Tom Cotton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Tom Cotton
Tom Cotton, Official Portrait, 113th Congress small.jpeg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 4th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Mike Ross
Personal details
Born Thomas Bryant Cotton
(1977-05-13) May 13, 1977 (age 37)
Dardanelle, Arkansas, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater Harvard University (B.A, J.D)
Religion Methodism
Website Campaign website
Government website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Years of service 2005–2009
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Unit US 101st Airborne Division patch.svg 101st Airborne Division
Battles/wars Iraq War
Afghanistan War
Awards Bronze Star
Ranger Tab
Combat Infantryman Badge

Thomas Bryant "Tom" Cotton[1] (born May 13, 1977) is a member of the United States House of Representatives representing Arkansas's 4th congressional district since 2013. He is a member of the Republican Party. He is a U.S. Army veteran and a lawyer. Cotton is the Republican nominee for the 2014 U.S. Senate race in Arkansas.

Early life and education[edit]

Cotton was born in Dardanelle, Arkansas, on May 13, 1977, the son of Avis (née Bryant) and Thomas Leonard "Len" Cotton.[2] His father is a Vietnam War veteran who served with the 4th Infantry Division.[3] After graduating from Dardanelle High School in June 1995,[3] he attended Harvard College, where he served as a columnist for the Harvard Crimson, and a member of the Harvard Republican Club. After graduating from Harvard magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government,[4] he went on to Harvard Law School, where he received his law degree in June 2002.[3][5]

Military service[edit]

On January 11, 2005, Cotton joined the United States Army and entered Officer Candidate School in March 2005. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army on June 30, 2005. Cotton later attended both the U.S. Army Airborne School and Ranger School.[3]

As an infantry officer and platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division, he was deployed to Baghdad as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom on May 19, 2006. In Iraq, Cotton was responsible for a 41 man air assault infantry platoon in the 506th Infantry Regiment,[6] and planned and led daily combat patrols. He completed his first combat tour in Iraq on November 20, 2006, and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Iraq Campaign Medal, and various campaign/service medals.[3]

In June 2006, Cotton gained public attention after he wrote an open letter to The New York Times criticizing the paper's publication of an article detailing a Bush administration secret program monitoring terrorists' finances in which he called for three journalists, including the Times' editor, Bill Keller, to be imprisoned for espionage.[7] The article was widely circulated online and reprinted in full in several newspapers.[8]

Following his deployment in Iraq, Cotton was assigned as a platoon leader at The Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery,[9] where he was responsible for conducting military honor funerals for veterans. In 2008, he volunteered to return to combat duty, was promoted to Captain on August 1, 2008, and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on October 15, 2008. In Afghanistan, Cotton was assigned to Laghman Province, just north of Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan. He was assigned duty as the operations officer of a Provincial Reconstruction Team, where he planned and resourced daily counter-insurgency and reconstruction operations for an 83-member joint and interagency team.[3]

Cotton returned from Afghanistan on July 20, 2009. For his second tour in Afghanistan he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and various campaign/service medals. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army on September 26, 2009 at Fort Myer, Virginia.[3]

Law career[edit]

He served as a clerk at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit for Judge Jerry Edwin Smith and then engaged in private practice[10] as an attorney with the law firms Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and Cooper & Kirk,[11] where he concentrated in labor, employment, and constitutional law, in cases at all levels of state and federal courts.[3] After leaving active duty, Cotton joined McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm. He subsequently returned to Dardanelle, where he works on his family's cattle farm.[5]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

2012 election[edit]

Cotton ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican in Arkansas' 4th congressional district in the 2012 election, vacant as a result of Democratic U.S. Congressman Mike Ross' retirement.[12]

During the primary, in September 2011, the Democratic Party of Arkansas attacked Cotton for an article written 13 years earlier in his school newspaper, in which he questioned the value of the Internet as a teaching tool in the classroom.[13] Cotton has since stated that he believes the Internet has matured significantly over the past decade and has become a "vital tool for education and daily life" unlike the Internet of 1998.[14]

Beth Anne Rankin, the 2010 Republican nominee, and John David Cowart, who carried the backing of the Louisiana businessman and philanthropist Edgar Cason, were the only other Republican candidates in the race after candidate Marcus Richmond dropped out in February 2012.[15] In the primary on May 22, Cotton won the nomination, with 57% of the vote to Rankin's 38%.[16]

Cotton was endorsed by Senator John McCain.[17] Cotton was supported by and has close ties to both the Tea Party movement and the Republican establishment.[18][19][20][21]

On election day, November 6, Cotton defeated State Senator Gene Jeffress, 59%-37%. Cotton is the second Republican to represent the 4th district since Reconstruction.


On January 3, 2013, Cotton was sworn into the U.S. House by House Speaker John Boehner.[22] As a freshman, he has been considered as a rising star in the Republican Party. Politico named him "most likely to succeed."[23][24]

In February 2013, Cotton voted for the Federal Pay Adjustment Act, which prevents a 0.5% pay increase for all federal workers from taking effect, saving the federal government $11 billion over 10 years.[25]

In June 2013, Cotton voted in favor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill to ban abortions that would take place 20 or more weeks after fertilization.[26]

In August 2013, Cotton voted against federal student loan legislation in Congress. Cotton said that his vote was based on his opposition to the nationalization of the student-loan business which he wrote had been a component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Cotton explained: "I'm committed to bringing affordable higher education to every Arkansan and ending the federal-government monopoly on the student-lending business."[27]

