Steve Knight (politician)

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Steve Knight
Steve Knight official congressional photo.jpeg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 25th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded by Buck McKeon
Member of the California State Senate
from the 21st district
In office
December 3, 2012 – January 3, 2015
Preceded by Sharon Runner (redistricted)
Succeeded by Sharon Runner
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 36th district
In office
December 1, 2008 – November 30, 2012
Preceded by Sharon Runner
Succeeded by Steve Fox
Palmdale City Councilman
In office
December 5, 2005 – December 1, 2008
Succeeded by Laura Bettencourt
Personal details
Born Stephen Thomas Knight
(1966-12-17) December 17, 1966 (age 50)
Edwards Air Force Base, Antelope Valley, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Lily Knight
Residence Palmdale, California, U.S.
Alma mater Antelope Valley College
Profession Police officer
Website House website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1985-1993

Stephen Thomas Knight (born December 17, 1966) is an American politician. A Republican, he is the U.S. Representative for California's 25th congressional district. Previously, he represented California's 21st State Senate district from 2012 to 2014 and California's 36th State Assembly district from 2008 through 2012. From 2010 to 2012, he served as Assistant Minority Leader in the California State Assembly.[2] Knight served in the U.S. Army from 1985 to 1993 and served for 18 years with the Los Angeles Police Department. He was previously a member of the Palmdale, California City Council.

Early life, military service and career[edit]

Knight was born at Edwards Air Force Base in Antelope Valley, California in 1966.[3] After graduating from Palmdale High School, he served in the U.S. Army from 1985 to 1987 as a track systems mechanic in Friedberg, Germany.[4] When his tour ended, he served in the Army Reserve, and his total military service spanned from 1985 to 1993.[5] In 2006, Knight received an associate of arts degree from Antelope Valley College.[6]

Knight served for 18 years with the Los Angeles Police Department, where he was selected to serve on the Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums (CRASH) team.[7] He served on the Palmdale City Council and represented the north Los Angeles County area in both the California State Assembly and California State Senate.[8]

Steve Knight speaks with members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

California State Legislature[edit]

Knight was elected to the California State Assembly in November 2008, succeeding Sharon Runner. From 2010 to 2012, he was the Assistant Minority Leader of the California State Assembly.[9] In 2012, Knight was elected to the California State Senate, where he represented the 21st District until 2014. His father, the late William J. "Pete" Knight served as Republican state senator in the Antelope Valley.[8]

In the State Assembly, Knight was Vice Chairman of the Natural Resources and Public Safety Committee and served on the Aerospace; Local Government; Utilities and Commerce; and Rules Committees.[10]

While in the California State Legislature, Knight focused his efforts on reducing the tax burden on California families and businesses, and restoring the state's economic vitality during the Great Recession. In September 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill introduced by Knight that aimed to protect California’s disabled veterans by fixing an issue with property tax exemptions.[11][12]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]


Knight focused his 2014 campaign on jobs and education.[13] The Los Angeles Daily News endorsed Knight in the 2014 primary election.[14] Due to California's blanket primary system, Knight faced fellow Republican Tony Strickland in the November 4, 2014, general election. Knight defeated Strickland with 53% of the vote.[15]

Knight was sworn into office on January 6, 2015, aged 48.[16] In April 2015, Knight had a verbal altercation with a protester. After the protester touched him, Knight threatened him but later apologized.[17]


In May 2015, the National Republican Congressional Committee named Knight to its Patriot Program. The program gives added attention by the party to reelection campaigns in districts most likely to switch to Democratic representation in upcoming elections.[18]

In June 2016, analyst David Wasserman moved Knight's district into the "toss-up" category, due to the negative influence of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on down-ticket races and the growth in Democratic voter registration in the 25th Congressional District.[19] In addition to Knight, two Democrats and one other Republican filed to run in the district's top-two primary, which took place on June 7, 2016.[20] Knight and Democrat Bryan Caforio advanced to the general election.[21]

