Lynn Westmoreland

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Lynn Westmoreland
Lynn Westmoreland Official.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 3rd district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2007
Preceded by Jim Marshall
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 8th district
In office
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Mac Collins
Succeeded by Jim Marshall
Personal details
Born Leon Acton Westmoreland[1]
(1950-04-02) April 2, 1950 (age 64)
Atlanta, Georgia
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Joan Westmoreland
Residence Grantville, Georgia
Alma mater D.M. Therrell High School,
Atlanta, GA, Class of 1968
Occupation Construction Executive
Religion Southern Baptist[2]

Leon Acton "Lynn" Westmoreland (born April 2, 1950) is the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 3rd congressional district, serving since 2007. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district stretches from the far southern Atlanta suburbs to the suburbs of Columbus. He previously represented Georgia's 8th congressional district from 2005 to 2007.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Westmoreland was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Margaret Ferrell (née Lawson) and Leon Acton Westmoreland.[3] He grew up in metro Atlanta. He has no degree beyond a high school diploma. He attended Georgia State University, but dropped out to work in a family construction business in which he later became an executive. He served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1993 to 2005, rising to the position of House Republican Leader in 2001. He held that position until 2003 when he stepped down in order to devote time to his Congressional campaign in late 2003. He continued to serve in the Georgia House until his election to the U.S. House in 2005.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Committee assignments[edit]

During his first term in the 109th United States Congress, Westmoreland was appointed to the U.S. House Committee on Small Business, U.S. House Committee on Government Reform, and the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.[citation needed]

As a U.S. congressman, Westmoreland cosponsored a bill to place the Ten Commandments in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Westmoreland also sponsored a bill that the Ten Commandments could be displayed in courthouses in a historical setting.[4] In May 2006, political humorist Stephen Colbert interviewed Westmoreland for The Colbert Report show segment Better Know a District, and during the interview, asked Westmoreland to name the Ten Commandments. The edited interview showed Westmoreland being able to name only three of them, but his press secretary later said that he had named seven of the ten.[5][6] Govtrack.us ranked Westmoreland as tied for the most conservative member of the 112th Congress

Westmoreland led a group of congressmen who opposed the 2006 renewal of certain provisions in the Voting Rights Act that require nine Southern states and a number of counties (mostly in the South) to obtain Federal permission for certain changes to election law or changes in venue. Westmoreland and his colleagues claimed that it was no longer fair to target their states, given the passage of time since 1965 and the changes their states had made to provide fair elections and voting. Despite Westmoreland's objections, a strong bipartisan majority renewed the Voting Rights Act for another 25 years without changes.[7]

In 2008, Westmoreland ran unopposed in the Republican primary and was re-elected after defeating his Democratic opponent Stephen Camp.[8] After his win, Westmoreland announced that he was considering running for the office of Governor of Georgia in 2010,[9] but later indicated in an April 2009 press release that he would not.[10]

Controversy[edit]

On September 4, 2008, Westmoreland described Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and his wife Michelle as "uppity," a pejorative considered by some as historically used to describe African-Americans who have made economic, social, or political progress.[11] He told reporters: "Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Senator Obama, they're a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they're uppity," Westmoreland said. Asked to clarify that he used the word "uppity," Westmoreland said, "Uppity, yeah."[12][13]

The ensuing media attention compelled Westmoreland to issue the following statement: "I’ve never heard that term used in a racially derogatory sense. It is important to note that the dictionary definition of 'uppity' is 'affecting an air of inflated self-esteem—snobbish.' That's what we meant by uppity when we used it in the mill village where I grew up."[14]

Political campaigns[edit]

Westmoreland won a plurality of votes in the Republican primary election in 2004, but faced fellow Republican Dylan Glenn in a runoff. Westmoreland received 55.5% of the vote in the runoff. The district was so heavily Republican that Westmoreland's primary victory was tantamount to election in November. He routed his Democratic opponent, businesswoman Silvia Delamar, with almost 76% of the vote. He was handily reelected in 2006 after his district was renumbered as the 3rd and made even more Republican than before.

Personal life[edit]

He resides in Grantville, Georgia, with his wife, Joan; they have three children and seven grandchildren.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mac Collins
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 8th congressional district

January 3, 2005–January 4, 2007
Succeeded by
Jim Marshall
Preceded by
Jim Marshall
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 3rd congressional district

January 3, 2007 – present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
D-Florida
United States Representatives by seniority
199th
Succeeded by
Doris Matsui
D-California