Jack Kingston

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Jack Kingston
Rep. Jack Kingston.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 1st district
Assumed office
January 3, 1993
Preceded by Lindsay Thomas
Succeeded by Buddy Carter (elect)
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives
from the 153rd district
In office
January 1985 – January 3, 1993
Preceded by Bobby Phillips
Succeeded by Eric Johnson
Personal details
Born John Heddens Kingston
(1955-04-24) April 24, 1955 (age 59)
Bryan, Texas, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Libby Morris
Children 4
Alma mater University of Georgia (A.B.)
Profession Insurance Broker
Religion Episcopalianism[1]

John Heddens "Jack" Kingston (born April 24, 1955) is the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 1st congressional district in Southeast Georgia, serving since 1993. He is a member of the Republican Party and was part of the House leadership (2002–06) when he served as vice-chair of the Republican Conference.[2] In 2014, he ran for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by retiring Senator Saxby Chambliss and was one of two Republicans who advanced past the May 20 primary to the July 22 runoff, which he lost to David Perdue.[3]

Early life, education, and business career[edit]

Kingston was born on April 24, 1955 in Bryan, Texas. He is the son of Martha Ann (née Heddens) and Albert James Kingston, Jr., a widely published University professor who co-founded the National Reading Conference.[4] In addition to Texas, Kingston grew up in Ethiopia and Athens, Georgia.[5] Kingston received a Bachelor of Arts with a major in economics from the University of Georgia in 1978,[6] where he also joined Lambda Chi Alpha and the Demosthenian Literary Society. He has lived in Savannah since 1977 and spent over a decade selling insurance and working in agribusiness throughout southeastern Georgia before entering politics in 1982. He was Vice President of Palmer, Cay and Carswell from 1979–1992.[7]

Georgia House of Representatives (1985–1993)[edit]


In 1984, he defeated Democrat Bobby Phillips 62%-38%.[8] He won re-election in 1986, 1988, and 1990 all unopposed.

Committee assignments[edit]

  • House Committee on Ways and Means[9]

U.S. House of Representatives (1993–Present)[edit]


In 1992, Kingston gave up his seat in the state house to pursue a congressional run in Georgia's 1st congressional district after five-term Democratic incumbent Lindsay Thomas announced his retirement. The district had been one of the first areas of Georgia where the old-line conservative Democrats had begun splitting their tickets and voting Republican at the national level. While conservative Democrats represented much of this area in the state legislature well into the 1990s, the district has only supported a Democrat for president once since 1960, when Jimmy Carter swept every county in the state during his successful run for president in 1976.

Kingston easily won the election with 58 percent of the vote, becoming the first Republican to represent this district since Reconstruction. Kingston was likely helped by the 1990s round of redistricting, which significantly altered the district. The 1st had been based in Savannah for over a century, but redistricting shifted most of Savannah's black residents to the newly created 11th District. Kingston was reelected 10 times, never facing a serious challenger. Since his initial run for the seat, he has never received less than 63 percent of the vote. Even when the district included all of Savannah (most of it was added back to the district from 1996 to 2002, and was restored again after the 2010s round of redistricting), Kingston was reelected handily, even running unopposed in 1998. He was also reelected unopposed in 2004.


From 2003 through the end of 2006, Kingston served as vice-chairman of the House Republican Conference, the sixth-ranking post among House Republicans. An early attempt to become chair of the influential House Appropriations Committee in the 112th Congress (2011–2013) was unsuccessful. Kingston was an early supporter of earmark reforms and spending reductions.[10]


Kingston has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge by the Americans for Tax Reform,[11] and in 2009 he was named a "Taxpayer Hero" by the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste for his votes to reduce government spending and taxes.[12]

In 2010 Kingston signed a pledge sponsored by Americans for Prosperity promising to vote against any Global Warming legislation that would raise taxes.[13]


Kingston is a supporter of Medicare prescription drug coverage. He has voted to allow HMO's to be sued, and also to limit damages and shorten time limits for medical lawsuits.[14] In 2010 he voted against the Affordable Care Act, asserting the bill would raise premiums, taxes, and cut Medicare.[15]


Kingston has voted to bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases,[16] and voted to add pollutants to the Clean Water Act.[17] He has voted against tax incentives for renewable energy and in favor of opening the Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling.[16]

Gun control

Kingston has voted to loosen restrictions on interstate gun purchases and to allow veterans to register unlicensed guns acquired abroad.[18]

Savannah harbor expansion

Kingston sponsored legislation in 1999 to authorize the expansion of the Savannah harbor in order to accommodate larger vessels.[19]

Washington work week

Regarding the extension of the House work week from 3 days to 5 in 2006, Kingston commented: “Keeping us up here eats away at families. Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families – that’s what this says.” He added: "Time away from Washington is just as important to being an effective member of Congress as time spent in the Capitol. When I'm here, people call me Mr. Congressman. When I'm home, people call me 'Jack, you stupid SOB, why did you vote that way?' It keeps me grounded."[20]

School Lunch Program

In a December 14, 2013 address to the Jackson County Republican Party, Kingston, who is on the House Agricultural Committee which oversees the federal school lunch program for the underprivileged, proposed that children who participate in the program be required "...to sweep the floor in the cafeteria" to promote a work ethic and "instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch."[21]

Kingston has said he was not advocating that poor children be singled out but rather that all children should perform chores to learn work ethic. "This is not targeted to any one group. It would be very helpful for kids in any socio-economic group to do chores and learn the work ethic. Those kids aren't there because of any fault of their own and I never suggested that they were," Kingston said on CNN.[22]

