|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Maine's 2nd district
Assumed office |
January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Mike Michaud|
|49th Treasurer of Maine|
January 5, 2011 – January 7, 2013
|Preceded by||David Lemoine|
|Succeeded by||Neria Douglass|
Bruce Lee Poliquin|
November 1, 1953
Waterville, Maine, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Jane Carpenter (1989–1992)|
|Education||Harvard University (BA)|
Bruce Lee Poliquin // (born November 1, 1953) is an American businessman and politician. A Republican, he represents Maine's 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. Poliquin was elected to his seat in the 2014 general election. From 2010 to 2012, he was the Maine State Treasurer. He was a candidate for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2012, finishing second in the primary election. In January 2017, at the start of the 115th United States Congress, Poliquin was the only Republican representing a U.S. House district in New England.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 U.S. House of Representatives
- 4 Personal life
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Poliquin was born and raised in Waterville, Maine. He grew up in a family of French-Canadian ancestry. His father was a school principal and his mother was a nurse. He attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and later received a scholarship to attend Harvard University, where he studied economics, graduating in 1976.
After college, Poliquin worked in the investment management industry in Chicago and New York City. At Avatar Investors Associates Corporation, a fund management company, Poliquin helped manage nearly $5 billion in worker pension funds.
In 2010, Poliquin sought the Maine Republican Party's nomination for Governor of Maine. He spent $711,000 of his own money on the campaign, finishing sixth of the seven candidates behind winner Paul LePage. Poliquin ultimately endorsed LePage. Following LePage's election in November 2010, Poliquin was elected by the Maine Legislature to serve as Maine State Treasurer.
In 2011, Poliquin expressed concerns about the Maine State Housing Authority's plans to construct a low-income housing complex in Portland. Poliquin cited the proposed $314,000 per unit cost as an example of irresponsible government spending. Dale McCormick, the authority's director and an appointee by Democratic Governor John Baldacci, approved the proposal following a reduction in the per unit price to $265,000.
In 2012, Maine Democrats accused Poliquin of violating the state Constitution by allegedly engaging in commerce while in office. The complaints against Poliquin centered around his involvement with the Popham Beach Club, a private club in Phippsburg, Maine, and Dirigo Holdings LLC, a real estate company. Maine Attorney General William Schneider advised Poliquin to disassociate himself from his business ventures but did not offer an opinion as to whether he had actually violated the Constitution. The Maine House voted unanimously to send the issue to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in order to settle the matter. The Court declined to offer a ruling, concluding that there were no circumstances in Poliquin's case requiring immediate attention.
In February 2012, Poliquin faced criticism from Democrats over his use of the Maine Tree Growth Tax Program, a program meant to preserve forestland from development pressures for commercial timber harvesting, with 10 acres of his oceanfront property in Georgetown. The program reduced the value of his property from the originally assessed $1.8 million to $725,500, resulting in Poliquin paying $30 a year in property taxes. A Maine Forest Service report in 2009 discussed Poliquin's property as an example of a property that may not be fully complying with the law, stating that restrictions on timber harvesting in shoreland areas would limit any commercial use of the land. They did state, however, that as long as the property was 10 acres, it could remain in the program. Poliquin later transferred the property in question to the Open Space program, a less generous tax abatement program. Poliquin stated that the issue was a distraction for the town and was politically motivated due to Democrats' dissatisfaction with his policies as Treasurer.
At the end of his term, Poliquin wrote an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News with a list of his offices' accomplishments as Treasurer. These included reforms to the state workers' pension plan, efforts to reduce the cost of affordable housing, reduced wasteful spending, and retention of the state's Aa2 bond rating, among other initiatives.
In March 2012, Poliquin announced he would be running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Olympia Snowe. He lost the Republican primary to Charlie Summers, who himself lost the general election to Independent former governor Angus King.
Poliquin stated on July 10, 2013, that he was not interested in becoming the Chairman of the Maine Republican Party, despite encouragement to do so from many Republicans, including Governor Paul LePage.
U.S. House of Representatives
Poliquin won the primary election against former Maine Senate President Kevin Raye and faced Democratic State Senator Emily Cain and Independent retired Navy captain Blaine Richardson in the general election. Poliquin won with 47% of the vote.
