Cathy McMorris Rodgers

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Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Cathy McMorris Rodgers official photo.jpg
Chair of the House Republican Conference
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
LeaderJohn Boehner
Paul Ryan
Preceded byJeb Hensarling
Succeeded byLiz Cheney (Designate)
Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference
In office
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2013
LeaderJohn Boehner
Preceded byKay Granger
Succeeded byLynn Jenkins
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 5th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2005
Preceded byGeorge Nethercutt
Member of the Washington House of Representatives
from the 7th district
In office
January 7, 1994 – January 3, 2005
Preceded byBob Morton
Succeeded byJoel Kretz
Personal details
BornCathy Anne McMorris
(1969-05-22) May 22, 1969 (age 49)
Salem, Oregon, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
Brian Rodgers (m. 2006)
Children3
EducationPensacola Christian College (BA)
University of Washington (MBA)
WebsiteHouse website

Cathy Anne McMorris Rodgers (born May 22, 1969) is an American politician from Washington where she has served as the U.S. Representative for Washington's 5th congressional district since 2005. The district includes Spokane and the eastern third of the state. McMorris Rodgers is the highest ranking Republican woman in Congress, serving as Chair of the House Republican Conference. From 1994 to 2004, she served in the Washington House of Representatives, where she became Republican leader.

Early life and education[edit]

Cathy McMorris was born May 22, 1969, in Salem, Oregon, the daughter of Corrine (née Robinson) and Wayne McMorris.[1][2] She is a descendant of pioneers who traveled the Oregon Trail in the early 1850s to the Pacific Northwest, where her father's family pursued agriculture and her mother's family worked in the forestry industry.[3] In 1974, when McMorris was five years old, her family moved to Hazelton, British Columbia, Canada. The family lived in a cabin while they built a log home on their farm.[1] In 1984, the McMorris family settled in Kettle Falls, Washington, and established the Peachcrest Fruit Basket Orchard and Fruit Stand. McMorris worked there for 13 years.[1][3]

In 1990, McMorris earned a bachelor's degree in Pre-law from Pensacola Christian College, a then-unaccredited Independent Baptist liberal arts college.[4][5] McMorris Rodgers subsequently earned an Executive MBA from the University of Washington in 2002.[6]

Career[edit]

Washington House of Representatives, 1994–2005[edit]

Following the completion of her undergraduate education, McMorris was hired by State Rep. Bob Morton in 1991.[7] She served as his campaign manager and later his legislative assistant.[8] She became a member of the state legislature when she was appointed to the Washington House of Representatives in 1994. Her appointment filled the vacancy that temporarily remained when Rep. Bob Morton was appointed to the Washington State Senate.[8] After being sworn into office on January 11, 1994,[7] she represented the 7th Legislative District (parts or all of the counties of Ferry, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane and Stevens). She successfully retained the seat in a 1994 special election.[9]

During her time in the legislature, McMorris was known for supporting business and rural communities. She supported a bill to improve the health and productivity of state forest lands.[citation needed] When asked to name an instance when she well represented her constituents' interests, she pointed to a bill she sponsored that would authorize judges to conduct procedural hearings by way of closed circuit television, thereby allowing defendants to be arraigned on video. This new agenda would reduce the time, effort, security, and money that was previously used to transport defendants to physical court hearings.[10] In 1997, she co-sponsored legislation to ban same-sex marriage in Washington State.[11][12]

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, in 2001 she blocked legislation "to replace all references to 'Oriental' in state documents with 'Asian'", explaining that "I'm very reluctant to continue to focus on setting up different definitions in statute related to the various minority groups. I'd really like to see us get beyond that."[13]

She voted against a 2004 bill to add sexual orientation to the state's anti-discrimination law and was a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage.[1] She is credited for sponsoring legislation to require the state reimburse rural hospitals for the cost of serving Medicaid patients and for her work overcoming opposition in her own caucus to pass a controversial gas tax used to fund transportation improvements.[14]

From 2002 to 2003, she served as House Minority Leader,[3] the top leadership post for the House Republicans. She was the first woman to lead a House Caucus, and the youngest since World War II.[citation needed] She chaired the House Commerce and Labor Committee, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee, and the State Government Committee.[15] She stepped down as minority leader in 2003 after announcing her bid for Congress.[16] During her tenure in the legislature, she lived in Colville; she has since moved to Spokane.[citation needed]

U.S. House of Representatives, 2005–present[edit]

After serving 10 years in the Washington House of Representatives, McMorris ran in 2004 for United States House of Representatives. She won the election and has held that office since 2005.

