|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Texas's 36th district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Steve Stockman|
Brian Philip Babin
March 23, 1948
Port Arthur, Texas, U.S.
Roxanne (m. 1972)
|Children||5, including Lucas|
|Education||Lamar University (BS)|
University of Texas Health Science Center (DDS)
Brian Philip Babin // (born March 23, 1948) is an American dentist, politician and member of the Republican Party who has served as the U.S. Representative from Texas's 36th congressional district since January 2015.
Babin, a graduate of Lamar University and the University of Texas Dental School, served in the United States Air Force from 1975 to 1979. He then opened a dental practice in Woodville and became involved in Republican politics. He worked for various state and federal campaigns and held numerous local and regional government positions, including President of the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (1981–1987), on the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (1982–1984), Mayor of Woodville (1982–1984), on the Woodville City Council (1984–1989), on the Texas Historical Commission (1989–1995), Chairman of the Tyler County Republican Party (1990–1995), on the Woodville Independent School District Board (1992–1995) and on the Lower Neches Valley Authority (1999–2015).
Babin was the Republican nominee for Texas's 2nd congressional district in 1996 and 1998, losing to Democrat Jim Turner on both occasions. He ran again in 2014 to succeed Steve Stockman, who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate, and was elected to succeed him.
Early and personal life
Babin graduated from Lamar University in 1973 and later went on to serve as an officer in the United States Air Force from 1975 to 1979, leaving with the rank of Captain. While serving, he earned a B.S. in biology from Lamar University in 1975 and then enrolled in the University of Texas Dental School and graduated with his D.D.S. in 1976. To pay for his tuition, he worked as a janitor, merchant seaman and postman and sang folk and country music in local restaurants with his wife Roxanne, whom he met in college.
Babin and his wife Roxanne have been married since 1972 and they have five children: daughter Marit, an attorney and former press staffer at the National Republican Congressional Committee; son Leif, a former Navy SEAL; twins Kirsten, an educator, and Lucas, a model and actor; and daughter Laura Larua. He is also the father-in-law of journalist and Fox News Channel anchor Jenna Lee, who is married to his son Leif. As of 2015, he has 12 grandchildren. Babin and his wife are members of the First Baptist Church of Woodville, where he is a deacon, Sunday school teacher, choir member, and member of Gideons International.
Babin has been engaged in general dental practice in Woodville since 1979. He first entered politics in 1980, saying that when stationed overseas he felt "demoralized" by Democratic President Jimmy Carter. He thus worked for the Ronald Reagan campaign for President, first as county co-ordinator and then regional co-ordinator. Deep East Texas was then heavily Democratic, and Babin is considered to be "instrumental" in turning the region Republican over the years. He also worked at the county, regional and state level for Reagan's re-election campaign, the George H. W. Bush campaign for President and the Bill Clements and George W. Bush campaigns for Governor of Texas.
Additionally, he has variously served as the Mayor of Woodville (1982–1984), a Woodville City Councilman (1984–1989), Chairman of the Tyler County Republican Party (1990–1995), a member of the Woodville Independent School District Board (1992–1995) and Director of the Tyler County Chamber of Commerce. He has also served as President of the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (1981–1987), on the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (1982–1984) and on the Texas Historical Commission (1989–1995). In 1999, he was appointed by Governor Bush to the Lower Neches Valley Authority and was reappointed to the body by Governor Rick Perry, most recently in 2013, for a term that was to expire in 2019. He resigned before being sworn into Congress.
1996 Congressional election
When twelve-term Democratic Congressman Charlie Wilson of Texas's 2nd congressional district decided to retire in 1996, Babin ran to succeed him. In the Republican primary, he came second out of five candidates, with 7,094 votes (31.01%), behind Donna Peterson, the nominee for the seat in 1990, 1992 and 1994, who took 8,047 votes (35.18%). As no candidate secured a majority, Babin faced Peterson in a runoff, and defeated her 7,405 votes (66.83%) to 3,675 (33.16%). In the general election, he lost to Democrat Jim Turner, a State Senator and former State Representative, by 102,908 votes (52.24%) to 89,838 (45.6%).
After the 1996 election, Babin became involved in a campaign finance scandal concerning $37,000 in illegal donations from businessman Peter Cloeren that were moved through "vehicles" to circumvent the individual contribution limit of $1,000. Cloeren asserted in an affidavit that Babin and then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay laundered his donations through other candidates and organisations. Babin and DeLay denied his allegations. Cloeren pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and paid a $400,000 fine and received a two-year suspended prison sentence. Babin paid a $20,000 civil penalty and paid back $5,000 in excessive contributions for "accepting an excessive contribution and a contribution in the name of another and failing to disclose financial activity properly."
