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Republican

Rep. Tom Latham (R)

Tom Latham Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-5476

Address: 2217 RHOB, DC 20515

Tom Latham Committees
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Tom Latham Biography
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  • Elected: 1994, 10th term.
  • District: Iowa 3
  • Born: Jul. 14, 1948, Hampton
  • Home: Clive
  • Education:

    Wartburg Col., 1966-67, IA St. U., 1967-70

  • Professional Career:

    Farmer; Bank teller/bookkeeper, 1970–72; Independent Insurance agent, 1972–74; Hartford Insurance mktg. rep., 1974–76; Co–owner, Latham Seed Co., 1976–2010.

  • Religion:

    Lutheran

  • Family: Married (Kathy); 3 children

Republican Tom Latham, first elected in 1994, is one of Speaker John Boehner’s closest confidants. Like Boehner, Latham is a business-friendly conservative who at times has been able to cut deals across the aisle. Read More

Republican Tom Latham, first elected in 1994, is one of Speaker John Boehner’s closest confidants. Like Boehner, Latham is a business-friendly conservative who at times has been able to cut deals across the aisle.

Latham grew up on a farm in Franklin County, near Alexander (pop. 162), where his family has owned a seed company since 1947. For years, Latham was active in Republican politics, attending the national convention and serving as a farm adviser to Rep. Fred Grandy (an actor who gained fame on the 1970s television comedy The Love Boat). In 1994, Grandy unsuccessfully challenged Gov. Terry Branstad in the primary, and Latham ran for the House. In the general election, he beat a Democrat who had served on an advisory panel for Hillary Clinton’s health care proposals, 61%-39%.

In the House, Latham has a moderately conservative record; he tends to lean further to the right on foreign policy than on economic or fiscal matters. Latham got to know Boehner shortly before he was elected, and the two men, both cigarette smokers, became frequent dining partners. “He’s got two daughters about the same age as my two daughters,” Latham told The Washington Post in April 2012. “The families kept some time together and things like that. So it’s been great, a good personal relationship.”

In recent years, perhaps because of his alliance with Boehner, Latham has been more outspoken on national issues. He fiercely opposed the $787 billion economic stimulus bill in 2009, which he called “out-of-control spending.” And he criticized Democratic leaders for failing to include previously agreed-to changes in Medicare reimbursement rates in their 2009 health care legislation. When the speaker and other Republican leaders sought a compromise on taxes and spending to avert the so-called fiscal cliff in late 2012, Latham said he didn’t mind breaking conservative activist Grover Norquist’s never-raise-taxes pledge to get a deal. “Our problems are too big to worry about a guy like that,” Latham told the Council Bluffs Nonpareil two days after the 2012 election. “We have got to fix the problem. What happens to me politically is irrelevant. It is about what is going to happen to our country and my grand kids.”

With a seat on the Appropriations Committee, Latham long has been a defender of spending earmarks, working to fund local programs from disaster relief to farm research, including the National Animal Disease Center in Ames. He criticized Iowa’s Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin for not persuading his Appropriations colleagues to complete the center, which he described as essential to “agro-terrorism” prevention. However, Latham told The Hill newspaper in 2011 that he supported the House-approved earmark moratorium. “We have got to send a message that this is not business as usual and we need to cut spending,” he said.

Latham has been deeply involved in quality of life issues for the military. In 2013, he continued a push that he has led with Minnesota Democrat Tim Walz to close a loophole that makes it more difficult for National Guard members who served on active duty deployments to collect additional retirement pay. In 2007, after a local Navy officer died in Iraq, Latham pushed to passage a law to permit grandparents and other family members to get the military death benefit if they assume custody of a dead soldier’s children. Earlier, he worked with Senate Republicans to give Reserve and National Guard soldiers the same health benefits as regular military personnel.

