Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2000, 8th term.

Born: November 7, 1963, Tarkio

Home: Tarkio

Education: U. of MO, B.S. 1986

Professional Career: Farmer.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Baptist

Family: divorced , 3 children

Republican Sam Graves, first elected in 2000, took over in 2015 as chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's panel on highways and transit. He previously headed the Small Business Committee, a position that gave him a platform for battling Democrats over curbing federal rules and regulations on business.

Graves is a lifelong resident of Tarkio in the northwest corner of the state. An Eagle Scout, he regularly played “Taps” on his bugle at local cemeteries, a practice he has continued in his district each Memorial Day. He graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in agronomy, farmed with his father and brother, and joined the Farm Bureau. He ran for the state House in 1992 and beat a longtime Democratic incumbent. Two years later, he was elected to the state Senate. He attracted attention in 1998 with a five-hour filibuster against a school desegregation bill that he said put rural areas at a disadvantage, but the bill eventually passed.

Graves got his opportunity to run for the U.S. House when Democratic Rep. Pat Danner withdrew from her race for reelection just minutes before the filing deadline. Not by accident, the immediate favorite to succeed her was her son, state Sen. Steve Danner, also a Democrat. Graves entered the race within the short window provided by state law and drew support from national Republicans. Teresa Loar, a moderate Republican on the Kansas City Council, attacked Graves as the darling of extremist party leaders, but Graves beat her 68%-17%.

In the general election, Danner billed himself as a conservative Democrat and switched from being pro-abortion rights to opposing abortion. In an editorial endorsing Graves, The Kansas City Star said that Danner’s campaign switch on abortion showed that he “engaged in raw opportunism at the slightest opportunity.” Graves won 51%-47%.

In the House, Graves has been a rock-solid fiscal conservative but has demonstrated slightly more independence on some social issues. He was one of just nine Republicans to vote in March 2011 against reinstituting a school voucher program for District of Columbia students, and one of 54 to subsequently oppose barring the use of funds to administer the Davis-Bacon Act, which sets prevailing local wage requirements. But he remains a hard-liner on immigration. He amended a fiscal 2013 spending bill to effectively stop the Obama administration’s family unity waiver system, which allows illegal immigrants who are married to U.S. citizens to remain with their spouses while their green-card status is reviewed. His measure did not advance in the Democratically controlled Senate.

On the Small Business Committee, he was a regular critic of the Obama administration’s initiatives. He held hearings on the Environmental Protection Agency’s failure to comply with a law requiring agencies to analyze the effects of regulations on small entities and to consider less burdensome alternatives. In May 2012, he opposed an effort to make more businesses eligible for a tax credit under Obama’s new health care law; the credit was designed to help businesses afford health insurance for their workers. But Graves did work with Democrats to pass a series of bills in 2012 aimed at fixing small business contracting problems. And a year earlier, he was able to get into law reauthorizations of the Small Business Innovation Research program and the Small Business Technology Transfer program, the first full reauthorizations of those programs in more than a decade.

On local issues, Graves introduced a bill in September 2011 seeking to compel the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to emphasize flood control on the Missouri River, telling the St. Joseph News-Press that the agency’s focus on environmental recovery over levee operations and maintenance was “out of whack.” In 2005, the House passed his amendment to the transportation bill to preempt state laws governing liability for damages involving rental cars, a measure of interest to St. Louis-based Enterprise Rent-A-Car. In 2007, the House passed his amendment to the farm bill banning anyone found cheating federal farm programs from participating in the future.

Graves was the subject of an ethics investigation for allegedly violating House rules for his role in arranging testimony to his committee by a family friend. The matter touched off a rare public squabble between the new Office of Congressional Ethics and the House Ethics Committee; while OCE recommended that the case be investigated further, the ethics committee found deficiencies in the office’s handling of the matter and voted unanimously in October 2009 to clear Graves.

