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Shelley Moore Capito
|United States Senator|
from West Virginia
January 3, 2015
Serving with Joe Manchin
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from West Virginia's 2nd district
January 3, 2001 - January 3, 2015
|Member of the West Virginia House of Delegates from the 30th district|
December 1, 1996 - December 1, 2000
Shelley Wellons Moore
November 26, 1953
Glen Dale, West Virginia, U.S.
|Parents||Arch Moore (father)|
Shelley Moore (mother)
|Education||Duke University (BA)|
University of Virginia (MEd)
Shelley Wellons Moore Capito (born November 26, 1953) is an American politician serving as the junior United States Senator for West Virginia since 2015. A Republican, she is the daughter of three-term West Virginia governor Arch Alfred Moore Jr. She was the U.S. Representative for West Virginia's 2nd congressional district from 2001 until her election to the Senate. She is the current dean of West Virginia's congressional delegation. Senator Capito has earned a 68.25% Lifetime Score from the American Conservative Union.
She was the only Republican in the West Virginia congressional delegation until 2011, and the first Republican woman elected to Congress from West Virginia. Capito was elected to the Senate in 2014, becoming the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate in the history of West Virginia and the first Republican to win a full term in the Senate from West Virginia since 1942.
She was born in Glen Dale, West Virginia, the daughter of Shelley (née Riley) and Arch Alfred Moore Jr., who served three terms as the state's Governor. A resident of Charleston, Capito was educated at the Holton-Arms School, a private college-preparatory school in Bethesda, Maryland;Duke University, where she earned her bachelor's degree in zoology; and the University of Virginia Curry School of Education, where she earned her master's degree. She is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and represented the state of West Virginia as the 1972 Cherry Blossom Princess. At the start of her career, Capito was a career counselor at West Virginia State University and director of the educational information center for the West Virginia Board of Regents.
Capito was elected to the 31st district of the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1996, and served two terms from December 1, 1996, to December 1, 2000. The district included a portion of the Charleston area. Capito was named Minority Chairman of the Health and Human Resources Committee and a member of the Judiciary and Banking and Insurance Committees.
When U.S. Congressman Bob Wise ran for governor in 2000, Capito ran as a Republican in the open seat in West Virginia's 2nd district. She defeated the Democratic nominee, lawyer Jim Humphreys, by two percentage points. She was the first Republican to represent West Virginia in Congress since 1983, as well as the first woman elected to Congress from West Virginia who was not the widow of a member of Congress.
Capito was mentioned as a possible challenger to Senator Robert Byrd in 2006, but opted to run for re-election to her House seat. She won re-election to a fourth term, defeating the state's Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Mike Callaghan, 57%-43%.
During the 2010 election cycle, she was mentioned as a Republican candidate to challenge Joe Manchin for the vacated United State Senate seat of the late Robert C. Byrd. Capito ultimately decided against a Senate bid, even though the West Virginia Legislature had recently passed a law that would have allowed her to run for both her House seat and the Senate. Capito won re-election to a sixth term, defeating Virginia Lynch Graf, 68%-30%.
After redistricting, Capito was challenged in the Republican primary for the first time in her career, and she defeated Delegate Jonathan Miller and Michael Davis. She won re-election to a seventh term, defeating former gubernatorial aide Howard Swint, 70%-30%.
Capito is a former Chairman of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues and a member of the Congressional Arts Caucus and the Afterschool Caucuses. After an explosion responsible for the death of 29 coal workers, Capito founded the Congressional Coal Caucus.
On November 26, 2012, Capito announced her intention to run for the United States Senate in 2014, intending to challenge Democratic incumbent Jay Rockefeller, but he subsequently announced his retirement.
Capito's "Shared Values" commercial featured her saying, "We want our country back; we don't want government coming in and telling us how to pick our doctor, how to educate our children." Despite initial protests from Tea Party groups and anti-establishment conservatives that Moore Capito's House voting record was "too liberal", she ultimately won 87% of the Republican primary vote.
Rockefeller dropped out of the race on January 11, 2013, making Capito the overwhelming favorite in the general election.
She went on to defeat Democratic Secretary of State Natalie Tennant in the general election, 62% to 35% - the largest victory margin for a Republican running in a statewide race in West Virginia history. She also carried every county in the state.
