Gary Palmer (politician)

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Gary Palmer
Gary Palmer - 2018.jpg
Chair of the House Republican Policy Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
LeaderKevin McCarthy
Preceded byLuke Messer[1]
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 6th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded bySpencer Bachus
Personal details
Gary James Palmer

(1954-05-14) May 14, 1954 (age 66)
Hackleburg, Alabama, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Ann Cushing
EducationUniversity of Alabama (BS)
WebsiteHouse website

Gary James Palmer (born May 14, 1954) is an American politician from the state of Alabama. Elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2014, he represents Alabama's 6th congressional district. The district includes the wealthier portions of Birmingham, as well as most of that city's suburbs. Prior to his career as an elected official, Palmer co-founded and served as the long-time president of the Alabama Policy Institute, a conservative think tank.[2] He is a member of the Republican Party and the Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives.[3]

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Palmer was born in Hackleburg, Alabama. His family lived on a 40-acre farm, where Palmer helped maintain the family garden and animals.[4]

He has a bachelor's degree in operations management from the University of Alabama.[5] Palmer was the first member of his family to earn a college degree.[4] He was a walk-on wide receiver for the Crimson Tide and played under Bear Bryant.[6] In 1989, Palmer co-founded the Alabama Family Alliance, which later became the Alabama Policy Institute. Palmer served as president of the conservative think tank for 25 years, stepping down in 2014 to pursue a run for Congress.[7] Palmer helped found the State Policy Network, a nonprofit umbrella organization for conservative and libertarian think tanks which focus on state-level policy, and served as its president.[8]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



Palmer declared his candidacy for the 6th district following the retirement announcement of 11-term incumbent Spencer Bachus.[5] In the Republican primary election—the real contest in this heavily Republican district—Palmer finished second behind state representative Paul DeMarco. In the ensuing runoff election, Palmer picked up the support of the Club for Growth.[9] Palmer won the runoff election by a margin of 64% to 36%.[10] In the November 4, 2014 general election, Palmer defeated Democratic nominee Mark Lester, a history professor at Birmingham-Southern College, 76% to 24%.[11] However, he had effectively clinched a seat in Congress with his primary victory. With a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+28, the 6th was tied with the neighboring 4th as the most Republican district in Alabama. Since it assumed its current configuration as a mostly suburban district in 1992, a Democrat has only crossed the 30 percent mark once.


Gary Palmer's swearing in for his second tenure in office in 2017.

Palmer took office on January 3, 2015, along with the other freshmen members of the 114th Congress.

Conservative Review has graded Palmer's voting record an A with a Liberty Score of 100%. Palmer is one of only three Republican representatives to receive this highest possible grade out of 247 Republicans in the House of Representatives.[12]

Palmer was elected Chair of the House Republican Policy Committee for the 116th Congress[13]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Political positions[edit]

As of 2020, Palmer has a 92 percent rating for supporting conservative causes according to Heritage Action for America.[16]


Palmer opposes legal abortion and says that the Declaration of Independence was pro-life in its statements on "all men" having "unalienable Rights" to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."[17] As a result of his anti-abortion voting record, Palmer has a zero percent rating from Planned Parenthood.[18]

Civil rights[edit]

As of 2018, Palmer has a rating of seven percent from the ACLU for his pro-civil rights voting record.[19]

Black Lives Matter[edit]

Palmer supports peaceful protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. He has expressed that he is "outraged over these deaths & pray justice will be swift, with urgency to address underlying issues of distrust & suspicion that divide us."[20]


Palmer has a score of 0 out of 100 for his anti-LGTBQI voting record from the Human Rights Campaign.[21] Palmer supports bathroom bills. He stated that allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice is something "no reasonable person" would allow and said that "the safety implications for sexual predation have been well documented."[22]

He also opposes same-sex marriage stating that "No one can change the fundamental nature of what marriage is: the union of a man and a woman and the formation of a family which is the foundation of every civilization."[23]

Voting rights[edit]

Palmer supports efforts requiring photo identification to be required in order to vote.[24]


During the COVID-19 crisis, Palmer opposed proxy voting while Congress was unable to work onsite at the Capitol due to shelter-in-place orders.[25]

Palmer opposed Planned Parenthood affiliates from receiving funding from the Paycheck Protection Program.[26]


Palmer voted to support medical marijuana research but is opposed to legalizing marijuana.[17]

Government reform[edit]

Palmer supports state's rights to oversee government programs.


