Jason Lewis (Minnesota politician)

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Jason Lewis
Jason Lewis official congress.png
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 2nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded by John Kline
Personal details
Born Jason Mark Lewis
(1955-09-23) September 23, 1955 (age 62)
Waterloo, Iowa, U.S.
Political party Republican
Education University of Northern Iowa (BA)
University of Colorado, Denver (MA)
Website House website

Jason Mark Lewis[1] (born September 23, 1955) is an American politician and Republican Party member currently serving as a U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 2nd congressional district. Prior to being elected, Lewis was a radio talk show host, political commentator, and writer. He worked in Denver, Charlotte and Minneapolis-St. Paul before hosting the nationally syndicated The Jason Lewis Show from 2009 - 2014.

Education[edit]

Lewis was born in 1955 in Waterloo, Iowa.[2] He has a master's degree in political science from the University of Colorado at Denver as well as a Bachelor of Arts in education/business from the University of Northern Iowa.[3]

Radio career[edit]

Lewis' show was syndicated nationally by the Premiere Radio Networks and the Genesis Communications Network. Before his show was nationally syndicated, Lewis broadcast locally for ten years on KSTP in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area of Minnesota, until Lewis moved to WBT in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he spent three years. In 2006, Lewis moved back to Minnesota to the newly established KTLK-FM.[3]

On the February 17, 2009, episode of his show, Lewis announced that his show would be syndicated nationally, effective February 23, 2009. Since 2007, Lewis had been one of the most frequently used, and one of the most popular guest hosts of the Rush Limbaugh radio program, allowing him to reach a nationwide audience.[4]

On August 8, 2011, The Jason Lewis Show was picked up for national syndication by the Genesis Communications Network.[5] On the July 31, 2014, episode of his show, Lewis announced he was leaving his radio show to devote more time to a website he helped co-found.[6]

Writing[edit]

Lewis is the author of Power Divided is Power Checked: The Argument for States Rights from Bascom Hill Publishing.[7] In bonus commentary added to the audiobook version in 2016, Lewis made the point that many state laws prohibit consensual conduct and most of those laws are decided by the states.[8] In his 2011 book Power Divided is Power Checked, Lewis wrote that "slavery was mercifully conquered,"[9] and suggested that 'emancipated compensation' was rejected by the Lincoln Administration - raising the question whether Abraham Lincoln "exploited the issue" of slavery to justify the "War Between the States."[10] Lewis' book was a defense of federalism and called for a constitutional amendment allowing "any state to peaceably leave the union."[11][12]

Political campaigns[edit]

1990 U.S. House campaign[edit]

In 1990, Lewis ran for Congress in Colorado's 2nd congressional district. He was defeated by incumbent Democrat David Skaggs.[13] Lewis was mentioned as a possible candidate in 2014 against Senator Al Franken, but he did not run.[14]

2016 U.S. House campaign[edit]

In October 2015, Lewis filed paperwork to run for U.S. Congress in Minnesota's 2nd congressional district,[15] and was endorsed at the Minnesota Republican Party's convention on the 6th ballot on May 7, 2016.[16] He won the four-way Republican primary with 46% of the vote in August.[17]

The race was widely considered to be one of 2016's most competitive congressional elections.[11][17][18] Roll Call journalist Alex Roarty wrote that Lewis had not openly embraced Donald Trump, but that he has been "unafraid to embrace many of the presumptive presidential nominee's trademarks: Tough talk, an aversion to political correctness, and a focus on border security."[10]

During the campaign, a number of Lewis's opinions from his radio and internet career were publicized by the news media, including comments he made about women and slavery. Lewis said on his radio show: "You've got a vast majority of young single women who couldn't explain to you what GDP means. You know what they care about? They care about abortion. They care about abortion and gay marriage. They care about 'The View.' They are non-thinking."[17]

In an update to his book on states' rights just before the campaign, Lewis questioned the federal government's role in outlawing slavery: "In fact, if you really want to be quite frank about it, how does somebody else owning a slave affect me? It doesn’t. If I don’t think it is right, I won’t own one, and people always say ‘well if you don’t want to marry somebody of the same sex, you don’t have to, but why tell somebody else they can’t. Uh, you know if you don’t want to own a slave, don’t. But don’t tell other people they can’t."[19]

Lewis stated that "liberal reporters and typical politicians may not like the bluntness of the way I've framed some issues in my career as a voice in the conservative movement"[10] and that his comments were "taken out of context by his opponents and the media".[17]

On November 8, 2016, Lewis defeated Democrat Angie Craig and independent Paula Overby, and was thus elected to the United States House of Representatives.[20]

Electoral history[edit]

1990 Second Congressional District of Colorado Elections
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic David Skaggs 105,248 60.67
Republican Jason Lewis 68,226 39.33

[21]

2016 Second Congressional District of Minnesota Elections
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jason Lewis 172,345 47.11
Democratic Angie Craig 164,621 45.0
Independence Paula Overby 28,508 7.79

[22]

Political positions[edit]

As of January 2018, Lewis had voted with his party in 96.4% of votes so far in 115th United States Congress and voted in line with President Trump's position in 94% of votes, though his position in GovTrack places Lewis squarely in the Moderate Category.[23][24]

Vote Smart Political Courage Test[edit]

