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Template:Infobox Congressman Addison Graves Wilson, Sr., most commonly known as Joe Wilson (born July 31, 1947), is a Republican politician from the U.S. state of South Carolina. He was a former U.S. Army lawyer, South Carolina State Senator (1984 - 2001), and since 2001 has represented the state's 2nd congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a member of the House Republican Policy Committee and is an Assistant Republican Whip.[1]

In September 2009, Wilson received international attention when he interrupted a speech by U.S. President Barack Obama to a joint session of Congress by shouting "You lie!"[2][3] The incident resulted in a formal rebuke by the House of Representatives. Wilson later apologized to Obama and his apology was accepted. [4]

Education and military service[]

Wilson was born in Charleston, South Carolina, to Hugh de Veaux Wilson and Wray Graves Wilson. Wilson obtained a bachelor's degree from Washington and Lee University in 1969, obtained a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1972.[5] From 1972 to 1975, Wilson served in the United States Army Reserve, and then as a Staff Judge Advocate in the South Carolina Army National Guard assigned to the 218th Mechanized Infantry Brigade until retiring from military service as a Colonel in 2003.[6]

Early legal and political career[]

Wilson was active in South Carolina Republican politics from a young age, participating in his first Republican campaign in 1962. As a teenager he joined the campaign of Congressman Floyd Spence, later working as an aide to Senator Strom Thurmond.

As a real estate attorney, Wilson co-accounted the law firm Kirkland, Wilson, Moore, Taylor & Thomas[7] in West Columbia, where he practiced for over 25 years. Wilson was also a municipal judge in Springdale.[8]

In 1981 and 1982, during the Reagan Administration, Wilson served as Deputy General Counsel for former Governor Jim Edwards at the U.S. Department of Energy.

State senate[]

Wilson was elected to the South Carolina Senate in 1984 as a Republican from Lexington County. He was reelected four times, the last three times unopposed; Lexington County is one of the most Republican counties in the state. He never missed a regular legislative session in 17 years. After the Republicans gained control of the chamber in 1996, he became the first Republican to serve as Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. Wilson was a member of the Columbia College Board of Visitors and Coker College Board of Trustees.

During his tenure in the South Carolina Senate, Wilson was the primary sponsor of bills which included the following: establishing a National Guard license plate,[9] providing paid leave for state employees to perform disaster relief services,[10] and requiring men aged 18–26 to register for the Selective Service System when applying for a driver's license.[11] In 2000, Wilson was one of seven senators who voted against removing the Confederate battle flag from being displayed over the state house.[12]

U.S. House of Representatives[]

Wilson represents South Carolina's 2nd congressional district, which stretches from the state capital, Columbia, to the resort towns of Beaufort and Hilton Head Island. Wilson is an ardent social and fiscal conservative, and a strong supporter of the military.[13] He is a member of the Republican Study Committee.

Elections[]

Wilson was elected in 2001 in a special election caused by the death of Floyd Spence, Wilson's former boss. Wilson once said that a dying Spence called Wilson from his hospital bed and asked him to run.[14] He won a crowded five-way primary with 75% of the vote, and prevailed in the December 18 special election with 73% of the vote.[15][16]

Wilson was mentioned as a possible candidate for retiring Senator Fritz Hollings' seat in 2004,[17] but he decided to run for a second full term and beat his opponents, Democrat Michael Ray Ellisor and Constitution Party nominee Steve Lefemine, with 65% of the vote.[15][18] Wilson won election to a full term in 2002 with 84% of the vote, facing only four minor-party candidates.[15][19]

In 2003, Wilson voted for the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, including its Section 1011 authorizing $250,000 annually of taxpayer money to reimburse hospitals for treatment of illegal immigrants. In 2009, Wilson changed to his current position opposing public funds for healthcare of illegal immigrants.[20] In the 2006 elections, he defeated Ellisor again, gaining 62.7% of the vote, and kept his House seat.[21] In the 2008 general election, he won 54% of the vote to Rob Miller's 46%,[22] the closest race in the district in 20 years.

Legislation[]

Wilson has sponsored and cosponsored a number of bills, concerning teacher recruitment and retention, college campus fire safety, National Guard troop levels, arming airline pilots, tax credits for adoptions, tax credits for living organ donors, and state defense forces.