Poliquin ran for re-election in 2016. He was a member of the National Republican Congressional Committee's Patriot Program, which was designed to help protect vulnerable Republican incumbents heading into the 2016 election. Poliquin ran unopposed in the primary election. He faced Democrat Emily Cain, whom he beat in 2014, in the November 8, 2016, general election. Poliquin defeated Cain with 55% of the vote.
Describing Poliquin on February 10, 2018, as "the last of an endangered species," namely a House Republican from New England, the Boston Globe wrote that his "fight against extinction" was "looking more dire," with "Democrats leaders looking to make New England a clean sweep in 2018."
Poliquin will face Democratic nominee Jared Golden, independent candidate Tiffany Bond, and independent candidate Will Hoar in the 2018 midterm elections.
Poliquin introduced his first bill on April 29, 2015, the Child Support Assistance Act of 2015. Co-sponsored with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), it is intended to help single parents secure child support payments by making it harder for the other parent to hide property or funds. The bill was rolled into a transportation bill which passed Congress and was signed into law by President Obama on December 4, 2015.
In September 2015, Poliquin was one of ten Republican U.S. House freshmen who composed a letter urging Republicans to avoid a government shutdown by passing a short-term spending bill a week before federal agencies were slated to run out of money.
In April 2016, Poliquin and Democrat Chellie Pingree proposed legislation that would allow Cuban-bound flights to make technical stops at American airports for refueling and restocking. The purpose of the bill is to prevent American airports from losing business to Canada.
Poliquin and Niki Tsongas, a Democrat from Massachusetts, have pushed legislative efforts begun during the tenure of his Democratic predecessor Mike Michaud to require the U.S. Department of Defense to purchase U.S.-made sneakers.
Poliquin opposed the creation of a National Park or National Monument in the Maine North Woods. He called for congressional hearings in the region where the proposed park is now located, and stated that federal officials and non-local supporters ignored the concerns of local residents who opposed. He proposed a bill to limit the Antiquities Act power of the President to declare national monuments.
He is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership and the United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus.
- Committee on Financial Services
- Republican Study Committee
In November 2017, Poliquin said he would vote for the new Republican tax bill, whose framers had dismissed "a late suggestion by President Donald Trump to lower the top rate on high-wage earners." Poliquin, in the paraphrase of the Washington Times, said that the proposal "would help Maine residents by doubling the standard deduction and increasing tax credits for children...while keeping taxes low for small businesses and making large businesses more competitive by bringing the corporate rate into line with other industrialized countries." "We want to eliminate as many of these loopholes and special-interest carve-outs that only the wealthy and well-connected are able to take advantage of," he said, describing the work on the bill as "very methodical, very transparent and very thoughtful." Noting that he had voted earlier in November "to move the tax proposal forward in the House, trusting the Senate would continue to work on it and improve it," he expressed approval of the changes made by Senator Susan Collins and others "that will benefit Maine families and small businesses, such as retaining the medical expense deduction and improving the provision dealing with historic tax credits."
In December 2017, the International Trade Commission ruled 4-0 to activate tariffs on Chinese hardwood plywood, thus leveling the playing field for U.S. wood products, a decision Poliquin had urged upon them at an October hearing. The Democratic Leader of the Maine State Senate, Troy Jackson (D-Allagash), praised Poliquin "for his successful efforts to fight against illegal and unfair foreign trade," and Garry Gillespie of Columbia Forest Products said: "On behalf of the 161 Columbia Forest Products employees in Presque Isle, Maine, we are both thrilled and thankful with the results at the ITC."
In March 2016, Poliquin testified before the House Armed Services Committee in support of the use by the U.S. military of American-made products. In April 2016, Poliquin's Stepping Up for American Workers and Troops Act required that the Department of Defense adhere to the 1941 Berry Amendment, which requires it to give preference to American-made products. In the Maine Wire, Poliquin was praised for having thereby saved 900 Maine jobs.