She is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership,[17] the Congressional Constitution Caucus[18] and the Congressional Western Caucus.[19]

Freshman term, 2005–2007[edit]

In 2004, McMorris received 59.7%[20] of the vote in an open seat, defeating Democratic hotel magnate Don Barbieri. The district had come open when five-term incumbent George Nethercutt unsuccessfully ran in the 2004 Washington Senate election.

For the 109th United States Congress, McMorris Rodgers' committee assignments included Armed Services,[3] Natural Resources,[3] and Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans, Education and Labor,[3] Speaker's High-Tech Working,[3] and Chairwoman of the National Task Force on Improving the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).[21]

McMorris Rodgers served as the freshman class representative on the Steering Committee and on the Republican Whip Team.[3] She also joined the Republican Study Committee,[22] a caucus of conservative House Republicans.[citation needed] Also during her first term in office, she co-sponsored the "Marriage Protection Amendment," an amendment to the Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage that failed to pass the House in 2006.[23]

She actively protected and sought expansion of the Fairchild Air Force Base and worked to keep the base off the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission list.[3] McMorris Rodgers co-introduced health information technology (IT) legislation and co-leads a statewide health IT task force with Congressman Adam Smith, D-WA.[3] In 2005, McMorris Rodgers sponsored the American Competitiveness Amendment to the College Access and Opportunity Act to improve math, science, and critical foreign language education.[3] The bill was moved to the Senate in 2006 and did not become law.[24]

Sophomore term, 2007–2009[edit]

McMorris in 2009 with Adm. Mike Mullen and Rep. Sanford Bishop
McMorris in 2009 with Adm. Mike Mullen and Rep. Sanford Bishop

In November 2006, McMorris Rodgers won re-election with 56.4% of the vote and her Democratic challenger Peter J. Goldmark earned 43.6%.[25] In 2007, she became the Republican co-chairwoman of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues. The Democratic co-chairwoman was Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif. The caucus pushed for pay equity, tougher child support enforcement, women's health programs and law protecting victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.[26]

McMorris Rodgers co-founded the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus with Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX) Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).[citation needed]

Third term, 2009–2011[edit]

In 2008, McMorris Rodgers received 211,305 votes (65.28%) over Democrat Mark Mays' 112,382 votes (34.72%).[27] On November 19, 2008, she was elected to serve as the Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference for the 111th United States Congress, making her the fourth–highest ranking Republican in her caucus leadership (after John Boehner, Minority Whip Eric Cantor and Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence) and the highest-ranking Republican woman.[28] In 2009, she became Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference[29] and served until 2012 when she was succeeded by Lynn Jenkins.[30]

In 2010, Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama. Since its passing, the Seattle Times reported that McMorris Rodgers "has been a vocal critic" of the law and "has voted repeatedly to defund or repeal the law."[31]

Fourth term, 2011–2013[edit]

112th Congress portrait

McMorris Rodgers won the 2010 general election with 150,681 votes (64%) and Democrat Daryl Romeyn received 85,686 votes (36%).[32] Romeyn spent only $2,320 against Rodgers' $1,453,240.[33]

McMorris Rodgers sponsored the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act of 2011.[34] She said that "the bill would increase competition and promote transparency, and it would make the delivery of pharmacy services much more efficient." Conservative groups, including the Americans for Tax Reform and the Cost of Government Center, came out opposed to the bill and it was never voted on.[35] That same year, she sponsored bill H.R.2313 to repeal the authority to provide certain loans to the International Monetary Fund, but it never made it out of committee.[36]

In 2012, National Journal named McMorris Rodgers one of ten Republicans to follow on Twitter.[37] On November 14, 2012, she defeated Rep. Tom Price of Georgia to become chairwoman of the House Republican Conference.[38]

Fifth term, 2013–2015[edit]

McMorris Rodgers speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C.