As of January 2006, eight bills cosponsored by Wilson have passed the House,[23] including H.R. 1973, the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005, making safe water and sanitation an objective of U.S. assistance to developing countries.[24]

Wilson is a staunch advocate of a federal prohibition of online poker. In 2006, he cosponsored H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act[25] and H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.[26]

He has cited as one of his proudest congressional achievements the Drafting Business Expensing Act of 2003, which allows businesses to immediately write-off fifty percent of the cost of business equipment and machinery. This bonus depreciation provision has been extended for 2008 and 2009 in two separate stimulus bills.[27][28] In addition, Wilson spearheaded the Drafting Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act of 2003, which offers higher education loan forgiveness to math, science and special education teachers in schools with a predominantly low income student population.[29] He cites as his most important vote the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003.[29]

Outburst during 2009 Presidential address[]

On September 9, 2009, Wilson shouted at President Barack Obama while Obama addressed a joint session of Congress to outline his proposal for reforming health care.[30] During his address, Obama said: "There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false – the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally."[31] In a breach of decorum,[32] Wilson pointed at Obama and shouted, "You lie!".[33][34][35][36] Wilson attracted national and international attention for the incident.[37][38] He said afterwards that his outburst reflected his view that the bill would provide government-subsidized benefits to illegal immigrants.[39]

Members of Congress from both parties condemned the outburst. "Totally disrespectful," said Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) of Wilson's utterance. "No place for it in that setting or any other and he should apologize immediately."[40][41] Wilson said later in a statement:

This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the President’s remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill. While I disagree with the President's statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the President for this lack of civility.[42]

Obama later accepted Wilson's apology. "I'm a big believer that we all make mistakes," he said. "He apologized quickly and without equivocation and I'm appreciative of that."[43] However, House Democrats called on Wilson to issue a formal apology on the House floor.[44] Wilson refused, saying in a televised interview that, "I believe one apology is sufficient."[45] Most Congressional Republicans agreed, and opposed further action.[46] On September 15, the House approved a "resolution of disapproval" against Wilson, on a nearly party-line 240-179 vote.[47]

Several fact-checking organizations wrote that Wilson's views were inaccurate because HR 3200 expressly excludes undocumented aliens from receiving government-subsidized "affordability credits".[48][49][50] The non-partisan Congressional Research Service agreed that people would need to be lawfully present in the U.S. in order to be eligible for the credits, but noted that the bill did not bar noncitizens from buying their own health insurance coverage through the Health InsuranceExchange.[51][52] The Obama administration said that, in the final bill, illegal immigrants would not be able to participate in the Exchange.[53] Prior to Obama's speech, Democrats had twice rejected amendments to the bill requiring documentation of legal status in the United States in order to receive benefits under the proposed plan, contending that a more complex application process would delay or prevent citizens from receiving health care.[54] Such language was included in the Senate Finance Committee's version of the bill, America’s Healthy Future Act.[55][56]

Former President Jimmy Carter said the outburst was "based on racism ... [t]here is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president",[57][58][59] and characterized Wilson's act as "dastardly".[60][61] This view was echoed by entertainer and educator Bill Cosby.[62][63] However, others disagreed, including Maryland representative Donna Edwards, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.[64][65] Alan Wilson, son of Joe Wilson and a candidate for South Carolina state attorney general, said: "There is not a racist bone in my dad's body. He doesn't even laugh at distasteful jokes." [61] White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, when asked about Carter's comments, stated that President Barack Obama "does not believe that criticism comes based on the color of his skin."[66][67][68]

Following the incident, both Wilson and Rob Miller, his likely 2010 general election opponent, experienced a significant upswing in campaign donations. In the week after Wilson's outburst, Miller had raised $1.6 million, about three times his 2008 campaign,[69] while Wilson raised $1.8 million.[70] By September 30, 2009, Wilson had out-paced Miller's fundraising by $2.65 million to $1.69 million respectively.[71] This fundraising surge led to Wilson writing fundraising letters for the Republican Party of Virginia,[72] National Republican Congressional Committee[73] and to political observers describing him as a GOP "fundraising star".[74][75]

Other controversies[]

On a 2002 live broadcast of the C-SPAN talk show Washington Journal, guests Wilson and Democratic congressman Bob Filner were discussing Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. When Filner noted that the US provided Iraq "chemical and biological weapons" in the 1980s, Wilson incorrectly stated that this idea was "made up" and commented to Filner, "This hatred of America by some people is just outrageous. And you need to get over that." Wilson apologized for his remarks in statements to the press.[76][77]