Capito served on the House Page Board during the Mark Foley congressional page incident, in which Mark Foley, a Republican Congressman from Florida, sent sexually explicit messages to teenage boys who had previously served as Congressional Pages. However, Capito wasn't made aware of Foley's conduct until informed by the press.
Since being in Congress, Capito has voted with her party 96% of the time. She is considered relatively moderate and has crossed the aisle on some votes.The Lugar Center and McCourt School of Public Policy ranked Senator Capito as the seventh most bipartisan member of Congress based on her tenure in the House and Senate. In 2013, the National Journal gave her a composite score of 63% conservative and 37% liberal. In 2011, while in the House, the National Journal gave her a composite score of 56% conservative and 45% liberal.The New York Times arranged Republicans based on ideology and reported that Capito was the third most moderate Republican Senator as of 2017. The American Conservative Union has given Capito a lifetime rating of 67.2% conservative. She also has a 95% lifetime rating from the conservative Americans for Prosperity.Heritage Action gives her a lifetime 46% conservative score. The Americans for Democratic Action gave her a rating of 15% liberal in 2011 and 60% liberal, her highest, in 2008.
In 2016, Capito raised concerns about Trump's tone and rhetoric during the election. After the Hollywood Access tapes, Capito said that Trump should "reexamine his candidacy." However, she later said that she supported Trump for president. According to FiveThirtyEight, which tracks how often a Congressperson votes with President Trump's position, Capito voted with Trump's position 95.7% of the time.
Capito is a sponsor of the Gender Advancement in Pay (GAP) Act, saying "it should be common sense that women and men get equal pay for equal work" and expressing concerns about sex discrimination against women in the workplace. Capito is a sponsor of the Rural Access to Hospice Act to improve the quality, access, and retention of hospice facilities in rural parts of the nation.
On social policy, the National Journal gave Capito a score of 54% conservative and 43% liberal.
Based on her scores from Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT rights advocacy group, Capito has a mixed record on LGBT issues. The Human Rights Campaign gave Capito a score of 30% in the 113th Congress and 64% in the 114th Congress. She received a 0% in the 115th Congress.
In 2004 and 2006, Capito voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment which was intended to ban same-sex marriage in the United States. She also voted against hate crime legislation that included sexual orientation. In 2007 she voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and she voted against repealing the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.
In 2009, she was one of 44 House Republicans who voted for the 2009-2010 Defense Appropriations bill, which expanded the legal definition of a 'hate crime' to include crimes committed because of someone's gender identity. In 2013, she voted in favor of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act which included provisions to assist victims regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and which prohibits funds from being given to programs that discriminate.
In 2015, she was one of 10 Senate Republicans who voted for an amendment to the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act which provided support and protections for LGBT youth. Capito was one of 11 Republicans who voted with Democrats in favor of same-sex married couples being able to access Social Security and veterans' benefits.
In response to the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which found a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, Capito issued a statement saying "While I would have preferred that the Supreme Court leave this decision to the states, it is my hope that all West Virginians will move forward and continue to care for and respect one another."
In a questionnaire by Project Vote Smart, Capito described herself as pro-choice, but she has a mixed record on abortion. She is one of three Republican Senators, along with Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who publicly support the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. She has mixed ratings from various pro-life organizations opposing legal abortion and pro-choice organizations advocating for legal abortion. Her highest score from NARAL Pro-Choice America is 50% from 2007 and her highest pro-life score from the National Right to Life Committee is 100% from several years including 2018. In 2002, her third largest campaign contributor was The WISH List, a pro-choice Republican PAC. West Virginians for Life did not endorse her in 2012, but did endorse her for Senate in 2014. She was endorsed by both West Virginians for Life, a pro-life PAC, and by Republican Majority for Choice, a pro-choice PAC.
She has voted against federal funding for abortion and for the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, but voted against banning family-planning funding in US aid and voted against the Hyde Amendment, an amendment that bans federal funding for abortion. She also voted in favor of a 2007 amendment to allow federal funding for family planning. She voted to allow private funding for abortions on US military bases in a 2005 amendment. Capito voted for parental consent for minors seeking an abortion and voted to rescind federal funds from Planned Parenthood. She was one of nine Republicans who voted against banning funds for mifepristone or the 'abortion pill.' In 2017, she was one of three Republicans, with Collins and Murkowski, who opposed a bill to repeal the ACA that included defunding Planned Parenthood. She was one of seven Republicans who voted against a bill that included defunding Planned Parenthood. In 2018, Capito voted for a bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. She voted with her party in 2018 to ban federal funding from facilities that promote abortion or family planning. In 2019, Capito voted in favor of a bill that required that doctors provide care and medical intervention for infants born alive after a failed abortion. Capito opposed a law that would ban abortion in nearly all cases, without exceptions for rape or incest, calling such a law "very very restrictive."
