|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 4th district
January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||Mike Ross|
|Born||Thomas Bryant Cotton
May 13, 1977
Dardanelle, Arkansas, U.S.
|Alma mater||Harvard University
Claremont Graduate University
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||2005–2009|
|Unit||101st Airborne Division|
Combat Infantryman Badge
Thomas Bryant "Tom" Cotton (born May 13, 1977) is a member of the United States House of Representatives representing Arkansas's 4th congressional district since 2013. He is a member of the Republican Party. He is a U.S. Army veteran and a lawyer.
Born in Russellville, Arkansas, Cotton is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He worked as a law clerk and as an attorney in private practice before joining in the U.S. Army in 2005. Cotton served a tour in Iraq and Afghanistan, before leaving the military with the rank of captain in 2009. He worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company before returning to his hometown of Dardanelle, Arkansas to work on his family's cattle farm.
In September 2011, Cotton announced his candidacy to run for Congress, after five term incumbent Mike Ross announced he wouldn't run for reelection. On May 22, 2012, he won the Republican primary with 57% of the vote, later defeating Arkansas State Senator Gene Jeffress in the general election with 59% of the vote.
Early life and education
Cotton was born in Dardanelle, Arkansas, on May 13, 1977, the son of Avis (née Bryant) and Thomas Leonard "Len" Cotton. His father is a Vietnam War veteran who served with the 4th Infantry Division. After graduating from Dardanelle High School in June 1995, he attended Harvard College, where he served as a columnist for the Harvard Crimson, and a member of the Harvard Republican Club. After graduating from Harvard magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government, he went on to Harvard Law School, where he received his law degree in June 2002.
On January 11, 2005, Cotton joined the United States Army and entered Officer Candidate School in March 2005. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army on June 30, 2005. Cotton later attended both the U.S. Army Airborne School and Ranger School.
As an infantry officer and platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division, he was deployed to Baghdad as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom on May 19, 2006. In Iraq, Cotton was responsible for a 41 man air assault infantry platoon in the 506th Infantry Regiment, and planned and led daily combat patrols. He completed his first combat tour in Iraq on November 20, 2006, and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Iraq Campaign Medal, and various campaign/service medals.
In June 2006, Cotton gained public attention after he wrote an open letter to The New York Times criticizing the paper's publication of an article detailing a Bush administration secret program monitoring terrorists' finances in which he called for three journalists, including the Times' editor, Bill Keller, to be imprisoned for espionage. The article was widely circulated online and reprinted in full in several newspapers.
Following his deployment in Iraq, Cotton was assigned as a platoon leader at The Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery, where he was responsible for conducting military honor funerals for veterans. In 2008, he volunteered to return to combat duty, was promoted to Captain on August 1, 2008, and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on October 15, 2008. In Afghanistan, Cotton was assigned to Laghman Province, just north of Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan. He was assigned duty as the operations officer of a Provincial Reconstruction Team, where he planned and resourced daily counter-insurgency and reconstruction operations for an 83-member joint and interagency team.
Cotton returned from Afghanistan on July 20, 2009. For his second tour in Afghanistan he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and various campaign/service medals. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army on September 26, 2009 at Fort Myer, Virginia.
He served as a clerk at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit for Judge Jerry Edwin Smith and then engaged in private practice as an attorney with the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and Cooper & Kirk, where he concentrated in labor, employment, and constitutional law, in cases at all levels of state and federal courts. After leaving active duty, Cotton joined McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm. He subsequently returned to Dardanelle, where he works on his family's cattle farm.
U.S. House of Representatives
Cotton ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican in Arkansas' 4th congressional district in the 2012 election, vacant as a result of Democratic U.S. Congressman Mike Ross' retirement.
In the 3rd quarter of 2011, Cotton reported raising $343,000 in donations.
In September 2011, the Democratic Party of Arkansas attacked Cotton for an article written 13 years earlier, in which he questioned the value of the Internet as a teaching tool in the classroom. Cotton has since stated that he believes the Internet has matured significantly over the past decade and has become a "vital tool for education and daily life" unlike the Internet of 1998.
