|Chair of the House Republican Policy Committee|
January 3, 2015 - January 3, 2019
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Indiana's 6th district
January 3, 2013 - January 3, 2019
|Member of the Indiana House of Representatives|
from the 57th district
May 21, 2003 - November 21, 2006
Allen Lucas Messer
February 27, 1969
Evansville, Indiana, U.S.
|Education||Wabash College (BA)|
Vanderbilt University (JD)
Allen Lucas Messer (born February 27, 1969) is an American politician and lobbyist who represented Indiana's 6th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 2013 to 2019. He is a member of the Republican Party.
Born in Evansville, Indiana, Messer is a graduate of Wabash College and Vanderbilt University Law School. After an unsuccessful run for the U.S. House in 2000, Messer served as the first executive director of the Indiana Republican Party from 2001 to 2005. Messer was appointed to serve in the Indiana House of Representatives in 2003, after State Representative W. Roland Stine was killed in a car accident. He represented Indiana's 57th District from 2003 to 2006, when he opted not to run for reelection and instead joined Ice Miller LLP's lobbying division. From 2006 to 2012, Messer was a registered lobbyist. He ran for the U.S. House again in 2010, but was unsuccessful in his primary challenge to Republican Dan Burton. Congressman Mike Pence (Indiana 6th) decided in 2012 to run for Indiana Governor, and Messer was elected to replace him, defeating Democratic nominee Brad Bookout.
Messer graduated from Greensburg Community High School in 1987. Messer attended Wabash College where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and majored in speech. He graduated in 1991. He received a Juris Doctor from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1994. Shortly after graduating from Vanderbilt, he served as an Associate Counsel at Koch Industries from 1995 to 1996.
Messer started his political career in 1997 as the press secretary for Tennessee Representative Ed Bryant. He was the legal counsel on the House Subcommittee for Government Reform for Indiana Representatives David McIntosh and Dan Burton from 1998 to 1999, and the legal counsel to U.S. Representative Jim Duncan later in 1999. In 1998, he was the campaign manager for Virginia Murphy Blankenbaker's unsuccessful congressional campaign. In 1999, Messer returned to Indiana and practiced law at the Barnes & Thornburg law firm in Indianapolis.
In 2000, Messer ran for the United States House of Representatives in Indiana's 2nd congressional district, where incumbent David M. McIntosh was retiring to run for governor of Indiana in the 2000 election. Messer received the endorsement of The Indianapolis Star. He received 21 percent of the vote in the Republican Party's primary election, finishing behind Mike Pence, who won with 44 percent of the vote, and Jeff Linder, who received 24 percent of the vote. In 2001, Messer was chosen as the executive director of the Indiana Republican Party.
On May 23, 2003, Messer was selected to succeed W. Roland Stine, who died in a traffic collision, in the Indiana House of Representatives for the 57th district. From 2003 to 2006, Messer represented District 57 in the Indiana House of Representatives, which contained parts of Shelby County and Bartholomew County. During the 2005-06 legislative session, Messer was Assistant Majority Floor Leader. His legislation aimed at curbing high school dropout rates received national attention after Shelbyville High School became a symbol of a national dropout crisis. He did not run for reelection as State Representative in 2006, and was succeeded by Sean Eberhart.
In 2006, Messer joined Ice Miller LLP's lobbying division as a partner of their public affairs group. His decision to join Ice Miller came a month after voting in favor of Indiana leasing the Indiana Toll Road to Cintra-Macquarie, an international consortium, for "75 years at a cost of $3.85 billion." Ice Miller, Indiana's largest law firm, represented Cintra-Macquarie in the deal. Messer said he "did not know they represented anyone in connection with the Toll Road."
Messer served as the Indiana co-chair of John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. In 2010, Messer ran for the House of Representatives in Indiana's 5th congressional district. He challenged Dan Burton, the incumbent representative, in the Republican primary. Burton narrowly defeated Messer. Messer then became president and CEO of School Choice Indiana, a lobbying group that supported Indiana's private school voucher law.
Since being elected to Congress in 2012, Ice Miller LLP has been Messer's top source of campaign contributions, having given him $82,238.
In May 2011, Mike Pence announced his intention to run for Governor of Indiana. Messer subsequently declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination to represent the 6th District. His home in Shelbyville had been shifted from the 5th District to the 6th in redistricting. On May 8, 2012, Messer defeated a crowded field of Republican candidates seeking the party's nomination, including Columbus real estate investor Travis Hankins, winning with 71% of the vote. He faced Democrat Brad Bookout, a Delaware County councilman, in the general election. On November 6, 2012, Messer defeated Bookout with roughly 59% of the vote. After the election, Messer moved to the Washington metropolitan area.
