Paul Collins Broun, Jr. (born May 14, 1946) is the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 10th congressional district, serving since 2007. He is a member of the Republican Party and the Tea Party Caucus.
Early life, education and career
Broun was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Democratic Georgia state senator Paul Broun, Sr. (1916–2005), who represented Athens and the surrounding area from 1963 to 2001. The younger Broun is a graduate of the University of Georgia at Athens and earned his Doctor of Medicine from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. He is known for maintaining a medical practice based solely on house calls.
U.S. House of Representatives
Broun grew up as a Democrat, but became a Republican sometime in the 1980s. He was previously a candidate for the U.S. House in 1990, losing to Democratic incumbent Richard Ray, and for the U.S. Senate in 1996, losing the Republican primary.
Broun was one of the top two vote-getters in a June 2007 special congressional election to fill the seat vacated by the late Charlie Norwood. The first place finisher, State Senator Jim Whitehead, more than doubled Broun's vote total, and Broun had only 198 votes more than the third-place finisher.
In the runoff campaign, Whitehead angered some voters by failing to appear at a debate held in Athens and then by referring to his alma mater, the University of Georgia, as a "liberal bastion" that should be eliminated, save for the football team.
In the runoff election held on July 17, 2007, Broun upset Whitehead by 0.8 percent, fewer than 400 votes. After the votes were certified, Whitehead declined to ask for a recount despite the narrow margin. On July 25, 2007, Broun was sworn in by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
In 2010, Dr. Christopher Cates, an Atlanta cardiologist, filed his intent to challenge Broun in the Republican primary in the 10th district. On election day, Broun was returned to office with about 67% of the vote.
Mac Collins, who represented much of Middle Georgia about a decade ago, is reportedly considering another run for Congress. Paul Broun, a fellow Republican in the redrawn 10th Congressional District, according to a report in the Athens Banner-Herald. The two have faced each other before: Collins defeated Broun with about 55 percent of the vote in a 1992 primary.
Collins has stated that he is likely to challenge U.S. Rep.
Broun is a political conservative; his fundamentalist religious views inform his politics. In May 2009, Broun proposed failed legislation that would have proclaimed 2010 "The Year Of The Bible".
He also introduced a bill to ban the sale or rental of sexually explicit materials on U.S military installations.
Broun is also a climate change skeptic. He called the entire concept of man-made global warming a conspiracy perpetuated by certain members of the scientific community when he explained his reasons for voting against climate change legislation in June 2010.
Broun in September 2008 voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 which created the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or "TARP".
On November 10, 2008, one week after the 2008 presidential election, Broun drew national attention when he criticized President-elect Barack Obama's call for a civilian national service corps, suggesting that Obama might use it to establish a Marxist dictatorship.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Broun said, "That's exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it's exactly what the Soviet Union did. When he's proposing to have a national security force that's answering to him, that is as strong as the U.S. military, he's showing me signs of being Marxist." Broun later clarified his statement by saying, "We can't be lulled into complacency. You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany.
I'm not comparing him to Adolf Hitler. What I'm saying is there is the potential of going down that road."
Broun cited a July 2008 speech by Obama in which the then-Democratic presidential candidate had said, "We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded." A spokesman for Obama indicated that he had been referring to a civilian reserve corps intended to handle postwar reconstruction efforts in foreign locations, such as rebuilding infrastructure. The Bush administration had endorsed that idea, and a Civilian Response Corps, described as similar to the one proposed by Obama, was formed in 2006 by the Bush Administration after a bipartisan Congressional vote.
The following day, November 11, Broun seemingly backed away from his statements, saying on WGAC radio, "I regret putting it that way," and "I apologize to anyone who has taken offense at that." Broun nevertheless asserted that Obama "is extremely liberal" and "has promoted a lot of socialistic ideas, and it just makes me concerned."
His remarks in the radio interview were at first interpreted in the press as an apology. However, Broun's office later said he was "not taking back anything he said" and a spokeswoman said, "We have not issued any official apology” for the remarks. The spokeswoman said Broun stood by a written statement he had issued in which he criticized Obama for having "socialist views" and raised what the Atlanta Journal Constitution described as "ominous concerns" about the civilian force. The news release read in part, "I firmly believe that we must not fall victim to the 'it can't happen here' mentality. I adhere to the adage 'eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.'" Broun also said that his comments had been sensationalized by the media.
In a town hall meeting on 22 February 2011, Broun was asked by an unidentified elderly man, "Who is going to shoot Obama?" The disconcerting question was apparently met with laughter. Broun did not directly address the question, but instead responded with, "The thing is, I know there's a lot of frustration with this president. We're going to have an election next year. Hopefully, we'll elect somebody that's going to be a conservative, limited-government president ... who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare."
Broun, who later that week condemned the question, contested the quoted response originally reported by the Athens Banner-Herald. According to his press secretary, Broun immediately moved on to the next question.
The incident prompted a brief investigation by the Secret Service, who days later confirmed that the constituent did not pose a threat and had "acted in poor taste," concluding that the incident was a "closed matter."
Broun and his wife, the former Nikki Wilkes, have two daughters, a son, and two grandchildren.
October 19th, 2011