Vote Smart, a non-profit, non-partisan research organization that collects and distributes information on candidates for public office in the United States, "researched presidential and congressional candidates' public records to determine candidates' likely responses on certain key issues." According to Vote Smart's 2016 analysis, Lewis generally supports pro-life legislation, opposes an income tax increase, opposes mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders, opposes federal spending and supports lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth, opposes requiring states to adopt federal education standards, supports the building of the Keystone Pipeline, opposes the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, opposes gun-control legislation, supports repealing the Affordable Care Act, supports requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship, and opposes increased American intervention in Iraq and Syria beyond air support.[25]

Health care[edit]

He supported the March 2017 version of the American Health Care Act (the GOP's bill to repeal the ACA).[26] On May 4, 2017, he voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and pass the American Health Care Act.[27][28]

LGBT rights[edit]

Lewis agreed with the Clinton Administration support for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and said that same-sex marriage was an issue for the several states to consider and not a Constitutional violation of equal rights, as gay individuals would be free to marry those of the opposite sex.[29] He has suggested the decision of school boards to allow transgender restrooms and lockerrooms in public schools as an "abomination".[30]

War on drugs[edit]

Lewis is a critic of the war on drugs, which he compares to failed policy of alcohol prohibition in America.[31][32] As a member of Congress, Lewis has cosponsored legislation to let states set their own policy regarding cannabis (without federal interference) and to remove cannabis from the list of Schedule I drugs.[33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ancestry.com. Minnesota, Marriage Index, 1958-2001 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007
  2. ^ "Guide to the New Congress" (PDF). Roll Call. Retrieved January 3, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b KTLK-FM official Jason Lewis biography
  4. ^ Lambert, Brian (September 2, 2015). "'I wanted to make a political statement': a Q&A with former radio host Jason Lewis". MinnPost. 
  5. ^ "The Jason Lewis Show Joins the GCN Radio Network". Archived from the original on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "Radio host Jason Lewis quits show while on the air". Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  7. ^ Lewis, Jason (2011). Power divided is power checked : the argument for states' rights. Minneapolis, MN: Bascom Hill Pub Group. ISBN 978-1-935098-50-8. OCLC 668197899. 
  8. ^ "Lewis' book offers provocative analysis on slavery and civil rights". Retrieved 30 June 2016. 
  9. ^ Brucato, Cyndy (February 23, 2016). "Provocateur-turned-politician Jason Lewis finding that past comments can haunt the present". MinnPost. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  10. ^ a b c Roarty, Alex (16 May 2016). "Mini Trumps Sound Like the Nominee". Roll Call. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  11. ^ a b COTTLE, MICHELLE (12 August 2016). "Meet Minnesota's Mini-Trump". The Atlantic. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  12. ^ Brodkorb, Michael (22 February 2016). "Republican official says Jason Lewis' comments 'demonstrate ignorance'". Star Tribune. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  13. ^ Broadkorb, Michael (September 30, 2015). "GOP buzzing about possible Jason Lewis run for Congress". Star Tribune. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  14. ^ Scheck, Tom (27 March 2013). "Franken hires a campaign manager". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  15. ^ "Jason Lewis files paperwork to run for Congress". Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  16. ^ "Jason Lewis wins 2nd District GOP endorsement over David Gerson – Twin Cities". Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  17. ^ a b c d Pathé, Simone (9 August 2016). "Controversial Former Talk Radio Host Wins GOP Primary in Minnesota Battleground". Roll Call. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  18. ^ Brodey, Sam (10 August 2016). "It's Jason Lewis vs. Angie Craig in what's likely to be one of the most-watched congressional races in the country". Minn Post. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  19. ^ http://www.startribune.com/lewis-book-offers-provocative-analysis-on-slavery-and-civil-rights/369306761/
  20. ^ Montgomery, David. "GOP’s Jason Lewis wins MN 2nd Congressional District; incumbent Democrats narrowly hold seats", TwinCites.com, November 8, 2016. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  21. ^ 1990 Election Results for the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives; retrieved November 9, 2016
  22. ^ Results for Minnesota's 2nd congressional district; retrieved November 9, 2016
  23. ^ Willis, Derek. "Represent". ProPublica. Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  24. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron (2017-01-30). "Tracking Jason Lewis In The Age Of Trump". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  25. ^ "Jason Lewis' Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)". Vote Smart. Retrieved 10 January 2018. 
  26. ^ The New York Times (2017-03-20). "How House Republicans Planned to Vote on the Obamacare Replacement". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  27. ^ "How the House voted to pass the GOP health-care bill". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  28. ^ "Health care vote puts pressure on dozens of vulnerable GOP reps". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  29. ^ "Jason Lewis: Gays already have equal right to marry someone of opposite sex". MinnPost. Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  30. ^ "The UpTake - Jason Lewis Says Transgendered Students Using Bathroom Of Choice "An Abomination"". The UpTake. Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  31. ^ Lewis, Jason (July 23, 2011). "Jason Lewis: Drug war is a failure, so let's experiment". Star Tribune. Retrieved March 9, 2018. 
  32. ^ Lewis, Jason (July 22, 2013). "Next on Minnesota's social agenda: Marijuana". Star Tribune. Retrieved March 9, 2018. 
  33. ^ Mullen, Mike (April 7, 2017). "Jason Lewis (yes, that Jason Lewis) said something cool about marijuana". City Pages. Retrieved March 9, 2018. 

External links[edit]

Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Al Lawson
D-Florida
United States Representatives by seniority
404th
Succeeded by
Roger Marshall
R-Kansas