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Joe Barton

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Preceded by  Phil Gramm
Religion  Methodist
Preceded by  John D. Dingell, Jr.
Name  Joe Barton
Political party  Republican
Role  U.S. Representative
Occupation  Politician

Joe Barton Resolving the Joe Barton problem POLITICO

Full Name  Joe Linus Barton
Born  September 15, 1949 (age 74) Waco, Texas (1949-09-15)
Alma mater  Texas A&M University, Purdue University
Office  Representative (R-TX 6th District) since 1985
Residence  Ennis, Texas, United States
Children  Kristin Barton, Bradley Linus Barton
Spouse  Terri Barton (m. 2004), Janet Sue Winslow (m. 1970–2003)
Education  Purdue University (1973), Texas A&M University (1972), Waco High School
Similar People  Michael C Burgess, Gene Green, John Cornyn, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Mac Thornberry

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Joe Linus Barton (born September 15, 1949) is a Republican politician, representing Texas's 6th congressional district (map) in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1985, and a member of the Tea Party Caucus. The district includes Arlington, part of Fort Worth, and several small towns and rural areas south of the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex. Following the 2014 primary defeat of Ralph Hall, Barton became the dean of the Texas congressional delegation. Barton came to national prominence when he instructed a citizen at a town hall meeting to "shut up".


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In terms of his positions, Barton is skeptical that manmade carbon emissions have contributed to global warming, is a proponent of the use of fossil fuels, voted in favor of the May 4, 2017 GOP plan to replace Obamacare, supports President Donald Trump's ban on immigration from Muslim-majority nations, and supports the death penalty for persons caught spying.

Joe Barton GOP Rep Joe Barton Calls For Minimum Wage Repeal

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Early life, education, and early career

Joe Barton Eight More Deep Thoughts from Congressman Joe Barton TIME

Barton was born in Waco, Texas, the son of Bess Wynell (née Buice) and Larry Linus Barton. He graduated from Waco High School. He attended Texas A&M University in College Station on a Gifford-Hill Opportunity Award scholarship and received a B.S. in industrial engineering in 1972. An M.Sc. in industrial administration from Purdue University followed in 1973. Following college, Barton entered private industry until 1981, when he became a White House Fellow and served under United States Secretary of Energy James B. Edwards. Later, he began consulting for Atlantic Richfield Oil and Gas Co., before being elected to the United States Congress, in 1984.



Barton made his first run for elected office in 1984, when he entered the Republican primary for Texas's 6th congressional district after three-term incumbent Phil Gramm left his seat to run for the United States Senate that year. He finished first in the five-candidate field with 42% and very narrowly defeated Max Hoyt in the runoff with 50%. He then defeated Democratic nominee and former State Representative Dan Kubiak 57%–43%. Barton was one of six freshmen Republican U.S. congressmen elected from Texas in 1984 known as the Texas Six Pack. In 1986, Barton won re-election against Democratic candidate Pete Geren, who would later be elected to Congress from a neighboring district. Barton defeated Geren 56%–44%.


During this period, Barton won each re-election with 60% of the vote or more. His worst general election performance was in 2006, when he defeated Democratic candidate David Harris 60%–37%, a 23-point margin. The 2008 election was his second worst performance, defeating Democratic candidate Ludwig Otto by a 26-point margin, 62%–36%.

He was only challenged in the primary twice in this time period: 1992 and 1994. In 1992, he defeated Mike McGinn 79 to 21 percent. In 1994, he defeated Jerry Goode 89%–11%.


Because of the increasing controversy surrounding his record in office, election battles have been increasingly contentious. In 2011, a Super PAC was formed by Texas conservative groups to remove him and several other long-time incumbents from office. The Democratic National Committee has used Barton's comments in political ads, shown nationally against all Republican candidates. Several websites have been created and dedicated to simply removing Joe Barton from office. was created by Democratic challengers. All content was later removed, although the site is still owned.

Barton drew three primary challengers: Joe Chow, mayor of Addison; Itamar Gelbman, a security consultant; and Frank C. Kuchar, a Dallas businessman and former preacher. Chow is Texas' first Asian-American mayor. He called Barton “the most corrupt congressman in the State of Texas.” At the end of March 2012, Barton had $1.3 million in cash on hand, compared with $28,800 for Chow, $178,000 for Gelbman, and $463 for Kuchar.


In the Republican primary on March 4, Barton won handy re-nomination to a sixteenth term in the U.S. House. He polled 32,579 (72.7 percent); his 2012 primary opponent, Frank Kuchar, trailed with 12,260 votes (27.3 percent). On November 4, Barton handily won re-election over Democratic opponent Cozad. Barton serves as the Dean of the Texas Delegation for the 114th Congress.