1998 Congressional election
Babin sought a rematch with Turner in 1998. Unopposed in the Republican primary, he was again defeated in the general election, by 81,556 votes (58.42%) to 56,891 (40.75%).
During the campaign, Babin's campaign manager was 21-year-old Jon-Marc McDonald. McDonald gained national attention when he simultaneously came out of the closet as a gay man and resigned as campaign manager. In August 1998, McDonald abruptly stepped down, citing "irreconcilable differences" with Babin over the issue of homosexuality. According to The Dallas Morning News, McDonald announced his resignation via press release without discussing it with Babin, and his sudden departure left those in the campaign shocked and confused.
McDonald generated further press coverage when he stated in an interview after his resignation that Babin had made disparaging remarks about homosexuals in private, which Babin adamantly denied. In some press reports, Babin claimed that McDonald was not the campaign manager, but instead a "volunteer coordinator", also a paid position. An article by Hastings Wyman of the Southern Political Report suggested that McDonald was forced to resign by the local media threatening to "out" him. The resignation received widespread national media attention because of the sensationalistic way it transpired.
U.S. House of Representatives
2014 Congressional election
After Republican Congressman Steve Stockman of Texas's 36th congressional district made a late decision to run for the U.S. Senate instead of for re-election, Babin ran to succeed him in the 2014 elections. In the twelve-candidate Republican primary–the real contest in this heavily Republican district–Babin finished first with 17,194 votes (33.36%). As he did not receive a majority, he proceeded to a runoff with the second-placed candidate, mortgage banker and candidate for Texas's 10th congressional district in 2004 Ben Streusand, who had received 12,024 votes (23.33%). In the runoff, Babin defeated Streusand by 19,301 votes (57.84%) to 14,069 (42.16%). He then faced Democrat Michael Cole in the general election, defeating him by 100,933 votes (75.97%) to 29,291 (22.04%).
2016 Congressional election
On November 27, 2015, Babin announced that he would be running for re-election in 2016. 2014 U.S. Senate candidate Dwayne Stovall, a bridge construction contractor, school board member from Cleveland and candidate for the State House of Representatives in 2012, announced in July 2015 that he would challenge Babin for the Republican nomination, but suspended his campaign in December 2015, citing poor fundraising and the difficulties of challenging an incumbent. Babin was thus unopposed in the March 1, 2016 Republican primary. The Democrats did not field a challenger in the November 8 general election; his only opposition came from face Green Party candidate Hal Ridley Jr., who also ran in 2014.
- Committee on Science, Space and Technology
- Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
On January 6, 2015, Babin was one of twenty-five House Republicans to vote against John Boehner's re-election as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Boehner, who needed at least 205 votes, was re-elected with 216 votes. 24 Republicans voted for another candidate and Babin voted "present", effectively abstaining from the vote. Two days later, Babin explained his vote. He said that he didn't want to vote for Boehner, to reflect dissatisfaction with the Speaker in his district, particularly over the Cromnibus. However, he declined to vote for another candidate because "he would have preferred to see Boehner denied reelection on the first ballot, forcing a closed-door GOP caucus meeting at which a replacement might emerge."
On January 25, in an interview with The Daily Caller, Babin said that President Barack Obama "deserves impeachment", but he doubted that Congress would act on that. He also criticised President Obama's foreign policy, calling him an "appeaser deluxe".
In June 2015, after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in King v. Burwell that the tax subsidies in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) were constitutional, Babin introduced the "SCOTUScare Act". His bill would force the Supreme Court Justices to enroll for Obamacare and purchase healthcare insurance under the health exchanges, so that they could, as he said, "understand the full impact of their decisions on the American people [and] see firsthand what the American people are forced to live with!" The name of Babin's bill references conservative Justice Antonin Scalia's dissent, where he said that, after the Court had upheld the law twice, "we should start calling this law SCOTUScare."
In September 2015, in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, Babin introduced the Resettlement Accountability National Security Act, designed to oppose President Obama's plan to expand the country's refugee program. The bill calls for a "temporary halt to the refugee program until the general accounting office can do an assessment of just exactly how much this is costing the taxpayer." Babin said that this was urgently necessary because the refugee program amounts to an "open invitation" to the "problems of the Middle East, of terrorism, oppression of women and all the things that go along with it." Babin also claimed that over 90% of refugees "are already on some sort of entitlement program when they come in" and that American cities could end up with "no-go zones", claiming that such places already exist in London, Liverpool, Paris, Amsterdam and Copenhagen.
