Virginia Foxx

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Virginia Foxx
Virginia Foxx.jpg
Secretary of the House Republican Conference
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by John Carter
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 5th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2005
Preceded by Richard Burr
Personal details
Born Virginia Ann Palmieri
(1943-06-29) June 29, 1943 (age 75)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Thomas Foxx
Alma mater University of North Carolina,
Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina,
Religion Roman Catholicism

Virginia Ann Foxx (née Palmieri;[1][2] June 29, 1943) is the U.S. Representative for North Carolina's 5th congressional district, which encompasses much of the northwestern portion of the state and a portion of Winston-Salem. Foxx is a member of the Republican Party and was elected Secretary of the House Republican Conference by her colleagues on November 27, 2012.[3]

Early life, education and career

Foxx was born in The Bronx, New York, to Dollie (née Garrison) and Nunzio John Palmieri. She was reared in a rural area of Avery County, North Carolina. Foxx grew up in a rich poor[clarification needed] family and first lived in a home with running water and electricity at 14 years old.[4]

While attending Crossnore High School in Crossnore, North Carolina, she worked as a janitor at the school and was the first in her family to graduate from high school.[5] She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor's degree in 1968 and later earned both a Master of Arts in college teaching (1972) and Ed.D (1985) from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.[2][6] With her husband, Virginia Foxx owned and operated a nursery and landscaping business.[6]

Foxx worked as a research assistant and then an English instructor at Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute and Appalachian State University before moving into university administration. From 1987 until her 1994 entry into politics, she was president of Mayland Community College. Under North Carolina Governor James G. Martin, Foxx served as Deputy Secretary for Management.[6] From 1994 to 2004, Foxx served in the North Carolina Senate.[7]

United States House of Representatives

Committee assignments

Political campaigns

Virginia Foxx
Virginia Foxx talking with constituents in Yadkinville, NC

Foxx was first elected to the U.S. House in 2004, defeating Jim Harrell, Jr. with 59% of the vote.[8]

Foxx was briefly targeted for defeat in the 2006 elections, but the Democrats' top choice, popular Winston-Salem mayor Allen Joines, decided not to run. Joines later said that he didn't have the stomach for the kind of race he felt it would take to defeat Foxx.[9] Her 2006 opponent was Roger Sharpe, who was defeated. Roy Carter of Ashe County, North Carolina was Foxx's opponent for her seat in the 2008 election; she won by a substantial margin.

In November 2010, Foxx was reelected with about 65% of the vote.[10]

In November 2014, Foxx was reelected with about 60% of the vote defeating software developer Josh Brannon.[11]


Hurricane Katrina

In September 2005, Foxx was one of 11 members of Congress to vote against[12] the $51 billion aid package to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Heroes Earned Retirement Opportunities (HERO) Act

The first bill sponsored by Foxx to have been signed into law since 2006, the Hero Act, signed by President Bush on Memorial Day, 2006, allows U.S. troops to increase their retirement savings by investing a portion of their combat pay into Individual Retirement Accounts.

Electronic Pay Stub Act

The second bill sponsored by Foxx and subsequently signed into law is the Electronic Pay Stub Act which gives federal employees the choice of receiving their pay stubs electronically. This legislation is projected to save taxpayers millions of dollars. Studies have shown that it costs 10 times more to purchase and distribute paper stubs than it does to distribute electronic stubs.[13] This bill was signed into law in October, 2008.[14]

Troubled Asset Relief Program

Shortly after Congress approved the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Foxx identified a provision in the law that allowed her to force consideration of a measure to deny the second, $350 billion, tranche of the TARP bailout. On November 19, 2008, she introduced H.J.Res. 101, which met all of the parliamentary requirements for consideration once the President requested the second tranche.[citation needed]

In the following (111th) Congress, she reintroduced the measure as H.J. Res. 3, and shortly before leaving office, President Bush requested the second tranche, thereby activating the trigger allowing her to commandeer the House floor, although she was not a member of the majority party. Her measure passed the House 270-155; the act was never addressed in the Senate.[15]

During an interview in 2007, Foxx was quoted as saying: "We have the best economy we have had in 50 years."[16]

Opposition to Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act

In April 2009, Foxx expressed opposition to the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, claiming that the murder of Matthew Shepard was not a hate crime. While debating the act at the House of Representatives, she called the murder a "very unfortunate incident" but claimed "we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn't because he was gay." She ultimately called that allegation "a hoax that continues to be used as an excuse for passing hate crimes bills."[17] Some media outlets, including the New York Times,[18] Washington Post,[19] and Huffington Post,[20] criticized her statements. Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a congressional colleague, did the same.[21] Democratic sources claimed that Matthew Shepard's mother was present at the time of Foxx's statements.[21]