He supports full transparency regarding campaign contributions.[24]

Palmer supports term limits, specifically six years for congresspeople and twelve years for senators.[24]

After the 2020 presidential election, Palmer was among 126 House Republicans who supported Texas v. Pennsylvania, a case that unsuccessfully asked the Supreme Court to overturn election results from Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.[27][28]

Gun law[edit]

Palmer is a supporter of gun rights. He opposes gun restrictions and efforts to repeal what he deems unconstitutional gun restrictions. He supports efforts that enable legal gun owners to carry their guns, including concealed carry, over state lines.[29]

Health care[edit]

Palmer opposes the Affordable Care Act calling it "a nightmare" and that it is "job killing." He supports efforts to repeal it.[30]

Homeland security[edit]

Palmer is pro-nuclear weapons. He supports increasing funding for the Defense Department specifically around work in the Middle East.[31]


Palmer opposes illegal immigration to the United States, including allow undocumented workers the right to work in the US. He supports efforts to deport undocumented immigrants.[32]

Tax reform[edit]

Palmer voted in support of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[33] He says that the tax plan would "put more money in the pockets of the American people" and "launch economic growth." He blamed the Obama administration and a "burdensome tax code that was designed for a 1986 economy," for an "anemic" economy.[34]

Texas v. Pennsylvania[edit]

In December 2020, Palmer was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives who signed an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden prevailed[35] over incumbent Donald Trump. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of the election held by another state.[36][37][38]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement that called signing the amicus brief an act of "election subversion." Additionally, Pelosi reprimanded Palmer and the other House members who supported the lawsuit: "The 126 Republican Members that signed onto this lawsuit brought dishonor to the House. Instead of upholding their oath to support and defend the Constitution, they chose to subvert the Constitution and undermine public trust in our sacred democratic institutions."[39][40] New Jersey Representative Bill Pascrell, citing section three of the 14th Amendment, called for Pelosi to not seat Palmer and the other Republicans who signed the brief supporting the suit. Pascrell argued that "the text of the 14th Amendment expressly forbids Members of Congress from engaging in rebellion against the United States. Trying to overturn a democratic election and install a dictator seems like a pretty clear example of that."[41]

Electoral history[edit]

2014 Alabama's 6th congressional district Republican primary, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Paul DeMarco 30,894 32.7
Republican Gary Palmer 18,655 19.7
Republican Scott Beason 14,451 15.3
Republican Chad Mathis 14,420 15.3
Republican Will Brooke 13,130 13.9
Republican Tom Vigneulle 2,397 2.5
Republican Robert Shattuck 587 0.5
Total votes 94,534 100.0
Alabama's 6th congressional district Republican primary runoff, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Gary Palmer 47,491 63.5
Republican Paul DeMarco 27,295 36.5
Alabama's 6th congressional district election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Gary Palmer 135,495 76.2
Democratic Mark Lester 42,291 23.7
Write-in 213 0.1
Total votes 178,449 100.0
Republican hold
Alabama's 6th congressional district election, 2016
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Gary Palmer (incumbent) 245,313 74.5
Democratic David Putnam 83,709 25.4
Write-in 284 0.1
Total votes 329,206 100.0
Republican hold
Alabama's 6th congressional district election, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Gary Palmer (incumbent) 192,542 69.2
Democratic Danner Kline 85,644 30.8
Write-in 142 0.1
Total votes 278,328 100.0
Republican hold

Personal life[edit]

Palmer is married to Ann Cushing Palmer.[42] The Palmer's have three children.[43]

When working in Washington, D.C., Palmer sleeps at his office on Capitol Hill.[42]

