Thomas Massie

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Thomas Massie
Thomas Massie official portrait.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 4th district
Assumed office
November 13, 2012[1]
Preceded byGeoff Davis
Judge-Executive of Lewis County
In office
January 3, 2011 – June 30, 2012
DeputyJohn Patrick Collins
Preceded bySteve Applegate
Succeeded byJohn Patrick Collins
Personal details
Born
Thomas Harold Massie

(1971-01-13) January 13, 1971 (age 48)
Huntington, West Virginia, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Rhonda Massie
Children4
EducationMassachusetts Institute of Technology (SB, SM)
WebsiteHouse website

Thomas Harold Massie (born January 13, 1971) is an American Republican politician who has been the United States Representative for Kentucky's 4th congressional district since 2012.

In 2012, Massie defeated Bill Adkins in the special and general elections to represent Northern Kentucky in Washington, D.C. Before joining congress, Massie was Judge-Executive of Lewis County, Kentucky, from 2011 to 2012. He also ran a start-up company based in Massachusetts, where he previously studied robotics at MIT. He is an engineer by practice and education.[2]

Massie has been described as a libertarian Republican[3] and is associated with the House Liberty Caucus.

Early life, education, and business career[edit]

Thomas Massie was born in Huntington, West Virginia.[4] He grew up in Vanceburg, Kentucky.[4] He met his wife Rhonda in high school in Vanceburg.[4] His father was a beer distributor.[4]

Massie earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering and a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[5] Thomas participated in the MIT Solar Car Club, which took second place behind a Swiss team in the Solar and Electric 500 at the Phoenix Raceway in Phoenix, AZ, in 1991. At the time, the team set several world records including a lap speed in excess of 62 mph (99 kmph), and straight-away speeds in excess of 70 mph (112 kmph).[6]

In 1992, Massie won MIT's then-named 2.70 ("Introduction to Design and Manufacturing", now named 2.007) Design Competition.[7] It is rare that a non-Mechanical Engineering student wins this contest. MIT professor Woodie Flowers, who pioneered the 2.70 contest, mentioned that Massie watched this contest on television in seventh grade and wanted to come to MIT to win this contest.[8]

In 1993, at MIT, Massie and his wife started a company called SensAble Devices Inc.[9] Massie completed his Bachelor's degree in the same year and wrote his Bachelor's thesis "Design of a three-degree of Freedom force-reflecting haptic interface".[10] Massie was the winner in 1995 of the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for inventors,[5] and the $10,000 David and Lindsay Morgenthaler Grand Prize in the sixth annual MIT $10K Entrepreneurial Business Plan Competition.[11] The company was re-incorporated as SensAble Technologies, Inc., in 1996 after partner Bill Aulet joined the company.[9] They raised $32 million of venture capital, had 24 different patents, and 70 other employees.[12]

Also in 1996, Massie completed his Master's degree (SM) and his master's thesis was titled "Initial haptic explorations with the phantom : virtual touch through point interaction".

Massie sold the company, and he and his wife returned to their hometown in Lewis County. They raised their children on a farm,[10][13] where he built his own off-the-grid timberframe house.[14][15]

Lewis County Judge Executive[edit]

In 2010, Massie pursued the office of Judge Executive of Lewis County.[10] Massie won the primary election, defeating the incumbent by a large margin,[10] and went on to defeat his Democratic opponent by nearly 40 points.[16] Massie also campaigned for then-U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul, speaking to various Tea Party groups on his behalf.[10]

Massie resigned as Lewis County Judge-Executive, effective June 30, 2012.[citation needed]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

2012 election[edit]

Results of the primary by county. Red indicates a county won by Massie, green by Webb-Edgington. Gray indicates a county that is not within the 4th congressional district.

In December 2011, Congressman Geoff Davis announced his decision to retire from his seat in Kentucky's 4th congressional district. Massie announced his decision to join the race on January 10, 2012.[17] Massie was endorsed by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky,[18][19] and Rand's father, Texas Congressman Ron Paul.[20][21] He also received endorsements from FreedomWorks,[22] Club for Growth,[23][24] Gun Owners of America,[25] and Young Americans for Liberty.[26]