In 2017, "West Virginians for Life, said [it] still supports Capito, despite the abortion rights self-identification and support for Roe v. Wade, because of Capito's steadfast voting record restricting abortions and defunding Planned Parenthood". In 2018, Capito said that she was "not going to openly support or oppose" a ballot initiative to ban abortion in West Virginia. Capito supported Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh; when asked about Roe v Wade, "Capito said she does not think the court will overturn the ruling. 'Fundamentally, it's been a precedent for a long time,' she said."
Capito is partnering with Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand, Patty Murray, Amy Klobuchar and other bipartisan congresspeople to update the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995, that would "help prevent sexual harassment and discrimination in Congress and create more transparency and accountability in the reporting process for survivors." She and Senator Joe Manchin announced $899,927 for the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services through the U.S. Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women in August 2018.
Capito supports embryonic stem cell research. In May 2005, as a representative, Capito broke with her party, voting with a majority of Democrats, to repeal restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research funding. Capito also voted in 2006 to attempt to override President Bush's veto of the 2005 bill. However, Capito had voted for a bill to ban the cloning of human embryos. Also in 2007, Capito again voted in favor of funding stem-cell research. She also voted in favor of research using stem cells derived from donated embryos. In 2009, Capito voted for a budget bill that prohibited the creation of human embryos for research.
Capito was endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and West Virginia Citizen's Defense League which both support gun owners' rights in 2014. In 2016, Capito voted in favor of alerting law enforcement when a person suspected of terrorism attempts to purchase a firearm and in favor of an amendment to improve the National Instant Background Check System, but she voted against two other gun control amendments. In 2018, Capito opposed President Trump's suggestion that teachers be armed saying "I don't think a teacher should carry a gun in a classroom." In January 2019, Capito was one of thirty-one Republican senators to cosponsor the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, a bill introduced by John Cornyn and Ted Cruz that would grant individuals with concealed carry privileges in their home state the right to exercise this right in any other state with concealed carry laws while concurrently abiding by that state's laws. Capito stated she was open to supporting red flag laws.
As a representative, Capito voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly called ObamaCare or the Affordable Care Act) in March 2010. Since then, she has voted repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act. In July 2017, Capito said she was opposed to repealing the ACA without a replacement proposal. She was one of the three Republican senators, along with Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, who blocked a bill to repeal the ACA without a replacement early in the attempted repeal process. This resulted in a backlash among some conservatives. Radio host and conservative personality, Rush Limbaugh, criticized Capito, along with Collins and Murkowski, as "leftists." The Club for Growth and Tea Party Patriots later launched online ads to pressure Capito to vote for other bills to repeal Obamacare. Later that July, she voted to repeal the ACA.
She was one of a few Republicans who broke with their party in favor of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. In January 2009, Capito voted to expand the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as part of its re-authorization. The expanded coverage would include about four million more children in the program. In May 2008, Capito voted for the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 (commonly called the new G.I. Bill), which expanded the educational benefits for military veterans who have served since September 11, 2001. During the 112th Congress, she voted for H.R. 525 to expand the ACA grant programs to make "veterinarians eligible for public health workforce grants and loan repayment." In 2014, she supported repealing the Affordable Care Act.
On March 3, 2017, Capito "insist[ed] that Medicaid expansion be preserved in the GOP's Obamacare replacement proposal". Along with three other Republicans, Capito signed a letter saying that the House Republican health care plan "does not do enough to protect families and individuals covered by the Medicaid expansion or to provide flexibility to the states". Capito was one of the Republicans suggesting that "the Republican healthcare proposals are too conservative." She came out against the Better Care Reconciliation Act because of her opposition to a conservative amendment to the bill as well as over opioid issues.
In 2018, Capito voted for the bipartisan Opioid Crisis Response Act to address the nation's opioid crisis. She also voted to increase Telemedicine funding in five West Virginia counties.