In January 2014, Cotton voted against the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, also known as the Farm Bill, a $1 trillion bill expanding crop insurance by $7 billion over the next decade and creating new subsidies for rice and peanut growers that would kick in when prices drop.[28][29]

Cotton has stated his support for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.[30]

In September 2014, Cotton said he would vote for the Arkansas Minimum Wage Initiative, a November 2014 statewide ballot initiative that calls for raising Arkansas' minimum wage from $6.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour by 2017.[31]

Committee assignments[edit]

2014 U.S. Senate election[edit]

On August 6, 2013 Cotton officially announced he would challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Mark Pryor.[32] Stuart Rothenberg of Roll Call calls Pryor the most vulnerable Senator seeking re-election.[33] Cotton has been endorsed by former Presidential nominee Mitt Romney,[34] the fiscally conservative Club for Growth PAC, Senator Marco Rubio, and the National Federation of Independent Business.[35][36][37][38][39] Former presidential nominee Mitt Romney will campaign for Cotton in the state.[40]

Personal life[edit]

Cotton married attorney Anna Peckham in 2014.[41]


  1. ^ The Courier - Your Messenger for the River Valley - Patterson
  2. ^ New Arkansas Rep. Cotton Draws Spotlight; 113th Congress Sworn In | The Times Record
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Combat Veterans For Congress | Electing Fiscal Conservatives
  4. ^ "A RISING POLITICAL STAR IN ARKANSAS". October 22, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Tom Cotton About". 2011-10-14. Retrieved 2011-12-05. 
  6. ^ 69th Anniversary of D-Day | Congressman Tom Cotton
  7. ^ Pollack, Joel (14 December 2011). "". Big Government. Retrieved 9 January 2012. [dead link]
  8. ^ Baumann, Nick. "The GOP Candidate Who Wants Journos Jailed". Mother Jones. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  9. ^ "Cotton makes early noise in 4th District race". 2011-08-22. Retrieved 2011-12-01. 
  10. ^ "Tom Cotton About". 2011-10-14. Retrieved 2011-12-02. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Rep. Mike Ross to retire". 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  13. ^ "Tom Cotton learns value of Internet". 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  14. ^ "Ark. House hopeful's college writings targeted". 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2011-12-01. [dead link]
  15. ^ "GOP's Richmond drops out of 4th district race". 2012-02-23. Retrieved 2012-05-12. 
  16. ^ "Cotton wins south Arkansas Republican congressional primary; Democrats head to runoff". 2012-05-23. Retrieved 2012-05-24. 
  17. ^ Miller, Joshua (5/3/12). "Arkansas: Tom Cotton Gets John McCain Endorsement". Roll Call. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  18. ^ Tea Party Express endorses Tom Cotton
  19. ^ "He has close ties to both the Tea Party and the establishment wing of the party.
  20. ^ "Democrats may lose Hope in Arkansas despite Clinton legacy". Los Angeles Times. July 15, 2014. Retrieved September 5, 2014. 
  21. ^ "10 Things Everyone Should Know About Tom Cotton, The Arkansas Politician Who Should Scare The Hell Out Of Democrats". Business Insider. August 12, 2013. Retrieved September 5, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Representative Cotton Sworn Into Office". January 3, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2013. 
  23. ^ The freshman most likely to ________ - Kate Nocera -
  24. ^ "Right Turn". The Washington Post. 
  25. ^ "HR 273 - Eliminates the 2013 Statutory Pay Adjustment for Federal Employees - Voting Record". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  26. ^ "House Vote 251 - Approves New Abortion Restrictions". New York Times. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  27. ^ McAuliff, Michael (August 1, 2013). "Tom Cotton, Arkansas Rep., Took Student Loans, Voted Against Them". Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  28. ^ "House Floor Activities Legislative Day of January 29, 2014". House of Representatives. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  29. ^ Nixon, Ron (Feb 4, 2014). "Senate Passes Long-Stalled Farm Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers". New York Times. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  30. ^ Ramsey, David (Apr 14, 2014). "How Tom Cotton talks when he talks about Obamacare". Arkansas Times. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  31. ^ Bobic, Igor (9-5-2014). "Tom Cotton Says He Will Vote For Minimum Wage Hike 'As A Citizen'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  32. ^ Condon, Stephanie (2013-08-06). "Republican Rep. Tom Cotton announces bid to challenge Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.". CBS News. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  33. ^ Rothenberg, Stuart (6/9/14). "Mark Pryor: Still This Cycle’s Most Vulnerable Senator". Roll Call. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  34. ^
  35. ^ Gentilviso, Chris (8-7-2013). "Tom Cotton 2014 Senate Run Gets Early Club For Growth Endorsement". Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  36. ^ Judis, John (2013-10-16). "The Shrinking Club for Growth". The New Republic. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  37. ^ Joseph, Cameron (8-7-2013). "Club for Growth endorses Tom Cotton, launches ads in Arkansas Senate race". The Hill. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  38. ^ Strauss, Daniel. "Rubio Endorses Rep. Tom Cotton for Senate". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  39. ^ Urban, Peter (7/1/14). "Small-business group endorses Cotton". Arkansas News. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  40. ^ "Romney to campaign for Cotton in Arkansas". KSPR-ABC. Aug 21, 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  41. ^ Henry, Larry (2014-03-18). "Tom Cotton Ties The Knot". 5 News. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mike Ross
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 4th congressional district

Party political offices
Title last held by
Tim Hutchinson
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Arkansas
(Class 2)

Most recent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Paul Cook
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Kevin Cramer