Roger Frederick Wicker (born July 5, 1951) is the junior U.S. Senator from Mississippi and a member of the Republican Party. In December 2007 he was appointed by Governor Haley Barbour to fill the seat vacated by Trent Lott. He subsequently won the 2008 special election for the remainder of the term. Wicker served in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Mississippi's 1st congressional district from 1995 to 2007.
Roger Wicker was born in Pontotoc, Mississippi on July 5, 1951, and is of English, German, French, and Native American descent.
He served as a page in the U.S. House of Representatives when he was 16. He earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science and a law degree from the University of Mississippi where he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. After graduation, Wicker served as an officer in the United States Air Force from 1976 to 1980. Starting in 1980, he was a member of the Air Force Reserve; he retired from the Reserve in 2003 as a lieutenant colonel. Wicker served as a judge advocate.
Wicker began his political career as a member of Trent Lott's political counsel. He then served in the Mississippi State Senate from 1987 to 1994, representing a district that included Tupelo. He was the first Republican elected to the legislature from Northern Mississippi since Reconstruction.
U.S. House of Representatives
In the general election, Wicker defeated Fulton attorney Bill Wheeler, capturing 63 percent of the vote, making him the first Republican to represent the 1st District in over a century. Wicker was reelected six more times without much difficulty, never dropping below 60 percent of the vote.
In Congress, Wicker worked on issues related to medical research and on economic development for his home state. He advocated private-public partnerships to bring investment to rural areas. Wicker also worked for veterans' issues while serving as a member of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee. In his final year as Representative, Wicker topped the list in earmarks.
United States Senate
At a press conference on December 31, 2007, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour appointed Wicker to fill the Senate seat vacated by Trent Lott on December 18, 2007. He was sworn in by the clerk of the U.S.
Senate just prior to that news conference. Wicker ran for the remainder of Lott's term in the November 2008 special election against Ronnie Musgrove, Barbour's predecessor as governor. He won the seat with 55% of the vote. Wicker's resignation from the House also triggered a May 13, 2008 special election to fill the vacancy in the House, which was won by Democrat Travis Childers. On September 16, 2010, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Wicker as representative of the United States to the Sixty-fifth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Roger Wicker is married to the former Gayle Long of Tupelo.
They have three children: Margaret and son-in-law Manning McPhillips; Caroline and son-in-law Kirk Sims; and McDaniel; and one granddaughter, Caroline McPhillips. The Wickers reside in Tupelo, where he is a deacon at First Baptist Church.