Foxx later retracted her comments, suggesting her use of the word "hoax" was in bad taste.[22][23] She suggested that Shepard's murder was a tragedy and that his killers had received appropriate justice.[22]

Health care debate

When commenting on the House version of the reform bill that funds counseling for end-of-life issues, Foxx said, "Republicans have a better solution that won't put the government in charge of people's health care," and "(The plan) is pro-life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government."[24] She later said that "we have more to fear from the potential of the Affordable Health Care for America Act passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country."[25][26]

Turkish American Caucus

Foxx has been a member of the Congressional Caucus on Turkey and Turkish Americans since 2005. Her son-in-law is a Turkish businessman, Mustafa Özdemir.[27][28]

Opposition to birthright citizenship

In January 2013, Foxx co-sponsored legislation that would stop children born in the United States to undocumented parents from gaining citizenship.[29]


Personal life

Before her service in Congress, Virginia and her husband Tom owned a nursery.[34]


  1. "First-term women members of the 109th Congress" (PDF). Government Printing Office. August 1, 2006. Retrieved 2012-07-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Foxx, Virginia Ann. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  3. Sherman, Jake. "House committee chairs all men" Politico. (Published 27 Nov 2012) <> Retrieved 28 Nov 2012.
  4. "Virginia Foxx". Raleigh News & Observer. Archived from the original on July 28, 2012. Retrieved March 28, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Celebrities, Notable Public Figures Reveal Their Most Memorable Teachers". National Education Association.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "About Virginia Foxx". Retrieved March 28, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Biography". Retrieved February 24, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Statistics of the Presidential & Congressional Election of November 2, 2004" (PDF). United States House of Representatives. Retrieved 13 April 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. [1] Archived November 10, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  10. "House Results Map". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. McMurray, Jeffrey (September 22, 2005). "Representatives stand by their votes against hurricane aid". Rome News-Tribune.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Hicks, Adam. "Foxx-Authored Bill Passes in Congress". July 31, 2008.
  14. "Foxx's Legislation Signed into Law". Retrieved 2010-08-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Sec. 115 of PL 110-343
  16. "Congresswoman Virginia Foxx to Young Turks". Turk of America Magazine. Turkish Coalition of America. August 8, 2007. Retrieved 13 April 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Mary Ann, Akers (2009-04-29). "Virginia Foxx: Matthew Shepard's Murder Not a Hate Crime". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-05-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Matthew Shepard Act". The New York Times. May 5, 2009. Retrieved 2012-07-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Akers, Mary Ann (April 29, 2009). "The Sleuth – Virginia Foxx: Matthew Shepard's Murder Not a Hate Crime". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2012-07-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Ryan, Grim (2009-05-30). "Virginia Foxx: Story of Matthew Shepard's Murder A "Hoax"". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2011-12-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. 21.0 21.1 Thrush, Glenn (April 29, 2009). "Matthew Shepard killed in non-bias "robbery," Foxx says". Politico. Retrieved 2012-07-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. 22.0 22.1 Malcolm, Andrew (April 30, 2009). "Rep. Virginia Foxx retracts word 'hoax' in Matthew Shepard murder". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-07-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "Rep. Virginia Foxx: Matthew Shepard incident was a 'hoax'". April 29, 2009. Retrieved 2012-07-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Tucker, Chad (July 30, 2009). "Virginia Foxx Uses Strong Words to Oppose Health Care Reform Bill". Retrieved 2009-08-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "Rep. Foxx: Health Care Bill A Greater Threat Than Any Terrorist In The World". November 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. O'Brien, Michael (November 2, 2009). "Foxx: Health bill a greater threat than any terrorist". Retrieved 2009-11-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. Taniş, Tolga (6 January 2011). "Ermeni tasarısı iki yıl yok". Hürriyet (in Turkish). <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. Foley, Elise (January 4, 2013). "Steve King Introduces Bill To Stop 'Anchor Babies'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 7, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. "H.R. 803 – All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 26 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. 31.0 31.1 "CBO – H.R. 803". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 26 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. "H.R. 4983 – All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 24 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. 33.0 33.1 "H.R. 4983 – CBO". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 24 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. "About Virginia – Family".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Richard Burr
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 5th congressional district

Party political offices
Preceded by
John Carter
Secretary of House Republican Conference
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jeff Fortenberry
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Louie Gohmert