On October 9, 2015, Babin chaired a hearing of the House Space Committee attended by various NASA executives. He criticised the Obama administration for cutting the NASA budget, saying that they would have a negative effect on the agency's space exploration programs and that budget uncertainty would impair efficiency. Babin also noted that the recent discovery of liquid water on Mars and the release of the Ridley Scott film The Martian had "garnered the public's attention, and rightly so" which would prompt the public to ask when there would be a Human mission to Mars.
On October 20, 2016, Babin defended comments by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump calling Hillary Clinton "a nasty woman" at the final presidential debate, saying "sometimes a lady needs to be told when she's being nasty."
In June 2017 Babin asked President Trump in a letter to order a review of the case of Derrick Miller, a former US Army National Guardsman Sergeant who was sentenced in to life in prison with the chance of parole for the premeditated murder of an Afghan civilian during a battlefield interrogation, and the cases of other veterans who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq who were imprisoned for battlefield crimes.
Babin cites water conservation, repealing the Affordable Care Act and stopping illegal immigration as his main priorities. He believes in the Protestant work ethic and the concept of "if you don’t work, you don’t eat, if you are able to work." He supports term limits and wants to reduce the number of out of wedlock births and restore the traditional family unit. He also believes that taxes are too high and the tax code is too complex.
Although Babin helped found and is a member of the Tyler County Patriots, he does not identify as a member of the Tea Party, saying "I believe with all my heart in less government, lower taxes and more individual responsibility and more economic freedom, and you can put whatever label you want to on it."
Babin supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to temporarily curtail travel to the U.S. from six Middle Eastern nations until better screening methods are devised. After the EO was signed, he posted on social media: “Great news — now let’s get it into law!”
Transgender bathroom use
On May 19, 2016, Babin introduced HR 5294, the "Student Privacy Protection and Safety Act of 2016" which would invalidate the "Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students" until superseded by an Act of Congress. The "Dear Colleague" letter was an official correspondence jointly issued by the United States Departments of Justice and Education on May 13 providing significant guidance that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, also prohibits discrimination based on a student's gender identity. Babin characterized HR 5294 as a "bathroom bill" in a subsequent press release, where he stated, in part, that "The federal government should not be in the business of throwing common sense and decency out the window and forcing local schools to permit a teenage boy who ‘identifies’ as a girl to use changing rooms, locker rooms and bathrooms with five year-old girls."
Babin signed on to cosponsor HR 5275, the "Prohibiting the Usurpation of Bathroom Laws through Independent Choice School Act (PUBLIC School Act) of 2016" also on May 19. HR 5275 would allow state and local governments to enact and enforce policies on the use of sex-segregated bathrooms and locker rooms. He also cosponsored HR 5307, the "Title IX Clarification Act of 2016" on May 24. HR 5307 would amend Title IX to define sex as 'the biological sex'. Later in 2016, Babin cosponsored HR 5812, the "Civil Rights Uniformity Act of 2016" on September 27. All four bills (HR 5294, 5275, 5307, and 5812) would go on to die in committee. HR 5812 was reissued in 2017 as the "Civil Rights Uniformity Act of 2017" (HR 2796), which Babin cosponsored on June 7, 2017.
- Texas State Board of Dental Examiners Licence
- "Bio". Babin for Congress. Archived from the original on August 24, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- William Norwich (March 10, 2002). "Paris, Texas". The New York Times. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- David Mark (May 31, 2014). "This Incoming Member of Congress Has a Pretty Cool Family". Politix.topix.com. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
- "About Brian | U.S. Congressman Brian Babin, D.D.S". babin.house.gov.
- David Jennings (March 2, 2014). "2014 Primary: Dr. Brian Babin, CD-36". Houston Chronicle.
- David Eldridge (August 29, 2014). "Likely Stockman Successor Has Deep Texas Roots". Roll Call. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- Kevin Diaz (December 29, 2014). "Woodville's 'Doc Babin' aims to leave a conservative mark in Congress". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
- "Appointees Join Historical Panel". The Victoria Advocate. February 5, 1989. p. 6D. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
- "Brian Babin's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- "Gov. Perry Reappoints Three to the Lower Neches Valley Authority Board of Directors". Governor of Texas. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
- Lou Dubose; Jan Reid (October 4, 2004). "DeLay Inc". Salon. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- Jim Drinkard (October 17, 2005). "DeLay politics may carry heavy price". USA Today. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- "Investigation of Political Fundraising Improprieties and Possible Violations of Law Interim Report". United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. November 5, 1998. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- "FEC Collects $198,900 in Civil Penalties". Federal Election Commission. June 20, 2008. Archived from the original on October 16, 2016. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- "New Members Guide 2014: Brian Babin". The Hill. November 2014. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
Babin ran for Congress in 1996 and 1998, losing both times after controversies over campaign contributions and the resignation of his gay campaign manager.
