Rep. Kevin Brady (R)
Elected: 1996, 7th term.
Born: April 11, 1955, Vermillion, SD .
Home: The Woodlands, TX.
Education: U. of SD, B.S. 1990.
Family: Married (Cathy); 2 children.
Elected office: TX House of Reps., 1990–96.
Professional Career: Exec., The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce, 1978–96.
The congressman from the 8th District is Kevin Brady, a Republican first elected in 1996. Brady grew up and went to college in South Dakota, moved to Montgomery County in 1978 and headed The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce for 18 years. In 1990, he was elected to the Texas House. When Republican U.S. Rep. Jack Fields announced his retirement in 1995, Brady ran for the seat. His main opponent in the decisive Republican primary was Eugene Fontenot, a physician who said he wanted “to restore America to its Christian heritage.” Brady was the choice of party regulars, while Fontenot was backed by religious conservatives. Fontenot attacked Brady for being one of two Republicans to vote against the state’s concealed weapons law. Brady had opposed most gun control bills but not the concealed weapons bill. When he was 12 years old, his father, an attorney, was shot and killed while trying a case in a South Dakota courtroom. “I couldn’t look Mom in the eye and vote for this,” he told The Houston Chronicle after the vote. After Fontenot led Brady in the March primary, Brady won the April runoff by 53%-47%. After the U.S. Supreme Court in June ordered a redrawing of 13 districts, Brady led Fontenot 41%-39% in an all-party primary in November. Finally, in the December runoff, turnout was sharply down and Brady won 59%-41%.
|Kevin Brady (R)||207,128||(73%)||($610,288)|
|Kent Hargett (D)||70,758||(25%)||($2,928)|
|Brian Stevens (Lib)||7,565||(3%)|
|Kevin Brady (R)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (67%), 2004 (69%), 2002 (93%), 2000 (92%), 1998 (93%); 1996 (59%)
In the House, Brady has compiled a conservative voting record, though a bit less so on foreign issues and has gained a reputation as more of a pragmatist than other Texas Republicans. Brady is also a deputy whip for the House Republican leadership.
He has focused on economic issues and has a coveted spot on the House Ways and Means Committee. Brady was a central figure in the successful effort in 2004 to make state and local sales taxes deductible in the seven states, including Texas, that have no personal income tax. He was also the chief House sponsor of the 2005 Central America Free Trade Agreement. After Republicans lost control of the House in 2007, he took on two prime committee assignments. He is the ranking Republican on the Trade Subcommittee at Ways and Means, where he has fought for more free trade agreements. He also is the ranking Republican on the Joint Economic Committee, which provides little opportunity for him to influence legislation but is a great soapbox for his views on budget issues. In September 2008, he was the only Houston-area member of the House in either party to vote for the government bailout of the financial services industry. “I don’t give a flip about Wall Street. But as much as I detest this bill, doing nothing is worse,” he said.
Brady has had no problem winning re-election.