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Republican

Rep. Ed Whitfield (R)

Ed Whitfield Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-3115

Address: 2184 RHOB, DC 20515

State Office Contact Information

Phone: (270) 885-8079

Address: 1403 South Main Street, Hopkinsville KY 42240-2107

Henderson KY

Phone: (270) 826-4180

Fax: (270) 826-6783

Address: 222 First Street, Henderson KY 42420-3821

Paducah KY

Phone: (270) 442-6901

Fax: (270) 442-6805

Address: 100 Fountain Avenue, Paducah KY 42001-2771

Tompkinsville KY

Phone: (270) 487-9509

Fax: (270) 487-0019

Address: 200 North Main Street, Tompkinsville KY 42167-1548

Ed Whitfield Staff
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Ed Whitfield Committees
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Ed Whitfield Biography
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  • Elected: 1994, 10th term.
  • District: Kentucky 1
  • Born: May. 25, 1943, Hopkinsville
  • Home: Hopkinsville
  • Education:

    U. of KY, B.S. 1965, J.D. 1969

  • Professional Career:

    Practicing atty., 1969–79; Owner, Rhodes Oil Co., 1975–79; Cnsl., Seaboard System Railroad, 1979–83; V.P., CSX, 1983–91; Cnsl., Interstate Commerce Comm., 1991–93.

  • Military Career:

    Army Reserve, 1967–73.

  • Political Career:

    KY House, 1974–75.

  • Ethnicity: White/Caucasian
  • Religion:

    Methodist

  • Family: Married (Connie); 1 children

Ed Whitfield, a Republican elected in 1994, is more moderate than his Kentucky GOP colleagues. But as the influential chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee, he shares their ardent devotion to the coal industry and their skepticism of federal regulations. Read More

Ed Whitfield, a Republican elected in 1994, is more moderate than his Kentucky GOP colleagues. But as the influential chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee, he shares their ardent devotion to the coal industry and their skepticism of federal regulations.

Whitfield grew up in Hopkinsville and Madisonville, in a family with Pennyrile roots going back to the 18th century. He served in the Army Reserve, practiced law in Hopkinsville, and was elected to the state legislature in 1973 as a Democrat. After one term in Frankfort, Whitfield ran an oil distributorship in the west Kentucky coalfields, and then in 1979, moved to Washington, D.C., to become an executive for the Seaboard and CSX railroads. He was legal counsel to the chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission from 1991 to 1993, and then returned to west Kentucky to run for Congress.

The district had been represented by quiet, long-serving, conservative Democrats. But in 1994, the one-term incumbent, Tom Barlow, was a free-spirited supporter of the Clinton administration. Encouraged by Sen. Mitch McConnell,Whitfield ran as a Republican, turned aside criticism that he was a carpetbagger, and concentrated on attacking Barlow’s vote for Clinton’s first-term budget and tax increase. With help from the mountain counties and running strongly in the Pennyrile, Whitfield won 51%-49% in that year’s big Republican sweep.

In the House, Whitfield has a moderate-to-conservative voting record. He generally takes his party’s side on major votes, but occasionally shows his independence. He was one of just 10 Republicans in March 2012 to oppose Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s fiscal 2013 budget blueprint, saying: “I am not going to vote for a budget that takes more than 20 years to be in balance.” He is an advocate of a two-year budget plan, an idea that has gained little traction with GOP leaders.

In 2009, Whitfield supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act extending the statute of limitations in equal pay lawsuits and voted for the minimum wage hike two years earlier—both Democratic priorities. Though usually soft-spoken, he can get testy with Democrats, as he did in January 2012, when Energy and Commerce’s ranking Democrat, California’s Henry Waxman, demanded that the conservative Koch brothers (of Koch Industries in Kansas) be subpoenaed to testify at a hearing on the Keystone XL oil pipeline. After trying to call a recess, Whitfield snapped, “I’m the chairman, and I’m telling you right now we’re going to recess for 10 minutes!” before banging his gavel and walking out.

Whitfield’s subcommittee chairmanship puts him at the helm of Republican efforts to fight Obama administration environmental policies, including rules aimed at slashing smog and soot pollution from power plants that the administration was expected to roll out in 2013. But Whitfield expressed confidence in January 2013 that he could work with Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, the new Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chairman who has a reputation as a bipartisan dealmaker.

Whitfield is a strong proponent of “clean coal” technology as well as sequestration research that experts say could someday lead to ways to store underground carbon captured in the atmosphere. He has shrugged off environmentalists’ concerns about preparing for a fossil fuel-free world. “We’ve got a 250-year reserve of coal in this country, and my understanding is that we have about the same length of time in oil and maybe even more in natural gas,” he told National Journal. He also has called on the Environmental Protection Agency to examine the economic impact of all its pending regulations before issuing them, citing their potential negative impact on businesses and job creation. A bill he introduced in March 2012 would make major changes in how improvements are made to deteriorating river locks and dams. It won him a “Golden Fleece” award from the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, which said it would further subsidize an already heavily subsidized barge industry.

On health issues before the committee, Whitfield authored a successful 2005 law to discourage “doctor shopping” by prescription drug addicts. It established an electronic database that states can use to monitor people who cross state lines to buy pharmaceuticals. Whitfield has also used his seat on the influential panel to tend to local concerns. He worked to secure federal aid for workers exposed to radiation at the uranium plant in Paducah, and he overcame objections from the Bush administration to cleaning up the site, which is projected to cost more than $3 billion and last until around 2030.

A thoroughbred owner, Whitfield cosponsored legislation in 2006 to ban the killing of horses for meat. The House overwhelmingly passed the bill, but it died in the Senate. He also has sponsored bills to restrict performance-enhancing drugs given to racehorses.

When he ran for reelection in 1996, Whitfield drew Democratic opposition from lawyer Dennis Null, and won, 54%-46%, carrying 18 of the district’s 31 counties. Two years later, he faced former Rep. Tom Barlow and won 55%-45%. Since then, he has won easily. He defeated Barlow a third time in 2006, increasing his winning margin to 60%-40%.

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Ed Whitfield Election Results
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2012 General
Wayne Whitfield (R)
Votes: 199,956
Percent: 69.63%
Charles Hatchett
Votes: 87,199
Percent: 30.37%
2012 Primary
Wayne Whitfield (R)
Unopposed
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (71%), 2008 (64%), 2006 (60%), 2004 (67%), 2002 (65%), 2000 (58%), 1998 (55%), 1996 (54%), 1994 (51%)
Ed Whitfield 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 44 (L) : 56 (C) 52 (L) : 48 (C) 47 (L) : 51 (C)
Social 30 (L) : 70 (C) 44 (L) : 55 (C) 31 (L) : 65 (C)
Foreign 24 (L) : 68 (C) 48 (L) : 51 (C) 50 (L) : 49 (C)
Composite 34.0 (L) : 66.0 (C) 48.3 (L) : 51.7 (C) 43.8 (L) : 56.2 (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
FRC9083
LCV179
CFG5064
ITIC-83
NTU6865
20112012
COC100-
ACLU-0
ACU7279
ADA510
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: N
    • Year: 2012
    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Extend payroll tax cut
    • Vote: N
    • 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: Y
    • 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: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Raise CAFE standards
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Share immigration data
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Foreign aid abortion ban
    • Vote:
    • 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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