On May 22, 2012, Thomas Massie was elected as the Republican nominee for the 4th congressional district, beating his closest opponents, State Representative Alecia Webb-Edgington and Boone County Judge Executive Gary Moore, by a double-digit margin.[27][28] In his victory speech, Massie thanked "the Tea Party, the liberty movement, and grassroots Ronald Reagan Republicans".[29] Massie was challenged by Democrat Bill Adkins in the general election, and was expected to win the election by a wide margin.[27][30] Massie resigned as Lewis County Judge-Executive, effective June 30, 2012, in order to focus on his campaign for U.S. Congress, and allow an election to be immediately held in order to replace him.[31] He was succeeded by Deputy Lewis County Judge-Executive John Patrick Collins, who was appointed temporarily by Governor Steve Beshear.[32] On July 31, 2012, Congressman Geoff Davis resigned from office, citing a family health issue for his abrupt departure.[33] On August 1, 2012, the Republican Party committee for Kentucky's 4th Congressional district voted unanimously to endorse Massie as the party's nominee once a special election was called.[34] A special election was called by Governor Steve Beshear to take place on the same day as the general election, November 6, 2012.[35] This meant that Massie would be running in two separate elections on the same day—one for the right to serve the final two months of Davis' fourth term, another for a full two-year term.[36]

On November 6, 2012, Massie won both the general and special elections. He defeated his opponent by a wide margin in both elections.[37]

Tenure[edit]

Massie being sworn into office by Speaker of the House John Boehner on November 13, 2012.
Massie speaking at the 2013 Liberty Political Action Conference (LPAC)

Massie was sworn into office to serve out the balance of Geoff Davis's term on November 13, 2012.[1] Massie served on three committees, including the committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, Oversight and Government Reform and Science, Space and Technology.[38] He became Chairman of the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation, replacing outgoing Chairman Ben Quayle.[39]

Massie was the sole member of the House to vote "present" on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action of Iran's nuclear agreement, citing constitutional concerns that the treaties are not ratified by the House of Representatives and that he had no authority to vote for or against the nuclear deal[40][41]

Massie broke from the majority of his party by opposing the reelection of Speaker of the House John Boehner, instead casting his vote for Republican Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan.[42] In May 2013, he voted against the Stolen Valor Act of 2013, which passed 390 to 3.[43] In December 2013, he was the only congressman to vote against the Undetectable Firearms Act.[44]

In March 2014, Massie, voted against a bill to name Israel an American strategic partner. Massie voted no because this bill would have subsidized green energy companies in Israel. He said he would not support subsidies for American green energy companies, let alone foreign ones.[45] However, the bill passed by a margin of 410-to-1.[46] In May 2014, Massie objected to a voice vote to award golf star Jack Nicklaus a gold medal recognizing his "service to the nation", and demanded a roll call vote.[43] The vote passed easily, 371 to 10.[43] Through mid-June 2014, Massie had voted "no" at least 324 times in the 113th Congress – opposing one of every three measures that came to the House floor. Politico named him "Mr. No".[43] In November 2016, Massie voted against an extension of U.S. sanctions against Iran, the only member of the House to do so.[47]

Massie identifies himself as a constitutional conservative. He believes in intellectual property and thinks it is necessary for incentivizing innovation. Massie has remarked that this is one of the areas in which he does not identify as libertarian.[48]

In 2017 Massie introduced a one-page bill that would abolish the United States Department of Education,[49] and cosponsored a bill that would abolish the Environmental Protection Agency.[50]

In April 2017, Massie expressed skepticism over the role of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in the 2017 Khan Shaykhun chemical attack.[51]

On May 4, 2017, Massie was the sole House member to vote against sanctions on North Korea, which the final vote was 419-1.[52]

In July 2017, Thomas Massie joined Reps. Justin Amash, John Duncan Jr. (R-TN) and Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in opposing a bill that would impose new economic sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea. President Trump opposed the bill, pointing out that relations with Russia were already "at an all-time and dangerous low". He did, however, sign the bill though likely out of political pressure.[53]

On December 29, 2017, Massie voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.[54] Prior to voting, Massie stated he would support the bill in order to cut taxes, but that he would oppose "new government spending," despite the $1.5 trillion estimated to be added to the national debt according to the Congressional Budget Office in wake of the bill being passed.[55][56]

As of January 2019 Massie is ranked number 1 in Conservative Review Top 25 Conservatives list.[57]

On March 26, 2019, Massie was one of fourteen Republicans to vote with all House Democrats to override President Trump's veto of a measure unwinding the latter's declaration of a national emergency at the southern border.[58]

