Thomas Massie

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Thomas Massie
Thomas Massie official portrait.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 4th district
Assumed office
November 6, 2012
Preceded by Geoff Davis
Judge-Executive of Lewis County
In office
January 3, 2011 – June 30, 2012
Deputy John Patrick Collins
Preceded by Steve Applegate
Succeeded by John Patrick Collins
Personal details
Born Thomas Harold Massie
(1971-01-13) January 13, 1971 (age 47)
Huntington, West Virginia, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Rhonda Massie
Children 4
Education Massachusetts Institute of Technology (BS, MS)
Website House website

Thomas Harold Massie (born January 13, 1971) is an American entrepreneur and politician who has been the United States Representative for Kentucky's 4th congressional district since 2012.

In 2012, he defeated Bill Adkins in the special and general elections to represent Northern Kentucky in Washington, D.C. Before joining congress, Massie was Judge-Executive of Lewis County, Kentucky, from 2011 to 2012. He also ran a start-up company based in Massachusetts, where he previously studied robotics at MIT. He is an engineer by practice and education.[1]

Massie has been described as a libertarian Republican[2] and is associated with the House Liberty Caucus.

Early life, education, and business career[edit]

Thomas Massie was born in Huntington, West Virginia. He grew up in Vanceburg, Kentucky, and met his future wife, Rhonda. He earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[3]

In 1993, at MIT, he and his wife started a company called SensAble Devices Inc.[4][5] Massie was the winner in 1995 of the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for inventors.[3] The company was re-incorporated as SensAble Technologies, Inc., in 1996 after partner Bill Aulet joined the company.[4] They raised $32 million of venture capital, had 24 different patents, and 70 other employees.[6]

Massie sold the company, and he and his wife moved back to their hometown in Lewis County. They raised their children on a farm,[5][7] where he built his own off-the-grid timberframe house.[8]

Lewis County Judge Executive[edit]

In 2010, Massie pursued the office of Judge Executive of Lewis County, in order to fight what he considered wasteful spending and intrusion into the lives of the county's citizens by the government.[5] Massie won the primary election, defeating the incumbent by a large margin,[5] and went on to defeat his Democratic opponent by nearly 40 points.[9] Massie also campaigned for then-U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul, speaking to various Tea Party groups on his behalf.[5]

Massie resigned as Lewis County Judge-Executive, effective June 30, 2012.[citation needed]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

2012 election[edit]

Results of the primary by county. Red indicates a county won by Massie, green by Webb-Edgington. Gray indicates a county that is not within the 4th congressional district.

In December 2011, Congressman Geoff Davis announced his decision to retire from his seat in Kentucky's 4th congressional district. Massie announced his decision to join the race on January 10, 2012.[10] Massie was endorsed by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky,[11][12] and Rand's father, Texas Congressman Ron Paul.[13][14] He also received endorsements from FreedomWorks,[15] Club for Growth,[16][17] Gun Owners of America,[18] and Young Americans for Liberty.[19]

On May 22, 2012, Thomas Massie was elected as the Republican nominee for the 4th congressional district, beating his closest opponents, State Representative Alecia Webb-Edgington and Boone County Judge Executive Gary Moore, by a double-digit margin.[20][21] In his victory speech, Massie thanked "the Tea Party, the liberty movement, and grassroots Ronald Reagan Republicans."[22] Massie was challenged by Democrat Bill Adkins in the general election, and was expected to win the election by a wide margin.[20][23] Massie resigned as Lewis County Judge-Executive, effective June 30, 2012, in order to focus on his campaign for U.S. Congress, and allow an election to be immediately held in order to replace him.[24] He was succeeded by Deputy Lewis County Judge-Executive John Patrick Collins, who was appointed temporarily by Governor Steve Beshear.[25] On July 31, 2012, Congressman Geoff Davis resigned from office, citing a family health issue for his abrupt departure.[26] On August 1, 2012, the Republican Party committee for Kentucky's 4th Congressional district voted unanimously to endorse Massie as the party's nominee once a special election was called.[27] A special election was called by Governor Steve Beshear to take place on the same day as the general election, November 6, 2012.[28] This meant that Massie would be running in two separate elections on the same day—one for the right to serve the final two months of Davis' term, another for a full two-year term.[29]

On November 6, 2012, Massie won both the general and special elections, defeating his opponent by a wide margin in both elections.[30]

Tenure[edit]

Massie being sworn into office by Speaker of the House John Boehner on November 13, 2012.
Congressman Massie outside his Congressional office
Congressman Massie speaking at the 2013 Liberty Political Action Conference (LPAC)

Massie was sworn into office immediately after the election, on November 13, 2012, filling the vacancy left by Geoff Davis.[31] Massie was selected to serve on three committees, including the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and Committee on Science, Space and Technology.[32] He was also selected to become Chairman of the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation, replacing outgoing Chairman Ben Quayle.[33]

Massie voted against the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, otherwise known as the NDAA,[34] and co-sponsored legislation in favor of industrial hemp,[35] and repealing federal gun free zones in schools.[36] Massie voted against the fiscal cliff deal, saying "This plan is Washington kicking the can down the road [...] The modest spending cuts agreed to in the 2011 debt ceiling deal are postponed by this bill. This bill does nothing to reform our bloated tax code — in fact the bill perpetuates Obama's failed stimulus spending within the tax code. Finally, it fails to address entitlement reform or the solvency of Social Security and Medicare." [37] Massie was the sole member of the House to vote "present" on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action of Iran's nuclear agreement, citing constitutional concerns that the treaties are not ratified by the House of Representatives and that he had no authority to vote for or against the nuclear deal[38][39]

Massie broke from the majority of his party by opposing the reelection of Speaker of the House John Boehner, instead casting his vote for Republican Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan.[40] In May 2013, he voted against the Stolen Valor Act of 2013, which passed 390 to 3.[41] In December 2013, he was the only congressman to vote against the Undetectable Firearms Act.[42]

In March 2014, Massie voted against a bill to name Israel an American strategic partner. Massie voted no because this bill would have subsidized green energy companies in Israel. He said he would not support subsidies for American green energy companies, let alone foreign ones.[43] However, the bill passed by a margin of 410-to-1.[44] In May 2014, Massie objected to a voice vote to award golf star Jack Nicklaus a gold medal recognizing his "service to the nation", and demanded a roll call vote.[41] The vote passed easily, 371 to 10.[41] Through mid-June 2014, Massie had voted "no" at least 324 times in the 113th Congress – opposing one of every three measures that came to the House floor. Politico named him "Mr. No".[41] In November 2016, Massie voted against an extension of U.S. sanctions against Iran, the only member of the House to do so.[45]

Massie identifies himself as a constitutional conservative. He believes in intellectual property and thinks it is necessary for incentivizing innovation. Massie has remarked that this is one of the areas in which he does not identify as libertarian.[46]

In 2017, Massie introduced a one-page bill that would abolish the United States Department of Education,[47] and cosponsored a bill that would abolish the Environmental Protection Agency.[48]

On April 5, 2017, in a CNN interview with Kate Bolduan, Massie expressed skepticism over the role of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in the 2017 Khan Shaykhun chemical attack. [49]

On May 4, 2017, Massie was the sole House member to vote against sanctions on North Korea, which the final vote was 419-1. [50]

In July 2017, Thomas Massie joined Reps. Justin Amash, John Duncan Jr. (R-TN) and Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in opposing a bill that would impose new economic sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea. President Trump opposed the bill, pointing out that relations with Russia were already “at an all-time and dangerous low.” He did, however, sign the bill though likely out of political pressure. [51]

On December 29, 2017, Massie voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.[52] Prior to voting, Massie stated he would support the bill in order to cut taxes, but that he would oppose "new government spending," despite the $1.5 trillion estimated to be added to the national debt according to the Congressional Budget Office in wake of the bill being passed.[53][54]

Committee assignments[edit]

Political positions[edit]

Domestic issues[edit]

Education[edit]

Massie supports dismantling the US Department of Education. He supports states making curriculum and funding decisions, as opposed to the federal government. He supports school choice.[55]

Health care[edit]

Massie supports the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") and describes health care as a "personal issue" that "belongs in the private sector." He believes that insurance should be available across state lines and that the insurance industry should be a free market.[55]

Economic issues[edit]

Budget & economy[edit]

Massie describes the economy as "sluggish." He supports auditing the US Federal Reserve.[55]

Jobs[edit]

Massie says that the country is suffering from "persistently high unemployment" "due to our government’s massive debt, over regulation of our businesses, and a tax system that punishes achievement."[55]

Tax reform[edit]

Massie supports tax reform and describes the tax filing process as "too complicated."[55]

Social issues[edit]

Abortion[edit]

Massie is pro-life and believes life begins at conception. He opposes federally funding being used for abortions and supports defunding Planned Parenthood.[55]

Cannabis[edit]

Massie has a "B+" rating from NORML for his voting history regarding cannabis-related causes. Massie supports veterans having access to medical marijuana if recommended by their Veterans Health Administration doctor and if it is legal for medicinal purposes in their state of residence. He supports industrial hemp farming and expanded research into medical marijuana.[56]

Electoral history[edit]

Kentucky's 4th Congressional district election (2012)[57]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Thomas Massie 186,036 62.13
Democratic William Adkins 104,734 34.98
Independent David Lewis 8,674 2.90
Total votes 299,444 100.00
Republican hold
Kentucky's 4th Congressional district election (2014)[58]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Thomas Massie 150,464 67.73
Democratic Peter Newberry 71,694 32.27
Total votes 222,158 100.00
Republican hold
Kentucky's 4th Congressional district election (2016)[59]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Thomas Massie 233,922 71.32
Democratic Calvin Sidle 94,065 28.68
Total votes 327,987 100.00
Republican hold

Personal life[edit]

Massie operates a cattle farm in Garrison, Kentucky with his wife Rhonda and their four children. They live in a solar-powered home that Massie built himself.[60][61] He is a Christian.[62]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "From MIT Entrepreneur to Tea Party Leader: The Thomas Massie Story". Xconomy. 17 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Curry, Tom. "Libertarian GOP Member Sees Drone Privacy Risk". blogs.rollcall.com. Archived from the original on February 14, 2015. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Thomas Massie | Lemelson-MIT Program". lemelson.mit.edu. Retrieved April 21, 2018. 
  4. ^ a b Stipp, David (July 8, 1996). "Sensable Technologies Tactile Computer Interfaces". CNN. Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Wartman, Scott (January 13, 2012). "Massie courts Tea Party". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  6. ^ "About | Thomas Massie for US Congress – 4th District Kentucky". Thomasmassie.com. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  7. ^ 01/10/12 at 4:27pm by Scott Wartman   Comments. "Thomas Massie joins race for Geoff Davis' Congressional seat | Kentucky Politics". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Massie House". Retrieved January 15, 2012. 
  9. ^ Maynard, Misty (November 2, 2010). "Voter turnout exceeds expectations in Lewis County". Maysville Online. Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  10. ^ Alford, Roger (January 12, 2012). "Republican Thomas Massie seeks to replace US Rep. Geoff Davis in Kentucky's 4th District". Associated Press. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  11. ^ Miller, Joshua (May 10, 2012). "Kentucky: Rand Paul Backs Thomas Massie in Race to Succeed Geoff Davis". Roll Call. Retrieved May 12, 2012. 
  12. ^ Riggs, Mike (May 16, 2012). "Rand Paul Endorses Kentucky's Thomas Massie". Reason. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Ron Paul endorses Massie in 4th District race". The Courier-Journal. April 13, 2012. Retrieved April 19, 2012. 
  14. ^ Isenstadt, Alex (April 9, 2012). "Ron Paul's baby boom". Politico. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Thomas Massie – FreedomWorks for America". FreedomWorks. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  16. ^ "CFG PAC endorses Thomas Massie in Kentucky". Club for Growth. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  17. ^ Colston, Kenny (May 1, 2012). "National Club For Growth Endorses Massie in Fourth Congressional District Primary". WFPL. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  18. ^ Macy, Tim. "Thomas Massie: Second Amendment Leadership". Gun Owners of America. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Support Thomas Massie – Young Americans for Liberty". Young Americans for Liberty. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  20. ^ a b Gerth, Joe (May 22, 2012). "Tea party-backed Thomas Massie gets nod in U.S. House 4th District race". Courier Journal. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Massie wins Republican primary for Fourth District". The Ledger Independent. May 22, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Massie, Adkins To Compete For 4th District Seat". WLWT-TV. Associated Press. May 22, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  23. ^ "House incumbents win in Kentucky, Arkansas". Politico. May 23, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Massie resigns as Lewis County judge-executive". Bowling Green Daily News. Associated Press. June 29, 2012. Retrieved July 7, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Deputy Judge John Patrick Collins replaces Thomas Massie in Lewis County". Courier Journal. July 19, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  26. ^ Min Kim, Seung (July 31, 2012). "Rep. Geoff Davis resigns from Congress". Politico. Retrieved August 2, 2012. 
  27. ^ Alessi, Ryan (August 1, 2012). "GOP committee backs Massie for nomination in yet-to-be-called special election". Pure Politics. Retrieved August 2, 2012. 
  28. ^ Miller, Joshua (July 31, 2012). "Breaking: Geoff Davis Resigns From Congress". Roll Call. Retrieved August 2, 2012. 
  29. ^ Associated Press (August 17, 2012). "Special Election Set for U.S. Congressional Seat in Ky". Newschannel WSAZ-3. Retrieved September 12, 2012. 
