John Abney Culberson (born August 24, 1956) is the U.S. Representative for Texas's 7th congressional district, serving since 2001. He is a member of the Republican Party and the Tea Party caucus. The district takes in large portions of western Houston and surrounding Harris County.
Early life, education and career
Born in Houston, Culberson attended West University Elementary School, Lanier Middle School, and 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.
He is a distant relative of former Governor of Texas Charles Allen Culberson.
Texas House of Representatives
During his time in law school, Culberson was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, serving his first term 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 South Texas. Culberson led the effort to regain state control of the Texas prison system. He also worked for expansion of urban freeway systems and for increased development of medical technology.
U.S. House of Representatives
Like Archer, Culberson is an ardent fiscal and social conservative. His website includes his slogan "Letting Texans run Texas," which Culberson sees as a way to personify historical Jeffersonian values. Culberson is a member of the Appropriations Committee.
On Hardball with Chris Matthews, Culberson defended Texas Governor Rick Perry's secession comments saying "don't make too much of what Gov. Perry said, again, he was just revved up and I think in the heat of the moment said something that he certainly didn't mean in his heart. [Texans are] patriotic Americans. No one wants Texas to secede" .
On June 12, 2009, Culberson signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 1503, the bill introduced as a reaction to Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories.
Culberson is active online with Twitter and Qik. He has used these online information dispersion services from House Committee meetings and from the Oval Office. 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 the Twitter and Qik services to provide a live account of the proceedings. Culberson later compared this episode to the Iranian government's brutal crackdown against Twitter-coordinated protesters 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.
In 2008, Culberson faced his stiffest challenge to date in businessman Michael Skelly in the November 2008 election. Skelly, a former executive of Horizon Wind Energy, also served in the Peace Corps and earned an MBA from Harvard University.
Skelly served on Mayor Bill White's Green Building Advisory Committee. Culberson led with 56 percent of the vote with about two-thirds of precincts counted. Skelly had 43 percent of the vote. This was the closest a Democrat had come to winning the district since it was created in 1967. Historically, Republicans at all levels garner well over 60 percent of the vote in this district.
As of June 30, 2008, Culberson had raised $983,204 with $550,228 cash on hand. As of the same date, Skelly had raised $1,465,519 with $1,050,314 cash on hand—more than any of Culberson's four previous challengers. In the previous four election cycles, Culberson had raised $1,092,972 (2000), $508,138 (2002), $628,783 (2004), and $718,882 (2006). In 2006, Jim Henley raised $122,145.
Culberson ran unopposed.
In August 2011 Culberson, along with Ted Poe and Michael McCaul caused controversy for attempting to make Christian prayers at all American military funerals mandatory, regardless of whether or not the deceased was Christian and with or without the consent of the deceased's family. The three politicians state their demands are a response to Veteran Affairs banning Christian prayers at military funerals, a claim Veterans Affairs state is completely false.
The idea that invoking the name of God or Jesus is banned at VA national cemeteries is blatantly false. The truth is VA’s policy protects veterans’ families’ rights to pray however they choose at our national cemeteries.
Currently it is up to the deceased's family as to which religions prayers, if any, are to be read at a funeral.
February 13th, 2012