Knight was endorsed by the Los Angeles Daily News.[22] He was also endorsed by Lou Vince, an L.A. police lieutenant and Democrat who finished third (behind Knight and Bryan Caforio) in the 25th district's June 2016 primary.[23]

Knight was re-elected in the general election on November 8, 2016. He defeated Democrat Bryan Caforio with 54% of the vote.[24]


Knight has authored a bill that would create a national memorial to mark the site of the St. Francis Dam disaster in the Santa Clarita Valley.[25]

The Aliso Canyon Gas Leak from an underground natural gas storage facility owned by the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), a subsidiary of Sempra Energy occurred in Knight's district and became public in October 2015. Knight was criticized by some constituents for his reaction to the leak. He did not visit the Porter Ranch gas leak site until January 8, 2016, saying that he did not want to politicize the problem. Knight declined to co-sign a request for an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with Representative Brad Sherman of the neighboring Congressional district. He wrote in an op-ed that EPA involvement would "hinder the ongoing process".[26] Knight said in December 2015 that he was confident that SoCalGas was “working on this as diligently as they can.”[27]

In February 2016, Knight introduced a bill that would block mining at Soledad Canyon.[28] Knight also introduced legislation intended to increase federal regulation of gas storage facilities and prevent natural gas leaks.[29] Knight's legislation was merged into a bipartisan bill named the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016. In April 2016, the bill was passed unanimously by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.[30] In June 2016, Knight's bill was signed into law by President Obama.[31]

Also in February 2016, Knight introduced legislation that would allow the Federal Aviation Administration to continue and expand upon its research, engineering and development programs through 2019.[32][33]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus Membership[edit]

  • House Aerospace Caucus
  • Alzheimer's Disease Task Force
  • Republican Law Enforcement Task Force
  • 21st Century Agency Reform Task Force
  • Congressional Lupus Caucus
  • Congressional Military Family Caucus
  • Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus
  • Congressional NASA Caucus

Political positions[edit]


Knight opposes abortion.[34]


Knight has constantly supported the Aerospace industry. His legislation, H.R. 3033, the Aeronautics Innovation Act of 2017, would ensure stable funding mechanisms and give NASA stability to prove new technology. [34]

Confederate Flag[edit]

In 2014, Knight was one of three California legislators who voted against a measure barring the display or sale of Confederate flag images from California state museums and gift shops.[35]

Donald Trump[edit]

Knight did not make an endorsement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, saying that he could not support Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton or Republican nominee Donald Trump.[36] Knight said he was "deeply disturbed" by reports that in 2005 Trump bragged about grabbing and groping women without their consent.[37] In December 2016, Knight revealed that he voted for Trump after all.[38]

In February 2017, he voted against a resolution that would have directed the House to request 10 years of Trump's tax returns, which would then have been reviewed by the House Ways and Means Committee in a closed session.[39]


Knight opposes federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.[34] In September, 2014, asked on a candidate questionnaire if he believed the scientific consensus on climate change, Knight wrote that California's efforts to curtail global warming were "rash," that California's law the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) was "killing California’s economy", and that the federal government should not regulate greenhouse gas emissions.[40]

The League of Conservation Voters has given Knight a lifetime score of 0%.[41]


Knight is in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).[34] He wrote "The Affordable Care Act is a prime example of bad policy" on a September, 2014 candidate questionnaire.[40] On May 4, 2017, Knight voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and pass the American Health Care Act.[42][43][44][45]

Knight highlighted how he contributed to an amendment to the bill that would provide $8 billion in funding over five years to help insure those with preexisting conditions in so-called "high-risk pools".[46]


In May 2016, Knight participated in a public debate with his Democratic challengers. In it he said that immigration reform should focus on those who want to move to the U.S. legally.[47] In 2014, he voted to uphold California's ban on bilingual education.[48]

Social Security[edit]