In 2019, Massie signed a letter led by Ro Khanna and Senator Rand Paul to President Trump asserting that it is "long past time to rein in the use of force that goes beyond congressional authorization" and that they hoped this would "serve as a model for ending hostilities in the future – in particular, as you and your administration seek a political solution to our involvement in Afghanistan."[59][60] Massie was also one of nine lawmakers to sign a letter to President Trump requesting a meeting with him and urging him to sign "Senate Joint Resolution 7, which invokes the War Powers Act of 1973 to end unauthorized US military participation in the Saudi-led coalition's armed conflict against Yemen's Houthi forces, initiated in 2015 by the Obama administration". They asserted the "Saudi-led coalition's imposition of an air-land-and-sea blockade as part of its war against Yemen's Houthis has continued to prevent the unimpeded distribution of these vital commodities, contributing to the suffering and death of vast numbers of civilians throughout the country" and that Trump's approval of the resolution through his signing would give a "powerful signal to the Saudi-led coalition to bring the four-year-old war to a close".[61]

On April 10, 2019, Massie got in a tense exchange (also called "one of the most asinine moments in congressional history[62]") with Former Secretary of State John Kerry during Kerry's testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee when Massie called Kerry's political science degree from Yale University a "pseudoscience degree" and called Kerry's position on climate change "pseudoscience." Kerry responded, "Are you serious? I mean this is really a serious happening here?"[63][a]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Political positions[edit]

Abortion[edit]

Massie believes life begins at conception. He opposes federal funding being used for abortion services and supports defunding Planned Parenthood.[64]

Cannabis[edit]

Massie has a "B+" rating from NORML for his voting history regarding cannabis-related causes. Massie supports veterans having access to medical marijuana if recommended by their Veterans Health Administration doctor and if it is legal for medicinal purposes in their state of residence. He supports industrial hemp farming and expanded research into medical marijuana.[65]

Education[edit]

Massie supports dismantling the US Department of Education.[49]

Environment[edit]

Massie has said that the evidence behind the scientific consensus on climate change is not compelling.[66] On the topic of climate change, Massie said "there's a conflict of interest for some of the people doing the research. I think some people are trying to integrate backwards, starting with the answer and working the other way. I think the jury is still out on the contribution of our activities to the change in the earth's climate".[66] In 2013, he implied that cold weather undercut the argument for climate change, tweeting "Today's Science Committee Hearing on Global Warming canceled due to snow".[67] During a 2019 House Oversight Committee hearing on the impact of climate change, Massie suggested that concerns over rising carbon dioxide levels were exaggerated, asking a witness, former senator John Kerry, why carbon dioxide levels millions of years ago were higher despite the non-presence of humans.[68][69] CNN and The Washington Post described Massie's exchange with the witness as "surreal" and "bizarre".[68][69]

Massie supports dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency.[70] He voted to block the U.S. Department of Defense from spending on climate adaptation.[71] He voted to repeal the Stream Protection Rule, which imposed stricter requirements on coal mining to prevent coal debris from getting into waterways.[72]

In 2018, after French President Emanuel Macron held a speech to Congress where he mentioned his desire that the United States re-join the Paris Climate Accords to curb climate change, Massie said Macron was "a socialist militarist globalist science-alarmist. The dark future of the American Democratic Party".[73]

Health care[edit]

Massie supports repealing the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare").[64] In 2017, he criticized the Republican-led efforts to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, saying the efforts fell "far short of our promise to repeal Obamacare".[74]

Electoral history[edit]

Kentucky's 4th Congressional district election (2012)[75]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Thomas Massie 186,036 62.13
Democratic William Adkins 104,734 34.98
Independent David Lewis 8,674 2.90
Total votes 299,444 100.00
Republican hold
Kentucky's 4th Congressional district election (2014)[76]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Thomas Massie 150,464 67.73
Democratic Peter Newberry 71,694 32.27
Total votes 222,158 100.00
Republican hold
Kentucky's 4th Congressional district election (2016)[77]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Thomas Massie 233,922 71.32
Democratic Calvin Sidle 94,065 28.68
Total votes 327,987 100.00
Republican hold
Kentucky's 4th Congressional district election (2018)[78]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Thomas Massie 162,946 62.24
Democratic Seth Hall 90,536 34.58
Independent Mike Moffett 8,318 3.18
Write-in David Goodwin 12 0.005
Total votes 261,812 100.00
Republican hold

Personal life[edit]

