Fred Upton

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Fred Upton
Fred Upton 113th Congress photo.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan
Assumed office
January 3, 1987
Preceded byMark D. Siljander
Constituency4th district (1987–1993)
6th district (1993–present)
Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2017
Preceded byHenry Waxman
Succeeded byGreg Walden
Personal details
Born
Frederick Stephen Upton

(1953-04-23) April 23, 1953 (age 68)
St. Joseph, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
Amey Rulon-Miller
(m. 1983)
Children2
RelativesLouis Upton (grand-uncle)
Kate Upton (niece)
EducationUniversity of Michigan (BA)
Net worth$11 million (2018)[1]
WebsiteCampaign website

Frederick Stephen Upton (born April 23, 1953) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Michigan's 6th congressional district since 1987. The district, numbered as the 4th district from 1987 to 1993, is based in Kalamazoo and stretches along the Michigan-Indiana border in the southwestern part of the state. A member of the Republican Party and former Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, he has played a major role in shaping post-Obamacare health care legislation. Upton is the first and only U.S. Representative in U.S. history to vote to impeach two U.S. presidents; he voted for the impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998 and the second impeachment of Donald Trump in 2021. In the latter case, he was one of ten Republicans who voted to impeach Trump.[2][3]

After Sander Levin retired at the end of the 115th Congress, Upton became the dean of Michigan's congressional delegation.

Early life, education, and early political career[edit]

Upton was born in St. Joseph, Michigan, the son of Elizabeth B. (née Vial) and Stephen Edward Upton.[4] He attended Shattuck-Saint Mary's, graduating in 1971.[5] He earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Michigan in 1975. He was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, Peninsular Chapter and became a sports editor at The Michigan Daily and thought he might someday cover the Chicago Cubs.[6] He served on the congressional staff of U.S. Representative David Stockman from 1976 to 1980. He was in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1985, while Stockman served as OMB Director.[7]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Upton during the 100th Congress
Upton with President Ronald Reagan in 1988

Elections[edit]

1986[edit]

Upton ran in Michigan's 4th congressional district against incumbent Mark Siljander, Stockman's successor. Upton won the Republican primary 55%–45%[8] and the general election with 62% of the vote.[9]

1988[edit]

Upton won reelection to a second term with 71% of the vote.[10]

1990[edit]

Upton defeated Ed Fredericks in the Republican primary, 63%–37%.[11] In the general election, he was reelected to a third term with 58% of the vote.[12]

2000[edit]

After redistricting, Upton decided to run in the newly redrawn Michigan's 6th congressional district, winning reelection to a fourth term with 62% of the vote.[13]

2002[edit]

After redistricting, Upton faced a primary challenge from State Senator Dale Shugars. Upton defeated Shugars 66%–32%.[14] He won the general election with 69% of the vote.[15]

2004[edit]

Upton defeated Democratic nominee Scott Elliott, an art gallery owner, 65%–32%.[16]

2006[edit]

Upton defeated Democratic nominee Kim Clark, 61%–38%.[17]

2008[edit]

Upton defeated Democratic nominee Don Cooney, a Kalamazoo City Commissioner, 59%–39%.[18]

2010[edit]

Upton defeated former State Representative Jack Hoogendyk in the Republican primary, 57%–43%.[19] In the general election, he defeated Cooney, 62%–34%.[20]

2012[edit]

In 2011, Hoogendyk met with the Club for Growth, a conservative 501(c)4 organization, about running against Upton again.[21] Upton had been criticized for not being conservative enough by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, FreedomWorks, Right to Life of Michigan, and the Southwest Michigan Tea Party Patriots.[22] On January 17, 2012, Hoogendyk announced that he would challenge Upton in the primary, the winner of which would face the Democratic nominee, former marine and businessman Mike O'Brien.[23][24]

Initial polls showed Upton with a sizable lead over O'Brien, but an October poll showed Upton and O'Brien in a dead heat heading into the final stretch of the campaign.[25][26]

2014[edit]

Upton won with 55.9% of the vote, defeating Democrat Paul Clements, Libertarian Erwin Haas, and Green Party candidate John Lawrence.

2016[edit]

Upton was reelected, defeating Democratic nominee Paul Clements, a political science professor at Western Michigan University, 58.5%–36.4%.[citation needed]

2018[edit]

Upton was reelected with 50.2% of the vote against Democratic nominee Matt Longjohn (45.75%) and U.S. Taxpayers Party candidate Stephen Young (4.1%).[27]

2020[edit]

Upton was reelected with 55.9% of the vote against Democratic nominee Jon Hoadley (40.2%), Libertarian Party nominee Jeff Depoy (2.75%), and Green Party candidate John Lawrence (1.2%).[28]

Tenure[edit]

Upton has been a member of moderate Republican factions The Tuesday Group and the Republican Main Street Partnership.[29] On February 4, 2021, he joined 10 other Republican House members voting with all voting Democrats to strip Marjorie Taylor Greene of her House Education and Labor Committee and House Budget Committee assignments in response to controversial political statements she had made.[30]

