Mike Coffman

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Mike Coffman
Mike Coffman.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's 6th district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2009
Preceded by Tom Tancredo
Secretary of State of Colorado
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by Gigi Dennis
Succeeded by Bernie Buescher
Colorado State Treasurer
In office
2006–2007
Preceded by Mark Hillman
Succeeded by Cary Kennedy
In office
January 3, 1999 – June 9, 2005[1]
Preceded by Bill Owens
Succeeded by Mark Hillman
Member of Colorado Senate from the 27th District
In office
December 12, 1994[2] – January 3, 1999
Preceded by Bill Owens[3]
Succeeded by John Andrews
Member of Colorado House of Representatives from the 40th District
In office
1989 – December 12, 1994
Succeeded by Gary McPherson[4]
Personal details
Born Michael Coffman
(1955-03-19) March 19, 1955 (age 59)
Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Cynthia H. Coffman
Residence Aurora, Colorado
Alma mater University of Colorado
Profession real estate executive
Religion Methodist
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1972-1978 (U.S. Army)
1979-1994, 2005-2006 (USMC)
Rank US-O4 insignia.svg Major
Battles/wars Persian Gulf War
Iraq War

Michael "Mike" Coffman (born March 19, 1955) is the U.S. Representative for Colorado's 6th congressional district, serving since 2009. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as the Secretary of State of Colorado (2007–2009) and as Colorado State Treasurer (1999–2005 & 2006–2007).

Early life, education, and business career[edit]

Michael Coffman was born on March 19, 1955 at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, to Harold and Dorothy Coffman, and is one of five children. His father served in the United States Army at Fort Leonard Wood, and after 1964, at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado.

In 1972, Coffman enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was assigned to a mechanized infantry battalion. The following year, he earned a high school diploma through an army program. Leaving active duty for the U.S. Army Reserve in 1974, he entered the University of Colorado, graduating in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in political science.[5] He also studied at Vaishnav College in Chennai, India, and the University of Veracruz in Mexico for a year. Upon graduation from the University of Colorado, Coffman transferred from the Army Reserve to the United States Marine Corps in 1979, becoming an infantry officer. In 1983, he transferred from active duty to the Marine Reserves, serving until 1994. In 1983, he created an Aurora, Colorado-based property management firm, serving as senior shareholder until 2000.

State politics[edit]

Legislature[edit]

Coffman began his political career serving as a member of the Colorado House of Representatives from 1989 to 1995. Shortly after winning re-election in 1990, he took an unpaid leave-of-absence from the statehouse during his active duty service in the Persian Gulf War, during which he saw combat as a light armored infantry officer. In 1994, he retired from the U.S. Marine Corps after 20 years of combined service to the Army, Army Reserve, Marines, and Marine Reserve. In 2006 he returned to active duty in the Marines where he deployed to Iraq for combat service. Upon return from his deployment, he retired from the Marine Corps once again. When State Senator Bill Owens resigned his seat to become state treasurer, the party's vacancy committee named Coffman the replacement in December 1994. In 1996, he was elected to a full term to the Colorado State Senate unopposed.[6] He became the Chairman of the Finance Committee.

Statewide offices[edit]

In 1998, Coffman was elected as State Treasurer of Colorado with 51% of the vote, defeating Democratic nominee Jim Polsfut.[7] In 2002, he was re-elected with 56%, defeating Democratic State Senator Terry Phillips.[8]

He resigned from that post in 2005 in order to resume his career in the U.S. Marines, and serve in the War in Iraq, where he helped support the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, which oversaw two national elections, and helped establish interim local governments in the western Euphrates Valley. In 2006, he completed his duty in Iraq and was re-appointed as State Treasurer. He served that position for only a few months because in November 2006, he was elected Colorado Secretary of State with 51% of the vote, defeating Democratic State Senator and Minority Leader Ken Gordon.[9]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

2008

Coffman announced that he would run for the U.S. House seat being vacated by retiring Republican Tom Tancredo in 2008 in Colorado's 6th congressional district. The seat is considered to be the most Republican-dominated district of the Denver-area seats and is also one of the wealthiest in the nation.[10] Three other candidates decided to run in the Republican primary for the open seat: Wil Armstrong (son of former U.S. Senator Bill Armstrong), State Senator Ted Harvey, and State Senator Steve Ward. Coffman won the August primary with a plurality of 40% of the vote, beating runner-up Wil Armstrong by seven points.[11]

