Lynn A. Westmoreland (born April 2, 1950) is the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 3rd congressional district, serving since 2007. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district stretches from the far southern Atlanta suburbs to the suburbs of Columbus. He previously represented Georgia's 8th congressional district from 2005 to 2007.
Early life, education and career
Westmoreland owned a construction company and worked as a real estate developer after dropping out of Georgia State University.
Westmoreland served in the Georgia House of Representatives beginning in 1993 and began serving as the House Republican Leader in 2001, until he resigned from that position to pursue his Congressional campaign in late 2003.
He continued to serve in the Georgia House until his election to the U.S. House in 2005.
During his time as the Republican Leader in the Georgia House, he led the fight against redistricting by the Democratic majority in 2001, and then was instrumental in the re-redistricting that took place in 2005 after Republicans won control of the Georgia legislature in the 2004 elections.
U.S. House of Representatives
During his first term in the 109th United States Congress, Westmoreland was appointed to the U.S. House Committee on Small Business, U.S. House Committee on Government Reform, and the U.S.
House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
In 2005, Westmoreland received criticism for spreading a memo to fellow House members that consisted of auto-industry talking points, verbatim, even using the same font as the auto-industry document. An aide defended him, saying, "such behavior is standard practice."
As a U.S. congressman, Westmoreland cosponsored a bill to place the Ten Commandments in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Westmoreland also sponsored a bill that the Ten Commandments could be displayed in courthouses in a historical setting. In May 2006, political humorist Stephen Colbert interviewed Westmoreland for The Colbert Report show segment Better Know a District, and during the interview, asked Westmoreland to name the Ten Commandments. The edited interview showed Westmoreland only being able to name three of them, although his press secretary later said that he had named seven of the ten.
Westmoreland led a group of congressmen who opposed the 2006 renewal of certain provisions in the Voting Rights Act that require nine Southern states and a number of counties (mostly in the South) to obtain Federal permission for certain changes to election law or changes in venue. Westmoreland and his colleagues claimed that it was no longer fair to target their states, given the passage of time since 1965 and the changes their states had made to provide fair elections and voting. Despite Westmoreland's objections, a strong bipartisan majority renewed the Voting Rights Act for another 25 years without changes.
In 2008, Westmoreland ran unopposed in the Republican primary and was re-elected after defeating his Democratic opponent Stephen Camp. After his win, Westmoreland announced that he was considering running for the office of the governor of Georgia in 2010, but later indicated in an April 2009 press release that he would not.
On September 4, 2008, Westmoreland described Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and his wife Michelle as "uppity," a pejorative historically used to describe African-Americans who have made economic, social, or political progress. He told reporters: "Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr.
Obama, Senator Obama, they're a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they're uppity," Westmoreland said. Asked to clarify that he used the word “uppity,” Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah.”
The ensuing media attention compelled Westmoreland to issue the following statement: "I’ve never heard that term used in a racially derogatory sense. It is important to note that the dictionary definition of ‘uppity’ is ‘affecting an air of inflated self-esteem — snobbish.’ That’s what we meant by uppity when we used it in the mill village where I grew up."
Westmoreland won a plurality of votes in the Republican primary election in 2004, but faced fellow Republican Dylan Glenn in a runoff. Westmoreland received 55.5% of the vote in the runoff. The district was so heavily Republican that Westmoreland's primary victory was tantamount to election in November.
He routed his Democratic opponent, businesswoman Silvia Delamar, with almost 76 percent of the vote. He was handily reelected in 2006 after his district was renumbered as the 3rd and made even more Republican.
Westmoreland grew up in metro Atlanta. He attended Georgia State University but dropped out to work in a family construction business, in which he later became an executive. He resides in Grantville, Georgia, with his wife, Joan; they have three children and six grandchildren.
October 18th, 2011