Massie operates a cattle farm in Garrison, Kentucky, with his wife Rhonda and their four children. They live in a solar-powered home that Massie built himself.[79][80]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Kerry is misquoted in the linked source, but the text here is derived from the video.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "House Floor Activities: Legislative Day of November 13, 2012". Washington, D.C.: Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  2. ^ "From MIT Entrepreneur to Tea Party Leader: The Thomas Massie Story". Xconomy. May 17, 2012.
  3. ^ Curry, Tom. "Libertarian GOP Member Sees Drone Privacy Risk". blogs.rollcall.com. Archived from the original on February 14, 2015. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d Siemaszko, Corky. "Rep. Massie to Kerry: political science is 'not real science'". NBC News. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Thomas Massie | Lemelson-MIT Program". lemelson.mit.edu. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  6. ^ Slanina, Kristin. "Solar car sets world record". Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  7. ^ Leung, Garland. "Massie Wins 21st Design Contest" (PDF). Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  8. ^ Flowers, Woodie. "Interview with Woodie Flowers: The Origins of the 2.70 Robotics Competition 1/1997". Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Stipp, David (July 8, 1996). "Sensable Technologies Tactile Computer Interfaces". CNN. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
  10. ^ a b c d e Wartman, Scott (January 13, 2012). "Massie courts Tea Party". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
  11. ^ Drozhinin, Oleg (May 16, 1995). "'Phantom' Interface Takes Annual $10K". Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  12. ^ "About | Thomas Massie for US Congress – 4th District Kentucky". Thomasmassie.com. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  13. ^ 01/10/12 at 4:27 pm by Scott Wartman   Comments. "Thomas Massie joins race for Geoff Davis' Congressional seat | Kentucky Politics". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved December 21, 2012.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ "Massie House". Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  15. ^ Kibbe, Matt (September 26, 2018). "Off the Grid with Thomas Massie". Free the People. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  16. ^ Maynard, Misty (November 2, 2010). "Voter turnout exceeds expectations in Lewis County". Maysville Online. Archived from the original on December 8, 2010. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
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  18. ^ Miller, Joshua (May 10, 2012). "Kentucky: Rand Paul Backs Thomas Massie in Race to Succeed Geoff Davis". Roll Call. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  19. ^ Riggs, Mike (May 16, 2012). "Rand Paul Endorses Kentucky's Thomas Massie". Reason. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
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  26. ^ "Support Thomas Massie – Young Americans for Liberty". Young Americans for Liberty. Archived from the original on May 26, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
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  32. ^ "Deputy Judge John Patrick Collins replaces Thomas Massie in Lewis County". Courier Journal. July 19, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  33. ^ Min Kim, Seung (July 31, 2012). "Rep. Geoff Davis resigns from Congress". Politico. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  34. ^ Alessi, Ryan (August 1, 2012). "GOP committee backs Massie for nomination in yet-to-be-called special election". Pure Politics. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  35. ^ Miller, Joshua (July 31, 2012). "Breaking: Geoff Davis Resigns From Congress". Roll Call. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  36. ^ Associated Press (August 17, 2012). "Special Election Set for U.S. Congressional Seat in Ky". Newschannel WSAZ-3. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  37. ^ Osborne, Kevin (November 6, 2012). "Massie wins in Ky.'s 4th congressional district". Kentucky Post. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  38. ^ "U.S. Representative Thomas Massie Selected for Several Key House Committees". Office of Congressman Thomas Massie. December 4, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  39. ^ "U.S. Representative Massie Selected as Chairman of Technology Subcommittee". Office of Congressman Thomas Massie. January 9, 2013. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  40. ^ "Massie alone in voting 'present' on Iran deal". Cincinnati.com. September 11, 2015.
  41. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2015/roll493.xml
  42. ^ Doherty, Brian (January 3, 2013). "Boehner Re-Elected House Speaker, But Loses Amash, Some Other Liberty-Leaning Support". Reason. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  43. ^ a b c d Deirdre Shesgreen, USAToday (June 15, 2014). "A congressman thinks 'no' is the answer". Cincinnati.com.
  44. ^ "Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie Objects to Plastic Gun Ban". 89.3 WFPL.
  45. ^ "A congressman thinks 'no' is the answer". Cincinnati.com. June 15, 2014.