During the general election, several groups accused the secretary of state's office of improperly marking 6,400 voter registration forms as incomplete, because they failed to check a box on the form, required by legislation sponsored by then Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon, a Democrat, in 2006. Incomplete registrations require voters to either re-register or provide extra identification when they go to vote.[12] Soon after the accusations were made, Common Cause filed suit against Coffman, in his official capacity as secretary of state. The secretary of state's office denied wrongdoing, and Coffman said he believes his office was correctly applying the law.[13] On October 30, 2008, the court approved a preliminary injunction allowing purged voters to participate in the 2008 election.[14] Bernie Buescher, Coffman's successor as secretary of state, replaced Coffman as defendant in the case in January 2009.[15] The bulk of the litigation was settled in January 2010 after changes to Colorado's election regulations, and the remaining portions were decided in January 2011.

The Denver Post endorsed Coffman on October 10, 2008.[16] In November, Coffman defeated Democrat Hank Eng, an Appleton, Wisconsin City Common Councilman, 61%-39%.[17] Governor Bill Ritter designated State Representative Bernie Buescher, a Democrat, to succeed Coffman as Secretary of State.[18]

2010

Coffman defeated Democrat John Flerlage 66%-31%.[19]

2012

In redistricting, Colorado's 6th congressional district was made more favorable to Democrats than previously: its population was evenly split between Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters. In fact, Barack Obama was projected to have gotten 54% in Coffman's district in 2008, which is in line with the statewide results. [20] Aurora was added to the district.[21]

Democratic State Representative Joe Miklosi decided to challenge Coffman.[22] During a campaign fundraiser in Elbert County on May 12, 2012, Coffman expressed doubt that President Barack Obama had been born in the United States and declared that: "I don't know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don't know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he's not an American. He's just not an American."[23] Coffman later apologized saying that he had "misspoken".[24] In September 2012, Coffman, alluding to a Washington Post article by Jack Anderson about the timing of the Carter administration's attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran, said that he had a "fundamental concern" that President Obama would similarly use the military in an attempted October surprise conspiracy.[25]

Coffman defeated Miklosi 48%-46%, a difference of 6,992 votes. At the same time, Obama defeated Romney in the district 52%-47%.[26] Miklosi won the Arapahoe County part of the district 48%-45%. Coffman made up the deficit by winning Adams County 46%-45% and Douglas County 60%-35%.[27]

2014

Coffman is running for re-election to the U.S. House in 2014. He won the Republican nomination in the primary election on June 24, 2014, unopposed. He will face Democrat Andrew Romanoff in the general election.[28]

Tenure[edit]

In 2011, Coffman proposed a half billion dollars in cuts to military programs such as education reimbursements, the Selective Service and the military's health plan, TRICARE. Coffman stated, "I think they (the programs) have been neglected for a long time. Every dollar wasted is a dollar not going to our war fighters. What they do is important to this country, and we should focus on them."[29]

Taxes

Coffman is a signer of Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge.[30]

Legislation sponsored

Coffman introduced the Veterans Paralympic Act of 2013 (H.R. 1402; 113th Congress) into the House on March 25, 2013.[31] It is a bill that would help fund disabled veterans who want to compete in the Paralympic Games.[32]

In 2013, The Gazette reported that many veterans with mental health conditions, such as Post-traumatic stress disorder, were being stripped of their medical benefits based on their discharge. In response, Coffman sponsored a 2014 amendment that would allow servicemen with mental health issues who were discharged because of misconduct to appeal for medical discharge instead.[33]

On March 14, 2014, Coffman introduced the Gulf War Health Research Reform Act of 2014 (H.R. 4261; 113th Congress), a bill that would alter the relationship between the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses (RAC) and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The bill would make the RAC an independent organization within the VA, require that a majority of the RAC's members be appointed by Congress instead of the VA, and state the RAC can release its reports without needing prior approval from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.[34][35] The RAC is responsible for investigating Gulf War syndrome, a chronic multisymptom disorder affecting returning military veterans and civilian workers of the Gulf War.[36]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Coffman's wife, Cynthia H. Coffman, is currently Chief Deputy Attorney General in the office of Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, and was previously Chief Counsel in the office of then-Governor Bill Owens.