Barton polled 55,197 votes (68.7 percent) in a three-candidate field for the Republican House nomination in the March 1 primary election. The runner-up, Steven Fowler, received 17,927 votes (22.3 percent). To win his seventeenth consecutive term in the House, Barton then defeated in the November 8 general election the Democrat Ruby Faye Woolridge (born 1948) of Arlington, who had polled 22,954 votes (69.7 percent) in her earlier three-candidate Democratic primary. Barton finished with 159,444 votes (58.3 percent) to Woolridge's 106,667 (39 percent). The remaining 7,185 votes (2.6 percent) went to the Libertarian Darrel Smith, Jr.


Barton voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 in both of its manifestations.

In March 2011, Barton sponsored the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act, which would repeal the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, signed by President George W. Bush. The 2007 law would set energy efficiency standards for light bulbs, effectively eliminating most or all incandescent light bulbs. Barton said "People don't want Congress dictating what light fixtures they can use."

Congressional Action
  • Former Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, primary House author of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and chairman of the House-Senate energy conference committee.
  • Both initiated and eliminated "safe harbor" provision for MTBE (in Energy Policy Act of 2005).
  • Co-founded the Congressional Privacy Caucus, cosponsor of the anti-spyware SPY ACT, initiated National Institutes of Health Reform Act of 2006.
  • Opposed the extension of the Voting Rights Act in 2006
  • Barton was a leading voice in Congress for forcing the switch from analog to digital TV.
  • Barton has supported the auctioning off the public airwaves to private companies.
  • Global warming and the environment

    Barton rejects the scientific consensus on climate change. In 2005, prompted by a February Wall Street Journal article, Barton launched an investigation into two climate change studies from 1998 and 1999. In his letters to climatologists Michael Mann, Raymond S. Bradley and Malcolm K. Hughes, the authors of the studies, he requested details on the studies and the sources of the authors' grant funding. An editorial by The Washington Post condemned Barton's investigation as a "witch-hunt".

    During former Vice President Al Gore's testimony to the Energy and Commerce Committee in March 2007, Barton said to Gore that "You're not just off a little, you're totally wrong", stating instead that "Global Warming science is uneven and evolving." Climate scientists refuted Barton's assertion. Barton has said that cloud shape is a primary factor in global temperature. At a 2009 hearing on renewable energy, Barton said that large-scale wind power projects could slow down God's method for cooling the earth and possibly contribute to global warming. Barton has questioned the wisdom of deficit spending to fund an extensive national wind turbine energy generation grid.

    Barton supports the Keystone XL pipeline. In November 2011, Barton criticized President Barack Obama for delaying his decision on the Keystone pipeline. He said "We asked him to make a decision, not to wait another two years. That's bullshit.” In 2013, when discussing the pipeline, he referred to the Genesis flood narrative in the Bible to argue that current climate change isn't man-made.

    Barton has a lifetime score of 6% on the National Environmental Scorecard of the League of Conservation Voters. Barton is "a long-time denier of global warming" according to Time magazine and "a longtime skeptic of human involvement in climate change" according to HuffPost. Barton "has proved especially proficient in climate change denial" according to Pennsylvania State University professor of atmospheric sciences Michael Mann. "Barton has made a reputation for his outspoken rejection of man-made climate change, and for his support for the oil industry," according to Suzanne Goldenberg in The Guardian. Barton has "mocked human-caused climate change," according to The New York Times. Barton has been described as a "climate change denier" by Vice Media and by Organizing for America and as a "climate science denier" by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

    Autism bills controversy

    Barton tried to block the bipartisan Combating Autism Act of 2006. He said that the money steered toward environmental causes of autism was not the reason he blocked passage of the bill.

    The controversy stemmed from the conflict between two bills in the House and Senate. Barton introduced the National Institutes of Health Reform Act of 2006, while Senator Rick Santorum introduced the Autism bill. Santorum said in a CNN interview that the Senate bill was intended to be "fit into" Barton's bill in the House bill. He stated that "I was in constant conversation with him [Barton] and many House members all last week in an attempt to help the NIH bill come through the Senate, as well as try to move the Combating Autism bill through the Senate." Santorum stated that the Senate bill would investigate possible environmental causes, while the House bill would prevent that.

    Barton let the bill die in committee, which upset many people who were vocal about saying Barton had sacrificed the interests of autistic children in the interests of the oil and gas companies that donate heavily to his campaign.

    BP oil spill controversy

    In June 2010, Barton accused the Obama administration of a "$20 billion shakedown" of oil giant BP after the company reached an agreement with the administration to establish an escrow account to pay the claims of people harmed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He made the accusation at the outset of a House hearing where BP's chief executive officer, Tony Hayward, appeared for the first time before Congress. Facing Hayward at the witness table, Barton said, "I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, is subject to some sort of political pressure that is, again, in my words — amounts to a shakedown, so I apologize." Prior to the establishment of the agreement, the Obama administration had been public in their criticism of BP for the oil spill.