On February 3, 2015, Poliquin was one of three House Republicans to vote against repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. His spokesman stated that while Poliquin supports repeal, the proposed bill did not offer a "free market alternative" to immediately take its place, which he feels is needed. Poliquin was subsequently criticized by conservative groups seeking immediate repeal of the law, including the Republican Liberty Caucus which voted on February 5, 2015, to rescind their election endorsement of him. Poliquin responded by noting the House has voted numerous times to repeal the law without effect, and that "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."
In his 2016 re-election campaign, Poliquin ran on a policy of repealing the Affordable Care Act. On May 4, 2017, he voted to pass the American Health Care Act, which would have effectively repealed the ACA and included cuts to Medicaid. He stated it included the best parts of previous attempts to repeal the ACA. He has received criticism for taking money from insurance companies and avoiding discussions regarding his vote to repeal. For his 2018 re-election campaign, the health care section on Poliquin's campaign website no longer made explicit mention of the Affordable Care Act.
In October 2017, Poliquin announced plans for the Veterans Access to Long Term Care and Health Services Act, which would "reduce red tape" for nursing homes treating veterans.
In November 2017, Poliquin questioned officials of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at a Veterans Affairs Committee hearing. The hearing followed a report by the Government Accountability Office detailing the VA's "failure to report potentially dangerous medical practitioners to their national database, which is intended to prevent such bad actors from crossing state lines and putting patients at risk elsewhere." Poliquin later introduced legislation requiring VA medical professionals to report malpractice at the VA to state licensing boards.
In March 2018, Poliquin criticized his Democratic challengers, writing that "illegal immigration is still illegal. We are a country of immigrants, but we are also a Nation of Laws. People entering America must do so legally, otherwise they are not immigrants, they are illegals." He added: "This common-sense position is not shared by a single one of my four opponents....They are more concerned with appeasing the extreme far left and having the support of Nancy Pelosi."
In May 2016, Poliquin voted against a measure intended to uphold an executive order that barred discrimination against LGBT employees by religious organizations that contract with the federal government. He was one of seven House Republicans to switch their vote at the last minute, under pressure from Republican House Leadership. After criticism from Democrats, he issued a statement saying "I am outraged that political opponents or members of the press would claim or insinuate that I cast a vote due to pressure or party politics. No one controls my vote" and that he abhorred discrimination in any form.
In 2016, Poliquin drafted a bill that would prohibit the federal government from giving food stamps to individuals convicted of terrorism-related crimes. Poliquin said the legislation would close a loophole that allows convicted terrorists to apply for aid.
In December 2017, the House passed Poliquin's Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act by a 289-135 vote. Poliquin's fourth bill to pass the House that year, it required the public disclosure of the assets of Iran's regime, which had supported terrorism. "Reports have indicated these funds are being used to support and sponsor terrorism around the region and to undermine our own national security interests. Iran, the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, cannot be trusted and it's important for the security of the region and for the United States for these secret funds to be exposed publicly to the world."
On February 11, 1992, Poliquin's wife, Jane, drowned in a swimming accident at the Palmas Del Mar Beach Resort in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Poliquin's father-in-law, James Carpenter, was also killed in the accident. Jane's death made Poliquin a single parent to his 16-month-old son.
While in Washington, Poliquin sleeps in his office, in a pull-down bed he installed in 2015.
As of 2016, Poliquin was ranked as the 17th wealthiest member of the House, with an estimated net worth of over $12 million.
In March 2018, a Maine news source reported that Poliquin had sold his 2nd District home in January.
On January 31, 2018, he was one of several members of Congress who were traveling to a legislative retreat in West Virginia when their train collided with a truck just outside Charlottesville, Virginia, killing one person. Poliquin sustained minor injuries.
- "GOP's Bruce Poliquin wins 2nd Congressional District primary". Bangor Daily News. 2014-06-10. Retrieved 2014-06-11.