Committee assignments[edit]

Kingston's committee assignments in the 113th Congress (2011–2013) are:

Caucus memberships[edit]

2014 U.S. Senate election[edit]

In May 2013, Kingston officially announced he would run for the open senate seat vacated by Republican U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss.[23]

In the third quarter of 2013, Kingston outpaced his House colleagues in campaign fundraising for the open Senate seat.[24]

Kingston has been endorsed in the race by Sean Hannity and Neal Boortz,[25] as well as the US Chamber of Commerce.[26]

After advancing past the May 20 primary to the July 22 runoff, Kingston lost to David Perdue with 49.1% of the vote.[3]

Electoral history[edit]

Georgia's 1st congressional district: Results 1992–2008[27][28]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
1992 Barbara Christmas 75,808 42% Jack Kingston 103,932 58%
1994 Raymond Beckworth 27,197 23% Jack Kingston 88,788 77%
1996 Rosemary D. Kaszans 50,622 32% Jack Kingston 108,616 68%
1998 (no candidate) Jack Kingston 92,229 100%
2000 Joyce Marie Griggs 58,776 31% Jack Kingston 131,684 69%
2002 Don Smart 40,026 28% Jack Kingston 103,661 72%
2004 (no candidate) Jack Kingston 188,347 100%
2006 Jim Nelson 43,668 31% Jack Kingston 94,961 69%
2008 Bill Gillespie 83,444 33.5% Jack Kingston 165,890 66.5%
2010 Oscar L. Harris, II 46,449 28.4% Jack Kingston 117,270 71.6%

Personal life[edit]

Kingston has been a guest on shows such as HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, Comedy Central'sThe Colbert Report, and TV news shows. He has expressed skepticism about anthropogenic global warming and has stated that he does not believe in the process of evolution.[29] He appeared as an extra in The Last Song, a movie filmed in Savannah and Tybee Island.[30]

Kingston is married to Libby Morris, together they have 4 adult children.


  1. ^ "US Congressman Jack Kingston". Poligu.com. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  2. ^ "Who Runs Gov: Jack Kingston". Washington Post. July 24, 2012. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  3. ^ a b Parker, Ashley (July 22, 2014). "Georgia Republicans Choose David Perdue as Their Senate Candidate". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ "kingston". Freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved 2012-08-28. 
  5. ^ Barone, Michael; Ujifusa, Grant (1999). The Almanac of American Politics 2000. National Journal Group Inc. p. 461. 
  6. ^ "Jack Kingston Biography". US House of Representatives. 
  7. ^ Project Vote Smart – Representative Jack Kingston – Biography
  8. ^ "GA State House 125 Race - Nov 06, 1984". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-08-28. 
  9. ^ "Snow co-sponsors tax legislation for tax reform commission". Walker County Messenger. March 8, 1989. 
  10. ^ "Tea party favorite may not get chair - Simmi Aujla". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2012-08-28. 
  11. ^ "List of Pledge Signers in the 113th Congress". Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  12. ^ "Taxpayer Watchdog Group Names Rep. Jack Kingston a "Taxpayer Hero"". Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  13. ^ http://americansforprosperity.org/noclimatetax//wp-content/uploads/2010/06/kingston.pdf
  14. ^ "Jack Kingston on Health Care". OnTheIssues. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  15. ^ "Project Vote Smart – Representative Jack Kingston – Affordable Health Care For America Act". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  16. ^ a b "Jack Kingston on Energy". OnTheIssues. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  17. ^ "Jack Kingston on the Environment". OnTheIssues. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  18. ^ "Jack Kingston on Gun Control". OnTheIssues. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  19. ^ Merrigan, JoAnn (23 October 2013). "House Approves Bill to Help Fund Savannah Harbor Deepening". WSAV. 
  20. ^ View all comments that have been posted about this article. (2006-12-06). "Culture Shock on Capitol Hill: House to Work 5 Days a Week". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  21. ^ Evan Bleier, UPI, "Rep. Jack Kingston suggests kids 'sweep the floor in the cafeteria' for school lunch", Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  22. ^ "Georgia congressman defends school lunch comments". CNN. December 20, 2013. 
  23. ^ Trygstad, Kyle (April 30, 2013). "Jack Kingston Plans Announcement Tour for Thursday". Roll Call. 
  24. ^ Trygstad, Kyle (January 8, 2014). "Jack Kingston Raised $880K in Fourth Quarter". Roll Call. 
  25. ^ Richards, Jon (April 11, 2014). "Jack Kingston Picks Up Endorsement from Sean Hannity". Peach Pundit. 
  26. ^ Sullivan, Sean (April 17, 2014). "Chamber of Commerce backs Kingston in crowded Georgia Senate race". Washington Post. 
  27. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  28. ^ "Georgia Election Results – Official Results of the Tuesday, November 04, 2008 General Election". Secretary of State of Georgia. 2009-02-18. Retrieved 2009-02-26. 
  29. ^ "Real Time with Bill Maher". 28 January 2011. HBO. http://www.mediaite.com/tv/bill-maher-real-time-climate-change-evolution/.
  30. ^ Landers, Mary. "Wayward wildlife crashes Miley set". savannahnow.com. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Georgia House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bobby Phillips
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives
from the 153rd district

Succeeded by
Eric Johnson
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Lindsay Thomas
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Buddy Carter
Party political offices
Preceded by
Deborah Pryce
Vice Chairperson of the House Republican Conference
Succeeded by
Kay Granger
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Peter King
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Carolyn Maloney