Virginia Foxx

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Virginia Foxx
Virginia Foxx official photo.jpg
Ranking Member of the House Education and Labor Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Preceded byBobby Scott (Education and the Workforce)
Chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee
In office
January 3, 2017 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byJohn Kline
Succeeded byBobby Scott (Education and Labor)
Secretary of the House Republican Conference
In office
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2017
LeaderJohn Boehner
Paul Ryan
Preceded byJohn Carter
Succeeded byJason T. Smith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 5th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2005
Preceded byRichard Burr
Personal details
Virginia Ann Palmieri

(1943-06-29) June 29, 1943 (age 77)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Thomas Foxx
EducationUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (BA)
University of North Carolina at Greensboro (MA, EdD)

Virginia Ann Foxx (née Palmieri;[1][2] June 29, 1943) is the U.S. Representative for North Carolina's 5th congressional district, which encompasses much of the northwestern portion of the state and a portion of Winston-Salem. Foxx is a member of the Republican Party and served as Secretary of the House Republican Conference from January 2013 until January 2017.[3] She is the ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Foxx was born in The Bronx, New York, to Dollie (née Garrison) and Nunzio John Palmieri. She was reared in a rural area of Avery County, North Carolina. Foxx grew up in a poor family and first lived in a home with running water and electricity at 14 years old.[4]

While attending Crossnore High School in Crossnore, North Carolina, she worked as a janitor at the school and was the first in her family to graduate from high school.[5] She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor's degree in 1968 and later earned both a Master of Arts in college teaching (1972) and Ed.D (1985) from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.[2][6] With her husband, Virginia Foxx owned and operated a nursery and landscaping business.[6]

Foxx worked as a research assistant and then an English instructor at Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute and Appalachian State University before moving into university administration. From 1987 until her 1994 entry into politics, she was president of Mayland Community College. Under North Carolina Governor James G. Martin, Foxx served as Deputy Secretary for Management.[6] From 1994 to 2004, Foxx served in the North Carolina Senate.[7]

United States House of Representatives[edit]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Political campaigns[edit]

Virginia Foxx
Virginia Foxx talking with constituents in Yadkinville, NC

Foxx was first elected to the U.S. House in 2004, defeating Jim Harrell, Jr. with 59% of the vote.[11]

Foxx was briefly targeted for defeat in the 2006 elections, but the Democrats' top choice, popular Winston-Salem mayor Allen Joines, decided not to run. Joines later said that he didn't have the stomach for the kind of race he felt it would take to defeat Foxx.[12] Her 2006 opponent was Roger Sharpe, whom she defeated.

Roy Carter of Ashe County, North Carolina was Foxx's opponent for her seat in the 2008 election; she won by a substantial margin.

In November 2010, Foxx was reelected with about 65% of the vote.[13]

In November 2014, Foxx was reelected with about 60% of the vote, defeating software developer Josh Brannon.[14]

In November 2016, Foxx was reelected with about 59% of the vote, again over Josh Brannon.[15]

In November 2018, Foxx was reelected with 57% of the vote, defeating DD Adams, a Council Member for the North Ward of Winston-Salem.[16]


Foxx during the 110th Congress

Hurricane Katrina[edit]

In September 2005, Foxx was one of 11 members of Congress to vote against[17] the $51 billion aid package to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Heroes Earned Retirement Opportunities (HERO) Act[edit]

The first bill sponsored by Foxx to have been signed into law since 2006, the Hero Act, signed by President Bush on Memorial Day, 2006, allows U.S. troops to increase their retirement savings by investing a portion of their combat pay into Individual Retirement Accounts.

Electronic Pay Stub Act[edit]

The second bill sponsored by Foxx and subsequently signed into law is the Electronic Pay Stub Act which gives federal employees the choice of receiving their pay stubs electronically. This legislation is projected to save taxpayers millions of dollars. Studies have shown that it costs 10 times more to purchase and distribute paper stubs than it does to distribute electronic stubs.[18] This bill was signed into law in October, 2008.[19]

Troubled Asset Relief Program[edit]

Shortly after Congress approved the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Foxx identified a provision in the law that allowed her to force consideration of a measure to deny the second, $350 billion, tranche of the TARP bailout. On November 19, 2008, she introduced H.J.Res. 101, which met all of the parliamentary requirements for consideration once the President requested the second tranche.[citation needed]