Coffman is a Methodist.[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hillman taking treasurer's role". June 9, 2005. 
  2. ^ Blake, Peter (1994-12-12). "It's ready, set go to fill vacancies". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "Aurora lawyer picked for House seat". Rocky Mountain News. 1994-12-23. 
  4. ^ "McPherson named to seat in legislature". Denver Post. 1994-12-22. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  5. ^ Mike Coffman (R), WINNER U.S. Representative - CO6, Election 2012, Wall Street Journal
  6. ^ http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/ElectionArchives/1996/General/1996StateSenateResults.pdf[dead link]
  7. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=882
  8. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=878
  9. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=179258
  10. ^ "Race to Watch: U.S. House, Colorado - 6th District". CQPolitics.com. [dead link]
  11. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=384928
  12. ^ Kim, Myung Oak (October 14, 2008). "Voting forms ruled incomplete for lack of check mark". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  13. ^ "Lawsuit alleges voters in Colorado illegally purged from rolls". CNN. October 27, 2008. 
  14. ^ "Order Approving Parties' Stipulated Preliminary Injunction" (republished by the Moritz College of Law). October 30, 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  15. ^ "Notice of Substitution of Party by Defendant Michael Coffman" (republished by the Moritz College of Law). January 21, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  16. ^ "Editorial: Coffman's financial skills needed in D.C." (republished by Mike Coffman for Congress). Denver Post. October 10, 2008. [dead link]
  17. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=384916
  18. ^ Kim, Myung Oak (December 19, 2008). "Buescher first Dem to become secretary of state since 1963". Rocky Mountain News. 
  19. ^ "Beyond the Results: House". The Washington Post. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  20. ^ Stokols, Eli (November 10, 2011). "Judge decides redistricting battle in favor of Democrats". Fox 31 Denver. Retrieved November 14, 2011. [dead link]
  21. ^ Hoover, Tim (November 12, 2011). "New map may shake up Colorado congressional races". The Denver Post. Retrieved November 14, 2011. 
  22. ^ Lee, Kurtis (July 29, 2011). "Not your average Joe launches congressional campaign". The Denver Post. Retrieved August 1, 2011. 
  23. ^ Clark, Kyle (16 May 2012). "Coffman Speech in Elbert County". Denver Post. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  24. ^ Southall, Ashley (24 May 2012). "Republicans Apologetic After Raising Issue of Obama’s Birthplace". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  25. ^ Lee, Kurtis (4 September 2012). "Coffman says his "fundamental concern" is Obama might use military for political gain". Denver Post. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  26. ^ http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/19/1163009/-Daily-Kos-Elections-presidential-results-by-congressional-district-for-the-2012-2008-elections#
  27. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=705065
  28. ^ "Live election results: June 24". Washington Post. 6/25/14. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  29. ^ Sherry, Allison. "Coffman's proposed military cuts face strong opposition." Denver Post, 21 April 2011.
  30. ^ "The Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers 112th Congressional List". Americans for Tax Reform. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  31. ^ "H.R. 1402 - Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  32. ^ Coffman, Mike (September 27, 2013). "Coffman statement on The Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act". House Office of Mike Coffman. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  33. ^ Philipps, Dave (6/2/14). "Path cleared for Coffman measure to protect vets". The Gazette. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  34. ^ Coffman, Mike (14 March 2014). "Bipartisan Bill on Gulf War Health Research". House Office of Mike Coffman. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  35. ^ Kennedy, Kelly (14 March 2014). "Congress seeks independence for Gulf War illness board". USA Today. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  36. ^ "Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses: Illnesses Associated with Gulf War Service". United States Department of Veterans Affairs. n.d. Retrieved 2012-05-09. 
  37. ^ "About Mike Coffman". Mike Coffman for Congress. [dead link]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Bill Owens
State Treasurer of
Colorado

1999–2005
Succeeded by
Mark Hillman
Preceded by
Mark Hillman
State Treasurer of Colorado
2006–2007
Succeeded by
Cary Kennedy
Preceded by
Gigi Dennis
Colorado Secretary of State
2007–2008
Succeeded by
Bernie Buescher
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Tom Tancredo
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's 6th congressional district

2009–present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jason Chaffetz
R-Utah
United States Representatives by seniority
234th
Succeeded by
Gerry Connolly
D-Virginia