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Biography John Sullivan

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John Sullivan John Sullivan
John Sullivan
The U.S. Representative for Oklahoma's 1st congressional district (2002-2012).


John Sullivan Biography

ENG: John A. Sullivan (born January 1, 1965) is the U.S. Representative for Oklahoma's 1st congressional district, serving since 2002. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district is based in Tulsa. On June 26, 2012, Sullivan lost renomination to political newcomer Jim Bridenstine in what was considered a major upset.


Early life, education, and early career

Sullivan was born in Oklahoma City and graduated from Bishop Kelley High School. He subsequently entered Northeastern State University, where he received a B.B.A. in marketing in 1992. Prior to holding elected office Sullivan worked in the private sector for Love Travel Centers as a Regional Sales Manager and for BAMA Transportation as a fleet manager.

Sullivan was a Republican member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1995 to 2002, where he served as the Minority Whip.


U.S. House of Representatives - Elections

In 2002, when seven-year incumbent Steve Largent resigned from Congress to focus on his campaign for governor, Sullivan entered the Republican primary for his seat. Incumbent governor Frank Keating's wife, Cathy, was widely expected to win the Republican primary, which was thought to be tantamount to election in this heavily Republican district. Hiring an out of town manager for the Keating campaign set the stage for a few fumbles, which allowed Sullivan to score a surprise upset in the February special election. Since then, he went on to hold the seat in the general election in November and has been reelected four times, increasing his margin of victory in each election. He unexpectedly lost re-nomination in the 2012 Republican primary to Jim Bridenstine.


Leadership Positions

During his six terms in Congress, Sullivan held several leadership positions. In the 110th Congress, he served as an Assistant Minority Whip under then House Minority Whip Rep. Roy Blunt. He held the same position in both the 111th and 112th Congress under Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy.

On December 16, 2010, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) named Sullivan as the Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power.

In December of 2011, Sullivan was named a co-chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee's most significant fundraising effort of the 2012 election cycle, their annual March dinner. The other co-chairs were Republican Representatives Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania and Candice Miller of Michigan. The dinner was viewed as a tremendous success, drawing in a record breaking $12 million for republican Congressional candidates across the country. NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas praised Sullivan and the other co-chairman saying they did "a phenomenal job in their efforts to make this years event a huge success".



According to the American Conservative Union, Sullivan is consistently among the most conservative members of Congress. He received a 100% rating from the organization in 2009 and 2010 earning their the "Defender of Liberty" award both years. He is opposed to all legalized abortion, believes that life begins at conception, and opposes stem cell research on embryonic cells. He has been rated 100% by the Christian Coalition for his views. He is opposed to gun control and has been commended by the National Rifle Association for his position.

Sullivan was tapped to serve on the House Energy and Commerce Leadership team for the 112th Congress where he plays a key role in the national energy debate. He is the primary sponsor of H.R. 1380, the New Alternative Transportation to Give America Solutions (NAT GAS) Act of 2011, legislation designed to decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil by encouraging more natural gas powered vehicles on American roads.

Sullivan is a vocal critic of the Environmental Protection Agency, claiming that regulations being pushed by the Obama Administration are harmful to the U.S. economy. Legislation he introduced to study the cumulative economic impact of twelve significant EPA regulations was passed by the House Energy and Power Subcommittee on May 24, 2011. In February 2011, Sullivan handed the ethanol industry its first significant legislative loss in Congress when the House passed his amendment to block the EPA's decision to sell a higher blend, E15, ethanol gasoline for late model cars by a vote of 285-136. Sullivan also sponsored the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act of 2011 (H.R. 2401), "to require analyses of the cumulative and incremental impacts of certain rules and actions of the Environmental Protection Agency, and for other purposes", which has passed the House and will go on to the Senate.

Regarding immigration, he is on record as supporting a fence between the US and Mexico or other permanent barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border. Prior to the 2006 Congressional election his campaign staff distributed small placards that explicitly linked immigration from Mexico with threats to U.S. national security. The same campaign literature featured the figure of "20 million illegal aliens in America" and warned that "thousands more [are] coming everyday". During that same campaign Sullivan repeatedly characterized the issue of (illegal) immigration from Mexico as one relating to "national security" and the "war on terror", stating, "Border security is national security...Our way of life in America is precious and must always be protected."

Sullivan voted to make the PATRIOT Act permanent, without any future option for Congressional review or revocation. He supports a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning and wishes to strip the independent judiciary of the ability to decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of the Pledge of Allegiance. He has been rated as 0% by the ACLU on civil rights issues. He also supports continued U.S. military involvement in Iraq and opposed any "rapid troop pullout".

On October 3, 2008, Sullivan was one of two Oklahoma Republican congressman to vote for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 which created the Troubled Assets Relief Program. On December 9, 2008, Sullivan voted against a bailout of the automobile industry saying "taxpayers should not be asked to reward failure by subsidizing the very business practices that got them into this situation in the first place". He also was a proponent of the 2009 Tea Party protests which condemned any bailouts, and also spoke at a rally in Tulsa.

In July 2004, Dave Pearson, a former GOP communications consultant who was fired by Sullivan, claimed he was owed $20,000 for work he did on Sullivan's 2002 special election. Pearson put out a press release attacking his former candidate, and sent a letter to all of Sullivan's campaign contributors: "Sullivan is the most dishonest, disingenuous and crooked politician I have ever known. He is a liar because he repeatedly lied to me and others about his business background, his arrest records and many other things." Sullivan responded by saying that Pearson was fired for "not doing his job" and "owes me money probably." In May 2010 Pearson turned over the claim to a collection agency after declining a $5000 settlement. Tulsa attorney J. Douglas Mann, working on behalf of the Sullivan campaign, sent a letter to the FEC stating that the statute of limitations (5 years per Oklahoma law) on the disputed debt had expired and that under Oklahoma law "...Congressman Sullivan is barred by the applicable statute of limitations and such claim no longer has any legal viability." The debt has since been removed from Sullivan's quarterly reports per the FEC letter stating "This debt was removed due to the advice of legal counsel."

On February 22, 2012, Representative Sullivan at a town hall meeting in Bixby, said shooting senators would be the only way to pass the Ryan Budget: "You know but other than me going over there with a gun and holding it to their head and maybe killing a couple of them." The next day he released an apology through his spokesperson.

On June 26, 2012, Representative Sullivan was defeated in the Republican primary election by Jim Bridenstine.


Personal life 

He and his wife, Judy Beck, have four children. His oldest, Tommy, plays football for his old high school.


Criminal record

A point of contention during Sullivan's re-election campaign in 2004 was his police record. According to opponent Doug Dodd, Sullivan had been arrested four times in the Tulsa area. Sullivan claimed to have only been arrested once. A review by local media concluded he had at least three arrests: for assault and battery of an off-duty police officer in 1982, when he was 17 year old, and for public intoxication and disturbing the peace in 1985, while still under-age. His last arrest, at age 27, was due to an outstanding bench warrant issued after he failed to appear in court for a traffic violation.



On May 28, 2009, Sullivan entered the Betty Ford Center in California to receive treatment for his addiction to alcohol. 





August 1, 2012

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