- "Bruce Poliquin's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
- Shepherd, Michael (October 6, 2014). "Poliquin's energy pushes his 2nd Congressional District run". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
- Robinson, Steve (April 17, 2014). "Well-funded Poliquin campaign releases first ad". Maine Wire. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
- Pathe, Simone (May 20, 2015). "At the Races — Roll Call's Politics Blog Why This Vulnerable Freshman Is Surprising People". Roll Call. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
- Robinson, Steve (October 7, 2013). "On the Record: Republican candidate for Congress Bruce Poliquin". Maine Wire. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
- Miller, Kevin (November 21, 2010). "As legislators pick state officers, LePage endorsement for treasurer irks some". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
- Miller, Kevin (December 11, 2011). "Controversial Elm Terrace development gets OK at $265K per uni". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
- Russell, Eric (March 29, 2012). "Maine Supreme Court says it won't rule in Poliquin complaint". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- Mistler, Steve (June 27, 2012). "Poliquin to transfer land to different tax-break program". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
- Cover, Susan (February 2, 2012). "Poliquin property tax relief questioned". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
- Poliquin, Bruce (January 5, 2013). "Thanks from Maine Treasurer". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
- Russell, Eric (March 2, 2012). "Five Republicans join Senate race; Michaud, Raye stick to House race". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
- Cousins, Christopher (July 10, 2013). "Bruce Poliquin rebuffs efforts to recruit him as Maine Republican Party chairman". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
- "Poliquin to enter race for Congress on Monday". Bangor Daily News. 2013-08-25. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- Cousins, Christopher (2013-12-03). "Thibodeau considering run for 2nd Congressional District seat". Bangordailynews.com. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
- "Maine Election Results". New York Times. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
- Shepherd, Michael (November 4, 2014). "Poliquin, winner of 2nd District race, says he'll 'work with anybody'". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
- "Democrat Baldacci drops out of 2nd District race". Kennebec Journal. February 5, 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
- Shepherd, Michael (November 9, 2016). "Poliquin wins re-election over Cain in Maine's 2nd District". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
- Goodwin, Liz; Democrats target New England's GOP House holdout; Boston Globe; February 10, 2018; https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2018/02/10/democrats-seek-wipe-out-last-gop-house-member-new-england/foLtPeeoDo9CZErg7vgCPO/story.html
- "Poliquin's vote for anti-abortion measure prompts disagreement over Maine values". Bangor Daily News. 2015-01-22. Retrieved 2015-01-29.
- "Poliquin introduces child support bill, his first in Congress". Kennebec Journal. 2015-04-30. Retrieved 2015-05-06.
- "Poliquin's child support bill approved". Bangor Daily News. December 9, 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
- "Pingree, Poliquin block Obama's desired fast-track on trade deal". Bangor Daily News. 2015-06-12. Retrieved 2015-06-12.
- Bresnahan, John; Bade, Rachael (September 23, 2015). "GOP freshmen urge party to avoid shutdown". Politico. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
- "Pingree, Poliquin want new rules for Cuban-bound flights". Washington Times. Associated Press. April 28, 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
- "Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine and Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts are making progress in their effort to make the Defense Department buy U.S.-made sneakers". Daily Journal. Associated Press. April 28, 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016.[permanent dead link]
- "Poliquin seeks hearing in Maine on North Woods monument". Bangor Daily News. 13 May 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- "Members". Republican Mains Street Partnership. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
- "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
- "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
- Sharp, David; Rep. Bruce Poliquin says he'll vote yes on GOP tax overhaul; Washington Times; November 14, 2017; https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/nov/14/rep-poliquin-says-hell-vote-to-keep-intact-top-tax/
- Sharp, David; Rep. Bruce Poliquin says he'll vote yes on GOP tax overhaul; AP News; November 14, 2017; https://www.apnews.com/8a138a72fd5a45388f04574b0a334a06
- Cassella, Megan; Sens. CITC to hear final arguments in China plywood case today; Politico; October 26, 2017; https://www.politico.com/tipsheets/morning-trade/2017/10/26/itc-to-hear-final-arguments-in-china-plywood-case-today-223020
- Fryer, Joanne; A Personal Thank You to Bruce Poliquin; Maine Wire; December 8, 2016; http://www.themainewire.com/2016/12/personal-bruce-poliquin/
- "House GOP Approve Full Repeal of Obamacare (Again)". NBC News. 2015-02-03. Retrieved 2015-02-03.
- "Poliquin to vote against repeal of Obamacare". Bangor Daily News. 2015-02-03. Retrieved 2015-02-03.
