John Paul Kline (born September 6, 1947) is the U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 2nd congressional district, serving since 2003. The district includes most of the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities, including Apple Valley, Inver Grove Heights, Burnsville and Eagan. He is a member of the Republican Party.
Early life, education and career
Kline was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of W. B.
Ray High School in Corpus Christi, Texas (1965) and was educated at Rice University (1969) and Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania (1988).
Before his election to Congress, Kline was a 25-year veteran of 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 served as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, commanded all Marine aviation forces in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia, flew "Marine One," the Presidential helicopter, and served as Program Development Officer at Headquarters Marine Corps. During his military career, Kline received numerous medals and commendations including Four Legions of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal (awarded 3 times), the Vietnam Campaign Medal, a Presidential Service Badge, and the Navy Commendation Medal. Kline retired as a Colonel from the Marine Corps.
U.S. House of Representatives
In 2005, Kline introduced legislation to place Ronald Reagan on the $50 bill.
While the bill has a dozen Congressional cosponsors, it has not made any legislative progress.
In his campaigns, Kline received $30,000 in contributions from former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's political action committee ARMPAC. Following DeLay's indictment on charges of money laundering, Democrats have criticized Kline for failing to return DeLay's contributions or to donate them to charity. The case against Tom DeLay is pending. Kline also accepted $11,000 in political contributions from the PAC of former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham. After Cunningham’s indictment on fraud charges, Kline donated the $11,000 to charity “to remove questions of any impropriety" according to his chief of staff, Steve Sutton.
Kline was considered to have been the most conservative member of the Minnesota delegation in the 109th Congress, scoring 2.8% progressive on a range of issues and 88% conservative based on 2006 House votes.
Minnesota Congressional Districts shows the scores for the entire delegation.
Kline supported the interests of Disabled American Veterans 0% of the time in 2004 and 2005. He voted against retirement and disability benefits for veterans in 2003.
Kline supported President Bush's plan to increase troop levels in Iraq in January, 2007, and against most of the Democrat’s “100-Hour Plan” legislative agenda.
During Kline's 2008 bid for reelection, he defended his refusal to request earmarks for his district. His opponent, Steve Sarvi, pointed to the 2nd district's lack of federal funding for highway and bridge projects.
In votes on the subject of sexual orientation, Kline tends to vote with the Republican party. In 2006, he voted to restrict the definition of marriage to being between one man and one woman. He has voted against a bill prohibiting employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation.
The Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT equality organization in the country, has given Kline multiple low ratings in past years.
With regard to gun control, Kline has supported the freedom of gun owners. He has received high ratings in recent years from such organizations as Gun Owners of America and the National Rifle Association. Keeping with his anti-gun-control viewpoints, he voted to repeal parts of the firearms ban for Washington, D.C. Self-described as "a collector of antique guns and a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment," Kline is quick to spot any possible infringements upon the rights of gun owners.
In a November press release, Kline declared, "Job creation is our nation's no. 1 challenge and Congress must make it our no.
1 priority." Kline has spoken out in support of education reform designed to encourage parent involvement and teacher accountability. He is opposed to any tax increases and has stated that such strategies must be taken "off the table." In remarks made to fellow representatives, Kline has said, "we are watching a massive growth of government power, size, and spending, and I deem that unacceptable."
In his time in office, Representative Kline has sponsored eight bills, with such diverse topics as Veterans' Day and tribal lands. Only one has made it out of the House, but none have been passed into law.
Kline made his first run for office in 1998, when he challenged 6th District Democratic incumbent Bill Luther and lost, taking 46 percent of the vote. He sought a rematch in 2000 and lost by only 5,400 votes as George W. Bush narrowly carried the district.
After the 2000 census, Minnesota's congressional map was radically altered, even though the state didn't gain or lose any districts. The old 28-county 2nd District was dismantled, and a new 2nd District was created in the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities. At the same time, the 6th District was pushed slightly to the north and made significantly more Republican than its predecessor. The remap 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 knew about Garst's false flag campaign. Kline gained considerable momentum from this, and ultimately won handily, taking 53 percent of the vote to Luther's 42 percent.
In 2004, he defeated Democratic Burnsville City Councilwoman Teresa Daly to win a second term and in 2006, he defeated former FBI Special agent and whistleblower Coleen Rowley, one of Time magazine's "Persons of the Year", with 56% of the vote. In 2008 Kline defeated former Watertown mayor Steve Sarvi and increased his margin of victory to over 57% of the vote. In both 2006 and 2008, Kline was one of the few bright spots in disastrous years for Republicans.
Kline and his wife, Vicky, live in Lakeville. They have two children and four grandchildren.
December 5th, 2011