In 2003, Essie Mae Washington-Williams revealed that she was the daughter of Wilson's former employer, the late Senator Strom Thurmond, and Thurmond's black maid. Wilson was among those who publicly doubted her assertion that Thurmond had a child out of wedlock. Wilson said even if her story was true, she should not have revealed it because "it's a smear" on Thurmond's image and was a way to "diminish" Thurmond's legacy.[78] After Thurmond's family acknowledged the truth of Washington-Williams' revelation, Wilson apologized but said that he still thought that she should not have revealed that Thurmond was her father.[79]

In November 2009, the New York Times reported that Joe Wilson and Blaine Luetkemeyer made identical written statements, saying that "One of the reasons I have long supported the U.S. biotechnology industry is that it is a homegrown success story that has been an engine of job creation in this country. Unfortunately, many of the largest companies that would seek to enter the biosimilar market have made their money by outsourcing their research to foreign countries like India." The statement was originally drafted by lobbyists for Genentech, a Swiss biotechnology firm.[80]

Committee assignments[]

As of the 111th Congress, Wilson serves on three standing committees and various subcommittees overseeing specific areas of legislation. Wilson serves on the Committee on Armed Services, for which he also serves on the Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces and the Subcommittee on Military Personnel.[81] He also sits on the Committee on Education and Labor, for which he also is a member of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions and Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.[82] As a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Wilson serves on the Subcommittee on Europe[83] and Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.[84]

Party leadership[]

  • House Republican Policy Committee

Family[]

Joe and his wife Roxanne Dusenbury McCrory Wilson have four sons and four grandchildren. His oldest son Alan McCrory Wilson is also a lawyer, working as an Assistant Attorney General for South Carolina,[85] and a Major in the Army National Guard, having served a year as an intelligence officer in southern Iraq. He is currently running for the Republican nomination for the South Carolina State Attorney General in 2010.[86] Addison G. "Add" Wilson, Jr. is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and is now an Lieutenant and graduate of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences medical school. Julian Dusenbury Wilson is a graduate of Clemson University and is a Captain in the Army National Guard. Hunter Taylor Wilson currently attends Clemson University, where he is a member of the Army ROTC, Army National Guard and the Sigma Chi Fraternity.

In an 2005 guest article on Rediff.com, Wilson stated that his father Hugh was a member of the Flying Tigers in World War II.[87] The Wilson family attends First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, headed by Pastor Kevin Hansen, originally from Seattle, WA.[8]

Organization membership[]

Wilson has been a member and former President or Chairman of the Cayce-West Columbia Rotary Club, Sheriff's Department Law Enforcement Advisory Council, Reserve Officers Association, Lexington County Historical Society, County Community and Resource Development Committee, American Heart Association, Mid-Carolina Mental Health Association, and NationsBank Lexington Advisory Board.

He has been a board member of the Cayce-West Columbia Jaycees, Kidney Foundation, SC Lung Association, Alston-Wilkes Society, and Cayce-West Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Wilson has also has been a member of the Columbia World Affairs Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Sinclair Lodge 154, Jamil Temple, Woodmen of the World, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Military Order of the World Wars, Springdale Elementary, Falmer Middle and Airport High School PTAs, American Legislative Exchange Council, Lexington Chamber of Commerce, Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce, Chapin Chamber of Commerce, West Metro Chamber of Commerce, Navy League, Amvets, Association of the US Army, National Guard Association, Air Force Association, Fourteenth Air Force Association, the Yorktown Association, SC Homebuilders Association, American Legion Guignard Post, 40 & 8, Lexington and Dutch Fork Republican Women's Clubs (Associate), and Executive Council of Indian Waters Council Boy Scouts of America.[8]

Electoral history[]

