfraternity Conference. Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
  9. "Queens of the cherry blossoms". Retrieved 2015-05-06. 
  10. U.S. Senate – Shelly Moore Capito Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  11. "Our Campaigns – WV District 2 Race – Nov 07, 2000". Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  12. "Our Campaigns – WV District 2 Race – Nov 05, 2002". Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  13. "Our Campaigns – WV – District 02 Race – Nov 02, 2004". Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  14. "Our Campaigns – WV – District 02 Race – Nov 07, 2006". Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  15. "Our Campaigns – WV – District 02 Race – Nov 04, 2008". Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  16. Rivard, Ry (July 21, 2010). "Capito will not run against Manchin for Byrd's seat". Charleston Daily Mail. Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
  17. "Capito wins big, Rahall bests former justice". Parkersburg News and Sentinel. November 2, 2010. Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
  18. "Our Campaigns – WV – District 02 Race – Nov 02, 2010". Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  19. "WVa US Rep Shelley Moore Capito overcomes rare GOP primary challenge in bid for 7th term". Associated Press. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  20. "Our Campaigns – WV District 2 – R Primary Race – May 08, 2012". Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  21. "Our Campaigns – WV – District 02 Race – Nov 06, 2012". Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  22. BELISLE, RICHARD (11 June 2012). "Congressional candidate Swint campaigns in the Panhandle". Herald-Mail. Retrieved 27 August 2012. 
  23. Catanese, David (November 25, 2012). "Shelley Moore Capito makes Senate bid vs. Jay Rockefeller official". Politico. Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
  24. "Shelley Moore Captio". Ballotpedia. 4 May 2016. 
  25. Catanese, David. "GOP split resurfaces after Shelley Moore Capito announcement." 2012-11-26. Retrieved 2014-11-08.
  26. "Capito resolution would void EPA’s existing power plant emission regulations". Ripon Advance. 2015-11-19. 
  27. "West Virginia’s First Female Senator". MSNBC. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  28. Everett, Burgess (12 May 2016). "Trump to Senate GOP: I get your concerns". Politico. Retrieved 14 May 2016. 
  29. "Shelley Moore Captio". Ballotpedia. 4 May 2016. 
  30. "Shelley Moore Capito (R)". U.S. Congress Votes Database. The Washington Post. 
  31. Kamen, Al (24 July 2012). "Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)". Who Runs Gov?. The Washington Post. 
  32. Reilly, Tara (4 October 2006). "Local Republicans sound off on page scandal". The Herald-Mail. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  33. AP (11 February 2009). "Key Figure In Foley Case Testifies". CBS News. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  34. Taylor, Jessica (March 12, 2015). "First female president or vice president near-certain come 2016". The Hill. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  35. Pindell, James (4 May 2016). "Seven pols who could be Donald Trump’s VP pick (and two who won’t)". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 8 May 2016. 
  36. "Trump, Ryan Meet, Cite ‘Common Ground’". Roll Call. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2016. 
  37. Moore Capito, Shelley (2016). "Op-Ed by Shelley Moore Capito on Equal Pay". Press release. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  38. "Shelley Moore Captio". Ballotpedia. 4 May 2016. 
  39. "Rural Access to Hospice Act introduced". Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  40. "WV REACTS: US Supreme Court extends same-sex marriage nationwide". The State Journal. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  41. "H.R. 2 (111th)". Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  42. "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 330". Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  43. "Shelley Moore Captio". Ballotpedia. 4 May 2016. 
  44. "Shelley Moore Capito on Trump and education". West Virginia MetroNews. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  45. "Shelley Moore Captio". Ballotpedia. 4 May 2016. 
  46. Jose A. DelReal (2012-12-14). "Here’s a list of the GOP senators who signed the Iran letter". Retrieved 2015-05-06. 
  47. "G.O.P. Senators’ Letter to Iran About Nuclear Deal Angers White House". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-05-06. 
  48. "Shelley Moore Capito on Free Trade". On the Issues. 
  49. "Shelley Moore Captio". Ballotpedia. 4 May 2016. 
  50. "Shelley Moore Capito on the Environment". On the Issues. 
  51. "Republican Main Street Partnership: Department of Environmental Protection Act". On the Issues. 
  52. "POLITICO: Note to EPA: 'Coal' isn't a dirty word". Press Release. US House of Representatives. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  53. Kamen, Al (24 July 2012). "Political Profile for Shelley Moore Capito". On the Issues. Washington Post. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  54. "Balanced Budget Amendment". The U.S. Congress Votes Database. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  55. "To extend Bush tax cuts". The U.S. Congress Votes Database. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  56. "Shelley Moore Captio". Ballotpedia. 4 May 2016. 
  57. "HR 4777: Internet Gambling Prohibition Act". Thomas (Library of Congress). 2006. Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
  58. "HR 4411: Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act". Thomas (Library of Congress). Retrieved 2013-04-14. 
  59. "H.R. 2324 (108th)". Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  60. "She is also a founding member of the Congressional Coal Caucus". Charleston Daily Mail. 13 April 2010. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bob Wise
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from West Virginia's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Alex Mooney
Preceded by
Judy Biggert
Chairperson of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues
Succeeded by
Ginny Brown-Waite
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jay Wolfe
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from West Virginia
(Class 2)

Most recent
United States Senate
Preceded by
Jay Rockefeller
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from West Virginia
Served alongside: Joe Manchin
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Cory Booker
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Gary Peters