|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Texas's 7th district
January 3, 2001 - January 3, 2019
John Abney Culberson
August 24, 1956
Houston, Texas, U.S.
|Education||Southern Methodist University (BA)|
South Texas College of Law (JD)
John Abney Culberson (born August 24, 1956) is an American attorney and politician who served in the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2019. A Republican, he served in Texas's 7th congressional district in large portions of western Houston and surrounding Harris County.
Culberson was born in Houston, the son of Eleanor (née Abney) and James Vincent Culberson. His great-grandmother was Swedish. Culberson attended Lamar High School. He graduated from Southern Methodist University (SMU) in 1981 with a degree in history. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from South Texas College of Law in 1989.
During his time in law school, Culberson was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, serving his first term beginning in 1987. He was a member of the Republican Whip team, becoming Minority Whip in 1999 during his last term. Culberson began working for the law firm of Lorance and Thompson as a civil defense attorney after he graduated from law school.
On August 1, 2008, to protest the House going into summer recess without discussing a pending energy bill, Culberson and other House Republicans stayed to make speeches about the energy bill in question. The Democratic leadership in the House, which controls services in the chamber, responded by cutting the microphones and cameras. Culberson used social media services Twitter and Qik to provide a live account of the proceedings. Culberson later compared this episode to the Iranian government's crackdown against dissidents who used Twitter to protest a restriction on foreign media in June 2009.
Culberson won the Republican nomination for the 7th District in 2000 after 15-term incumbent Bill Archer announced his retirement. He finished first in the Republican primary -- traditionally the real contest in what has historically been a heavily Republican district - and defeated Peter Wareing in the runoff. He won easily in November, taking about 75% of the vote.
Culberson ran unopposed.
Culberson was challenged by the Democratic nominee James Cargas, an energy lawyer for the City of Houston, Green party nominee Lance Findley, and Libertarian Drew Parks.
In the November 4, 2014 general election, Culberson again defeated Democrat James Cargas, who polled 4,092 votes (62.1 percent) in the March 4 primary election. Culberson was unopposed in the Republican primary.
Culberson defeated James Lloyd and Maria Espinoza in the Republican primary election on March 1. Culberson polled 44,202 votes (57.3 percent) to James Lloyd's 19,182 (24.9 percent) and the third candidate, Maria Espinoza's 13,772 (17.8 percent).
He secured his eighth term in the general election held on November 8, when, with 143,542 votes (56.2 percent), he defeated the Democrat James Cargas (born 1966) of Houston, who garnered 111,991 ballots (43.8 percent).
Culberson defeated Edward Ziegler in the Republican primary with 76% of the vote. Lizzie Pannill Fletcher was the Democratic nominee and defeated him in the general election by a 52.3% to 47.7% margin. Culberson held his own in his longstanding base of west Houston, parts of which he had represented for three decades at the state and federal levels, as well as in the Memorial area. However, Fletcher out-performed him in the district's share of southwest Houston, as well as the Bear Creek area.
Culberson's defeat ended a 52-year hold on the district by the GOP. The 7th had been one of the first areas of Texas to turn Republican; as mentioned earlier it had long been considered a heavily Republican district. It was best known as the district that sent George H. W. Bush to Congress as its first representative in 1967. Bush handed the seat to Archer in 1971.
Culberson had described himself as a "Fiscally conservative 'Jeffersonian Republican'... committed to Thomas Jefferson's vision of limited government, individual liberty, and states' rights."
Culberson supported pro-life legislation.
Three years after the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) had been dissolved, Culberson included language in an appropriations bill that said "None of the funds made available in this Act may be distributed to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) or its subsidiaries or successors."
Culberson generally opposed an income tax increase, opposed reducing defense spending in order to balance the budget, opposed federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth, and supported lowering corporate taxes as a means of promoting economic growth.
Culberson was the only Texas Republican to support the $50.7 billion relief effort after Hurricane Sandy. As a member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, Culberson has been active in seeking aid in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Culberson was the first person to endorse Ted Cruz in the 2016 U.S. presidential primaries. In June 2016, Culberson said "I always have and always will support the Republican nominee. The party should unify behind the presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, to defeat Hillary Clinton."
In February 2017, he voted against a resolution that would have directed the House to request 10 years of Trump's tax returns, which would then have been reviewed by the House Ways and Means Committee in a closed session. He supports the construction of a wall along the Mexican border, and supports requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship.
Culberson supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to suspend the refugee resettlement program and curtail immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. He stated that "This is a necessary pause in the refugee program until our intelligence agencies can develop adequate background checks to ensure that the people coming into the country are coming in for the right reasons."
Culberson has rejected the scientific consensus on climate change. He has alleged that scientists have falsified climate change data. He has said that "the liberal obsession with climate change... is driven by their desire to raise more money for the government". He opposes cap-and-trade programs and the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. He supports government funding for the development of renewable energy.
Culberson opposed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and supported its repeal. On May 4, 2017, Culberson voted to repeal Obamacare and pass the American Health Care Act of 2017. The AHCA would have allowed insurers to charge seniors five times as much for health coverage than younger people (the ACA limit was three times as much) and allowed insurers to raise premiums on individuals with preexisting conditions who did not have continuous coverage.
In 2009, Culberson co-sponsored legislation which would require all future presidential candidates to provide proof of their citizenship when filing to run for office. The legislation was in response to Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories which questioned the legitimacy of Barack Obama's birth certificate.
Culberson marked up a 2016 spending bill to include a requirement that the National Science Foundation direct about 70% of its funding to biology, computing, engineering, and math and physical sciences. The earmarked funds would not cover geoscience and the social and behavioral sciences.
In 2008, he expressed concern about foreign-born students coming to the United States to obtain advanced academic degrees and then returning to their countries of origin. He opposes requiring states to adopt federal education standards.
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|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 7th congressional district