Ralph Abraham (politician)

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Ralph Abraham
Ralph Abraham official congressional photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 5th district
In office
January 3, 2015 – January 3, 2021
Preceded byVance McAllister
Succeeded byJulia Letlow[a]
Personal details
Ralph Lee Abraham Jr.

(1954-09-16) September 16, 1954 (age 68)
Alto, Louisiana, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Dianne Abraham
(m. 1977)
EducationLouisiana State University (BA, DVM)
Louisiana State University, New Orleans (MD)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceMississippi Army National Guard
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
RankArmy-USA-OF-01a.svg First lieutenant

Ralph Lee Abraham Jr. (born September 16, 1954) is an American veterinarian, physician, and politician who served as the U.S. representative for Louisiana's 5th congressional district from 2015 to 2021.[3][4][5] A member of the Republican Party, he is a native and resident of Alto, Louisiana.

Abraham ran for governor of Louisiana in 2019, but failed to advance to the runoff. On February 26, 2020, he announced that he would not run for reelection to Congress in 2020.[6]

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Abraham is the son of Marlene Posey, a retired educator, and Ralph Abraham Sr.[7] His paternal grandparents were emigrants from Lebanon.[8]

He graduated from Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1980 and was a practicing veterinarian for ten years.[9] He returned to Louisiana State University School of Medicine for a medical degree in 1994 and practiced family medicine.[9]

Abraham has served in the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Mississippi National Guard.[10] He and his wife, Dianne, have three children.[10] He has been an aviation medical examiner.[11]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



Abraham defeated his Democratic opponent, Mayor Jamie Mayo of Monroe, 134,612 votes (64.2%) to 75,004 (35.8%).[12] He was sworn into office on January 3, 2015.


In his bid for reelection, Abraham defeated one challenger, fellow Republican Billy Burkette[13] of Baton Rouge, a former constable in East Feliciana Parish and former chairman of the Louisiana Band of Choctaw Indians. Burkette claimed in his campaign that the Environmental Protection Agency had issued overly strict regulations that hamper farming.[14]


Abraham defeated three challengers in 2018: Billy Burkette, an Independent from Pride, Louisiana; Jessee Carlton Fleenor, a Democrat from Loranger, and Kyle Randol, a Libertarian from Monroe.[15] Abraham polled 149,010 votes (67%) to Fleenor's 67,113 votes (30%). Burkette and Randol received the remaining 3%.[16]


After his election, Abraham chose Luke Letlow, his campaign manager, as chief of staff.[17]

In June 2017, Abraham co-sponsored the Civil Rights Uniformity Act of 2017.[18]

In August 2017, Abraham endorsed President Donald Trump's nomination of Terry Doughty, also of Richland Parish, for a seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, based in Monroe. The selection also carried the backing of U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy and John Neely Kennedy.[19]

In December 2017, Abraham voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.[20] After voting, he said, "This is going to be a great tax bill, and great tax reform not only for Louisiana but for the United States." He said businesses would benefit greatly and be able to "reinvest in their infrastructure, reinvest in their employees", and that wages would increase and job opportunities grow.[21]

In 2020, Abraham opted not to run for reelection, and endorsed Letlow in the election to succeed him.[22] Letlow won the election, but died from COVID-19 complications a few days before he was scheduled to take office.[23]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Gubernatorial campaign[edit]

On December 6, 2018, Abraham declared his candidacy for governor of Louisiana in the 2019 Louisiana gubernatorial election.[29] He placed third, behind fellow Republican Eddie Rispone and Democratic incumbent John Bel Edwards, failing to advance to the runoff required under Louisiana law as no candidate received a majority in the primary.

Political positions[edit]


Abraham greeting Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in 2018

In March 2017, Abraham visited with about 70 farmers from the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation, an agricultural lobby. He told them, "Food security is national security. Agriculture is at the forefront of the fight because any interruption in the food supply or a compromise in its safety goes right to the heart of the nation."[30] Marty Wooldridge, a cattleman from Caddo Parish, said that Abraham's slogan "Food security is national security" should be incorporated into the Farm Bureau's slogan. Louisiana's only member on the House Agriculture Committee, Abraham saw his job in part as "educating members whose districts might be deeply metropolitan and who have no perspective on the importance of agriculture."[30] In 2018, he was named to the conference committee for the 2018 Farm Bill. The conference committee resolves differences in the House and the Senate versions of the Farm Bill.[31]

Health care[edit]

Abraham believes the Affordable Care Act should be repealed. He opposes the expansion of Medicaid.[32]

Economic issues[edit]

Abraham supports simplifying the tax code.[32]

He supports equal pay for women.[32]

Energy policy[edit]

Abraham is in favor of the Keystone Pipeline.[32]


Regarding illegal immigration, Abraham opposed amnesty and supported strengthening border security.[32] He supported Trump's 2017 executive order to temporarily halt immigration from seven specified nations until the development of more enhanced screening methods. His spokesman said, "Dr. Abraham generally supports President Trump's temporary suspension of the refugee and immigration admittance program. Dr. Abraham agrees with President Trump that we must take all necessary steps to protect American citizens from potential terrorism threats, and this temporary measure from the President will allow for a thorough review of our policies and procedures for vetting applicants from war-torn areas."[33]

Abraham has said he supports banning sanctuary cities in Louisiana, and that he would pay for four minority congresswomen, three of whom were born in the U.S., to leave the United States, if they would tell him where they'd like to go, referencing Trump's "send them back" comments.[34]

Death penalty[edit]

Abraham has said he supports the death penalty and as governor would find a way to resume executions in the state. He also wants to expand it to include child molesters.[35][36]


