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Republican

Rep. Fred Upton (R)

Fred Upton Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-3761

Address: 2183 RHOB, DC 20515

Websites: upton.house.gov
State Office Contact Information

Phone: (269) 385-0039

Address: 157 South Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo MI 49007-4861

St. Joseph MI

Phone: (269) 982-1986

Fax: (269) 982-0237

Address: 720 Main Street, St. Joseph MI 49085

Fred Upton Staff
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Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Ratner, Mark
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director
Ratner, Mark
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Thomas, Elizabeth
Scheduler; Senior Advisor
Thomas, Elizabeth
Scheduler; Senior Advisor
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Ratner, Mark
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Thomas, Elizabeth
Scheduler; Senior Advisor
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Thomas, Elizabeth
Scheduler; Senior Advisor
Ratner, Mark
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Ratner, Mark
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Thomas, Elizabeth
Scheduler; Senior Advisor
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Ratner, Mark
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Ratner, Mark
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director
Ratner, Mark
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director
Ratner, Mark
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Thomas, Elizabeth
Scheduler; Senior Advisor
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Ratner, Mark
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director
Thomas, Elizabeth
Scheduler; Senior Advisor
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Thomas, Elizabeth
Scheduler; Senior Advisor
Ratner, Mark
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director
Thomas, Elizabeth
Scheduler; Senior Advisor
Ratner, Mark
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director
Ratner, Mark
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director
Ratner, Mark
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Ratner, Mark
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Thomas, Elizabeth
Scheduler; Senior Advisor
Thomas, Elizabeth
Scheduler; Senior Advisor
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Fitzpatrick, Mitzi
Constituent Services Representative
Marquis, Nivia
Constituent Services Representative
McCausland, Clay
District Director
Ratner, Mark
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director
Thomas, Elizabeth
Scheduler; Senior Advisor
Turner, Lynn
Community and Media Relations Representative
Wilbur, Tom
Communications Director
Zielke, Janet
Senior Constituent Services Representative
Thomas, Elizabeth
Scheduler; Senior Advisor
Wilbur, Tom
Communications Director
Ratner, Mark
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director
McCausland, Clay
District Director
Bush, Nick
Legislative Assistant
Ratner, Mark
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director
Fitzpatrick, Mitzi
Constituent Services Representative
Marquis, Nivia
Constituent Services Representative
Turner, Lynn
Community and Media Relations Representative
Zielke, Janet
Senior Constituent Services Representative
Thomas, Elizabeth
Scheduler; Senior Advisor
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Fred Upton Committees
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Fred Upton Biography
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  • Elected: 1986, 14th term.
  • District: Michigan 6
  • Born: Apr. 23, 1953, St. Joseph
  • Home: St. Joseph
  • Education:

    U. of MI, B.A. 1975

  • Professional Career:

    Project coord., U.S. Rep. David Stockman, 1975–80; Legis. affairs, O.M.B., 1981–83, Dir., 1984–85.

  • Ethnicity: White/Caucasian
  • Religion:

    Protestant

  • Family: Married (Amey); 2 children

Fred Upton, an affable Republican first elected in 1986, chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He has an unusually moderate voting record for a Republican committee chairman, but he offsets his centrism by regularly aligning with the interests of business against what he considers excessive government regulation. Read More

Fred Upton, an affable Republican first elected in 1986, chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He has an unusually moderate voting record for a Republican committee chairman, but he offsets his centrism by regularly aligning with the interests of business against what he considers excessive government regulation.

The grandson of one of the founders of Whirlpool, Upton grew up in St. Joseph. He attended the University of Michigan and worked for David Stockman, first on Stockman’s congressional staff, then at the White House in the Office of Management and Budget from 1981 to 1985. Upton returned home and ran in the 1986 Republican primary against Rep. Mark Siljander, a conservative and evangelical Christian, and won 55%-45%, going on to win the seat handily in the general election.

Upton’s family fortune puts him in the upper echelon among members of Congress in wealth, but he has a regular-guy image. He is well known for insisting that everyone, from reporters to staffers to fellow lawmakers, call him “Fred,” and says he personally reads and signs all of his legislative mail. He is a devout Chicago Cubs fan, rarely missing an Opening Day at Wrigley Field, and has a bat from Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa in his office. His niece, Kate Upton, is a supermodel who graced the covers of Sports Illustrated’s 2012 and 2013 swimsuit issues. After the initial issue appeared, Upton said colleagues jokingly asked him, “Fred, are you adopted?”

Taking the helm of Energy and Commerce in 2011, he confidently predicted that “a significant number of Democrats” would join his party’s efforts to overturn President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law, which he dismissed as “a massive new government program that does real and lasting damage to our current system and all those covered under it.” It turned out, though, that the repeated repeal votes never drew more than a handful of Democrats in support.

Then in the fall of 2013, Upton successfully got through the House a bill to allow policyholders to keep their health insurance for a year even if it failed to meet the higher standards set out in the law. Upton's bill passed 261-157 over the objections of Obama and with the help of 39 Democrats, many of whom were worried about being punished at the ballot box for the president's broken promise that people who liked their policies could keep them. Upton's legislation never moved in the Democratically-controlled Senate. 

Many of Upton’s other initiatives got through the House on largely party-line votes and were left for dead in the Senate. They included legislation to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming. Another bill overturned Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules designed to prevent Internet providers from blocking websites that use a lot of bandwidth, such as Netflix. He and other Republicans said net neutrality rules are unnecessary and were enacted without the proper authority. On the investigative front, his panel dug into the Obama administration’s loan guarantees to the failed solar company Solyndra Corp., which became a prominent GOP campaign issue in 2012.