Beth Anne Rankin, the 2010 Republican nominee, and John Cowart were the only other Republican candidates in the race after candidate Marcus Richmond dropped out in February 2012. In the primary on May 22, Cotton won the nomination, with 57% of the vote to Rankin's 38%.
On January 3, 2013, Cotton was sworn into the U.S. House by House Speaker John Boehner. As a freshman, he has been considered as a rising star in the Republican Party. Politico named him "most likely to succeed."
In August 2013, Cotton voted against student loan legislation in Congress. It was subsequently reported, and Cotton acknowledged, that Cotton himself had been the recipient of federally-backed Stafford loans while attending Harvard Law School. Critics such as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee charged that Cotton was being hypocritical by "denying students the same opportunities he received." In his defense, Cotton said that his vote was based on his opposition to the nationalization of the student-loan business which he claimed had been a component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Cotton explained: "I'm committed to bringing affordable higher education to every Arkansan and ending the federal-government monopoly on the student-lending business."
- Committee on Financial Services
- Committee on Foreign Affairs
2014 U.S. Senate election
- The Courier - Your Messenger for the River Valley - Patterson
- New Arkansas Rep. Cotton Draws Spotlight; 113th Congress Sworn In | The Times Record
- Combat Veterans For Congress | Electing Fiscal Conservatives
- "A RISING POLITICAL STAR IN ARKANSAS". cottonforcongress.com. October 22, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
- "Tom Cotton About". www.cottonforcongress.com. 2011-10-14. Retrieved 2011-12-05.
- 69th Anniversary of D-Day | Congressman Tom Cotton
- Pollack, Joel (14 December 2011). "http://biggovernment.com/jpollak/2011/12/14/meet-tom-cotton-farmer-scholar-lawyer-warrior/". Big Government. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
- Baumann, Nick. "The GOP Candidate Who Wants Journos Jailed". Mother Jones. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
- "Cotton makes early noise in 4th District race". www.thecitywire.com. 2011-08-22. Retrieved 2011-12-01.
- "Tom Cotton About". www.cottonforcongress.com. 2011-10-14. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- "Rep. Mike Ross to retire". www.thehill.com. 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
- "4th District GOP candidates report fundraising". www.arkansasnews.com. 2011-10-06. Retrieved 2011-12-05.
- "Tom Cotton learns value of Internet". www.arktimes.com. 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2011-09-16.
- "Ark. House hopeful's college writings targeted". www.chron.com. 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2011-12-01.
- "GOP's Richmond drops out of 4th district race". www.fox16.com. 2012-02-23. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
- "Cotton wins south Arkansas Republican congressional primary; Democrats head to runoff". www.therepublic.com. 2012-05-23. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
- "Candidates endorsed by Eagle Forum PAC, October 31, 2012". eagleforum.org. Retrieved November 3, 2012.
- Tea Party Express endorses Tom Cotton
- "He has close ties to both the Tea Party and the establishment wing of the party.
- "Representative Cotton Sworn Into Office". cotton.house.gov. January 3, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
- The freshman most likely to ________ - Kate Nocera - POLITICO.com
- Tom Cotton: No ordinary freshman congressman
- "Tom Cotton, Arkansas Rep., Took Student Loans, Voted Against Them". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
- Condon, Stephanie (2013-08-06). "Republican Rep. Tom Cotton announces bid to challenge Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.". CBS News. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- Gentilviso, Chris (8-7-2013). "Tom Cotton 2014 Senate Run Gets Early Club For Growth Endorsement". Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
- Judis, John (10-16-2013). "The Shrinking Club for Growth". The New Republic. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
- Joseph, Cameron (8-7-2013). "Club for Growth endorses Tom Cotton, launches ads in Arkansas Senate race". The Hill. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
- Tom Cotton Letter at Snopes
- Congressman Tom Cotton official U.S. House site
- Tom Cotton for Congress
- Tom Cotton on the Open Directory Project
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at The Library of Congress
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 4th congressional district
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Representatives by seniority