He will sometimes reach a hand across the aisle to Democrats. Latham in 2009 and 2011 introduced bipartisan bills to reduce the federal excise tax on beer. He joined Democrats in February 2011 in defeating a GOP amendment to cancel pay increases for several hundred thousand federal workers, and he voted against eliminating several federal agencies.

The congressional districts adopted after the 2000 census in Iowa made Latham’s district more competitive, and he had serious opposition in 2002 from John Norris, former chief of staff to Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack. Norris attacked Latham for supporting Republican positions on taxes and health care and raised more than $1 million. But Latham won by a relatively comfortable 55%-43% vote, carrying all 28 counties.

Iowa lost a House seat in the reapportionment following the 2010 census, and Latham was thrown together in a race against Democrat Leonard Boswell, who was elected two years after Latham and who had survived previous GOP attempts to unseat him. Latham lived outside the district and represented just three suburban counties in the new district—Dallas, Madison, and Warren. However, the counties are home to many GOP donors and voters.

Boswell told voters he was running against three people—Latham; Boehner, who campaigned ardently for his friend; and GOP strategist Karl Rove, whose American Crossroads group ran ads attacking Boswell. National Democrats sought to help Boswell, portraying Latham and Boehner as partners in an effort to derail Medicare and gut other federal programs. But Latham prevailed 52%-44%, with two minor-party candidates splitting the rest.

When Sen. Harkin announced in early 2013 that he would not seek reelection, Latham was prominently mentioned as a leading contender for the Senate seat in 2014. But Latham decided against a bid, telling supporters in a letter he didn’t want to launch a two-year campaign effort “at a time when our nation desperately needs less campaigning and more leadership.”

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Tom Latham Election Results
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2012 General
Thomas Latham (R)
Votes: 202,000
Percent: 52.3%
Leonard Boswell (D)
Votes: 168,632
Percent: 43.66%
Scott Batcher
Votes: 9,352
Percent: 2.42%
2012 Primary
Thomas Latham (R)
Votes: 27,757
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (66%), 2008 (61%), 2006 (57%), 2004 (61%), 2002 (55%), 2000 (69%), 1998 (100%), 1996 (65%), 1994 (61%)
Tom Latham Votes and Bills
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National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 45 (L) : 55 (C) 33 (L) : 64 (C) 44 (L) : 55 (C)
Social 43 (L) : 54 (C) 30 (L) : 68 (C) 35 (L) : 63 (C)
Foreign 34 (L) : 60 (C) 20 (L) : 73 (C) 16 (L) : 75 (C)
Composite 42.2 (L) : 57.8 (C) 29.7 (L) : 70.3 (C) 33.7 (L) : 66.3 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

20112012
FRC9083
LCV116
CFG5355
ITIC-92
NTU6567
20112012
COC94-
ACLU-0
ACU7671
ADA100
AFSCME0-
Key House Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • Pass GOP budget
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Extend payroll tax cut
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Find AG in contempt
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Stop student loan hike
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Repeal health care
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass cut, cap, balance
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Defund Planned Parenthood
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Repeal lightbulb ban
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Add endangered listings
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Speed troop withdrawal
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Regulate financial firms
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Pass tax cuts for some
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Stop detainee transfers
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Legalize immigrants' kids
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Repeal don't ask, tell
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Limit campaign funds
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Overturn Ledbetter
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass $820 billion stimulus
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Let guns in national parks
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass cap-and-trade
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Bar federal abortion funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass health care bill
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Bail out financial markets
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Repeal D.C. gun law
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Overhaul FISA
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Increase minimum wage
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Expand SCHIP
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Raise CAFE standards
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Share immigration data
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Foreign aid abortion ban
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Ban gay bias in workplace
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Withdraw troops 8/08
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • No operations in Iran
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Free trade with Peru
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
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The Almanac is a members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics. Comprehensive online profiles include biographical and political summaries of elected officials, campaign expenditures, voting records, interest-group ratings, and congressional staff look-ups. In-depth overviews of each state and house district are included as well, along with demographic data, analysis of voting trends, and political histories.
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