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John Culberson

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Not to be confused with John Culbertson.
John Culberson
John Culberson official photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 7th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2001
Preceded by Bill Archer
Personal details
Born John Abney Culberson
(1956-08-24) August 24, 1956 (age 60)
Houston, Texas
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Belinda Culberson
Residence Houston, Texas
Alma mater Southern Methodist University, South Texas College of Law
Occupation Attorney, Politician
Religion Methodism

John Abney Culberson (born August 24, 1956) is a lawyer and the U.S. Representative for Texas's 7th congressional district, serving since 2001. He is a member of the Republican Party and the Tea Party caucus. The district takes in large portions of western Houston and surrounding Harris County.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Culberson was born in Houston, the son of Eleanor (née Abney) and James Vincent Culberson.[1] His great-grandmother was Swedish.[1] Culberson attended West University Elementary School, Lanier Middle School, and Lamar High School.[2][3] He graduated from Southern Methodist University (SMU) in 1981 with a degree in history. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from South Texas College of Law in 1989. He is a distant relative of former Texas Governor Charles Allen Culberson.[citation needed]

Texas House of Representatives[edit]

During his time in law school, Culberson was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, serving his first term beginning in 1987. He was a member of the Republican Whip team, becoming Minority Whip in 1999 during his last term. Culberson began working for the law firm of Lorance and Thompson as a civil defense attorney after he graduated from South Texas. Culberson led the effort to regain state control of the Texas prison system. He also worked for expansion of urban freeway systems and for increased development of medical technology.[citation needed]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Committee assignments[edit]



Like Bill Archer, Culberson is an ardent fiscal and social conservative. His website includes his slogan "Letting Texans run Texas," which Culberson sees as a way to personify historical Jeffersonian values. Culberson is a member of the Appropriations Committee.[citation needed]

On Hardball with Chris Matthews, Culberson defended Texas Governor Rick Perry's secession comments saying "don't make too much of what Gov. Perry said, again, he was just revved up and I think in the heat of the moment said something that he certainly didn't mean in his heart. [Texans are] patriotic Americans. No one wants Texas to secede" .[citation needed]

On June 12, 2009, Culberson signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 1503, the bill introduced as a reaction to Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories.[4]

Culberson is active online with Twitter[5] and Qik.[6] He has used these online information dispersion services from House Committee meetings and from the Oval Office. On August 1, 2008, to protest the House going into summer recess without discussing a pending energy bill, Culberson and other House Republicans stayed to make speeches about the energy bill in question. The Democratic leadership in the House, which controls services in the chamber, responded by cutting the microphones and cameras. Culberson used the Twitter and Qik services to provide a live account of the proceedings. Culberson later compared this episode to the Iranian government's brutal crackdown against Twitter-coordinated protesters in June 2009.[7]

Culberson supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to temporarily curtail Muslim immigration until better screening methods are devised. He stated that “This is a necessary pause in the refugee program until our intelligence agencies can develop adequate background checks to ensure that the people coming into the country are coming in for the right reasons.”[8]


On April 17, 2014, Culberson introduced the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015 (H.R. 4486; 113th Congress) into the United States House of Representatives.[9] The bill would make appropriations for fiscal year 2015 for military construction and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.[10] The total amount appropriated by the introduced version of the bill is $71.5 billion, approximately $1.8 billion less than fiscal year 2014 due to a decrease in the need for military construction.[10]

Political campaigns[edit]

Culberson won the Republican nomination for the 7th District in 2000 after 15-term incumbent Bill Archer announced his retirement. He finished first in the Republican primary — traditionally the real contest in what has historically been a heavily Republican district – and defeated Peter Wareing in the runoff. He won easily in November, taking about 75% of the vote.


In 2008, Culberson faced his stiffest challenge to date in businessman Michael Skelly in the November 2008 election. Skelly, a former executive of Horizon Wind Energy, also served in the Peace Corps and earned an MBA from Harvard University. Skelly served on Mayor Bill White's Green Building Advisory Committee.[11] Culberson led with 56 percent of the vote with about two-thirds of precincts counted. Skelly had 43 percent of the vote. This was the closest a Democratic candidate had come to winning the district since it was created in 1967. Historically, Republicans at all levels garner well over 60 percent of the vote in this district.[citation needed]

As of June 30, 2008, Culberson had raised $983,204 with $550,228 cash on hand. As of the same date, Skelly had raised $1,465,519 with $1,050,314 cash on hand—more than any of Culberson's four previous challengers. In the previous four election cycles, Culberson had raised $1,092,972 (2000), $508,138 (2002), $628,783 (2004), and $718,882 (2006). In 2006, Jim Henley raised $122,145.[12]


Culberson ran unopposed.