In a debate with other candidates in May 2016, Knight called Social Security "a bad idea" and warned that the U.S. Social Security system retirement system will run out of money by 2030 if major changes are not implemented.[47]

LGBT rights[edit]

He supported Proposition 8, an initiative in California to eliminates rights of same-sex couples to marry.[49] He voted against an amendment, which ultimately failed narrowly, that stated that religious corporations, associations and institutions that receive federal contracts can't be discriminated against on the basis of religion. Democrats warn that such a provision could potentially allow discrimination against the LGBT community in the name of religious freedom.[50] [51]

Payday loans[edit]

In April 2015, Knight voted to impose a one-year delay on new Department of Defense rules designed to shield military families from abusive terms on payday loans and other forms of expensive short-term credit.[52]

Vaccine controversy[edit]

In 2012, Knight voted against legislation that would require parents to obtain a waiver for unvaccinated children.[53]

Personal life[edit]

Knight is Roman Catholic; he lives in Palmdale with his wife Lily and their two sons.[6]


  1. ^ "California-25: Steve Knight (R)". Retrieved November 11, 2016. 
  2. ^ Smith, Perry (November 10, 2014). "Speculation Begins For Steve Knight’s State Senate Seat". KHTS. Retrieved February 17, 2016. 
  3. ^ "KNIGHT profile". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved February 17, 2016. 
  4. ^ "New Members Guide 2015". The Hill. Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  5. ^ "New Members of the 114th Congress Who Have Served in the Military" (PDF). Exchange and Commissary News. Westbury, NY: Executive Business Media. December 1, 2014. p. 11. 
  6. ^ a b "House of Representatives Member Profile; Rep. Steve Knight". Washington, D.C.: CQ-Roll Call, Inc. September 8, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Steve Knight (R) - District 21". California State Senate. Retrieved February 17, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Panzar, Javier (December 10, 2015). "Democratic lawyer announcing challenge to GOP Rep. Steve Knight". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 17, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Steve Knight's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  10. ^ "Our View: Knight for state Senate". Santa Clarita Valley Signal. October 2, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Gov. Brown passes bill for disabled veterans". Daily Press. September 30, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Knight Measures To Help Veterans, And Protect The Disabled Clear The Senate". High Desert Daily. May 28, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2016. 
  13. ^ Simon, Melissa (October 24, 2014). "Strickland, Knight focus on jobs, education". Simi Valley Acorn. Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  14. ^ "Endorsement: Steve Knight for Congress in California's 25th District". Los Angeles Daily News. May 8, 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  15. ^ Winburn, Jim (November 5, 2014). "2014 General Election results of interest to Antelope Valley voters". The Antelope Valley Times. Retrieved February 17, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Congressman Steve Knight Sworn Into Office". KHTS. January 6, 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  17. ^ Bump, Philip (April 21, 2015). "California Rep. Steve Knight tells a protester, "I’ll drop your ass"". Washington Post. Retrieved February 17, 2016. 
  18. ^ Merl, Jean (May 1, 2015). "Republicans add Californians to list of its vulnerable House members". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 17, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Is Rep. Steve Knight California's most endangered incumbent?", L.A. Times, June 30, 2016.
  20. ^ Wenner, Gretchen (April 25, 2016). "Knight faces three primary challengers in 25th congressional district". Ventura County Star. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  21. ^ Daly, Krista (June 8, 2016). "It's Knight, Caforio in November election for 25th Congressional District". Santa Clarita Valley Signal. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  22. ^ "Re-elect Steve Knight to Congress in 25th District: Endorsement". Los Angeles Daily News. September 30, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2016. 
  23. ^ Panzar, Javier (September 30, 2016). "Democrat who lost in the primary says he will vote for Republican Rep. Steve Knight in heated House race". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 6, 2016. 
