|Chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee|
January 3, 2011 - January 3, 2017
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Minnesota's 2nd district
January 3, 2003 - January 3, 2017
|Bill Luther (Redistricting)|
John Paul Kline Jr.
September 6, 1947
|Spouse(s)||Christine Lewis (Divorced)|
Vicky May Sheldon
|Education||Rice University (BA)|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Branch/service||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1969-1994|
Operation Restore Hope
|Awards||Legion of Merit|
Meritorious Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal (3)
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Presidential Service Badge
Navy Commendation Medal
John Paul Kline Jr. (born September 6, 1947) is an American politician who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Minnesota's 2nd congressional district from 2003 to 2017. The district includes most of the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities, including Apple Valley, Inver Grove Heights, Burnsville, Eagan, Lakeville, Northfield, Shakopee, Prior Lake, and New Prague. A member of the Republican Party, Kline served as the Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Kline announced that he would retire from Congress at the end of his term in January, 2017.
Kline was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the son of Litta Belle (née Rodman) and John Paul Kline, Sr. He is a 1965 graduate of W. B. Ray High School in Corpus Christi, Texas. He earned a B.A. in biology at Rice University (1969), and a Master of Public Administration from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania (1988).
Before his election to Congress, Kline was a 25-year career commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps, where he was a senior military aide to Presidents Carter and Reagan and was responsible for carrying the President's "football". During his military career, Kline was a Naval Aviator who served as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, commanded all Marine aviation forces in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia, flew "Marine One," the Presidential helicopter, in HMX-1, and served as Program Development Officer at Headquarters Marine Corps. He received numerous medals and commendations, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, four awards of the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, three awards of the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Presidential Service Badge. Kline retired from the Marine Corps as a colonel.
Kline opposed restrictions on gun ownership. He voted to repeal parts of the firearms ban for Washington, D.C. He described himself as "a collector of antique guns and a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment".
Kline stated, "Job creation is our nation's no. 1 challenge and Congress must make it our no. 1 priority." He spoke in support of education reform designed to encourage parent involvement and teacher accountability. He opposed any tax increases and stated that such strategies must be taken "off the table." In remarks made to fellow representatives, Kline said, "we are watching a massive growth of government power, size, and spending, and I deem that unacceptable."
Kline voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. His campaign site stated that "he opposed Obamacare because it is a seriously flawed law that was too big, was passed too fast, and does too much harm."
On April 1, 2014, Kline introduced the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 10; 113th Congress), a bill that would amend and reauthorize both the Charter School Programs and the Credit Enhancement for Charter School Initiatives under Title V of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 through fiscal year 2020 and combine them into a single authorization. It was intended to streamline and improve the grants process and increase the funding for these programs from $250 million to $300 million. The bill passed in the House on May 7, 2014.
Kline made his first run for office in 1998, when he challenged 6th District Democratic incumbent Bill Luther and lost, taking 46% of the vote. He sought a rematch in 2000 and lost by only 5,400 votes, while George W. Bush narrowly carried the district.
After the 2000 census, Minnesota's congressional map was radically altered, though the number of districts was unchanged. The old 28-county 2nd District was dismantled, and a new 2nd District was created in the Twin Cities' southern suburbs. At the same time, the 6th District was pushed slightly north and made significantly more Republican than its predecessor. The remapping left the home of the 2nd District's freshman incumbent, Republican Mark Kennedy, just inside the reconfigured 6th District. Realizing this, Kline immediately filed for the Republican nomination in the new 2nd District; his home had been drawn into this district. After some consideration, Luther opted to run in the 2nd as well, even though it was thought to lean slightly Republican.
During the campaign, Luther came under fire when one of his supporters, Sam Garst, filed for the race under the banner of the "No New Taxes Party." This was done in retaliation for an ad the National Republican Congressional Committee ran in support of Kline that accused Luther of being soft on crime. Luther subsequently admitted that his campaign had known about Garst's false flag campaign. Kline gained considerable momentum from this, and ultimately won handily, taking 53% of the vote to Luther's 42%.
Kline then defeated Democratic Burnsville City Councilwoman Teresa Daly to win a second term in 2004 and former FBI Special agent and whistleblower Coleen Rowley, one of Time magazine's "Persons of the Year", with 56% of the vote in 2006. In 2008 Kline defeated former Watertown mayor Steve Sarvi and increased his margin of victory to over 57% of the vote.
Kline's reelection in 2012 made him the 40th U.S. Representative from Minnesota to win six House terms.
In the 2014 election cycle, Kline's largest campaign contributor was the Apollo Group, a corporation that owns several for-profit educational institutions. The corporation gave $33,100 to Kline's campaign.
The Star Tribune reported Kline planned to raise $100,000 to counteract the notoriety brought by Maher's campaign. Kline's spokesman said, "Minnesotans are tired of sleazy and slimy politics" but Kline's opponent "certainly isn't." Kline's opponent, Mike Obermueller, reported a 700% increase in fundraising.
In 2014 Kline again faced Democrat Mike Obermuller. This time incumbent Kline defeated Obermuller by a 17-point margin.