In the 2012 general election, Congresswoman Rodgers received 191,066 votes (61.9%) and Democrat Rich Cowan received 117,512 (38.9%).[39]

At the start of the 113th United States Congress, McMorris Rodgers became Chair of the Republican Conference, which is in charge of communicating the party's message to the Republican caucus. As Chair, she helps craft Republican messaging and has appeared as spokesperson for Republican issues.[citation needed]

In March 2013, McMorris Rodgers did not support the continuation of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, but sponsored a "watered-down" alternative bill.[40][41] Ultimately, her bill failed and House adopted the Senate version of the bill.[40]

In late 2013, she wrote a letter blasting Democrats and accusing them of being "openly hostile to American values and the Constitution" and citing the Affordable Care Act and immigration as evidence that President Obama "rule[s] by decree."[42] In her position as Chair, she blamed the Affordable Care Act for causing unemployment and when FactCheck.org reported studies that proved the opposite and asked her office for evidence to support her claims, "McMorris Rodgers' office got back to us not with an answer, but with a question."[43]

McMorris Rodgers sponsored legislation that would speed the licensing process for dams and promote energy production. According to a Department of Energy study, retrofitting the largest 100 dams in the country could produce enough power for an additional 3.2 million homes. The legislation reached President Obama's desk without a single dissenter on Capitol Hill.[44]

In January 2014, it was announced that McMorris Rodgers would be giving the Republican response to President Obama's 2014 State of the Union Address. The decision was made by House Speaker John Boehner and Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.[45][46] McMorris Rodgers is the twelfth woman to give the response[47] and fifth female Republican, but only the third Republican to do so solo, after New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman in 1995[48] and the Spanish response by Florida Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the most senior female Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, in 2011. Ros-Lehtinen also gave the Spanish response this year, which was largely a translation of McMorris Rogers' remarks.[49] The following month, the Office of Congressional Ethics recommended the United States House Committee on Ethics initiate a probe into allegations by a former McMorris Rodgers staff member that the congresswoman had improperly mixed campaign money and official funds to help win the 2012 GOP leadership race against Rep. Price. McMorris Rodgers denied the allegations.[50]

After voting dozens of times to repeal Obamacare, McMorris Rodgers responded in 2014 to reports that Obama's program had provided coverage to over 600,000 Washington residents by acknowledging that the law's framework would probably remain and that she favored reforms within its structure.[51]

Sixth term, 2015–2017[edit]

In November 2014, Rodgers faced off against Joe Pakootas, the first Native American candidate to run for Congress in Washington state. McMorris Rodgers received 135,470 votes (60.68%) and Democrat Joe Pakootas received 87,772 (39.32%).[52]

McMorris Rodgers speaking at a press conference with House leadership, including Speaker Paul Ryan, in Washington.

In March 2015, McMorris Rodgers posted a Facebook comment stating "this week marks the 5th anniversary of #Obamacare being signed into law. Whether it's turned your tax filing into a nightmare, you're facing skyrocketing premiums, or your employer has reduced your work hours, I want to hear about it."[53] Instead, she found her Facebook page almost exclusively filled with testimonials to the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.[54][55] Despite this, on March 28, 2015 McMorris Rodgers held a press conference about Obamacare in which she said nothing about the overwhelmingly positive comments she'd received from her constituents and instead rehashed five stories lifted from the House Republican leadership website that described problems with Obamacare.[56]

In September 2015, Brett O'Donnell, who worked for Rodgers, plead guilty to lying to House ethics investigators about how much campaign work he did while being paid by lawmakers' office accounts, becoming the first person ever to be convicted of lying to House Office of Congressional Ethics.[57] The OCE found that Rodgers improperly used campaign funds to pay O'Donnell for help in her congressional office and improperly held a debate prep session in her congressional office.[57]

McMorris Rodgers worked to bring about a new approach at forest management in the Colville National Forest. The Mill Creek A to Z program was touted as the first stewardship partnership between a National Forest and a private company. The pilot program aimed to restore the 54,000-acre Mill Creek watershed. The A to Z project is focused on removing small trees and underbrush, while leaving old growth trees uncut. It also aims to restore streams and riparian zones.[58]

McMorris Rodgers has long been a champion of the Fairchild Air Force Base and has written multiple letters urging Pentagon officials to move the KC-46A aerial refueling tanker to Fairchild.[59] In May 2016, she voted in favor of legislation that authorized critical funding for the base.[60]