Palmer is a longtime member of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Rep. Messer reelected to Chair Republican Policy Committee". Republican Policy Committee. November 15, 2016.
  2. ^ Cason, Mike (October 24, 2013). "Gary Palmer announces he will run for Congress in Alabama's 6th congressional district". Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  3. ^ Bialik, Carl; Bycoffe, Aaron (September 25, 2015). "The Hard-Line Republicans Who Pushed John Boehner Out". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Platt, Camille Smith (February 24, 2017). "Cover Story: Gary Palmer". Birmingham Christian Family Magazine. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Gary Palmer announces he will run for Congress in Alabama's 6th congressional district". Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  6. ^ "Ala. congressional candidate remembers playing for Bear Bryant: 'wouldn't trade it for anything'". Yellowhammer News. May 13, 2014. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  7. ^ Moseley, Brandon (September 2014). "Crosby to Replace Palmer at API". Alabama Political Reporter. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  8. ^ Barnes, Fred (May 22, 2014). "A Conservative Candidate of Character, Conviction, Knowledge, and Leadership". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved March 24, 2015.
  9. ^ "Gary Palmer Marks Second Chance for Club for Growth in Alabama Race". At the Races. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  10. ^ "Gary Palmer swamps Paul DeMarco in 6th District Republican runoff". Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  11. ^ "Gary Palmer victorious in Alabama's 6th congressional district race". Shelby County Reporter. November 4, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  12. ^ "Conservative Review - Scorecard". Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  13. ^ "Palmer Elected to 116th Congress's GOP Leadership Team". Congressman Gary Palmer. November 14, 2018.
  14. ^ "House Freedom Fund". Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  15. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  16. ^ "Rep. Gary Palmer - Scorecard 116: 92% | Heritage Action For America". Heritage Action For America. June 29, 2020. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  17. ^ a b Underwood, Madison. "Abortion, marijuana, and same-sex marriage: District 6 candidates state their positions". Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  18. ^ "Congressional Scorecard". Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  19. ^ "Legislative Scorecard 2018". American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  20. ^ "This weekend, we've seen many peaceful protests over the unjustified killings of #GeorgeFloyd, #BreonnaTaylor, & #AhmaudArbery. I, too, am outraged over these deaths & pray justice will be swift, with urgency to address underlying issues of distrust & suspicion that divide us". Twitter. June 1, 2020. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  21. ^ "Congressional Scorecard: Measuring Support for Equality in the 114th Congress" (PDF). Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  22. ^ Koplowitz, Howard. "'They have lost their minds': Roby, Palmer blast Obama administration over transgender student bathroom guidance". Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  23. ^ Koplowitz, Howard. "SCOTUS gay marriage ruling: Alabama congressional delegation widely pans same-sex marriage decision". Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  24. ^ a b c "Gary Palmer on Government Reform". On the Issues. June 26, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  25. ^ Palmer, Gary (May 21, 2020). "A message to Americans from Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats". The Washington Times. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  26. ^ "Disgraceful. These funds must be recovered and an investigation should be opened at once. Planned Parenthood affiliates improperly applied for and received $80 million in coronavirus stimulus funds, feds say #FoxNews". Twitter. May 21, 2020. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  27. ^ "Here Are The Names Of 126 Members Of The House Who Refuse To Accept That Biden Won". BuzzFeed News. December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  28. ^ "Motion for Leave to File Brief Amicus Curiae" (PDF). December 10, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  29. ^ "Gary Palmer on Gun Control". On the Issues. June 26, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  30. ^ "Gary Palmer on Health Care". On the Issues. June 26, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  31. ^ "Gary Palmer on Homeland Security". On the Issues. June 26, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  32. ^ "Gary Palmer on Immigration". On the Issues. June 26, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  33. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (December 19, 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  34. ^ Kirby, Brendan (December 20, 2017). "Tax cuts will create 4,600 Alabama jobs, raise family income across the state by $519, study says - Yellowhammer News". Yellowhammer News. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  35. ^ Blood, Michael R.; Riccardi, Nicholas (December 5, 2020). "Biden officially secures enough electors to become president". AP News. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  36. ^ Liptak, Adam (December 11, 2020). "Supreme Court Rejects Texas Suit Seeking to Subvert Election". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  37. ^ "Order in Pending Case" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United States. December 11, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  38. ^ Diaz, Daniella. "Brief from 126 Republicans supporting Texas lawsuit in Supreme Court". CNN. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  39. ^ Smith, David (December 12, 2020). "Supreme court rejects Trump-backed Texas lawsuit aiming to overturn election results". The Guardian. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  40. ^ "Pelosi Statement on Supreme Court Rejecting GOP Election Sabotage Lawsuit" (Press release). Speaker Nancy Pelosi. December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  41. ^ Williams, Jordan (December 11, 2020). "Democrat asks Pelosi to refuse to seat lawmakers supporting Trump's election challenges". TheHill. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  42. ^ a b Koplowitz, Howard (July 21, 2015). "Palmer: D.C. more like 'C-SPAN' than 'House of Cards'". AL. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  43. ^ Turpen, Katie (December 10, 2014). "Local politician Gary Palmer discusses highlights of campaign and upcoming term". Hoover Sun. Retrieved November 20, 2020.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Spencer Bachus
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 6th congressional district

Party political offices
Preceded by
Luke Messer
Chair of the House Republican Policy Committee
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Dan Newhouse
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Kathleen Rice