Gary Palmer (politician)

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Gary Palmer
Gary Palmer official congressional photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 6th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded by Spencer Bachus
Personal details
Born Gary James Palmer
(1954-05-14) May 14, 1954 (age 64)
Hackleburg, Alabama, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Ann Palmer
Children 3
Education University of Alabama (BS)
Website House website

Gary James Palmer (born May 14, 1954) is an American politician from the state of Alabama. Elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2014, he represents Alabama's 6th congressional district. Prior to his career as an elected official, Palmer co-founded and served as the long-time president of the Alabama Policy Institute, a conservative think tank.[1] He is a member of the Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives.[2]

Early life, education and career[edit]

Palmer was born in Hackleburg, Alabama.[3] He has a bachelor's degree in operations management from the University of Alabama.[4] In 1989, Palmer co-founded the Alabama Family Alliance, which later became the Alabama Policy Institute. Palmer served as president of the conservative think tank for 25 years, stepping down in 2014 to pursue a run for Congress.[5] Palmer helped found the State Policy Network, a nonprofit umbrella organization for conservative and libertarian think tanks which focus on state-level policy, and served as its president.[6]

Palmer is a longtime member of Briarwood Presbyterian Church (Presbyterian Church in America) in Birmingham.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

2014 election[edit]

Palmer declared his candidacy for the 6th district following the retirement announcement of 11-term incumbent Spencer Bachus.[4] In the Republican primary election—the real contest in this heavily Republican district—Palmer finished second behind state representative Paul DeMarco. In the ensuing runoff election, Palmer picked up the support of the Club for Growth.[7] Palmer won the runoff election by a margin of 64% to 36%.[8] In the November 4, 2014 general election, Palmer defeated Democratic nominee Mark Lester, a history professor at Birmingham-Southern College, 76% to 24%.[9]


Palmer took office on January 3, 2015, along with the other freshmen members of the 114th Congress.

Conservative Review has graded Palmer's voting record an A with a Liberty Score of 100%. Palmer is one of only three Republican representatives to receive this highest possible grade out of 247 Republicans in the House of Representatives.[10]

Committee assignments[edit]

Political positions[edit]

Domestic issues[edit]

Mass shootings[edit]

In the wake of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, Palmer offered thoughts and prayers to victims, families and first responders on Twitter.[12]

Economic issues[edit]

Tax reform[edit]

Palmer voted in support of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[13] He says that the tax plan would "put more money in the pockets of the American people" and "launch economic growth." He blamed the Obama administration and a "burdensome tax code that was designed for a 1986 economy," for an "anemic" economy.[14]

Social issues[edit]


Palmer is pro-life and says that the Declaration of Independence was pro-life in its statements on "all men" having "unalienable Rights" to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."[15]


Palmer voted to support medical marijuana research but is opposed to legalizing marijuana.[15] He has a "C" rating from NORML regarding his voting record on cannabis-related matters. He voted against allowing veterans access to medical marijuana, if legal in their state, per their Veterans Health Administration doctor's recommendation.[16]

LGBT rights[edit]

Palmer supports bathroom bills. He stated that allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice is something "no reasonable person" would allow and said that "the safety implications for sexual predation have been well documented."[17]

He also opposes same-sex marriage stating that "No one can change the fundamental nature of what marriage is: the union of a man and a woman and the formation of a family which is the foundation of every civilization."[18]

Electoral history[edit]

Alabama's 6th Congressional District Republican Primary Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Paul DeMarco 30,894 32.68
Republican Gary Palmer 18,655 19.73
Republican Scott Beason 14,451 15.29
Republican Chad Mathis 14,420 15.25
Republican Will Brooke 13,130 13.89
Republican Tom Vigneulle 2,397 2.54
Republican Robert Shattuck 587 0.62
Alabama's 6th Congressional District Republican Primary Runoff Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Gary Palmer 47,524 63.00
Republican Paul Demarco 27,329 37.00
Alabama's 6th Congressional District Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Gary Palmer 135,945 76.18
Democratic Mark Lester 42,291 23.70
Write-ins Write-ins 213 0.12
Alabama's 6th Congressional District Election, 2016[19]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Gary Palmer 245,313 74.49
Democratic David Putman 83,709 25.42
Write-ins Write-ins 284 0.09


  1. ^ Cason, Mike (October 24, 2013). "Gary Palmer announces he will run for Congress in Alabama's 6th congressional district". Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Bialik, Carl; Bycoffe, Aaron (25 September 2015). "The Hard-Line Republicans Who Pushed John Boehner Out". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2015-09-28. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "Gary Palmer announces he will run for Congress in Alabama's 6th congressional district". Retrieved October 16, 2014. 
  5. ^ Moseley, Brandon (September 2014). "Crosby to Replace Palmer at API". Alabama Political Reporter. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Barnes, Fred (May 22, 2014). "A Conservative Candidate of Character, Conviction, Knowledge, and Leadership". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved March 24, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Gary Palmer Marks Second Chance for Club for Growth in Alabama Race". At the Races. Retrieved October 16, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Gary Palmer swamps Paul DeMarco in 6th District Republican runoff". Retrieved October 16, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Gary Palmer victorious in Alabama's 6th congressional district race". Shelby County Reporter. November 4, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Conservative Review - Scorecard". Retrieved August 1, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved 2 January 2018. 
  12. ^ Berkowitz, Bonnie; Cai, Weiyi; Lu, Denise; Gamio, Lazaro. "Everything lawmakers said (and didn't say) after the Orlando mass shooting". Washington Post. Retrieved 31 December 2017. 
  13. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (19 December 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 December 2017. 
  14. ^ Kirby, Brendan (20 December 2017). "Tax cuts will create 4,600 Alabama jobs, raise family income across the state by $519, study says - Yellowhammer News". Yellowhammer News. Retrieved 21 December 2017. 
  15. ^ a b Underwood, Madison. "Abortion, marijuana, and same-sex marriage: District 6 candidates state their positions". Retrieved 21 December 2017. 
  16. ^ "Alabama Scorecard - - Working to Reform Marijuana Laws". Retrieved 21 December 2017. 
  17. ^ Koplowitz, Howard. "'They have lost their minds': Roby, Palmer blast Obama administration over transgender student bathroom guidance". Retrieved 21 December 2017. 
  18. ^ Koplowitz, Howard. "SCOTUS gay marriage ruling: Alabama congressional delegation widely pans same-sex marriage decision". Retrieved 21 December 2017. 
  19. ^

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Spencer Bachus
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 6th congressional district

Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Dan Newhouse
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Bruce Poliquin