In January 2019, Capito was a cosponsor of the Community Health Investment, Modernization, and Excellence (CHIME) Act, a bipartisan bill that would continue federal funding of community health centers and the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) beyond that year's September 30 deadline for five years and provide both with yearly federal funding increases beginning in fiscal year 2020.
Capito has stated that she does not support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but did vote against a 2004 bill that would have forced hospitals to report undocumented immigrants; she also voted in favor of a 2001 bill that proposed to allow some immigrants to "remain in the country while pursuing residency." In 2010, Capito voted against the DREAM Act. In 2018, Capito said of DACA and immigration, "It's probably going to be some sort of legal status for DACA recipients that gives them the permanence of legal status and then the border security..." Speaking about her views on DACA, Capito's office said that she "could support an immigration solution that provides for increased border security to protect Americans and provides relief for those in the DACA program. She is encouraged by ongoing negotiations between the Trump Administration and members of Congress to improve immigration policy and add resources for enforcement."
In 2018, Capito voted to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities, voted against the McCain-Coons proposal to offer a pathway to citizenship without funding for a border wall, voted against Senator Collins' bipartisan bill to increase funding for border security and offer a pathway to citizenship, and voted in favor of Trump's proposal to offer a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants while reducing legal immigration numbers and using federal funds to build a border wall. In December, 2018, Capito supported a bipartisan compromise funding bill that would have given $1.6 billion, instead of the $5 billion requested by Trump, toward a border wall to avoid a government shutdown.
Capito voiced disagreement with Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy that included separating children from their parents or guardians. She said "we need to keep the families together," speaking to the media. "While Capito is campaigning for border streamlining, she said separating families, a result of President Trump's Zero Tolerance Policy, is not necessary." In 2019, she supported legislation to increase funding and humanitarian aid for "relief and comfort for migrants" on the US southern border. She also voted in committee for a bipartisan plan with $4.6 billion in funding with "$2.9 billion for the care of migrant children and $1.3 billion to improve facilities at the border."
Special interest groups for and against immigration reform have given Capito mixed ratings. NumbersUSA, which opposes illegal immigration and seeks to reduce legal immigration, gave Capito an 81% score and the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which also opposes illegal immigration and wants to reduce legal immigration, gave her an 88% score; conversely, the Hispanic Federation and Unidos(US), which both support immigration, gave Capito a 59% rating.
Capito disagreed with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' 2018 decision to take a hardline approach to marijuana, saying "I'm going to go on the record as saying I'm against recreational marijuana, but I respect the states' rights to make that decision..." She also said that she has concerns, but that she accepts and supports the legalization of medical marijuana. She received a 42% rating from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws which supports the decriminalization of marijuana.
Capito has received at lifetime rating of 17% from the League of Conservation Voters, indicating an anti-environment voting record. In 2018, she voted for a bill that would curtail the federal government's ability to regulate fracking. She has also voted to restrict the Department of the Interior's ability to regulate methane emissions.
In February 2019, in response to reports of the EPA intending to decide against setting drinking water limits for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) as part of an upcoming national strategy to manage the aforementioned class of chemicals, Capito was one of twenty senators to sign a letter to Acting EPA Administrator Andrew R. Wheeler calling on the agency "to develop enforceable federal drinking water standards for PFOA and PFOS, as well as institute immediate actions to protect the public from contamination from additional per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)."
Capito has sponsored approximately 40 bills about international trade and international finance, the most of any other legislative topic during her career. Capito has criticized the vulnerabilities in current national security policy in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack and has sponsored 8 bills on the military and national security. Capito was one of 47 Republican senators to sign Senator Tom Cotton's open letter to the Iranian government in 2015. The letter, which sought to dissuade Iran from reaching an agreement with President Barack Obama regarding nuclear peace, was described by the White House as "undercutting foreign policy".
In April 2017, Capito co-sponsored the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (s. 720), which made it a federal crime for Americans to encourage or participate in boycotts against Israel and Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories if protesting actions by the Israeli government.
On foreign policy, the National Journal gave her a score of 77% conservative and 15% liberal.
In 2005, Capito voted against the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), the major trade agreement negotiated under President George W. Bush. She voted Yes in 2003, 2004, and 2007 to approve free trade agreements with Chile, Singapore, Australia, and Peru. She supports tariffs against countries that manipulate currencies, and she sponsored a bill that would create an import fee on countries with an undervalued currency.