- "U.S. GOP Congressman Brushes off Criticism for Health Care Vote". ABC News. 2015-02-05. Archived from the original on February 7, 2015. Retrieved 2015-02-06.
- Resnick, Gideon (2018-09-21). "Suddenly, Vulnerable House Republicans No Longer Bash Obamacare on Their Websites". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
- "How the House voted to pass the GOP health-care bill". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
- "Health care vote puts pressure on dozens of vulnerable GOP reps". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
- "Rep. Poliquin supports health bill, says only 7% of Mainers affected. Facts show otherwise". Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. 2017-05-04. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
- "Poliquin under fire in video, audio over health care bill". Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. 2017-07-12. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
- "Here's what Bruce Poliquin doesn't seem to get". From Below and to the Left. 2018-08-14. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
- "Poliquin's health care vote will come back to haunt him". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
- "These vulnerable Republicans really don't want voters to remember they tried to repeal Obamacare". Retrieved 2018-09-10.
- "Maine health care advocates demand to know: Where's Bruce? - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
- Resnick, Gideon (2018-09-21). "Suddenly, Vulnerable House Republicans No Longer Bash Obamacare on Their Websites". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
- "Poliquin says $5B cut to kids' health program is unspent money - Lewiston Sun Journal". Lewiston Sun Journal. 2018-05-15. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
- "Rep. Poliquin co-sponsors bill to cut $7 billion from federal Child Health Insurance Program". Press Herald. 2018-05-15. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
- Collins, Steven Bruce Poliquin focuses on helping veterans get services; Sun Journal; October 19, 201; http://www.sunjournal.com/bruce-poliquin-focuses-on-veterans/
- Slack, Donovan; Lawmakers rip VA on failure to report potentially dangerous medical providers; USA Today; November 29, 2017; https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/11/29/va-officials-face-grilling-failure-report-potentially-dangerous-medical-providers/903347001/
- Collins, Steven; Bruce Poliquin spars with Democrats over immigration; Sun Journal; March 23, 2018; http://www.sunjournal.com/bruce-poliquin-spars-with-democrats-over-immigration/
- "Poliquin among 7 House Republicans to switch votes, defeating gay rights protection". 19 May 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
- Blake, Andrew (February 1, 2016). "Bruce Poliquin proposes 'No Welfare for Terrorists Act,' looks to close food stamps loophole". Washington Times. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
- Gehrke, Joel; House votes to expose wealth of Iranian leaders; Washington Examiner; September 21, 2016; https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/house-votes-to-expose-wealth-of-iranian-leaders
- "Colby honors art professor, daughter, drowning victims". Bangor Daily News. February 13, 1992. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
- Lambert, Bruce (February 15, 1992). "James Carpenter, 77, Ex-Leader Of Colby College Art Department". New York Times. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
- Mistler, Steve (May 4, 2012). "In wake of tragedies, an imprint emerges on Poliquin's politics". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
- Collins, Steve; Democrats claim Bruce Poliquin's office bed is an abuse of taxpayer funds; Sun Journal; March 7, 2018; http://www.sunjournal.com/poliquins-choice-to-sleep-in-his-d-c-office-targeted-in-ethics-complaint/
- "Bruce Poliquin- Net Worth - Personal Finances". OpenSecrets. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- Shepherd, Michael; Bruce Poliquin sold his family home, reviving questions about his 2nd District residence; Fiddlehead Focus; March 20, 2018; https://fiddleheadfocus.com/2018/03/20/crown-politics/bruce-poliquin-sold-his-family-home-reviving-questions-about-his-2nd-district-residence/
- Maine Congressman Bruce Poliquin on board Amtrak train involved in Virginia crash; WGME; January 31, 2018; https://wgme.com/news/local/maine-congressman-bruce-poliquin-on-board-amtrak-train-involved-in-virginia-crash
- Congressman Bruce Poliquin official U.S. House website
- Bruce Poliquin for Congress website
- Bruce Poliquin at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
| Treasurer of Maine
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 2nd congressional district
|Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority
|114th||Senate: S. Collins • A. King||House: C. Pinigree • B. Poliquin|
|115th||Senate: S. Collins • A. King||House: C. Pinigree • B. Poliquin|