Upton’s efforts delighted fellow Republicans, who once had derided him as “Red Fred” for his bipartisan tendencies. But the Sierra Club and other environmental groups began running ads against him at home. And some Michiganders wondered what had happened to the politician who had championed a bill to ban incandescent light bulbs as part of the 2007 energy bill, and then voted four years later to undo the measure. “The old Upton who five, six, eight years ago would have been more moderate on votes and parted company with his party, that old Upton is gone,” Bill Ballenger, editor of the newsletter Inside Michigan Politics told The Chicago Tribune.

With Republicans in control of the Senate in 2015, Upton expressed hope that some of his efforts to block federal environmental regulations could at least clear Congress, if not get signed into law. But at the same time, he released a outline of potential energy legislation that, while containing few specifics, appeared to be geared toward pragmatism. It promised to address "permitting challenges" that thwart development of infrastructure to modernize electricity systems and make them more secure, as well as developing an energy workforce that could address "21st century challenges" and include more minority and low-income workers, along with provisions on energy exports and energy efficiency.

Upton was awarded the Energy and Commerce gavel despite pleas from GOP Rep. Joe Barton of Texas to waive term limits so that he could regain the job. But Barton had opposed Boehner in the race for Republican minority leader in 2006, and his public apology to BP during the June 2010 hearings on the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico made him a political liability. Two less-senior members of the committee, Cliff Stearns of Florida and John Shimkus of Illinois, also ran for the post in the hope that Upton would be rejected as too moderate. Upton launched an aggressive bid for the chairmanship, contributing thousands of dollars to Republican challengers. The contest heated up when conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh came out against Upton, and pundit Glenn Beck called him “all socialist.” Nevertheless, the GOP Steering Committee, heavily influenced by Boehner, chose Upton.

In his voting patterns, Upton did become more conservative as he was courting Republican leaders for the chairmanship in 2010. That year, his American Conservative Union rating was 92; in 2011, it dipped to 64, closer to his lifetime rating of 73. In 2012 and 2013, it was 76 and 72 respectively.

Earlier in his House career, Upton was known for his amendments to force across-the-board cuts in appropriations. But he also freely exercised his independence when his party controlled the House from 1995 to 2006. He sought, with limited success, to use his leverage to reduce the size of the tax cuts of the Bush era. He backed increases in the minimum wage, increased funding for Amtrak, and Democratic measures to expand medical insurance for poor children. He also voted with Democrats to preserve the Endangered Species Act.

On Energy and Commerce, Upton chaired the Telecommunications Subcommittee for six years. He supported a bill to allow regional telephone companies to provide broadband service more easily, and he pushed for higher fines against broadcasters for indecent programming. President George W. Bush signed his bill to create a “safe playground for kids” on the Internet, free of pornography and other inappropriate material.

Upton has been an election target from both the left and right. In 2010, former state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk ran against him in the GOP primary, criticizing Upton for voting for the $787 billion bailout of the financial industry and for the Republicans’ Medicare prescription drug bill in 2003. Upton vastly outspent Hoogendyk and won 57%-43%, not a robust outcome for a longtime incumbent. He went on to win 62%-34% in the general election.

Hoogendyk came back for another challenge in 2012. But Upton took him more seriously this time, conducting outreach to tea party groups and winning with ease, 67%-33%. His Democratic opponent in the general election was Mike O’Brien, a former Marine and office furniture company manager making his first run for elective office. He blasted Upton’s support of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan. Though he was lauded for running a good campaign, the $294,000 that O’Brien raised was no match for Upton’s $4 million. Upton won, 55% to 43%, the smallest victory margin in his career. He took every county, though the race in Kalamazoo County, the district’s largest, was a virtual tie.

In 2014, Upton drew a better-funded Democratic challenger -- Paul Clements, a Western Michigan University political scientist who decided to run after becoming dismayed by Upton's reversal on climate change. Clements received help from Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig's Mayday political action committee, which spent more than $2 million to portray Upton as a captive of oil and drug companies. One week before the election, a poll showed Clements within the margin of error, but Upton won with 56%. His term as Energy and Commerce chair ends in 2016, and there has been speculation he could retire then.

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Fred Upton Election Results
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2012 General
Frederick Upton (R)
Votes: 174,955
Percent: 54.59%
Mike O'Brien (D)
Votes: 136,563
Percent: 42.61%
2012 Primary
Frederick Upton (R)
Votes: 45,919
Percent: 66.56%
Jack Hoogendyk
Votes: 23,072
Percent: 33.44%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (62%), 2008 (59%), 2006 (61%), 2004 (65%), 2002 (69%), 2000 (68%), 1998 (70%), 1996 (68%), 1994 (73%), 1992 (62%), 1990 (58%), 1988 (71%), 1986 (62%)
Fred Upton 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 29 (L) : 70 (C) 33 (L) : 64 (C) 44 (L) : 55 (C)
Social 38 (L) : 59 (C) 41 (L) : 58 (C) 43 (L) : 56 (C)
Foreign 24 (L) : 68 (C) 48 (L) : 51 (C) 46 (L) : 53 (C)
Composite 32.3 (L) : 67.7 (C) 41.5 (L) : 58.5 (C) 44.8 (L) : 55.2 (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
FRC9066
LCV176
CFG5266
ITIC-92
NTU7376
20112012
COC100-
ACLU-7
ACU6476
ADA50
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: Y
    • 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: Y
    • 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: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Speed troop withdrawal
    • Vote: Y
    • 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: Y
    • 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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