- Jon-Marc McDonald (September 23, 2008). "I was Mark Buse". Screaming from the Rooftop. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
Brian Babin, was a republican seeking to unseat incumbent Jim Turner in the 2nd District of Texas... At the age of 21, I was the youngest campaign manager working on a federal level campaign... In August of ’98, after a series of events, I resigned from the campaign, citing irreconcilable differences with my candidate over the issue of homosexuality.
- "U.S. Briefs", PlanetOut, August 25, 1998, archived from the original on May 5, 2000, retrieved October 22, 2008
- G. Robert Hillman (August 25, 1998), "Congressional challenger's top aide resigns", Dallas Morning News, retrieved October 22, 2008
- Max B. Baker; Laura Vozella (August 30, 1998), "The Insider Report: If they had made one, he would know", Star-Telegram, retrieved October 23, 2008
- Alan Bernstein (August 25, 1998), "CAMPAIGN 98 / Campaign Notebook", Houston Chronicle, archived from the original on October 10, 2012, retrieved October 22, 2008
- Wyman, Hastings (September 14, 1998), "Texas Governor's Race: Rehearsing for the Millennium", Metro Weekly, Capital Letters, Washington DC
- Ryan Thornburg (August 25, 1998), "GOP Aide Resigns From Texas Campaign Over Boss's Views on Gays", The Washington Post, retrieved October 27, 2008
- Mustafa Tameez (February 14, 2014). "The Most Important Race for NASA & Houston's Economy". The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
- Kevin Diaz (May 27, 2014). "Babin wins Steve Stockman's congressional seat". Beaumont Enterprise.
- Paige Lavender (November 5, 2014). "Brian Babin Defeats Michael Cole In Race For Outgoing Rep. Steve Stockman's Seat In Congress". The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
- "Office of the Secretary of State 2014 General Election Election Night Returns". Texas Secretary of State. Archived from the original on November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
- "Dr. Brian Babin announces re-election for Congress for Texas' 36th Congressional District". Orange Leader. November 27, 2015. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
- Brashier, Vanessa (December 2, 2015). "Stovall dropping out of race for Congressional District 36". The Deer Park Broadcaster. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
- "Babin secures key subcommittee assignments to represent Congressional District 36". Cleveland Advocate. January 27, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
- "Members". Congressional Western Caucus. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
- John Parkinson (January 6, 2015). "Boehner Narrowly Reelected House Speaker". ABC News. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
- John Parkinson (January 7, 2015). "John Boehner's Revenge: How The House Speaker Is Punishing GOP Defectors". ABC News. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
- Michael Marks (January 8, 2015). "Freshman Brian Babin explains "present" vote in defiance of Speaker John Boehner". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
- Erin Mershon (June 25, 2015). "Republican lawmaker introduces 'SCOTUScare Act'". Politico. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
- Mark Hensch (June 25, 2015). "House bill would force the Supreme Court to enroll in ObamaCare". The Hill. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
- Sylvan Lane (July 2, 2015). "Brian Babin becomes fifth Texas congressman to endorse Ted Cruz". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved October 18, 2015.
- Brian Babin (October 8, 2015). "Brian Babin: Stop the insanity: Suspend America's refugee resettlement program". The Potpourri. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
- Tomasz Nowakowski (October 12, 2015). ""Are we really going to Mars?": House subcommittee discusses space exploration". Spaceflight Insider. Retrieved October 18, 2015.
- Kaczynski, Andrew. "GOP congressman on Clinton: 'A lady needs to be told when she's being nasty'". CNN. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
- Chiaramonte, Perry (June 2, 2017). "Texas congressman asks Trump for full review of 'Leavenworth 10' cases". Fox News.
- Blake, Aaron (January 29, 2017). "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
- Text of the Student Privacy Protection and Safety Act of 2016 at Congress.gov
- U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division; U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (May 13, 2016). "Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students" (PDF). Letter to Colleague. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
- "Babin Introduces Bill to Protect Student Privacy from Obama's Mixed-Gender Bath and Changing Room Mandate" (Press release). Office of Representative Brian Babin. May 23, 2016. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
- Text of the Prohibiting the Usurpation of Bathroom Laws through Independent Choice School Act (PUBLIC School Act) of 2016 at Congress.gov
- Text of the Title IX Clarification Act of 2016 at Congress.gov
- Text of the Civil Rights Uniformity Act of 2016 at Congress.gov
- Text of the Civil Rights Uniformity Act of 2017 at Congress.gov
- Congressman Brian Babin official U.S. House website
- Brian Babin for Congress official campaign website
- Brian Babin at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|U.S. House of Representatives|
|Preceded by |
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives |
from Texas's 36th congressional district
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|Preceded by |
Rick W. Allen
| United States Representatives by seniority |