Matthew Thomas "Matt" Shea (born April 18, 1974) is an American politician of the Republican Party. He is a member of the Washington House of Representatives, representing the 4th Legislative District.
Shea was born in Spokane on April 14, 1974, to Alice and Michael Shea. He attended both Pasadena and Ponderosa Elementary Schools in Spokane Valley, later moving to Bellingham, where Shea attended middle and high school. He and his younger brother, Marc, played baseball for Sehome High School, playing in the AA Baseball State Championship during his senior year.
Shea enjoys cutting firewood, hiking, hunting, fishing, and playing the guitar.
Shea credits his father, Michael, with teaching him "the importance of giving back to America in gratitude for all the freedoms this country has given to (Shea)". He credits his wife, Viktoriya, for "an incredible perspective on freedom after living under communist rule in Ukraine during her childhood".
Shea joined the Reserved Officer Training Corps (ROTC), continuing as a Distinguished Military Graduate from Gonzaga University in 1996, finishing in the top 3 of his Officer Basic Training course.
From May 1996 to June 2006, he served in the U.S. Army in Fort Knox, KY and Fort Carson, CO, achieving the rank of Captain. He served two combat tours: one as a platoon leader in Camp Dobol, Bosnia-Herzegovina for eight months, and then eleven months as a company commander in Baghdad, Iraq. Later, he was recognized as the top-rated captain in his battalion.
He has been awarded the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Achievement Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and the Order of St. Maurice.
Shea co-founded Washington State’s Freedom Agenda slate of conservative legislation, including House Bill 1858, House Bill 1918, and House Bill 2785. He voted against Washington State gay marriage legislation in 2009, and again in 2012. Shea endorsed Ron Paul during the 2012 Republican presidential primaries.
Endorsements, awards and group affiliations
Shea is endorsed by the Credit Union Legislative Action Fund, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Spokane Home Builders Association, the Washington Restaurant Association, Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR), Gun Owners’ Action League of Washington, Human Life PAC, Justice for All PAC, Parents’ Rights of Washington, and the Spokane County Constitutional Republicans. In 2012 and 2016, Shea received the National Federation of Independent Business' Guardian of Small Business award for a 100% pro-small business voting record.
Shea is a founding member and current chairman of the Coalition of Western States (COWS). In an interview, Shea stated that COWS' goals are to “facilitate the transfer of public lands back to the state level, and to have the states and counties manage the land”. During the 2014 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Shea and other COWS members traveled to Burns, Oregon, allegedly attempting to negotiate on behalf of the militants occupying the reserve. In 2015, Shea supported Idaho Representative Heather Scott, a fellow COWS member, in a protest near the home of John Arnold. Arnold had received a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) stating the VA had found him mentally incompetent, and protesters worried that his right to own firearms may have been impacted by the VA's findings.
In 2015, Shea received the National Security Eagle Award for anti-terrorism legislation from ACT! for America in Washington, D.C. ACT founder and president Brigitte Gabriel stated “Matt Shea has been a tireless fighter on issues of national security. Thanks to his hard work, the Revised Code of Washington now contains provisions ensuring the U.S. and Washington state constitutions will be the supreme law of the land, and blocking the establishment of religious courts”.
Shea has been the focus of news articles related to angry outbursts at his legislative office, and a report claiming that he was disarmed by a commander while he served in Iraq due to anger management issues.
Differences between Shea and Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich resulted in Shea stating "the Southern Poverty Law Center — and the sheriff (Knezovich) that backs them — is the most dangerous organization in this country".
In November 2011, Shea allegedly "pulled a gun during a confrontation with another motorist...in what police reports describe as a road rage incident". Copies of alleged police reports hosted on Shea's campaign website state that Leroy Norris “did not believe that the driver of the truck pointed the gun at him at any time”, and that Norris "slammed on his brakes as the Ford Ranger was following him, in an attempt to cause a collision and potentially disable the truck". Shea's website also includes the statement of an unidentified "second independent witness" who allegedly wrote that "Rep. Shea maintained a calm demeanor throughout the incident…To be honest I would have done the same thing if I were him…” Shea was cited by Spokane Police for carrying a loaded firearm in his vehicle without a permit, and for displaying the firearm in a manner to alarm others; he was later charged in court with a single count of having a loaded pistol in his vehicle without a valid permit, resulting in the city agreeing to a stipulated order of continuance. The charge was later dismissed.
- "WIAA | Washington Interscholastic Activities Association". www.wiaa.com. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "Bio | Matt Shea". voteshea.com. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "American Christian Network". www.acn.cc. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "Legislative District 04". results.vote.wa.gov. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "Spokane County November 4, 2014 General Election". results.vote.wa.gov. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "November 8, 2016 General Election Results - Legislative District 4 - State Representative Pos. 1 County Breakdown". results.vote.wa.gov. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "Governor signs Shea's 2016 'Freedom Agenda' bills - Washington State House Republicans". houserepublicans.wa.gov. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "Ron Paul: Press Release - Ron Paul Endorsed By Washington State Rep. Matt Shea". www.presidency.ucsb.edu. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- http://wahospitality.org/blog/2016-endorsements/. Missing or empty
- "GOAL Alert - Election Update - 2-2014 - Gun Owners Action League of Washington". Gun Owners Action League of Washington. 2014-10-18. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "Life Pac of SW Washington". lifepac.org. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "Justice For All PAC". www.washingtonjustice.org. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- https://www.facebook.com/Parents-Rights-of-Washington-302546983121484/. Missing or empty
- (PDF) https://s3.amazonaws.com/NFIB/AMS%20Content/Attachments/2/1-74278-NFIB-WA-Guardians-2015-16.pdf. Missing or empty
- "Home - Coalition of Western States". Coalition of Western States. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "Coalition Of Western States forms to Protect Against Federal Overreach | Radio Free Redoubt". radiofreeredoubt.com. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- Sepulvado, John. "Republican Politicians Planned And Participated In Key Aspects Of Refuge Occupation". www.opb.org. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "Vet fights for gun rights". Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "Rep. Matt Shea receives national award for work on anti-terrorism legislation - Washington State House Republicans". houserepublicans.wa.gov. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "McCaslin blasts Shea as possible successor for state Senate seat". Spokesman.com. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- Walters, Daniel. "Manufacturing Fear". Inlander. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "Legislator pulled gun during road incident". Spokesman.com. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "Truth | Matt Shea". voteshea.com. Retrieved 2017-01-17.