McMorris Rodgers has been critical of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, citing long wait times and inadequate standards of veteran care. In September 2016, she voted in support of the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act (HR 5620), which would strengthen whistleblower protections, reform the Department's disability benefits and provide additional authority to the VA Secretary to reprimand employees for poor performance or misconduct. The legislation passed the House in September.[61]

McMorris Rodgers voted to prevent the transfer to detainees from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay on September 15. In announcing her decision, she cited a report that said over 30% of detainees released from the prison return to some form of jihad.[62]

Seventh term, 2017–2019[edit]

In the 2016 election, McMorris Rodgers received the most votes, 192,959 (59.64%) and Democrat Joe Pakootas received 130,575 votes (40.36%).[63]

On June 27, 2017, McMorris released a statement supporting the FCC repeal of net neutrality.[64]

Re-election campaign, 2018[edit]

In the November 2018 general election, McMorris Rodgers will face Democrat Lisa Brown, a former majority leader of the state Senate, and former chancellor of WSU Spokane. In the August blanket primary, McMorris Rodgers received 49.29 percent of the vote to 45.36 percent for Brown.[65] As of early August, McMorris Rodgers had raised about $3.8 million and Brown had raised about $2.4 million.[66]

Interest group ratings[edit]

2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 Selected interest group ratings[67]
75 72 72 84 80 96 96 American Conservative Union
0 0 5 0 0 0 0 Americans for Democratic Action
58 62 59 70 61 94 82 Club for Growth
0 0 22 American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
92 92 75 83 90 100 Family Research Council
70 76 72 89 84 National Taxpayers Union
100 93 83 100 100 100 80 Chamber of Commerce of the United States
0 5 4 9 7 3 10 League of Conservation Voters

Committee assignments[edit]

As of March 2017, McMorris Rodgers is currently on the:

Electoral history[edit]

Year Office District Democratic Republican
2004[70] U.S. House of Representatives Washington 5th District Don Barbieri 40.32% (121,333) Cathy McMorris Rodgers 59.68% (179,600)
2006[71] U.S. House of Representatives Washington 5th District Peter J. Goldmark 43.60% (104,357) Cathy McMorris Rodgers 56.40% (134,967)
2008[72] U.S. House of Representatives Washington 5th District Mark Mays 34.72% (112,382) Cathy McMorris Rodgers 65.28% (211,305)
2010[73] U.S. House of Representatives Washington 5th District Daryl Romeyn 36.33% (101,146) Cathy McMorris Rodgers 63.67% (177,235)
2012[74] U.S. House of Representatives Washington 5th District Rich Cowan 38.08% (117,512) Cathy McMorris Rodgers 61.92% (191,066)
2014[75] U.S. House of Representatives Washington 5th District Joseph (Joe) Pakootas 39.32% (87,772) Cathy McMorris Rodgers 60.68% (135,470)
2016[76] U.S. House of Representatives Washington 5th District Joe Pakootas 40.36% (130,575) Cathy McMorris Rodgers 59.64% (192,959)

Political positions[edit]

Travel ban[edit]

McMorris Rodgers supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to block entry to the United States to citizens of seven predominantly Muslim nations, characterizing the order as necessary "to protect the American people."[77]

Health care[edit]

After voting dozens of times to repeal Obamacare, McMorris Rodgers responded in 2014 to reports that Obama's program had provided coverage to over 600,000 Washington residents by acknowledging that the law's framework would probably remain and that she favored reforms within its structure.[51] In May 2017 she voted for American Health Care Act of 2017, which would have repealed and replaced Obamacare, and defended her vote in a Washington Post op-ed column.[78] For her 2018 re-election campaign, McMorris Rodgers no longer mentioned the Affordable Care Act.[79]

LGBT rights[edit]

In 1997, she co-sponsored legislation to ban same-sex marriage in Washington State.[11][80] She voted against a 2004 bill to add sexual orientation to the state's anti-discrimination law and was a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage.[1]

Science[edit]

Asked at a 2018 debate about the age of the Earth, McMorris Rodgers said, "The account I believe is the one in the Bible."[81]

School safety[edit]

In 2018, McMorris Rodgers co-sponsored the STOP (Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing) School Violence Act, which established a federal grant program to "provide $50 million a year for a new federal grant program to train students, teachers and law enforcement on how to spot and report signs of gun violence" and authorize $25 million for new physical security measures in schools, such as "new locks, lights, metal detectors and panic buttons." A separate spending bill would be required to provide money for the grant program. The House voted 407-10 to approve the bill.[82]

