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Republican

Rep. Joe Wilson (R)

Joe Wilson Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-2452

Address: 2229 RHOB, DC 20515

State Office Contact Information

Phone: (803) 939-0041

Address: 1700 Sunset Boulevard (US 378), West Columbia SC 29169-5940

Aiken SC

Phone: (803) 642-6416

Fax: (803) 642-6418

Address: 1930 University Parkway, Aiken SC 29802

Joe Wilson Staff
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Hatcher, Kristen
Legislative Correspondent
Elmore, Baker
Legislative Director
Hatcher, Kristen
Legislative Correspondent
Elmore, Baker
Legislative Director
Andreae, Taylor
Military Legislative Assistant
Andreae, Taylor
Military Legislative Assistant
Elmore, Baker
Legislative Director
Hatcher, Kristen
Legislative Correspondent
Elmore, Baker
Legislative Director
Elmore, Baker
Legislative Director
Elmore, Baker
Legislative Director
Hatcher, Kristen
Legislative Correspondent
Elmore, Baker
Legislative Director
Hatcher, Kristen
Legislative Correspondent
Andreae, Taylor
Military Legislative Assistant
Brandewie, Claire
Legislative Assistant
Andreae, Taylor
Military Legislative Assistant
Hatcher, Kristen
Legislative Correspondent
Brandewie, Claire
Legislative Assistant
Elmore, Baker
Legislative Director
Elmore, Baker
Legislative Director
Elmore, Baker
Legislative Director
Andreae, Taylor
Military Legislative Assistant
Brandewie, Claire
Legislative Assistant
Andreae, Taylor
Military Legislative Assistant
Andreae, Taylor
Military Legislative Assistant
Andreae, Taylor
Military Legislative Assistant
Andreae, Taylor
Military Legislative Assistant
Andreae, Taylor
Military Legislative Assistant
Andreae, Taylor
Military Legislative Assistant
Elmore, Baker
Legislative Director
Andreae, Taylor
Military Legislative Assistant
Brandewie, Claire
Legislative Assistant
Elmore, Baker
Legislative Director
Elmore, Baker
Legislative Director
Andreae, Taylor
Military Legislative Assistant
Elmore, Baker
Legislative Director
Andreae, Taylor
Military Legislative Assistant
Andreae, Taylor
Military Legislative Assistant
Hatcher, Kristen
Legislative Correspondent
Andreae, Taylor
Military Legislative Assistant
Batey, Laura
Case Analyst
Beaulieu, Sarah
Special Assistant
Blackwell, Matt
Staff Assistant; Intern Coordinator
Brandewie, Claire
Legislative Assistant
Caven, Jennie
Communications Director
Day, Jonathan
Chief of Staff
Elmore, Baker
Legislative Director
Hatcher, Kristen
Legislative Correspondent
Kennedy, Drew
Special Assistant
Morris, Alex
Special Assistant; Military Caseworker
Powell, Millie
Office Manager
Rich, Candace
Administrative Assistant
Wallace, Butch
District Director
Batey, Laura
Case Analyst
Rich, Candace
Administrative Assistant
Morris, Alex
Special Assistant; Military Caseworker
Day, Jonathan
Chief of Staff
Caven, Jennie
Communications Director
Blackwell, Matt
Staff Assistant; Intern Coordinator
Wallace, Butch
District Director
Andreae, Taylor
Military Legislative Assistant
Brandewie, Claire
Legislative Assistant
Hatcher, Kristen
Legislative Correspondent
Elmore, Baker
Legislative Director
Powell, Millie
Office Manager
Beaulieu, Sarah
Special Assistant
Kennedy, Drew
Special Assistant
Morris, Alex
Special Assistant; Military Caseworker
Blackwell, Matt
Staff Assistant; Intern Coordinator
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Joe Wilson Committees
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Joe Wilson Biography
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  • Elected: Dec. 2001, 6th full term.
  • District: South Carolina 2
  • Born: Jul. 31, 1947, Charleston
  • Home: Springdale
  • Education:

    Washington & Lee U., B.A. 1969, U. of S.C., J.D. 1972

  • Professional Career:

    Practicing atty., 1972-2001.

  • Military Career:

    Army Reserve, 1972-75; SC Natl. Guard, 1975-2003.

  • Political Career:

    SC Senate, 1985-2001.

  • Ethnicity: White/Caucasian
  • Religion:

    Presbyterian

  • Family: Married (Roxanne); 4 children

Republican Joe Wilson, who won his seat in a December 2001 special election, has a reputation as a staunch fiscal and defense hawk. But mostly he is known as the lawmaker who breached congressional decorum in a spectacular way in 2009 by shouting, “You lie!” during President Barack Obama’s health care address to a joint meeting of Congress. Read More

Republican Joe Wilson, who won his seat in a December 2001 special election, has a reputation as a staunch fiscal and defense hawk. But mostly he is known as the lawmaker who breached congressional decorum in a spectacular way in 2009 by shouting, “You lie!” during President Barack Obama’s health care address to a joint meeting of Congress.