Health care[edit]

Upton voted against passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and has since voted in favor of its complete repeal. In November 2013, in response to Americans losing their health insurance coverage because of the ACA, Upton proposed a bill what would allow them to retain it.[31] The essence his bill was to allow insurance companies to maintain their individual insurance market policies according to state insurance rules that were in effect as of 2013.[32] In 2017, Upton played an import role advancing Republican Party efforts to repeal the ACA.[33]

In 2013, Upton introduced a bill that would grant the Food and Drug Administration more power to regulate drug compounding in the wake of the New England Compounding Center meningitis outbreak.[34] In 2016, Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act[35] into law, a bill Upton co-sponsored. The act establishes funds for biomedical research and to develop and implement a strategic plan for biomedical research.[36] In 2018, Upton and Representative Debbie Dingell worked together on legislation designed to combat opioid addiction. Among other things, it would allocate funding for research into new, non-addictive pain relievers.[37]

Environment and energy[edit]

In 2007 Upton co-sponsored the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which, among other things, mandated phased-in energy efficiency standards for most light bulbs.[38] At the time, he noted that the legislation, ultimately signed into law by President George W. Bush, would "help preserve energy resources and reduce harmful emissions, all while saving American families billions of dollars on their electric bills."[39] Glenn Beck called Upton "all socialist" for supporting the bill.[40]

In April 2009, Upton said that "climate change is a serious problem that necessitates serious solutions. Everything must be on the table."[41] But "Upton has gradually retreated from his moderate stance on climate change and carbon emissions."[42] He led a failed effort to stop the Obama administration from enforcing the new energy standards.[39]

Upton's website once stated: "I strongly believe that everything must be on the table as we seek to reduce carbon emissions."[42] In late 2010, he co-authored a Wall Street Journal opinion piece saying he was "not convinced" that "carbon is a problem in need of regulation" and urging Congress to overturn Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency.[43]

Upton and Ed Whitfield co-sponsored H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011.[44] Due to his environmental policies, The Los Angeles Times wrote in 2011 that Upton "represents one of the biggest threats to planet Earth on planet Earth."[45]

In 2012, Upton, as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that Congress's refusal to set greenhouse gas limits "constituted a decision and that lawmakers should act now to reverse the EPA emissions rules." Carbon regulation, he said, "threatens to drive energy prices higher, destroy jobs and hamstring our economic recovery."[46]

On October 22, 2013, Upton introduced the North American Energy Infrastructure Act (H.R. 3301; 113th Congress), a bill that would make changes to permitting requirements for pipelines and other energy infrastructure at international borders.[47][48] He said the bill "is a sincere effort to focus a targeted solution to lessons learned from the Keystone Pipeline... No one can rightly argue that the current presidential permit process as the State Department is not broken, no matter what side of the climate debate you're on."[49] Upton added, "we're creating a fair and transparent approval process for cross-border energy projects, putting them all on a level playing field for the benefit of North American energy security, lower energy prices, and jobs."[50]

As of 2017, Upton has received more than $2 million in campaign donations from oil and gas companies and electric utilities over the course of his political career.[51] In 2018, he joined the Climate Solutions Caucus.[52]

Technology[edit]

Upton introduced legislation to reverse the FCC's ruling on net neutrality in 2015.[53][54]

Guns[edit]

In 2019, Upton supported a bill that requires background checks for private firearm sales.[55] He has called for Congress to pass a bipartisan red flag law.[56]

In March 2021, Upton was one of eight Republicans to join the House majority in passing the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021.[57]

LGBT rights[edit]

In 2004 and 2006, Upton voted for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.[58] In 2019, he voted against the Equality Act, which would extend existing civil rights legislation to protect LGBT individuals from discrimination.[58]

In 2013, Upton condemned controversial anti-gay remarks by Republican National Committeeman David Agema.[59]

Economy[edit]

In 2019, during the 116th Congress, Upton broke with his party, one of seven Republicans to side with Democrats by voting for legislation that would fund government services and end a shutdown.[60]

In February 2021, Upton voted against a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill that provided $10 billion in federal aid to Michigan.[61]

Donald Trump[edit]

During Trump's presidency, Upton voted in line with Trump's stated position 78.6% of the time.[62]

In July 2019, Upton was one of four Republican House members to vote in support of a motion to condemn comments Trump made on Twitter calling on four Democratic Congresswomen, three of whom were born in the U.S., to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."[63][64]

On December 18, 2019, Upton voted against both articles of impeachment against Trump.[65]

On January 12, 2021, Upton announced he would vote to impeach Trump in the pending vote on a second impeachment, after Trump incited the storming of the U.S. Capitol building, becoming the fourth House Republican to say they would vote to impeach.[66][67] He ultimately did so alongside nine other Republicans on January 13.[3] On January 21, the Allegan County Republican Party censured Upton for his vote to impeach Trump.[68] He was later censured by the Cass County Republican Party for voting to remove Marjorie Taylor Greene from the House Education Committee.[69]