  46. ^ Israel and the world: Us and them, economist.com.
  47. ^ Marcos, Cristina (November 15, 2016). "House votes to extend Iran sanctions". The Hill. Capitol Hill Publishing Corp. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  48. ^ Meet Representative Thomas Massie: A Constitutional Conservative With an MIT Pedigree, Science insider
  49. ^ a b Marcos, Cristina (February 7, 2017). "GOP lawmaker proposes abolishing Department of Education". TheHill. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  50. ^ "Rep. Thomas Massie joins in effort to end EPA". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved December 25, 2018.
  51. ^ Mueller, Eleanor. "Congressman: 'I don't think' Assad is behind Syria attack". CNN. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  52. ^ "House passes bill to impose new sanctions on North Korea". Fox News. May 4, 2017. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  53. ^ "Meet the 5 Lawmakers Who Voted Against the Russia Sanctions Bill". IVN.us. August 3, 2017.
  54. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (December 19, 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  55. ^ Marcos, Cristina; Jagoda, Naomi (November 16, 2017). "The 13 House Republicans who voted against the GOP tax plan". The Hill. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  56. ^ Ydstie, John. "GOP Tax Cuts Expected To Push Up Nation's Debt". National Public Radio. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  57. ^ "CR TOP 25 CONSERVATIVES".
  58. ^ Brufke, Juliegrace (March 26, 2019). "House fails to override Trump veto on border wall". The Hill.
  59. ^ Everett, Burgess (April 3, 2019). "Rand Paul, Ocasio-Cortez praise Trump for Syria withdrawal". Politico.
  60. ^ Bolton, Alexander (April 3, 2019). "Rand Paul teams up with Ocasio-Cortez, Omar to press Trump on Syria withdrawal". The Hill.
  61. ^ Haitiwanger, John (April 5, 2019). "Bernie Sanders, Rand Paul, Ro Khanna, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to Trump imploring him to end US support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen". sfgate.com.
  62. ^ Dickinson, Tim; Dickinson, Tim (April 10, 2019). "Is This the Dumbest Moment in Congressional History?". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  63. ^ "John Kerry fires back at congressman: Are you serious?". CNN. April 9, 2019. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  64. ^ a b "Issues". Congressman Thomas Massie. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  65. ^ "Kentucky Scorecard". NORML. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  66. ^ a b MervisNov. 21, Jeffrey; 2012; Am, 11:55 (November 21, 2012). "Meet Representative Thomas Massie: A Constitutional Conservative With an MIT Pedigree". Science | AAAS. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  67. ^ "Weather Not Warming GOP Lawmakers to Climate Change". U.S. News. 2015.
  68. ^ a b CNN, Nicole Gaouette and Jamie Crawford. "Hearing on climate change and national security becomes an angry partisan clash". CNN. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  69. ^ a b "'Are you serious?': John Kerry's climate change credentials challenged by GOP lawmaker". The Washington Post. 2019.
  70. ^ DiChristopher, Tom (February 15, 2017). "Freshman Republican congressman reveals bill to abolish the EPA". www.cnbc.com. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  71. ^ "Ky, Ind. lawmakers hit Pentagon on climate". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  72. ^ "A conservative environmentalist: U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie finds freedom in sustainability". LEO Weekly. April 18, 2018. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  73. ^ Perticone, Joe. "When French President Emmanuel Macron mentioned climate science, Republicans grumbled while Democrats cheered". Business Insider. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  74. ^ "Thomas Massie wins Twitter with jab at GOP health care bill". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved December 25, 2018.
  75. ^ http://elect.ky.gov/SiteCollectionDocuments/Election%20Results/2010-2019/2012/2012genresults.pdf
  76. ^ http://elect.ky.gov/SiteCollectionDocuments/Election%20Results/2010-2019/2014/2014%20General%20Election%20Results.pdf
  77. ^ http://elect.ky.gov/results/2010-2019/Documents/2016%20General%20Election%20Results.pdf
  78. ^ http://elect.ky.gov/results/2010-2019/Documents/2018GeneralElectionCertified.pdf
  79. ^ Brown, Dennis (November 17, 2009). "Thomas Massie is candidate for judge executive". Lewis County Herald. Archived from the original on June 21, 2011. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
  80. ^ Huang, Gregory T. (May 17, 2012). "From MIT Entrepreneur to Tea Party Leader: The Thomas Massie Story". www.xconomy.com. Retrieved July 26, 2012.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Steve Applegate
Judge-Executive of Lewis County
2011–2012
Succeeded by
John Patrick Collins
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Geoff Davis
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 4th congressional district

2012–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Suzan DelBene
United States Representatives by seniority
190th
Succeeded by
Donald Payne