Wilson grew up in Charleston and graduated from Washington & Lee University and the University of South Carolina law school. He worked as an aide to 2nd District GOP Rep. Floyd Spence and then for Republican Sen. Strom Thurmond. Wilson was deputy general counsel at the Energy Department during the Reagan administration. He practiced law in West Columbia for 25 years while working on several political campaigns. In 1984, he was elected to the state Senate, where he chaired the Transportation Committee. During this period, he served 31 years as a staff judge advocate in the South Carolina Army National Guard, retiring in 2003. (All four of Wilson’s sons have been Eagle Scouts and served in the military, two of them in Iraq. His son, Alan, was elected state attorney general in 2010.)

In 2001, when Spence died after more than 30 years in the House, Wilson became the front-runner to replace his longtime friend and mentor. In his campaign, he pledged to continue Spence’s focus on national defense. He won the Republican primary with 76% of the vote and defeated his Democratic opponent easily, 73%-25%.

In the House, Wilson’s willingness to counsel South Carolina’s freshman House members in the 112th Congress (2011-12) led them to dub him “the Scoutmaster.” With a seat on the Armed Services Committee, he has concentrated, as promised, on military issues. In January 2011, he became chairman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee of Armed Services. In the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill, he succeeded in keeping alive some of the Air Force’s Global Hawk unmanned surveillance planes after the Pentagon had sought to retire the planes, saying the older, piloted U-2 plane did the same job.

At a January 2013 hearing, Wilson rebuked outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for not going on Sunday talk shows to discuss the earlier terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, saying one of her priorities should have been “telling correct information” to the public. He also criticized Obama for “holding our military hostage” with across-the-board defense cuts that took effect in March of that year when a comprehensive spending deal between the president and congressional Republicans couldn’t be reached. Wilson has advocated a closer military relationship with India, and he supported President George W. Bush on the Iraq war, traveling frequently to Iraq and Afghanistan to gauge progress.

Wilson was unknown outside of his district, and barely known in Washington, before his outburst during Obama’s September 2009 speech to House members and senators gathered for a joint session of Congress. As Obama was answering what he called critics’ “bogus claims” of his health care legislation, Wilson called out, “You lie!” His behavior was the subject of stinging commentary on editorial pages and talk shows around the country. He apologized to Obama in a phone call but rebuffed Democratic demands for a more public apology from the well of the House. His South Carolina colleague, then-Democratic Majority Whip James Clyburn, alleged there was a taint of racism in Wilson’s reaction, noting that no other president in memory had been the target of a similar breach in protocol during a joint session. Democrats pushed for a floor vote to sanction Wilson, and the House passed a “resolution of disapproval” on a mostly party-line vote.

Wilson also took some heat at home in 2010 after he refused to sign a letter requesting an appropriations earmark for a $400,000 study of dredging in the Port of Charleston, a project aimed at making the port capable of accommodating larger ships that will be coming through an enlarged Panama Canal after 2014. The letter was submitted to the Appropriations committees from the South Carolina congressional delegation, but Wilson and Sen. Jim DeMint declined to sign based on their objections to the practice of earmarking. Because of the dissension in the delegation, the earmark for the study was refused, enraging civic and business leaders who saw the project as vital to the state’s future economic growth. The Obama administration decided to pursue the study the following year, and Wilson praised the move.

On other issues with strong local interest, Wilson joined most other South Carolina Republicans in opposing trade promotion authority for presidents. He did vote for the Central America Free Trade Agreement in 2005, as well as for pacts with Colombia and Panama in 2011, but he refused to support a deal that year with South Korea, which competes against his state’s textile industry. In March 2010, he criticized the Obama administration’s decision to withhold funding for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depository in Nevada, saying the Savannah River Site would be stuck indefinitely holding 7,200 containers of spent nuclear waste. He introduced a bill to try to reverse the decision, but it failed to advance.

On the Education and the Workforce Committee, Wilson in 2003 won House passage of a bill to expand college loan forgiveness for math, science, and special education teachers who work in impoverished areas. He also worked with Democrats to make permanent the child adoption tax credit. But Wilson failed in his quest to get the top Republican slot on the committee when it came open in 2009. Wilson had more seniority than his competitors but lost out to John Kline of Minnesota.

Over the years, Wilson has been reelected by wide margins. For 2012, South Carolina redistricting officials gave Wilson a district that includes all of Lexington and Aiken counties, some of the strongest tea party bastions in the state. After easily dispatching a GOP primary challenger, he ran unopposed in the general election.

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Joe Wilson Election Results
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2012 General
Joe Wilson (R)
Votes: 196,116
Percent: 100.0%
2012 Primary
Joe Wilson (R)
Votes: 23,062
Percent: 80.58%
Phil Black
Votes: 5,557
Percent: 19.42%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (53%), 2008 (54%), 2006 (63%), 2004 (65%), 2002 (84%), 2001 special (73%)
Joe Wilson 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 10 (L) : 88 (C) 7 (L) : 91 (C) 35 (L) : 64 (C)
Social 16 (L) : 74 (C) 9 (L) : 86 (C) 17 (L) : 74 (C)
Foreign 15 (L) : 77 (C) 9 (L) : 86 (C) 15 (L) : 84 (C)
Composite 17.0 (L) : 83.0 (C) 10.3 (L) : 89.7 (C) 24.2 (L) : 75.8 (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
FRC100100
LCV66
CFG9791
ITIC-67
NTU8383
20112012
COC88-
ACLU-0
ACU96100
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: Y
    • 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: N
    • 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: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Repeal D.C. gun law
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Overhaul FISA
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Increase minimum wage
    • Vote: N
    • 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: 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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