Capito opposes legislation aimed at capping greenhouse gas emissions. In January 2010, she reportedly asked the president if he would reconsider "job-killing" policies like limiting greenhouse gases.
Capito supported President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. She called the decision "the right decision for the American economy and workers in West Virginia and across the country."
In 2016, the fiscally conservative PAC, The Club for Growth, gave her a 50% lifetime rating. In 2011, while in the House, Capito voted for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution.
In December 2010, Capito voted to extend the tax cuts enacted during the administration of President George W. Bush.
Capito supports a federal prohibition on online poker, an in 2006, was a cosponsor of H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act. She also supported H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act. In June 2003, Capito introduced the Family Fairness in Taxing Act of 2003. The bill would accelerate the increase to the child tax credit, increase the qualification age for children, and revise refundability criteria for the credit.
In 2001, then Rep. Capito voted in favor of the Bush tax cuts. In 2002, she supported partially privatizing Social Security but opposed complete privatization. In 2006, Capito joined Democrats to vote for an increase of the minimum wage. In 2012, during her campaign for the Senate, the Senate Conservative Fund opposed Capito's nomination as they argued "her spending record in the House is too liberal." In 2013, she voted against cutting funding for food stamps. In 2017, Capito opposed the budget proposed by President Trump saying that the proposal would cut "too close to the bone." In 2017, Capito noted that she supports fully repealing the Estate Tax. She also voted in favor of Trump's tax cut bill. In 2019, she came out against budget cuts being proposed by the Trump administration. Capito was among a few Republicans, including Joni Ernst of Iowa and Susan Collins of Maine, who expressed criticism of Trump's nominee to the Federal Reserve, Stephen Moore, because of comments he had made about women, and he ultimately withdrew his nomination. On economic issues, the National Journal gave her a rating of 53% conservative and 47% liberal.
Capito opposed having a hearing for President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, to the Supreme Court. In 2017, she voted to confirm President Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. After President Trump named a second Supreme Court nominee, Capito announced her support for the nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, and after he was accused of sexual assault, she continued to support his nomination. However, she also said she considered the allegation to be serious and was among the handful of Republican Senators asking for a vote to be delayed in order to hear from the accuser and from Kavanaugh. Some of her fellow alumnae from the Holton-Arms School personally delivered to her a letter signed by more than a thousand alumnae of the school, saying that they believe Kavanaugh's accuser because her allegations are "all too consistent with stories we heard and lived" while attending Holton-Arms.
In March 2019, Capito was one of twelve senators to cosponsor a resolution that would impose a constitutional amendment limiting the Supreme Court to nine justices. The resolution was introduced following multiple Democratic presidential candidates expressing openness to the idea of expanding the seats on the Supreme Court.
Capito was considered a possible contender for vice president on the Republican ticket with Donald Trump in 2016, and in May 2016 was one of several Senators to meet with Trump in Washington, D.C. In the end, Trump picked former congressman and Governor of Indiana Mike Pence to join him on the Republican ticket.
|Republican||Shelley Moore Capito||108,769||48.49|
|Republican gain from Democratic|
|Republican||Shelley Moore Capito (incumbent)||98,276||60.04|
|Republican||Shelley Moore Capito (incumbent)||147,676||57.46|
|Republican||Shelley Moore Capito (incumbent)||94,110||57.18|
|Republican||Shelley Moore Capito (incumbent)||147,334||57.07|
|Republican||Shelley Moore Capito (incumbent)||126,814||68.46|
|Democratic||Virginia Lynch Graf||55,001||29.69|
|Republican||Shelley Moore Capito (incumbent)||158,206||69.8|
|Republican||Shelley Moore Capito||74,655||87.50|
|Republican||Shelley Moore Capito||281,820||62.12|
|Mountain||Bob Henry Baber||5,504||1.21|
|Republican gain from Democratic|
Capito is married to Charles L. Capito, and they have three children: sons Charles and Moore, and daughter Shelley. Her father served over two years in prison on corruption charges. Her sister, Lucy Moore Durbin, was arrested in 1992 along with her husband for selling cocaine to an undercover officer. Capito and the Moore Capito family are members of First Presbyterian Church in Charleston, WV, a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from West Virginia's 2nd congressional district
| Chair of the Congressional Women's Caucus
|Party political offices|
| U.S. Senator (Class 2) from West Virginia
Served alongside: Joe Manchin
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Senators by seniority