On May 19, 2021, Upton was one of 35 Republicans who joined all Democrats in voting to approve legislation to establish the January 6 commission meant to investigate the storming of the U.S. Capitol.[70] Before the vote, he was one of few Republican lawmakers to openly express support for the commission.[71]

Iraq[edit]

In June 2021, Upton was one of 49 House Republicans to vote to repeal the AUMF against Iraq.[72][73]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Upton's grandfather and namesake, Frederick Upton, was co-founder with his brother Louis Upton of appliance manufacturer and marketer Whirlpool Corporation, headquartered in Benton Harbor. He and his wife have two children.[82] Upton's niece is supermodel Kate Upton.[83][84] Open Secrets reported that Upton had a net worth of $78 million in 2018, making him one of Congress's richest members.[85]

Upton is a supporter of Michigan Wolverines athletics, as well as an enthusiastic Chicago Cubs baseball fan.[6] He is a member of the Emil Verban Society.[82]

Electoral history[edit]

Michigan's 4th congressional district: Results 1986–1990[86][87]
Year Republican Votes % Democratic Votes % Third Party Party Votes %
1986 Fred Upton 70,331 62% Dan Roche 41,624 37% Richard Gillmor Independent 1,649 1%
1988 Fred Upton 132,270 71% Norman Rivers 54,428 29%
1990 Fred Upton 75,850 58% JoAnne McFarland 55,449 42%
Michigan's 6th congressional district: Results 1992–2020[86][87][88][89]
Year Republican Votes % Democratic Votes % Third Party Party Votes % Third Party Party Votes % Third Party Party Votes %
1992 Fred Upton 144,083 62% Andy Davis 89,020 38%
1994 Fred Upton 121,932 73% David Taylor 42,348 26% E. A. Berker Natural Law 1,667 1%
1996 Fred Upton 146,170 68% Clarence Annen 66,243 31% Scott Beavers Libertarian 3,370 2%
1998 Fred Upton 113,292 70% Clarence Annen 45,358 28% Glenn Whitt Libertarian 1,833 1% Ken Asmus Natural Law 1,091 1%
2000 Fred Upton 159,373 68% James Bupp 68,532 29% William Bradley Libertarian 3,573 2% Richard Overton Reform 1,872 1% C. Dennis James USTPM 1,290 1%
2002 Fred Upton 126,936 69% Gary Giguere 53,793 29% Richard Overton Reform 2,788 2%
2004 Fred Upton 197,425 65% Scott Elliott 97,978 32% Randall MacPhee Green 2,311 1% Erwin Haas Libertarian 2,275 1% W. Dennis FitzSimons USTPM 2,169 1%
2006 Fred Upton 142,125 61% Kim Clark 88,978 38% Kenneth Howe Libertarian 3,480 1%
2008 Fred Upton 188,157 59% Don Cooney 123,257 39% Greg Merle Libertarian 4,720 1% Edward Pinkney Green 3,512 1%
2010 Fred Upton 123,142 62% Don Cooney 66,729 34% Melvin Valkner USTPM 3,672 2% Fred Strand Libertarian 3,369 2% Pat Foster Green 1,784 1%
2012 Fred Upton 174,955 55% Mike O'Brien 136,563 43% Christie Gelineau Libertarian 6,366 2% Jason Gatties USTPM 2,591 1%
2014 Fred Upton 116,801 56% Paul Clements 84,391 40% Erwin Haas Libertarian 5,530 3% John Lawrence Green 2,254 1%
2016 Fred Upton 193,246 58% Paul Clements 119,975 36% Lorence Wenke Libertarian 16,249 5%
2018 Fred Upton 147,436 50% Matt Longjohn 134,082 46% Stephen J. Young USTPM 11,920 4%
2020[90] Fred Upton 211,496 56% Jon Hoadley 152,085 40% Jeff Depoy Libertarian 10,399 3% John Lawrence Green 4,440 1%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mark Siljander
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 4th congressional district

1987–1993
Succeeded by
Dave Camp
Preceded by
Bob Carr
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 6th congressional district

1993–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Henry Waxman
Chair of the House Energy Committee
2011–2017
Succeeded by
Greg Walden
Party political offices
New office Chair of the Tuesday Group
1995–2005
Served alongside: Mike Castle, Nancy Johnson
Succeeded by
Charles Bass
Mark Kirk
Preceded by
John Katko
Elise Stefanik
Chair of the Republican Governance Group
Tuesday Group: 2019–2020

2019–2021
Served alongside: Susan Brooks, John Katko
Succeeded by
John Katko
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Peter DeFazio
United States representatives by seniority
7th
Succeeded by
Nancy Pelosi
as Speaker
Succeeded by
Otherwise Frank Pallone