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Thomas Chester Edwards (born November 24, 1951) is an American politician who was a United States
United States
Representative from Texas, representing a district based in Waco, from 1991 to 2011. Previously, he served in the Texas
Texas
Senate from 1983 to 1990. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Edwards was on Barack Obama's vice presidential shortlist in 2008.[1]

Contents

1 Early years, education and career 2 Texas
Texas
Senate 3 U.S. House of Representatives

3.1 Committee assignments

4 Political positions

4.1 Fiscal policy 4.2 Social policy

5 Political campaigns

5.1 2008 5.2 2010

6 Personal life 7 References 8 External links

Early years, education and career[edit] A Waco resident, Edwards was born in Corpus Christi. He graduated magna cum laude[2] from Texas
Texas
A&M University in 1974, earning a bachelor's degree in economics. One of his professors was future U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator
U.S. Senator
Phil Gramm. Upon graduation, he received the Earl Rudder
Earl Rudder
Award, which is given to two outstanding seniors.[3] Edwards was the Chairman of the 18th MSC Student Conference on National Affairs Conference, where he helped to bring Vice President Walter Mondale
Walter Mondale
and businessman Ross Perot
Ross Perot
to campus. After graduation, Edwards worked as an aide to Congressman Olin E. Teague for three years.[3] “Tiger” Teague was the most decorated World War II veteran in Congress, known for 32 years as “Mr. Veteran.” This mentorship later influenced Edwards’ work in Congress on Veterans Affairs.[4] When Teague announced his retirement in 1978, Edwards ran in the Democratic primary to succeed him. He lost by only 115 votes to his former professor, Phil Gramm,[5] who switched to Republican affiliation in 1983.[6] In 1981, Edwards earned his MBA from Harvard Business School. He then went to work for the Trammell Crow
Trammell Crow
Company as a commercial real estate agent. Later, Edwards purchased several rural radio stations in South Texas. Texas
Texas
Senate[edit] Edwards was elected to the Texas
Texas
Senate in 1983, and served until 1990, representing District 9. He was the youngest member at age 30. In the Texas
Texas
Senate, Edwards was a member of the Senate Education Committee which oversaw class size reduction in public schools. He was also on the Health and Human Resources Committee, chaired the Senate Nominations Committee, the Texas
Texas
Sunset Commission, a joint commission which reviews state agencies on a 12-year rotation, and the Texas Election Code Revision Committee. Edwards was also a member of the Committee on Business, Technology, and Education. He received the “ Texas
Texas
Business” award during the 68th Regular Session as one of three outstanding freshman legislators, and was named by Texas
Texas
Monthly as one of the "Ten Outstanding Legislators" during his tenure.[3][4] U.S. House of Representatives[edit] Committee assignments[edit]

Committee on Appropriations

Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (Chairman)