In the following (111th) Congress, she reintroduced the measure as H.J.Res. 3, and shortly before leaving office, President Bush requested the second tranche, thereby activating the trigger allowing her to commandeer the House floor, although she was not a member of the majority party. Her measure passed the House 270-155; the act was never addressed in the Senate.[20]

During an interview in 2007, Foxx was quoted as saying: "We have the best economy we have had in 50 years."[21]

Opposition to LGBT rights[edit]

In April 2009, Foxx expressed opposition to the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, claiming that the murder of Matthew Shepard was not a hate crime. While debating the act at the House of Representatives, she called the murder a "very unfortunate incident" but claimed "we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn't because he was gay." She ultimately called that allegation "a hoax that continues to be used as an excuse for passing hate crimes bills."[22] Some media outlets, including the New York Times,[23] Washington Post,[24] and Huffington Post,[25] criticized her statements. Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a congressional colleague, did the same.[26] Democratic sources claimed that Matthew Shepard's mother was present at the time of Foxx's statements.[26]

Foxx later retracted her comments, suggesting her use of the word "hoax" was in bad taste.[27] She suggested that Shepard's murder was a tragedy and that his killers had received appropriate justice.[27]

In 2010, Foxx voted against the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act.[28]

In 2019, Foxx strongly opposed the Equality Act, a bill that would expand the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and urged Congress members to vote against it.[29]

Health care debate[edit]

When commenting on the House version of the reform bill that funds counseling for end-of-life issues, Foxx said, "Republicans have a better solution that won't put the government in charge of people's health care," and "(The plan) is pro-life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government."[30] She later said that "we have more to fear from the potential of the Affordable Health Care for America Act passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country."[31][32]

Turkish American Caucus[edit]

Foxx has been a member of the Congressional Caucus on Turkey and Turkish Americans since 2005. Her former son-in-law is a Turkish businessman, Mustafa Özdemir.[33][34]

Opposition to birthright citizenship[edit]

In January 2013, Foxx co-sponsored legislation that would stop children born in the United States to undocumented parents from gaining citizenship.[35]

Trump impeachment[edit]

On December 18, 2019, Foxx voted against both articles of impeachment (abuse of power and obstruction of Congress) of President Trump.

Political positions[edit]


Foxx opposes abortion. She voted in support of a bill to repeal a rule requiring state and local governments to distribute federal funds to qualified health centers, even if they perform abortions.[36] WXII 12's Bill O'Neil interviewed Foxx in 2014, asking her if she has any exceptions regarding when an abortion was acceptable. She replied that, even in the case of rape, incest, or the health of the mother, an exception should not be made to justify abortion.[37]