  24. ^ Sullivan, Bartholomew (November 9, 2016). "Brownley, Knight, Carbajal win House seats". Ventura County Star. USA Today. Retrieved November 11, 2016. 
  25. ^ Money, Luke (January 1, 2016). "Knight cites frustrations, progress during first year in Congress". Santa Clarita Valley Signal. Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  26. ^ Panzar, Javier (January 18, 2016). "As Porter Ranch Gas Leak Lingers, Candidates Smell a Political Opportunity". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 16, 2017. 
  27. ^ "The Invisible Catastrophe", New York Times, March 31, 2016.
  28. ^ Money, Luke (February 16, 2016). "Wilk introduces ‘Plan B’ to help block Cemex mine". Santa Clarita Valley Signal. Retrieved February 17, 2016. 
  29. ^ Healy, Patrick (February 16, 2016). "Energy Secretary Calls for 'Fresh Look' at Regulation After Gas Leak". NBC. Retrieved February 17, 2016. 
  30. ^ Bartholomew, Dana (April 24, 2016). "Valley lawmakers continue push for safer natural gas storage". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  31. ^ Bartholomew, Dana (June 22, 2016). "National bill signed to prevent gas leaks like the one near Porter Ranch". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  32. ^ Varela, Rob (February 8, 2016). "Knight pushes FAA bill to expand aerospace research". Ventura County Star. Retrieved February 17, 2016. 
  33. ^ "Knight Introduces Aerospace Research Legislation". KHTS. February 9, 2016. Retrieved February 17, 2016. 
  34. ^ a b c d "The Voter's Self Defense System". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2017-02-12.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ":0" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  35. ^ Merl, Jean (August 27, 2014). "Confederate flag vote puts Knight on spot in congressional race". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 17, 2016. 
  36. ^ Samuels, Nikolas (October 8, 2016). "Congressman Steve Knight releases statement on Saturday saying he ‘cannot support’ Donald Trump". Santa Clarita Valley Signal. Retrieved October 20, 2016. 
  37. ^ "Did Knight Say He'll Vote for Donald?", Los Angeles Times, October 14, 2016.
  38. ^ "Essential Politics November archives". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  39. ^ "These are all the Republicans who don’t want you to see Donald Trump’s tax returns". indy100. 2017-02-28. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  40. ^ a b "Beacon Exclusive: Knight, Strickland Debate the 25th Congressional District Issues". SCV Beacon. Santa Clarita, California. September 9, 2014. Retrieved March 16, 2017. 
  41. ^ "Check out Representative Steve Knight's Environmental Voting Record". League of Conservation Voters Scorecard. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  42. ^ "How the House voted to pass the GOP health-care bill". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  43. ^ "Health care vote puts pressure on dozens of vulnerable GOP reps". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  44. ^ "All of California's GOP House members voted to pass the Obamacare repeal bill". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-05-05. 
  45. ^ "Here are the major changes to the GOP healthcare bill". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-05-05. 
  46. ^ Bollag, Sophia. "Vulnerable California Republicans defend health bill votes". Retrieved 2017-05-10. 
  47. ^ a b Candid debate at Hart Hall, Santa Clarita Valley Signal, May 5, 2016.
  48. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  49. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  50. ^ Marcos, Cristina (2016-05-19). "Chaos in House after GOP votes down LGBT measure". TheHill. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  51. ^ "Really, 30 Republicans Switched Sides on LGBT Discrimination". Roll Call. 2016-05-20. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  52. ^ "Democrats Defeat GOP Plan to Block Predatory Lending Protections For Soldiers", The Huffington Post, April 30, 2015.
  53. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Buck McKeon
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 25th congressional district

January 3, 2015 – present
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
John Katko
R-New York
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Brenda Lawrence
Political offices
Preceded by
Sharon Runner
California State Senator
21st District
December 3, 2012 – January 3, 2015
Succeeded by
Sharon Runner
California State Assemblymember
36th District
December 1, 2008 – November 30, 2012
Succeeded by
Steve Fox