In November 2014, Messer was elected by his colleagues to Republican House Leadership as the House Republican Policy Committee Chairman, succeeding James Lankford, who had been elected to the United States Senate. Messer defeated Tom Reed and Rob Woodall.
In 2017, Messer founded the Congressional School Choice caucus to promote the expansion of school voucher programs.
In May 2018, Messer led a group of 18 House Republicans unofficially nominating President Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize "for his efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and end the 68-year-old war between North and South Korea".
Messer opposes abortion rights. He has a 100% rating from Indiana Right to Life for his abortion-related voting record. He opposes the federal government funding organizations that offer abortions, unless the abortions are the result of rape or incest or the woman's life is threatened.
On January 4, 2013, Messer voted for the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, which prohibits distribution of federal family planning funds to organizations that offer abortions unless the abortion is the result of pregnancy from incest or rape or the woman's life is at risk.
On May 9, 2013, Messer voted for the Full Faith and Credit Act, which prioritized spending if the debt limit is reached. Messer voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and has stated his support for reforming the tax code to simplify it and reduce tax rates. In 2013, he signed a pledge sponsored by conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity promising to vote against any global warming legislation that would raise taxes.
In July 2017, Messer authored legislation to "upend the way American students pay for college." His legislation lays the framework for income share agreements, which have several advantages over traditional student loans. Messer has introduced legislation to require annual debt letters to be sent to student loan borrowers, which is based on an Indiana University program that reduced borrowing at the institution by 10 percent. Messer worked with Sen. Patty Murray to restore Pell Grant eligibility to students who were attending ITT Tech when the institution closed, by convincing the Education Department to restore these benefits using an existing statute.
In August 2013, Messer worked to pass bipartisan legislation to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling in 2013 and to link student loan interest rates to market rates.
Messer supports the expansion of school voucher programs.
In July 2017, Messer authored legislation that would prevent undocumented immigrants from claiming the child tax credit. President Donald Trump included the same proposal in his 2018 budget request to Congress.
Messer commented on the work of a 2013 bipartisan House working group on immigration reform, saying that a pathway to citizenship and a deal on metrics to measure border security would be the biggest challenges to final passage of immigration reform. Messer told Indiana's Biz Voice Magazine, "Those who came here unlawfully will have to pay penalties and back fees." 
Messer supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to impose a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, describing it as a measure to "protect Americans from terrorist threats" and saying that "President Trump is right to prioritize American safety."
Messer supported a GI Bill reform package passed by the House on June 25, 2017 and signed into law by President Trump, which included a provision he authored that would retroactively restore education benefits to veterans attending schools that close mid-semester, like ITT Technical Institute.
Messer has a "D" rating from NORML for his voting history regarding cannabis-related causes. Messer opposes veterans having access to medical marijuana if recommended by their Veterans Health Administration doctor and if it is legal for medicinal purposes in their state of residence.
|Republican||Jeffery M. Linder||11,615||23.94|
|Republican||Brad D. Steele||2,819||5.81|
|Republican||David M. (Mike) Campbell||1,913||3.94|
|Republican||Dan Burton (incumbent)||32,649||30|
|Republican||Michael B. Murphy||9,761||9|
|Democratic||Susan Hall Heitzman||45,509||29.35|
|Democratic||Barry A. Welsh||79,135||26.70|
Messer and his wife Jennifer have two daughters and one son. Luke and Jennifer Messer are the authors of a children's book, Hoosier Heart.
Following Messer's election to Congress, he sold his house in Shelbyville, Indiana and moved to McLean, Virginia, a Washington, D.C. suburb. He is now listed as a registered voter at his mother's address in Greensburg, Indiana. Messer has clarified that he owns the home with his mother and lives there when he is in the state. He faced criticism from his opponents in the 2018 Republican primary election for the United States Senate for moving his family to the Washington, D.C. area.
Fishers, an Indianapolis suburb, has paid Messer's wife, Jennifer Messer, $580,000 since 2015 in legal consulting she primarily does from the family's Washington, D.C. area home. She is paid $20,000 a month as a part-time contract attorney for the city. Jennifer Messer began the work for the City of Fishers two years before her husband was elected to Congress. Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said the arrangement helped usher in an era of "unprecedented" economic success in the growing suburb of about 85,000 people. Messer has defended his wife's work, calling her "the brains of the Messer outfit", and Jennifer defended her work in an op-ed for The Indianapolis Star, calling an Associated Press story about her "unfair, intellectually dishonest and straight-up sexist".