  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (H.R. 803; 113th Congress) – Foxx introduced the bill on February 25, 2013.[38] The bill would consolidate job training programs under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) into a single funding stream.[39] It also would amend the Wagner-Peyser Act, reauthorize adult-education programs, and reauthorize programs under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.[39]
  • Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act (H.R. 4983; 113th Congress) – Foxx introduced this bill on June 26, 2014.[40] The bill would reserve $1 million from funding for the United States Department of Education to replace the current College Navigator website with a new website and change the type of information that the website would need to provide.[41] The bill also would amend the requirements for the department's net-price calculator, which provides details on the costs of post-secondary education.[41]
  • Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (H.R. 1313; 115th Congress) – Foxx introduced this bill on March 2, 2017.[42] The bill would eliminate the genetic privacy protections of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (Public Law 110–233); allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars; and would let employers see that genetic and other health information.[43][44]
  • H.R. 150: Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency Act of 2019 (GREAT Act) -- introduced by Foxx on January 3, 2019.[45] Pertains to open data.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2.pdf "First-term women members of the 109th Congress" Check |url= value (help) (PDF). Government Printing Office. August 1, 2006. Retrieved 2012-07-19.
  2. ^ a b Foxx, Virginia Ann. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  3. ^ Sherman, Jake. "House committee chairs all men" Politico. (Published 27 Nov 2012) <> Retrieved 28 Nov 2012.
  4. ^ "Virginia Foxx". Raleigh News & Observer. Archived from the original on July 28, 2012. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  5. ^ "Celebrities, Notable Public Figures Reveal Their Most Memorable Teachers". National Education Association. Archived from the original on 2012-04-24.
  6. ^ a b c "About Virginia Foxx". Archived from the original on February 16, 2012. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  7. ^ "Biography". Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  8. ^ "Committees | Congresswoman Virginia Foxx". Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  9. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  10. ^ "Members". Congressional Constitution Caucus. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Statistics of the Presidential & Congressional Election of November 2, 2004" (PDF). United States House of Representatives. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Wayback Machine". WSJ Local News. 2007-09-30. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  13. ^ "House Results Map". The New York Times.
  14. ^ "TWC News Politics".
  15. ^ New York Times
  16. ^ "NY TImes Elections".
  17. ^ McMurray, Jeffrey (September 22, 2005). "Representatives stand by their votes against hurricane aid". Rome News-Tribune.
  18. ^ Hicks, Adam. "Foxx-Authored Bill Passes in Congress". July 31, 2008.
  19. ^ "Foxx's Legislation Signed into Law". Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  20. ^ Sec. 115 of Pub.L. 110–343
  21. ^ "Congresswoman Virginia Foxx to Young Turks". Turk of America Magazine. Turkish Coalition of America. August 8, 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  22. ^ Mary Ann, Akers (2009-04-29). "Virginia Foxx: Matthew Shepard's Murder Not a Hate Crime". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
  23. ^ "Matthew Shepard Act". The New York Times. May 5, 2009. Retrieved 2012-07-19.
  24. ^ Akers, Mary Ann (April 29, 2009). "The Sleuth – Virginia Foxx: Matthew Shepard's Murder Not a Hate Crime". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2012-07-19.
  25. ^ Ryan, Grim (2009-05-30). "Virginia Foxx: Story of Matthew Shepard's Murder A "Hoax"". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2011-12-20.
  26. ^ a b Thrush, Glenn (April 29, 2009). "Matthew Shepard killed in non-bias "robbery," Foxx says". Politico. Retrieved 2012-07-19.
  27. ^ a b Malcolm, Andrew (April 30, 2009). "Rep. Virginia Foxx retracts word 'hoax' in Matthew Shepard murder". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-07-19.
  28. ^ Final Vote Results for Roll Call 317
  29. ^ "House Debate on the Equality Act". C-SPAN. May 17, 2019.
  30. ^ Tucker, Chad (July 30, 2009). "Virginia Foxx Uses Strong Words to Oppose Health Care Reform Bill". Archived from the original on August 2, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
  31. ^ "Rep. Foxx: Health Care Bill A Greater Threat Than Any Terrorist In The World". November 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
  32. ^ O'Brien, Michael (November 2, 2009). "Foxx: Health bill a greater threat than any terrorist". Retrieved 2009-11-02.
  33. ^[permanent dead link]
  34. ^ Taniş, Tolga (6 January 2011). "Ermeni tasarısı iki yıl yok". Hürriyet (in Turkish).
  35. ^ Foley, Elise (January 4, 2013). "Steve King Introduces Bill To Stop 'Anchor Babies'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  36. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron (2017-01-30). "Tracking Virginia Foxx In The Age Of Trump". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  37. ^ WXII 12 News (2014-10-15), Virginia Foxx talks immigration, abortion, debt limit, retrieved 2017-08-04
  38. ^ "H.R. 803 – All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  39. ^ a b "CBO – H.R. 803". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  40. ^ "H.R. 4983 – All Actions". United States Congress. 2014-07-24. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  41. ^ a b "H.R. 4983 – CBO". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  42. ^ "H.R. 1313 – Text". United States Congress. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  43. ^ Willingham, Emily (March 10, 2017). "The GOP Wants To Let Your Boss Poke Around In Your Genome". Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  44. ^ Begley, Sharon (March 10, 2017). "House Republicans Would Let Employers Demand Workers' Genetic Test Results". Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  45. ^ "Congress: Bills: Government Operations and Politics". GovTrack. Retrieved June 28, 2019.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Richard Burr
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 5th congressional district

Preceded by
John Kline
Chair of the House Education Committee
Succeeded by
Bobby Scott
Preceded by
Bobby Scott
Ranking Member of the House Education Committee
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Carter
Secretary of House Republican Conference
Succeeded by
Jason Smith
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jeff Fortenberry
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Louie Gohmert