Personal life[edit]

Cathy McMorris married Brian Rodgers on August 5, 2006, in San Diego. Brian Rodgers is a retired Navy commander and a Spokane, Washington, native. Brian Rodgers is also a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and the son of David H. Rodgers, the mayor of Spokane from 1967 to 1977. In February 2007, she changed her name to Cathy McMorris Rodgers.[83]

In April 2007, she became the first member of Congress in more than a decade to give birth while in office, with the birth of Cole Rodgers.[84] The couple later announced that their child had been diagnosed with Down syndrome.[85] A second child, Grace, was born December 2010, and a third, Brynn Catherine, in November 2013.[86][87]

According to the Official Congressional Directory, she is a member of Grace Evangelical Free Church, which is an Evangelical Free Church of America in Colville, Washington.[88][89]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Vesta Delaney Obituary". Bollman Funeral Home. ObitsforLife.com. 2013. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014.
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  12. ^ "HB 1130 – 1997-98: Reaffirming and protecting the institution of marriage". Washington State Legislature. June 11, 1998.
  13. ^ Galloway, Angela (April 6, 2001). "Effort to excise 'Oriental' from state documents may be revived". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
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  20. ^ "Women in Business Spotlight on Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, House Republican Conference Chair". U.S. Chamber of Commerce. December 10, 2012.
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  43. ^ "Is Obamacare Causing Health Care Layoffs?". FactCheck.org. January 17, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
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  60. ^ "McMorris Rodgers Applauds Passage of Defense Authorization | Cathy McMorris Rodgers". mcmorris.house.gov.
  61. ^ "Defense/Veterans - Rep. McMorris Rodgers Votes to Make it Easier to Fire Bad VA Employees". mcmorris.house.gov. September 14, 2016.
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  63. ^ "Congressional District 5". results.vote.wa.gov. Archived from the original on December 21, 2016.
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  65. ^ "August 7, 2018 Primary Results - Congressional District 5 - U.S. Representative". results.vote.wa.gov. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
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  77. ^ Blake, Aaron. "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  78. ^ McMorris Rodgers, Cathy. My son has a preexisting condition. He’s one of the reasons I voted for the AHCA. The Washington Post, May 4, 2017.
  79. ^ Resnick, Gideon (2018-09-21). "Suddenly, Vulnerable House Republicans No Longer Bash Obamacare on Their Websites". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  80. ^ "HB 1130 – 1997-98: Reaffirming and protecting the institution of marriage". Washington State Legislature. June 11, 1998.
  81. ^ "US House Candidates Debate Gun Control, Age of Earth".
  82. ^ Zanona, Melanie. "House passes school safety bill amid gun protests". The Hill. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  83. ^ "Congresswoman changes name to McMorris Rodgers, WA". The Associated Press News Service. February 1, 2007.
  84. ^ Cannata, Amy (April 30, 2007). "It's A Boy". Spokesman Review. Archived from the original on February 6, 2012. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  85. ^ McMorris Rodgers, Cathy (2008). "My Down Syndrome Story". mcmorris.house.gov. Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
  86. ^ Barone, Michael; Chuck McCutcheon (2011). "Washington/Fifth District". The Almanac of American Politics (2012 ed.). University of Chicago Press, National Journal Group, Inc. pp. 1716–1718. ISBN 978-0-226-03808-7.
  87. ^ Igor Bobic (November 25, 2013). "Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers Gives Birth To Daughter". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  88. ^ "FIFTH DISTRICT" (PDF). Official Congressional Directory. 2011.
  89. ^ McMorris Rodgers, Cathy (2010). "McMorris Rodgers' Pastor Tim Goble of Colville Delivers Opening Prayer for Congress". mcmorris.house.gov. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved January 25, 2014.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
George Nethercutt
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 5th congressional district

2005–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Kay Granger
Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference
2009–2013
Succeeded by
Lynn Jenkins
Preceded by
Jeb Hensarling
Chair of the House Republican Conference
2013–present
Succeeded by
Liz Cheney
Designate
Preceded by
Marco Rubio
Response to the State of the Union address
2014
Succeeded by
Joni Ernst
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Patrick McHenry
United States Representatives by seniority
125th
Succeeded by
Gwen Moore