South Carolina's 2nd congressional district: Results 2000–2008[16][88]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2000 Template:Party shading/Democratic |Jane Frederick Template:Party shading/Democratic align="right" |110,672 Template:Party shading/Democratic |41% Template:Party shading/Republican |Floyd Spence * Template:Party shading/Republican align="right" |154,338 Template:Party shading/Republican |57% Template:Party shading/Libertarian |Timothy Moultrie Template:Party shading/Libertarian |Libertarian Template:Party shading/Libertarian align="right" |3,622 Template:Party shading/Libertarian align="right" |1% Template:Party shading/Independent |George C. Taylor Template:Party shading/Independent |Natural Law Template:Party shading/Independent align="right" |2,273 Template:Party shading/Independent align="right" |1%
2001 Template:Party shading/Democratic |Brent Weaver Template:Party shading/Democratic align="right" |14,034 Template:Party shading/Democratic |25% Template:Party shading/Republican |Joe Wilson Template:Party shading/Republican align="right" |40,355 Template:Party shading/Republican |73% Template:Party shading/Libertarian |Warren Eilertson Template:Party shading/Libertarian |Libertarian Template:Party shading/Libertarian align="right" |420 Template:Party shading/Libertarian align="right" |1% Template:Party shading/ConstitutionUSA |Steve Lefemine Template:Party shading/ConstitutionUSA |Constitution Template:Party shading/ConstitutionUSA align="right" |404 Template:Party shading/ConstitutionUSA align="right" |1%
2002 Template:Party shading/Democratic |(no candidate) Template:Party shading/Democratic align="right" | Template:Party shading/Democratic | Template:Party shading/Republican |Joe Wilson Template:Party shading/Republican align="right" |144,149 Template:Party shading/Republican |84% Template:Party shading/Independent |Mark Whittington Template:Party shading/Independent |United Citizens Template:Party shading/Independent align="right" |17,189 Template:Party shading/Independent align="right" |10% Template:Party shading/Libertarian |James R. Legg Template:Party shading/Libertarian |Libertarian Template:Party shading/Libertarian align="right" |9,650 Template:Party shading/Libertarian align="right" |6%
2004 Template:Party shading/Democratic |Michael Ray Ellisor Template:Party shading/Democratic align="right" |93,249 Template:Party shading/Democratic |33% Template:Party shading/Republican |Joe Wilson Template:Party shading/Republican align="right" |181,862 Template:Party shading/Republican |65% Template:Party shading/ConstitutionUSA |Steve Lefemine Template:Party shading/ConstitutionUSA |Constitution Template:Party shading/ConstitutionUSA align="right" |4,447 Template:Party shading/ConstitutionUSA align="right" |2%
2006 Template:Party shading/Democratic |Michael Ray Ellisor Template:Party shading/Democratic align="right" |76,090 Template:Party shading/Democratic |37% Template:Party shading/Republican |Joe Wilson Template:Party shading/Republican align="right" |127,811 Template:Party shading/Republican |63%
2008 Template:Party shading/Democratic |Rob Miller Template:Party shading/Democratic align="right" |158,627 Template:Party shading/Democratic |46% Template:Party shading/Republican |Joe Wilson Template:Party shading/Republican align="right" |184,583 Template:Party shading/Republican |54%
Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2000, write-ins received 71 votes. In 2001, write-ins received 1 vote. In 2002, write-ins received 371 votes. In 2004, write-ins received 312 votes. In 2006, write-ins received 151 votes. In 2008, write-ins received 276 votes.

* Floyd Spence died in office, causing the 2001 special election to be held. Wilson served the remainder of the term.

See also[]

  • America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009
  • United States House of Representatives elections in South Carolina, 2008#District 2

References[]

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  2. "CNN, Politics, retrieved 14 September 2009". Cnn.com. 2009-09-10. http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/09/09/joe.wilson/index.html. Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
  3. Carter: Obama a target for racism
  4. Phillips, Kate (2009-09-09). "The New York Times, retrieved 15 September 2009". Thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/blogging-the-house-action-on-wilson/. Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
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  10. "South Carolina General Assembly Bill S0283". Scstatehouse.gov. http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess113_1999-2000/bills/283.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
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  17. Roll Call, August 18, 2003
  18. Wilson got 181,862 votes to 93,249 for Democrat Ellisor, and 4,447 for minor party candidate Lefemine, with 312 write-ins. See South Carolina Election Commission official web site, go to the page for November 2, 2004 general election. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
  19. He received 144,149 votes to 17,189 and 9,650 minor party candidates with 371 write-in votes. See South Carolina Election Commission official web site, go to the page for November 5, 2002 general election. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
  20. Shaw, Donny (September 11, 2009). "Joe Wilson Voted to Provide Taxpayer Money for Illegal Immigrants' Healthcare". OpenCongress,org. http://www.opencongress.org/articles/view/1219-Joe-Wilson-Voted-to-Provide-Taxpayer-Money-for-Illegal-Immigrants-Healthcare. Retrieved 12 September 2009. 
  21. Wilson received 127,811 votes to Ellisor's 76,090 votes, with 151 write-ins. See South Carolina Election Commission official web site, go to the page for November 7, 2006 general election. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
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ar:جو ويلسون fr:Joe Wilson (homme politique) it:Joe Wilson no:Joe Wilson pl:Joe Wilson sv:Joe Wilson zh:乔·威尔森

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