Abraham opposes late term abortions. In May 2015, he said, "As a doctor, I know and I can attest that this bill is backed by scientific research showing that babies can indeed feel pain at 20 weeks, if not before".[37]

Drug policy[edit]

In 2016, Abraham had a "D" rating from marijuana legalization advocacy group NORML for his voting history regarding cannabis-related causes.[38]

LGBT issues[edit]

Abraham was "100 percent" opposed to transgender people serving in the military.[18]

Texas v. Pennsylvania[edit]

In December 2020, Abraham was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives to sign an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden defeated[39] Trump. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of an election held by another state.[40][41][42]


  1. ^ Abraham's chief of staff Luke Letlow was elected to succeed him, but died on December 29, 2020, of COVID-19.[1] A special election was held on March 20, 2021, and was won by Letlow's widow, Julia Letlow, who assumed the office on April 14.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Deslatte, Melinda (December 30, 2020). "Louisiana Congressman-elect Luke Letlow dies from COVID-19". Associated Press. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  2. ^ Seitz-Wald, Alex (March 20, 2021). "Republican Julia Letlow wins special congressional election in Louisiana, NBC News projects". NBC News. Retrieved March 21, 2021.
  3. ^ "Guide to the New Congress" (PDF). Roll Call. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  4. ^ Broach, Drew (October 25, 2017). "Just where does Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham actually live?". NOLA.com - The Times-Picayune. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  5. ^ "NELA Doctor Running for Congress". myarklamiss.com. May 30, 2014. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  6. ^ Crisp, Elizabeth (February 26, 2020). "Ex-governor candidate U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham won't seek another term in Congress". The Advocate. Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  7. ^ Hilburn, Greg (July 29, 2015). "Congressman Abraham's mother, 83, dies". The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  8. ^ Viebeck, Elise (February 1, 2017). "Arab-American Republican lawmakers divided on Trump's travel ban". Washington Post. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  9. ^ a b Goddard, Valerie (July 15, 2015). "Is there a job Ralph Abraham can't do?". JAVMAnews. American Veterinary Medical Association. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
  10. ^ a b Hilburn, Greg (November 22, 2014). "Abraham: 'We remained consistent and persistent'". The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  11. ^ Abraham, Ralph. "Medical Examiner". www.RalphAbraham.com. Abraham for Congress Campaign. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  12. ^ "Runoff election returns, December 6, 2014". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  13. ^ Mott, Ashley (November 9, 2016). "Abraham reelected in 5th district seat". Monroe News Star. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  14. ^ Mott, Ashley (November 5, 2016). "Incumbent Abraham faces Burkette in 5th district race". Monroe News-Star. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  15. ^ "Ralph Abraham has three challengers for congressional seat". KNOE.com. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  16. ^ "Election Returns". Louisiana Secretary of State. November 6, 2018. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  17. ^ Hilburn, Greg (December 10, 2014). "Letlow named Abraham's chief of staff". The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  18. ^ a b Gamard, Sarah (August 9, 2017). "Louisiana congressman part of effort to end 'gender' debate". Salon. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  19. ^ Leader, Barbara; Hilburn, Greg (August 4, 2017). "Trump taps Rayville judge for federal bench". The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  20. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (December 19, 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  21. ^ "Louisiana's Republican delegation supports tax reform bill". WWL. December 20, 2017. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  22. ^ "Start resident seeks Congressional seat". Richland Beacon-News. Rayville, Louisiana. March 17, 2020. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  23. ^ WAFB, Staff (December 29, 2020). "Louisiana Congressman-elect Luke Letlow dies after being hospitalized with coronavirus". WAFB News. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  24. ^ Greg Hilburn and Deborah Barfield Berry. "Abraham assignment gives cover for Barksdale, Fort Polk". TheNewsStar.com. The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  25. ^ "Members". Congressional Western Caucus. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  26. ^ "Ralph Abraham, Bio and Caucus List". MilitaryTimes.com. Military Times. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  27. ^ "Members of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus". Veterinary Medicine Caucus. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  28. ^ "Members". U.S. - Japan Caucus. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  29. ^ McCarty, Erin. "Congressman Ralph Abraham is running for governor". Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  30. ^ a b Hilburn, Greg (March 17, 2017). "Rep. Abraham: Ag is America's 'thin green line'". The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  31. ^ Hilburn, Greg (July 18, 2018). "Abraham to craft final Farm Bill language". The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  32. ^ a b c d e Causey, Kaleb (November 20, 2014). "Mayo, Abraham face off in 5th District debate". The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  33. ^ Blake, Aaron. "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  34. ^ Ralph Abraham defends Trump's attack on congresswomen: 'I’ll pay for their tickets out of this country', The Advocate, Elizabeth Crisp, July 15, 2019. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  35. ^ Braun, Paul. "Gov. Edwards Spars With GOP Opponents During TV Debate". www.wwno.org. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  36. ^ Jacobs, David. "Louisiana governor candidates face off two days before early voting begins". The Center Square. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  37. ^ Morris, Meagan (October 4, 2017). "Passed abortion ban cited 'fetal pain,' but what does science say about it?". Metro US. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  38. ^ "Louisiana Scorecard". NORML. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  39. ^ Blood, Michael R.; Riccardi, Nicholas (December 5, 2020). "Biden officially secures enough electors to become president". AP News. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  40. ^ Liptak, Adam (December 11, 2020). "Supreme Court Rejects Texas Suit Seeking to Subvert Election". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  41. ^ "Order in Pending Case" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United States. December 11, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  42. ^ Diaz, Daniella. "Brief from 126 Republicans supporting Texas lawsuit in Supreme Court". CNN. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative