Andy Barr (American politician)

Andy Barr
Andy Barr official congressional photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 6th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded byBen Chandler
Personal details
Born
Garland Hale Barr IV

(1973-07-24) July 24, 1973 (age 46)
Lexington, Kentucky, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
Eleanor Leavell (m. 2008)
Children2
EducationUniversity of Virginia (BA)
University of Kentucky (JD)
Signature
WebsiteHouse website

Garland Hale "Andy" Barr IV (born July 24, 1973) is an American attorney and politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Kentucky's 6th congressional district since 2013. Prior to being elected, he served in the administration of Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher. He is a member of the Republican Party.

Early life[edit]

Barr was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and is the son of Garland Hale Barr III and Rev. Donna R. (Faulconer) Barr.[1] The Barr family has been in Lexington for generations, and Barr Street in that city is reportedly named for one of Barr's ancestors.[2] His father founded the accounting firm of Barr, Anderson and Roberts and his mother is a deacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington.[1]

Barr graduated from Henry Clay High School in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1992.[3] He attended the University of Virginia where, as a contributor to a conservative campus publication called The Virginia Advocate, he was highly critical of then-President Bill Clinton for allegedly evading the draft. While in college, he was also an intern for U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and the Republican National Committee as well as a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. In 1993, at age 19, he was arrested in Key West, Florida, and charged with possessing a fake Mississippi driver's license. He pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to eight hours of community service.[4]

Barr graduated with a bachelor's degree in government and philosophy in 1996.[2] From 1996 until 1998, he worked as a legislative assistant to Jim Talent, then a U.S. Representative from Missouri.[3] In 1999, he was charged with public intoxication in Lexington, a charge that was dismissed four months later.[2] In 2001, Barr earned a law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law.[5]

Law career[edit]

Commencing practice in Lexington, he joined the Fayette County Bar Association Young Lawyers Section and co-founded the Lexington Charity Club – a non-profit organization of young men raising money for charitable causes – with Lee Greer and Rob Lewis.[6] In 2002, he joined the liability defense service group and the business litigation service group at the Lexington law firm of Stites & Harbison.[7] While there, he worked for former Democratic Kentucky Attorney General and future Governor Steve Beshear, who urged him to get involved in state politics.[3] Barr and colleague Brad Cowgill were employed by Republican gubernatorial candidate Ernie Fletcher in 2003 to fight charges that Fletcher's running mate, Hunter Bates, did not meet the state's residency requirements for eligibility for the office of lieutenant governor.[2] A judge ruled against Bates, and he was dropped from the ticket.[2]

Fletcher administration[edit]

A man with dark hair and glasses wearing a black jacket and tie and white shirt
Ernie Fletcher employed Barr during his gubernatorial administration.

After Fletcher won the election, Barr was named to the governor-elect's transition team in the Public Protection and Regulation Cabinet.[8] Ultimately, Fletcher chose Barr as general counsel for the governor's office of local development.[9] When Fletcher declared April to be Child Abuse Prevention Month in Kentucky, Barr wrote Fletcher's speech for the occasion.[2] While researching the speech, he made contact with the non-profit group Prevent Child Abuse in Kentucky.[2] He became interested in the organization's mission and was elected to its board of directors in 2004; he served as vice-president of the organization in 2007 and president in 2008 and 2009.[2][10]

Fletcher's term in office was marred by a hiring scandal that involved violations of the state merit system.[3] Barr was not implicated in the scandal; he told the Lexington Herald-Leader that Fletcher's Local Initiatives for a New Kentucky (LINK) outreach program – a sub-unit of the office of local development – stopped recruiting and vetting individuals for merit positions in the executive branch after he briefed officials about an opinion issued by the Executive Branch Ethics Commission during the administration of Fletcher's predecessor, Paul E. Patton, regarding acceptable and unacceptable hiring under the merit system.[9] The Herald-Leader later requested copies of any employment recommendations made by LINK employees, but Barr refused the request, citing an exemption in Kentucky's Open Records Act that provides exemptions for "preliminary drafts, notes and correspondence" of state employees.[11]

In 2007, Fletcher's general counsel resigned to become executive director of the Kentucky Bar Association; deputy general counsel David E. Fleenor was elevated to general counsel, and Barr replaced Fleenor as deputy general counsel.[12] In this capacity, he authored a defense of Fletcher's executive order that the Ten Commandments be posted in the rotunda of the state capitol alongside other historical documents.[2] Fletcher was defeated for reelection in 2007 and before his term expired, he named Barr to the state Public Advocacy Commission.[13]

Post-Fletcher administration[edit]

In April 2008, Barr returned to private practice as an associate at the law firm of Kinkead and Stilz; he also worked as a part-time instructor, teaching constitutional law at the University of Kentucky.[3][14] He was chosen as an alternate delegate to the 2008 Republican National Convention and served as vice-president of the Fayette County Republican Party.[15][16]

Congressional campaigns[edit]

2010[edit]

After forming an exploratory committee in September 2009, on November 10, 2009, Barr became the first Republican to formally announce that he would seek his party's nomination to challenge incumbent 5th district congressman Ben Chandler.[3] In the announcement, he touted his opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (which Chandler had also opposed) and the American Clean Energy and Security Act (which Chandler supported).[3] Barr's campaign raised far more money than those of any of his five opponents in the Republican primary.[17] Barr garnered 31,255 votes in the primary, while his opponents' totals ranged from 4,789 to 1,880.[18]

A man with brown hair and glasses wearing a black jacket, gray shirt, and red patterned tie
Ben Chandler, Barr's opponent in 2010 and 2012

In an interview with WKYT-TV in July, Barr denounced the recently signed Dodd–Frank Act that enacted new regulations on the banking industry.[19] He called for an end to the practice of politicians earmarking funds for special projects in their districts, a position that put him at odds with state party leaders like McConnell and long-time 5th district Congressman Hal Rogers.[19] Although he supported strengthening security along the U.S. border with Mexico to curb illegal immigration, he stated his belief that fellow Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul's plan to deny citizenship to U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants was a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.[19]

The National Republican Congressional Committee targeted Barr's race against Chandler as part of their strategy to gain control of the House of Representatives during the 2010 midterm elections, and Ohio Congressman John Boehner – who stood to become Speaker of the House if the Republicans gained a majority – visited the state to campaign on Barr's behalf.[20] Substantial amounts of money from political groups outside the state aided both candidates and spawned a number of negative campaign ads.[20] Chandler aired ads in August alluding to Barr's arrest in Florida for using a fake ID and seeking to tie him to the wrongdoing of the Fletcher administration.[20] Barr countered with ads criticizing Chandler's support of cap-and-trade legislation – an unpopular vote in coal-dependent Kentucky – and his vote in favor of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which Barr characterized as a waste of taxpayer money that did little to stimulate an economic recovery.[20]

Unofficial election day results showed Chandler scoring a narrow victory over Barr, but the race was so close that Barr refused to concede.[21] When the official results were released, Chandler had received 119,812 votes to 119,163 for Barr.[21] Barr petitioned Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson for a recanvass of the voting machines in the district, but this yielded only one additional vote for Barr.[21] On November 12, ten days after the election, Barr announced that he would concede the election to Chandler rather than requesting a full recount.[21]

2012[edit]

On June 9, 2011, Barr announced that he would again challenge Chandler for his seat in the 2012 elections.[22] Chandler responded to the announcement by declaring, "Next year, voters will have a very simple choice to make: whether to protect and save Social Security and Medicare, or to end them," an allusion to Barr's publicly expressed support for Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan's budget proposal.[22]

In July 2012, Roll Call reported that "a wide swath of influential Republicans in Kentucky see Barr's campaign as something of a lost cause...In the eyes of those who know Kentucky best, from Washington, D.C., to Frankfort, this isn't much of a race right now."[23]

A man with brown, wavy hair wearing a suit and holding a microphone
Rand Paul endorsed Barr in 2012 despite their differences on issues like the Patriot Act.

Barr won the Republican primary and again received financial support from the National Republican Campaign Committee in his general election campaign.[24] When Chandler decided not to attend the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Barr charged that he was trying to avoid association with President Barack Obama, who was seeking a second term but who was unpopular with many voters in Kentucky.[25] A spokesperson for Chandler maintained that Chandler had previous engagements in his home district that week, but that he supported Obama's reelection.[25] Barr was chosen to give a brief address at the 2012 Republican National Convention, during which he decried Obama's perceived hostility toward the coal industry.[26] Chandler campaign staffers criticized Barr's decision to attend the convention, stating that he should spend the time in his district, getting to know the people there better.[27] They also mocked the fact that the backdrop for Barr's speech was a picture of the city of Louisville, which is not in the 6th district; Barr's campaign countered that they had no part in choosing the backdrop.[26]

Both candidates began their TV ad campaigns with more positive ads; Barr's wife appeared in his first ad, touting him as a "family man", while Chandler tried to combat Barr's charges of fiscal liberalism by releasing an ad criticizing excessive government spending.[28] Tea Party-backed Kentucky Senator Rand Paul endorsed Barr despite differences between the two on some policy matters, including Barr's support for the Patriot Act.[28] The positive tone did not hold as the race tightened, however. Chandler's campaign attacked Barr for using a mining executive from Morganfield – which is well outside the 6th district – as a coal miner from Estill County – which is in the district.[29] The campaign's charges that the man depicted was "not a miner" prompted him to threaten a suit for defamation, and he produced copies of his certified miner credentials in rebuttal to the charge.[29] The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also bought ads that again raised the issue of Barr's previous conviction and his association with Fletcher.[30]

Barr won the election by a vote of 153,222 to 141,436.[31]

2014[edit]

Barr faced Democrat Elisabeth Jensen in the General Election of 2014. 147,404 votes were cast for Barr, and 98,290 to Jensen, about 60% to 40% respectively. Although not a competitive race, Barr was able to garner wide support and raise an incredible amount of cash compared to the low funds challenger Elisabeth Jensen took in. The Sixth Congressional District in Kentucky is a right of center swing district.[32]

2016[edit]

In the 2016 congressional elections, Democrat Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper, a graduate of Yale Divinity School and former Executive Director of the Kentucky Council of Churches, challenged Barr in the 6th Congressional District. She ran with the support of former Lt. Governor Crit Luallen, State Senator Reggie Thomas, State Representative Susan Westrom, and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.[33][34] Barr won reelection, capturing 61.1% of the votes cast.[35]

2018[edit]

Andy Barr won the primary for the Republican Party.[36] Former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath defeated Jim Gray, the mayor of Lexington, Kentucky and state Senator Reggie Thomas to win the Democratic Party primary and face Barr in the general election.[37] The race was considered potentially competitive by some observers.[37] Barr defeated McGrath in the general election, winning 51% of the vote to McGrath's 47.8%.[38]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Barr serves on the House Committee on Financial Services, and is the ranking member of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation.[39]

Since taking office, Barr has also led the Kentucky Sixth District Veterans Coalition[40] organization that serves as a link between legislative concerns of veterans from the Sixth District of Kentucky and Congress.

On July 11, 2013, Barr introduced the CFPB Rural Designation Petition and Correction Act (H.R. 2672; 113th Congress), a bill that would amend the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to establish an application process that would allow a person to get their county designated as "rural" for purposes of a federal consumer financial law.[41] One practical effect of having a county designated "rural" is that people can qualify for some types of mortgages by getting them exempted from the CFPB's qualified mortgage rule.[42][43]

On March 6, 2014, Barr introduced the Restoring Proven Financing for American Employers Act (H.R. 4167; 113th Congress), a bill that would "exempt existing collateralized loan obligations from the so-called "Volcker Rule," which bars banks from making risky trades with their own money and limits their investments in certain funds."[44] The bill passed in the House on April 29, 2014, in a voice vote.[45]

In December 2017, Barr voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.[46] He introduced the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, which passed and states that sellers of mobile homes are not loan or mortgage originators and are therefore not subject to the Truth in Lending Act.[47]

During his time as Representative, Barr has taken part in legislation targeted at the opioid epidemic. In May 2018, Barr sponsored the CAREER Act, aimed at providing transitional housing for those recovering from opioid addiction. The bill is currently in committee.[48] Barr further helped to enact legislation that provided state targeted response block grants to states suffering from the opioid epidemic.[49][failed verification] The grants would provide $500 million in funds for the epidemic up to fiscal year 2021. Barr was also key to the University of Kentucky being awarded $87 million by the Department of Health and Human Services as part of a HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) grant to provide help to communities hit hardest by the opioid epidemic in Kentucky.[50]

In October 2018, Barr played a pivotal role in Camp Nelson being designated as Kentucky’s first National Monument by the Department of the Interior.[51][failed verification]

Barr also introduced the Financial Protections for Our Military Families Act in December 2018. The legislation is designed to extend the supervisory authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to credit protections applicable to certain active duty members of the armed forces and their dependents. The bill is currently in committee.[52]

In April 2019, Barr introduced H.R. 2196, an amendment to change the required hours for the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship program from 128 to 120.[53] The bill was passed and signed into law by President Donald Trump[54] in July 2019.[55]



Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Political positions[edit]

Health care[edit]

Barr supports the repeal of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare").[64]

Abortion[edit]

Barr is pro-life. Barr believes that abortion should be illegal, including in cases of rape and incest, unless the mother's life is threatened. Barr opposes using federal funding to support organizations that offer abortions. In a 2012 interview, Barr said that "I think the vast majority of people of this country have come to the conclusion that wherever you are on this issue, we shouldn't have taxpayer funding for abortion."[65]

Interest group ratings[edit]

Barr has a "D" rating from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), a marijuana legalization advocacy organization, for his voting history regarding cannabis-related causes.[66]

Barr has a zero score from LGBT rights advocacy organization the Human Rights Campaign for his LGBT rights-related voting record.[67]

Donald Trump[edit]

Regarding President Donald Trump's comments in the wake of the Unite the Right rally, Barr said Trump's statement was filled with "too much ambiguity."[68]

Environment and energy[edit]

On the subject of climate change, Barr said in 2019, "Some say the science is settled, that's not true. There are scientists who dispute the level of warming, the extent to which humans are contributing to that."[69] In 2013, Barr said, "Coal does contribute to climate change."[70] Barr opposes a carbon tax.[71]

In 2019, Barr invited Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to his district to hear how the Green New Deal, which Ocasio-Cortez was a leading proponent of, would affect coal miners.[72] Ocasio-Cortez accepted the invitation.[72] Shortly thereafter, Barr withdrew his invitation, citing her "lack of civility" towards Dan Crenshaw.[72] Ocasio-Cortez responded, saying that Barr was waffling.[73]

Personal life[edit]

In 2008, Barr married Eleanor Carol Leavell of Georgetown, Kentucky, who previously served as the executive director of the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship.[1][2] They have two daughters, Eleanor and Mary Clay.[74]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Brammer, "GOP's Barr mulls run for Congress"
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Cheves, "Barr says he offers respite from 'career politicians'"
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Musgrave, "Former Fletcher aide running for Congress"
  4. ^ Brammer, Jack (October 9, 2012). "Spending by outside groups in Chandler-Barr race tops $1 million". Lexington Herald Leader. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  5. ^ "Garland 'Andy' Barr". Washington Times. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  6. ^ Patrick, "A Different Brown-Bag Meeting"
  7. ^ "Personnel File". Lexington Herald-Leader
  8. ^ "Fletcher Transition Team Members". The Kentucky Post
  9. ^ Wingo, "Personnel File" (2004, 2007, June 2008, and 2009)
  10. ^ Cheves, "Fletcher Disbands Outreach Agency, Keeps Its Activities Secret"
  11. ^ "N. Kentucky Police Chief is Charged with DUI". Lexington Herald-Leader
  12. ^ Alessi, "Fletcher rewards supporters Scores Appointed to State Boards, Commissions"
  13. ^ Wingo, "Personnel File" (April 2008)
  14. ^ Alessi, "GOP delegates upset two groups"
  15. ^ Brammer, "Lineup of candidates for fall is taking shape"
  16. ^ Cheves, "Republicans pick Barr to challenge Chandler"
  17. ^ "On the ballot". Lexington Herald-Leader
  18. ^ a b c Cheves, "Barr: Cut earmarks, federal spending"
  19. ^ a b c d Cheves, "Chandler declares win as GOP takes House"
  20. ^ a b c d Musgrave, "Barr concedes to Chandler"
  21. ^ a b Brammer, "Barr to run for Congress again"
  22. ^ "Kentucky: Andy Barr Poll Shows Him Behind by 5 Points". July 9, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  23. ^ Brammer, "Barr wins easily, setting up rematch with Chandler"
  24. ^ a b Brammer, "Chandler skipping his party's convention"
  25. ^ a b Brammer, "Barr uses GOP appearance to assail coal policies"
  26. ^ Brammer, "Barr to speak at GOP convention"
  27. ^ a b Alford, "Chandler, Barr begin TV ad war in 6th District"
  28. ^ a b Alford, "Coal exec threatens to sue Chandler"
  29. ^ Brammer, "New ad signals race tightening"
  30. ^ Brammer, "Republican Barr avenges 2010 loss to Chandler"
  31. ^ KY Board of Elections, "2014 General Election" http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/KY/53704/149744/en/summary.html
  32. ^ Youngman, Sam. "Democrat Nancy Jo Kemper files to run for U.S. Rep. Andy Barr's seat". Herald-Leader. Herald-Leader. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  33. ^ "Nancy Jo Kemper for Congress". Kemper for Congress. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  34. ^ "Kentucky U.S. House 6th District Results: Andy Barr Wins". New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  35. ^ Associated Press. "Incumbent Andy Barr Cruises To Primary Victory". via WUKY.com. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  36. ^ a b Bradner, Eric. "Fighter pilot McGrath wins Kentucky House primary". CNN.com. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  37. ^ "Kentucky's Sixth House District Election Results: Andy Barr vs. Amy McGrath". New York Times. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  38. ^ "Committee Membership". US House of Representatives.
  39. ^ "Kentucky Sixth District Veterans Coalition". Facebook.
  40. ^ "H.R. 2672 - Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  41. ^ Marcos, Cristina (May 2, 2014). "The week ahead: House to hold ex-IRS official in contempt". The Hill. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  42. ^ "Dodd-Frank Dispatch: "Rural Area" Designation Would Provide Consumer Financial Protection Laws Relief". BankersWEB.com. March 17, 2014. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  43. ^ Cheves, John (April 30, 2014). "Democrats call on Andy Barr to return $42,808 he collected with indicted lawmaker". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  44. ^ "H.R. 4167 - All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  45. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (December 19, 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  46. ^ "How area members of Congress voted". The News-Messenger. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  47. ^ "H.R. 5736 CAREER Act".
  48. ^ "State Grant Programs". SAMHSA.
  49. ^ Willett, Kristi (April 18, 2019). "UK, Kentucky Awarded $87 Million to Lead Effort in Combating Nation's Opioid Epidemic". UKNow. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  50. ^ "Presidential Proclamation on the Establishment of the Camp Nelson National Monument". White House.gov.
  51. ^ "H.R.7364". Congress.gov.
  52. ^ https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2196
  53. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/en/Donald_Trump. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  54. ^ "Bill Announcement". whitehouse.gov. The White House. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  55. ^ "Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations". House Financial Services Committee. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  56. ^ "Member List". Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  57. ^ "Members". House Baltic Caucus. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  58. ^ "Members". Congressional Constitution Caucus. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  59. ^ "Members". U.S. - Japan Caucus. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  60. ^ "Members | Career and Technical Education Caucus". careerandtechnicaleducationcaucus-langevin.house.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  61. ^ "Committees and Caucuses". Congressman Andy Barr. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  62. ^ "Brownley Announces Members of the Bipartisan Women Veterans Task Force". Congresswoman Julia Brownley. May 21, 2019. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  63. ^ Beam, Adam. "Amid Trump Backlash, Hundreds Question US Rep. Barr". U.S. News. Associated Press. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  64. ^ Brammer, Jack. "Barr says abortion acceptable only when mother's life endangered". Lexington Herald-Ledger. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  65. ^ "Kentucky Scorecard". NORML. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  66. ^ Congressional Scorecard (PDF). Human Rights Campaign. p. 16 https://assets2.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/114thCongressionalScorecard.pdf. Retrieved December 31, 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  67. ^ Sonka, Joe (August 16, 2017). "McConnell: White nationalist rally not welcome in Kentucky, as 'there are no good neo-Nazis' - Insider Louisville". Insider Louisville. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  68. ^ "Rep. Andy Barr speaks on green energy and the Green New Deal". spectrumnews1.com. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  69. ^ Peterson, Erica (2013). "Where Do Kentucky's Congressmen Stand on Climate Change? Hard to Tell". 89.3 WFPL News Louisville. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  70. ^ Slitz, Alex. "Trump report says climate change is coming for Kentucky, but lawmakers are skeptical". mcclatchydc. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  71. ^ a b c "GOP lawmaker withdraws invite for AOC to visit Kentucky mine". NBC News. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  72. ^ "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: I invited Barr to the Bronx to talk climate change. He said no". USA TODAY. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  73. ^ "Andy Barr Biography". U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved November 20, 2014.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ben Chandler
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 6th congressional district

2013–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Dina Titus
United States Representatives by seniority
193rd
Succeeded by
Joyce Beatty