    Barton's remarks were criticized by White House spokesman Robert Gibbs and Vice President Joe Biden, GOP congressional leadership as well as by Barton's fellow Republicans, some of whom called on him to relinquish his leadership role in the House Energy Subcomittee.

    Barton later said that his earlier remarks had been "misconstrued" and that he believed BP was responsible for the accident. Later that day, he issued a statement apologizing for using the term "shakedown" and fully retracted his apology to BP.

    Health care

    Barton favors repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare). Explaining why the American Health Care Act (the House Republicans' bill to repeal and replace for the Affordable Care Act) failed in March 2017, Barton said, "Sometimes you’re playing fantasy football and sometimes you’re in the real game. We knew the president, if we could get a repeal bill to his desk, would almost certainly veto it. This time we knew if it got to the president’s desk it would be signed.”

    2011 CREW report

    The organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) put Congressman Barton on its CREW's Most Corrupt Report 2011. The article states that on Barton's 2008 financial disclosure statement, he inaccurately reported on the source of a natural gas interest that he bought into. The share was purchased through a longtime donor and supporter who later died. This was discovered by the Dallas Morning News in 2010. According to the Dallas Morning News article, Barton made over $100,000 on the investment. The article and CREW Report both point out how Barton buying this undervalued asset from an "advisor" on energy issues could be a conflict of interest to the Congressman's position as the Chair of the House's Energy Subcommittee. It quotes James Thurber, a professor of government at American University, as saying "If you are elected as a public servant to try to do what is right for the public generally and then you use that position to help bring in material wealth, I think it's unethical."

    CREW also reported that Barton paid his wife Terri $57,759 in salary and bonuses, from his campaign funds in the 2006 election cycle. A spokesman said that Terri served as the campaign's outreach director and planned fund raising and special events. Barton's daughter Kristin was paid $12,622 in salary and bonuses and his mother, Nell Barton, was paid $7,000 for a car.

    Position on crude oil ban

    Barton expressed in September 2014, his full support of the United States lifting the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports – an issue that sparked controversy among members of the Republican Party. Several research reports have found that exporting the glut of shale oil would ultimately lower U.S. and global fuel prices, rather than raise them, U.S. public opinion remains divided on the issue.

    Position on online poker

    Barton has expressed his desire for pro-poker legislation to come into effect on a federal level and is hoping to introduce a new bill on the subject in April/May 2015. This bill would introduce a federal-level regulatory framework that would allow for online poker to be offered in all states.

    Immigration and travel

    Barton supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order banning entry to the United States by nationals of seven Muslim-majority nations.

    Committee assignments

  • Committee on Energy and Commerce (Chair emeritus)
  • Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade
  • Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
  • Subcommittee on Energy and Power
  • Subcommittee on Environment and Economy
  • Subcommittee on Health
  • Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
  • Caucus memberships

  • Congressional Caucus on Turkey and Turkish Americans
  • Congressional Privacy Caucus (Founder/Co-Chair)
  • International Conservation Caucus
  • Republican Study Committee
  • Sportsmen's Caucus
  • Tea Party Caucus
  • Congressional Cement Caucus
  • House Freedom Caucus
  • 1993 U.S. Senate election

    In 1993, Barton ran in the special election for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the resignation of Lloyd Bentsen, who became United States Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton administration. Barton finished third in the contest, behind state treasurer Kay Bailey Hutchison and Senator Bob Krueger, thus missing a runoff slot. He divided the more conservative vote in that election with House colleague Jack Fields of Houston.

    Barton Family Foundation

    The Barton Family Foundation was established in 2005 to support charities within the congressman's district. His daughter-in-law, Amy Barton, is the Foundation's Executive Director. Major energy corporations, such as the Chicago-based nuclear energy producer, Exelon Corporation, make major gifts to the Foundation. In June 2008, at a time when Barton had introduced legislation to assist corporations with the recycling of spent nuclear fuel, the corporation donated $25,000 to the Foundation. Exelon has also donated $80,000 to Barton's campaign funds. The Foundation gave $90,000 to the local Boys and Girls Club, this is the only recorded donation made by the Foundation in its seven-year history.

    Personal life

    Barton divorced in 2015. He has four children and five grandchildren.

    In December 2005, Barton suffered a heart attack and was taken to George Washington University Hospital.

    During a congressional hearing on video games, Barton said that he was a video game player, playing Civilization IV.

    Barton has been an advocate of a playoff system to determine a national champion for college football, even introducing legislation to require that any game being marketed as a national championship game be a part of a playoff. On May 1, 2010, Barton grilled Bowl Championship Series coordinator John Swofford, saying of the BCS that, "It's like communism. You can't fix it." He also suggested that the 'C' be dropped from the BCS and it be called "the 'BS' system."


    Joe Barton Wikipedia