  30. ^ Osborne, Kevin (November 6, 2012). "Massie wins in Ky.'s 4th congressional district". Kentucky Post. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  31. ^ Pitts, Jacqueline (November 9, 2012). "Congressman-elect Massie says he wants to see federal spending cuts take effect". Pure Politics. Retrieved November 18, 2012. 
  32. ^ "U.S. Representative Thomas Massie Selected for Several Key House Committees". Office of Congressman Thomas Massie. December 4, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  33. ^ "U.S. Representative Massie Selected as Chairman of Technology Subcommittee". Office of Congressman Thomas Massie. January 9, 2013. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  34. ^ "U.S. Representative Massie Votes 'Nay' on NDAA". Office of Congressman Thomas Massie. December 21, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  35. ^ "U.S. Representative Massie Signs on to Industrial Hemp Bill". Office of Congressman Thomas Massie. November 28, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  36. ^ "PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Representative Massie Proposes Repeal of Federal Gun Free School Zones Act". Office of Congressman Thomas Massie. January 4, 2013. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Press Release: U.S. Representative Massie Votes No on Fiscal Cliff Deal". Office of Congressman Thomas Massie. January 2, 2013. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Massie alone in voting 'present' on Iran deal". Cincinnati.com. September 11, 2015. 
  39. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2015/roll493.xml
  40. ^ Doherty, Brian (January 3, 2013). "Boehner Re-Elected House Speaker, But Loses Amash, Some Other Liberty-Leaning Support". Reason. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  41. ^ a b c d Deirdre Shesgreen, USAToday (June 15, 2014). "A congressman thinks 'no' is the answer". Cincinnati.com. 
  42. ^ "Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie Objects to Plastic Gun Ban". 89.3 WFPL. 
  43. ^ "A congressman thinks 'no' is the answer". Cincinnati.com. June 15, 2014. 
  44. ^ Israel and the world: Us and them, economist.com.
  45. ^ Marcos, Cristina (November 15, 2016). "House votes to extend Iran sanctions". The Hill. Capitol Hill Publishing Corp. Retrieved December 2, 2016. 
  46. ^ Meet Representative Thomas Massie: A Constitutional Conservative With an MIT Pedigree, Science insider
  47. ^ Marcos, Cristina (2017-02-07). "GOP lawmaker proposes abolishing Department of Education". TheHill. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  48. ^ "H.R.861 - To terminate the Environmental Protection Agency." Congress.gov. Retrieved 27 July 2017. 
  49. ^ Mueller, Eleanor. "Congressman: 'I don't think' Assad is behind Syria attack". CNN. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  50. ^ "House passes bill to impose new sanctions on North Korea". Fox News. 2017-05-04. Retrieved 2017-07-27. 
  51. ^ "Meet the 5 Lawmakers Who Voted Against the Russia Sanctions Bill". IVN.us. August 3, 2017. 
  52. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (19 December 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 December 2017. 
  53. ^ Marcos, Cristina; Jagoda, Naomi (16 November 2017). "The 13 House Republicans who voted against the GOP tax plan". The Hill. Retrieved 28 December 2017. 
  54. ^ Ydstie, John. "GOP Tax Cuts Expected To Push Up Nation's Debt". National Public Radio. Retrieved 28 December 2017. 
  55. ^ a b c d e f "Issues". Congressman Thomas Massie. Retrieved 28 December 2017. 
  56. ^ "Kentucky Scorecard". NORML. Retrieved 28 December 2017. 
  57. ^ http://elect.ky.gov/SiteCollectionDocuments/Election%20Results/2010-2019/2012/2012genresults.pdf
  58. ^ http://elect.ky.gov/SiteCollectionDocuments/Election%20Results/2010-2019/2014/2014%20General%20Election%20Results.pdf
  59. ^ http://elect.ky.gov/results/2010-2019/Documents/2016%20General%20Election%20Results.pdf
  60. ^ Brown, Dennis (November 17, 2009). "Thomas Massie is candidate for judge executive". Lewis County Herald. Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  61. ^ Huang, Gregory T. (May 17, 2012). "From MIT Entrepreneur to Tea Party Leader: The Thomas Massie Story". www.xconomy.com. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  62. ^ "Thomas Massie". Retrieved February 1, 2018. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Steve Applegate
Judge-Executive of Lewis County
2011–2012
Succeeded by
John Patrick Collins
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Geoff Davis
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 4th congressional district

2012–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
New office Chairman of the Second Amendment Caucus
2016–present
Incumbent
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Suzan DelBene
D-Washington
United States Representatives by seniority
242nd
Succeeded by
Donald Payne
D-New Jersey