Culberson was challenged by the Democratic nominee James Cargas, an energy lawyer for the City of Houston, Green party nominee Lance Findley, and Libertarian Drew Parks.


In the November 4, 2014 general election, Culberson again defeated Democrat James Cargas, who polled 4,092 votes (62.1 percent) in the March 4 primary election.[13] Culberson was unopposed in the Republican primary.


Culberson defeated James Lloyd and Maria Espinoza in the Republican primary election on March 1.[14] Culberson polled 44,202 votes (57.3 percent) to James Lloyd's 19,182 (24.9 percent) and the third candidate, Maria Espinoza's 13,772 (17.8 percent).[15]

He secured his eighth term in the general election held on November 8, when, with 143,542 votes (56.2 percent), he defeated the Democrat James Cargas (born 1966) of Houston, who garnered 111,991 ballots (43.8 percent).[16]

Controversy over soldiers' funerals and 9/11 reference[edit]

In August 2011, AlterNet reported that Culberson, along with Ted Poe and Michael McCaul, was attempting to remove the right of deceased soldiers families to choose which prayers, if any, were to be read at a soldier's funeral.[17][18] The three politicians were said to be attempting to impose Christian ceremonies on the military funerals of everybody who has served in the military, regardless of whether or not the deceased was Christian and with or without the consent of the family of the deceased. The three politicians stated their demands were a response to Veterans Affairs (VA) banning Christian prayers at military funerals, however, VA state this claim is "blatantly false" as VA respects a families "rights to pray however they choose at our national cemeteries".[17][18]

Culberson also courted controversy in 2013, when he said "like 9/11, 'let's roll!'" to describe a vote to make a delay of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act a condition for funding the government.[19]

Letter to President Obama regarding executive action over gun control[edit]

On January 5, 2016, Representative John Culberson, as the chairman of the house appropriations subcommittee which has jurisdiction over the Justice Department, wrote to Attorney General Loretta Lynch threatening to withhold the Department’s funding for fiscal 2016 and 2017 in opposition to President Obama’s executive order to regulate gun purchases. He warned, "The House Appropriations Committee will not provide resources to your department for the development of unlawful limitations on the unambiguous Second Amendment rights of Americans." Furthermore, Culbertson wrote that the committee’s expectation that the Justice Department will "allocate its resources to the enforcement of existing law" and that he looks "forward to reviewing a fiscal year spending plan and fiscal year budget request that enforces federal law and does not create new law."[20]


  1. ^ a b "culberson". 
  2. ^ "Biography" at the Wayback Machine (archived March 29, 2006), U.S. Congressman John Culberson, 7th District of Texas
  3. ^ "Distinguished HISD Alumni," Houston Independent School District
  4. ^ "Bill Summary & Status – 111th Congress (2009 – 2010) – H.R.1503 – Cosponsors – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  5. ^ Stranahan, Lee (February 19, 2009). "GOP Twitter Pioneer Culberson: An Interview In 140 Characters Or Less" (article). Huffington Post. Retrieved April 17, 2009. 
  6. ^ Reilley, Ryan (February 25, 2009). "Average Day: John Culberson (R-TX)". Washington City Paper. Retrieved April 17, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Has Pete Hoekstra Been Beaten Up by Nancy Pelosi's Militia? " The Washington Independent". Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  8. ^ Blake, Aaron. "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved 30 January 2017. 
  9. ^ "H.R. 4486 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Marcos, Cristina (25 April 2014). "Next week:Appropriations season begins". The Hill. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  11. ^ Skelly for Congress
  12. ^ Race: Texas District 07 Open Secrets, total raised and spent by year
  13. ^ "Democratic primary election returns". Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Republican Party Cumulative Report" (PDF). March 1, 2016. Retrieved April 21, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Republican primary returns". March 1, 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Election Results". Texas Secretary of State. November 8, 2016. Retrieved December 18, 2016. 
  17. ^ a b Griffith, Justin (August 5, 2011). "TX Congressmen to force Christian prayer over my dead body.". Retrieved September 6, 2011. 
  18. ^ a b DiBrance, Alex (August 23, 2011). "Texas Legislators and Christian Groups Fight to Insert God Into Vets' Funerals – Against Families' Wishes". AlterNet. Retrieved September 6, 2011. 
  19. ^ MacGillis, Alec (30 September 2013). "Meet the House Republican Who Compared Himself to the Flight 93 Heroes". The New Republic. Retrieved 4 December 2014. 
  20. ^ "House Appropriator Threatens to Block Justice Funding Over Gun Control, " Government Executive, 1/5/16

External links[edit]

Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
Milton E. Fox
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from District 125 (Houston)

Succeeded by
Sylvia Romo
Preceded by
Randy Pennington
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from District 130 (Houston)

Succeeded by
Bill Callegari
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bill Archer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 7th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Lacy Clay
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Susan Davis