John Anthony Barrasso (born July 21, 1952) is the junior U.S. Senator from Wyoming and a member of the Republican Party. He was appointed to the Senate following Craig L. Thomas's death and won a special election in 2008 to fill the remaining four years of Thomas's term.
Early life and family
John Barrasso was born in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1952. He is a 1970 graduate of Central Catholic High School in Reading, PA. He began his college career at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (where he became a member of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity) and transferred to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., graduating with a bachelor of science degree in 1974. He also received his M.D. degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1978. He conducted his residency at Yale Medical School in New Haven, Connecticut. Barrasso has three children — Peter, a graduate of Georgetown University; Emma, a senior at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology; and Hadley, a recent high school graduate. He is divorced from Linda Nix. On January 1, 2008, he married Bobbi Brown of Casper, Wyoming.
Barrasso previously ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1996 for the seat vacated by Alan K. Simpson, the moderate Republican from Cody. In 1996, Barrasso lost the primary election to Mike Enzi, who now serves alongside Barrasso in the U.S. Senate.
Enzi defeated Barrasso 33-32 percent in a seven-way primary.
Barrasso was elected to the Wyoming Senate in 2002 and reelected in 2006. While in the Wyoming Senate, he was the Chairman of the Transportation and Highways Committee. He is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon in private practice in Casper.
Barrasso was chosen on June 22, 2007, by Democratic Governor Dave Freudenthal to replace the late U.S. Craig L. Thomas. lobbyist Tom Sansonetti, a former aide to Thomas. Matt Mead, grandson of former Senator Clifford P. Hansen, had also sought the nomination but was eliminated by the central committee in fourth place. When he was appointed, Barrasso indicated that he would also run in the November 2008 special election to fill the remainder of Thomas's term. Barrasso eventually won that special election with more than 73 percent of the vote.
Freudenthal was, as required under Wyoming state law, able to consider only three individuals whose names were submitted to him by the Republican State Central Committee because the seat was vacated by a Republican. The rejected choices were former State Treasurer Cynthia Lummis of Cheyenne and former Republican State Chairman and
John Barrasso is considered a conservative, though in 1996 he ran for the Wyoming Senate as a pro-choice, social moderate. During his career in the Wyoming Legislature, he moved to the right on abortion issues and sponsored legislation designed to provide restrictions on receiving the procedure. He has received an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association. According to a Washington Post survey, he has voted with Republicans 94 percent of the time. Barrasso was quoted as saying, “I believe in limited government, lower taxes, less spending, traditional family values, local control and a strong national defense,” and said he has “voted for prayer in schools, against gay marriage and has sponsored legislation to protect the "sanctity of life". Barasso joined Wyoming colleague Mike Enzi in endorsing the nomination of Richard Honaker of Rock Springs to the U.S. District Court in Cheyenne. The nomination was pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee from 2007 until Barack Obama became president. Barrasso opposed President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; he voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009, and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.