Committee on the Budget

Edwards served as a member on the House Budget Committee, the Appropriations Committee, and the Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee and vice chair of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee. He also chaired the House Army Caucus. He was known as a national champion for America's veterans, troops, and their families. After becoming Chairman of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee in 2007, Edwards authored a $17.7 billion increase in funding for veterans health care and benefits, the largest increase in veterans funding in the history of the Veterans Administration. He also assisted in enacting the 21st Century GI Bill of Rights into law, covering the full cost of a college education for troops. In 2008, both the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars recognized Edwards' leadership with their national awards. While representing Fort Hood, Edwards played a major leadership role in support of the U.S. Army, troops, and military families. In 2007, he received the Marix Congressional Achievement Award from the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) in recognition of his work. In 2006, Edwards was honored with the Award of Merit, the highest award given by the Military Coalition, which represents 36 military and veteran groups. In 2003, the Association of the U.S. Army gave Edwards its "Legislator of the Year Award." He was co-chair of the House Army Caucus for over a decade and served on the House Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Committees for six years before joining the Appropriations Committee.[7] Political positions[edit] Edwards is a moderate Democrat according to a nonpartisan organization GovTrack. He was also a leader in the House of Representatives.[8] However, he has stated his opposition to caps on medical malpractice lawsuits.[citation needed] He voted for the Iraq Resolution. Fiscal policy[edit] Edwards opposed the 2001 federal tax cuts and voted against eliminating the marriage penalty and estate tax. He voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Early on, Edwards became known as a leader in the fight against nuclear terrorism. In 2001, he strongly opposed cuts of $100 million to the nuclear non-proliferation budget proposed by the Bush Administration. Serving as a member on the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, Edwards oversaw homeland defense and university research programs to protect Americans from the threat of nuclear terrorism. To ensure that more cargo coming into U.S. seaports was properly inspected, Edwards supported the implementation of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and, in 2003, helped secure $84 million to install radiological detectors at the busiest foreign ports so nuclear materials could be detected overseas before reaching America. During his 20-year tenure in Congress, including 12 years of seniority on the Appropriations Committee, Edwards developed a reputation of working hard and effectively for his Central Texas constituents. He was committed to protecting jobs and the local economy by making vital federal investments in education, health, transportation, and water programs in his District. Securing federal investments for Fort Hood, the Central Texas
Texas
Veterans' Health Care System, and university research programs at Baylor and Texas
Texas
A&M Universities was also a primary focus of Congressman Edwards' work in Washington. Edwards is known as a fiscal conservative who believes massive federal deficits and the multi-trillion national debt is harmful to the American economy and is morally wrong to pass on to future generations. The non-partisan Concord Coalition gave him its "Deficit Hawk" Award. His pro-economic, pro-agriculture record also earned him endorsements from both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Farm Bureau Friends of Agriculture Fund (AGFUND). The U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave him their "Spirit of Enterprise" Award for several years for his support of business. As a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights, Congressman Edwards voted with the NRA 100% on gun rights issues for many years and received the NRA's endorsement.[7] Social policy[edit] Edwards traditionally votes against same-sex marriage. He has voted in favor of Constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage, as well as to define marriage one-man-one-woman, and holds a 25% rating from the Human Rights Campaign.[9] Edwards voted against ending preferential treatment by race in college admissions and received an 83% rating from the NAACP
NAACP
in 2006.[9] Edwards has received an "A" by the National Rifle Association.[10] In 2008, Edwards successfully introduced legislation to earmark $150 million toward a cure for neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer. In July 2008, the measure was signed into law by U.S. President
U.S. President
George W. Bush. Edwards was inspired in the endeavor by the illness and subsequent death of Erin Channing Buenger (1997-2009) of Bryan, daughter of one of his constituents, Walter L. Buenger, head of the history department at Texas
Texas
A&M University.[11] As a respected voice on issues facing working families, Edwards pushed for increased access to health care for children of working families under the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), supported middle class tax cuts, and protected Medicare and Social Security benefits for America's seniors. As a lifelong person of faith, Chet was honored by the Baptist Joint Committee, and earned the Walter Cronkite Award from the Interfaith Alliance for his principled stand to keep government regulations out of churches and houses of worship. Congressman Edwards also received the T.B. Maston Christian Ethics Award.[7] Political campaigns[edit] Edwards was elected to the U.S. House in 1990 with 54 percent of the vote in what was then the 11th District, defeating Republican Hugh Shine. He was re-elected in 1992 with 67 percent of the vote, defeating Republican James Broyles. He defeated Broyles again in 1994 with 59 percent of the vote.[12] During the 1990s, the 11th District trended more and more Republican. Edwards was able to hold onto his seat, though with shrinking margins.[13] In 1996, he was re-elected with 57 percent of the vote against Republican Jay Mathis. He won in 1998 without any Republican opponent. In 2000 he won with 55 percent of the vote over Ramsey Farley; in 2002, he beat Farley again, this time with 52 percent of the vote.[12] In 2000, he became President Bush's congressman; the district includes Prairie Chapel Ranch
Prairie Chapel Ranch
just outside Crawford, which was Bush's legal residence during his presidential term. As part of the 2003 Texas
Texas
redistricting, Edwards' district was renumbered as the 17th District and radically altered. The ethnically diverse cities of Temple and Killeen were removed. The Army post of Fort Hood
Fort Hood
was also removed. In their place, his district absorbed College Station, home to Texas
Texas
A&M and a long-standing bastion of conservatism. It also absorbed several heavily Republican areas west of Fort Worth. While Edwards' old district had been trending Republican for some time, the new district was, on paper, one of the most Republican districts in the country. Edwards defeated conservative State Representative Arlene Wohlgemuth in November 2004 by 9,260 votes, or approximately a 3.8% margin. Proving just how Republican this district was, Bush carried the 17th with a staggering 70 percent of the vote—the most of any Democratic-held district, and Bush's 17th-best district in the entire country. Edwards was one of two Democrats to represent a significant portion of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, along with Eddie Bernice Johnson. In much of this district, Edwards was the only elected Democrat above the county level. It was generally understood that the district would be taken over by a Republican once Edwards retired. In 2006, Edwards ran for reelection against Republican Van Taylor, a former Marine Corps reservist and Iraq War veteran, and was re-elected with 58% of the vote to Taylor's 40%.[14]

Edwards speaks during the third night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

On February 18, 2008, Edwards officially endorsed Barack Obama
Barack Obama
in the Texas
Texas
March 4 Democratic primary.[15] In late June 2008, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi
publicly suggested that Edwards would be a great choice as Obama's vice-presidential running mate.[16] Edwards stated that he would accept such an offer from Obama.[17] On August 22, the Associated Press
Associated Press
reported that Edwards was on Obama's short-list as a potential running-mate.[1] 2008[edit] See also: United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
elections in Texas, 2008 § District 17 In November 2008, Edwards was reelected by defeating Republican Rob Curnock, a Waco video business owner, with 53 percent of the vote.[18] John McCain
John McCain
carried the 17th with 67 percent of the vote. 2010[edit] See also: United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
elections in Texas, 2010 § District 17* Edwards was challenged by Republican nominee Bill Flores, a retired Bryan oil and gas executive. Edwards was endorsed by the Dallas Morning News[19] and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.[20] Nate Silver
Nate Silver
in the FiveThirtyEight.com
FiveThirtyEight.com
New York Times
New York Times
blog predicted that there was a 4.7% chance that Edwards would defeat Flores.[21] Real Clear Politics
Real Clear Politics
rated this race "Likely Republican".[22] On November 2, 2010, Flores' margin of victory over Edwards was 62-37 percent.[23][24][25] This was the largest margin of defeat for a Democratic incumbent in the 2010 cycle. Edwards' term ended on January 3, 2011. Personal life[edit] Since leaving Congress in 2011, Edwards has established Edwards, Davis Stover & Associates, LLC with his former chief of staff, Lindsey Davis Stover, and continues to be involved with veterans issues in the Washington, D.C. area through his work on the boards of the Military Child Education Coalition and the Arlington National Cemetery Advisory Commission.[7] He is married to Lea Ann Wood from Paducah, Kentucky. They have two sons, J.T. and Garrison. He was raised a Methodist.[26] References[edit]