In 2008, national Democrats were excited when former Kansas City Mayor and St. Joseph native Kay Barnes announced she would challenge Graves. But Graves attacked Barnes for “San Francisco values” and supporting “a homosexual agenda” because her picture had appeared in a gay magazine; he won, 59%-37%.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-7041

(202) 225-8221

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1415
Washington, DC 20515-2506

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-7041

(202) 225-8221

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1415
Washington, DC 20515-2506

DISTRICT OFFICE

(816) 792-3976

(816) 792-0694

11724 North West Plaza Circle Suite 900
Kansas City, MO 64153-1127

DISTRICT OFFICE

(816) 792-3976

(816) 792-0694

11724 North West Plaza Circle Suite 900
Kansas City, MO 64153-1127

DISTRICT OFFICE

(816) 749-0800

(816) 749-0801

411 Jules Street Room 11
St. Joseph, MO 64501-1729

DISTRICT OFFICE

(816) 749-0800

(816) 749-0801

411 Jules Street Room 11
St. Joseph, MO 64501-1729

DISTRICT OFFICE

(573) 221-3400

906 Broadway
Hannibal, MO 63401-4248

DISTRICT OFFICE

(573) 221-3400

906 Broadway
Hannibal, MO 63401-4248

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

19181 State Highway O
Tarkio, MO 64491

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

19181 State Highway O
Tarkio, MO 64491

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Jonathan Mason
Senior Legislative Assistant

Acquisitions

Brad Christie
Legislative Counsel

Agriculture

Jonathan Mason
Senior Legislative Assistant

Appropriations

Jack Ruddy
Legislative Director

jack.ruddy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-7041

Banking

Brad Christie
Legislative Counsel

Budget

Brad Christie
Legislative Counsel

Education

Wesley Shaw
Legislative Assistant; Press Secretary

Energy

Jonathan Mason
Senior Legislative Assistant

Environment

Jonathan Mason
Senior Legislative Assistant

Finance

Brad Christie
Legislative Counsel

Foreign

Brad Christie
Legislative Counsel

Govt Ops

Wesley Shaw
Legislative Assistant; Press Secretary

Gun Issues

Wesley Shaw
Legislative Assistant; Press Secretary

Health

Jonathan Mason
Senior Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

Brad Christie
Legislative Counsel

Immigration

Wesley Shaw
Legislative Assistant; Press Secretary

Matthew Barry
Field Representative

Judiciary

Wesley Shaw
Legislative Assistant; Press Secretary

Labor

Wesley Shaw
Legislative Assistant; Press Secretary

Brad Christie
Legislative Counsel

Matthew Barry
Field Representative

Military

Brad Christie
Legislative Counsel

Social Security

Brad Christie
Legislative Counsel

Tax

Brad Christie
Legislative Counsel

Technology

Wesley Shaw
Legislative Assistant; Press Secretary

Telecommunications

Wesley Shaw
Legislative Assistant; Press Secretary

Trade

Wesley Shaw
Legislative Assistant; Press Secretary

Transportation

Jack Ruddy
Legislative Director

jack.ruddy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-7041

Jonathan Mason
Senior Legislative Assistant

Wesley Shaw
Legislative Assistant; Press Secretary

Veterans

Brad Christie
Legislative Counsel

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Sam Graves
Votes: 216,906
Percent: 65.0%
Kyle Yarber
Votes: 108,503
Percent: 32.52%
2012 PRIMARY
Sam Graves
Votes: 59,388
Percent: 80.33%
Christopher Ryan
Votes: 9,945
Percent: 13.45%
Bob Gough
Votes: 4,598
Percent: 6.22%
2010 GENERAL
Sam Graves
Votes: 154,103
Percent: 69.44%
Clint Hylton
Votes: 67,762
Percent: 30.54%
2010 PRIMARY
Sam Graves
Votes: 54,566
Percent: 82.46%
Christopher Ryan
Votes: 11,608
Percent: 17.54%
2008 GENERAL
Sam Graves
Votes: 196,526
Percent: 59.43%
Kay Barnes
Votes: 121,894
Percent: 36.86%
2008 PRIMARY
Sam Graves
Votes: 36,131
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (69%), 2008 (59%), 2006 (62%), 2004 (64%), 2002 (63%), 2000 (51%)

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