^ a b Pickler, Nedra; Sidoti, Liz (August 22, 2010). "Obama prepares to name veep". Associated Press. Retrieved November 22, 2010.  ^ Woolstrum, Anthony (2004-01-23). "Edwards runs for new district slot". The Battalion. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-03-25.  ^ a b c "Congressman Chet Edwards
Chet Edwards
— Bio". United States
United States
House. Archived from the original on 2007-02-28. Retrieved 2007-03-25.  ^ a b Thomas Chester “Chet” Edwards State Legislative Papers #8, Baylor Collections of Political Materials, W. R. Poage Legislative Library, Baylor University. ^ "Chet Edwards: The Veep Who Wasn't". Time. August 27, 2008. Retrieved April 28, 2010.  ^ CNN http://edition.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/candidates/election.guide/text/TX11.shtml. Retrieved April 28, 2010.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ a b c d Thomas Chester “Chet” Edwards U.S. House of Representatives Papers #8A, Baylor Collections of Political Materials, W. R. Poage Legislative Library, Baylor University. ^ "Thomas "Chet" Edwards, former U.S. Representative for Texas's 17th Congressional District - GovTrack.us". GovTrack.us.  ^ a b On the Issues - Chet Edwards ^ " Project Vote Smart - Representative Thomas 'Chet' Edwards - Interest Group Ratings". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-07-12.  ^ "Erin Buenger had a zest for living life fully, April 12, 2010". Bryan-College Station Eagle. Archived from the original on June 11, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2010.  ^ a b Washington Post profile of Chet Edwards, 2004, Washington Post. Retrieved August 6, 2008. ^ "Edwards, T. Chester "Chet"". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2007-03-25.  ^ "U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES / TEXAS 17". CNN. Retrieved 2007-03-25.  ^ Brendel, Patrick (February 18, 2008). " Chet Edwards
Chet Edwards
Endorses Barack Obama". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 22, 2010.  ^ Haddad, Tammy (June 24, 2010). "TamCam Exclusive: Speaker Pelosi". Newsweek. Retrieved November 22, 2010.  ^ Watkins, Matthew (June 3, 2010). "Edwards would take VP offer". The Eagle. Archived from the original on October 7, 2008. Retrieved November 22, 2010.  ^ David Doerr, "Republican, two Libertarians file to vie with Democrat Edwards for congressional seat"[permanent dead link], Waco Tribune-Herald, January 3, 2008 ^ "We recommend Edwards in 17th District". Dallas Morning News. October 7, 2010.  ^ "Nov. 2 election recommendation: Chet Edwards
Chet Edwards
in U.S. House District 17". Fort Worth
Fort Worth
Star-Telegram. October 11, 2010.  ^ Silver, Nate (2010-10-20). "FiveThirtyEight Forecasts Texas
Texas
17th District". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-22.  ^ " Texas
Texas
17th District - Flores vs. Edwards". Real Clear Politics. 2010-10-24. Retrieved 2010-10-24. Likely GOP  ^ "2010 General Election, Election Night Returns, Unofficial Elections Results As Of: 11/3/2010 12:14:58 PM". Texas
Texas
Secretary of State. 2010-11-03. Retrieved 2010-11-22. [permanent dead link] ^ http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/politics/7276047.html ^ " Chet Edwards
Chet Edwards
ousted after 20 years in Congress". KXXV. AP. November 2, 2010.  ^ "Congressman Chet Edwards
Chet Edwards
- Bio". Archived from the original on 2010-11-03. 

External links[edit]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has original works written by or about: Chet Edwards

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chet Edwards.

Chet Edwards
Chet Edwards
for U.S. Congress official campaign site

Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States
United States
Congress Profile at Project Vote Smart Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission

Texas
Texas
Senate

Preceded by Dee Travis Member of the Texas
Texas
Senate from the 9th district 1983–1991 Succeeded by David Sibley

U.S. House of Representatives

Preceded by Marvin Leath Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas's 11th congressional district 1991–2005 Succeeded by Mike Conaway

Preceded by Charles Stenholm Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas's 17th congressional district 2005–2011 Succeeded by Bill Flores

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 260711645 US Congress: E000

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