Birthdate: Jan. 16, 1951
Birth Place: Baltimore, MD, United States
Residence: Gallatin, TN
First Elected: 2010
District: District 6
Diane Black was born in Baltimore, Md., and now lives in Gallatin, Tenn. She began working in health care after receiving an associate degree in nursing from Anne Arundel College in 1971. She earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from Belmont University in 1992.
She has worked in emergency rooms and has taught at Volunteer State Community College as an assistant professor of allied health. Still maintaining her nursing license, Black has about 40 years of nursing experience.
Black won election to the Tennessee House in 1998 and was elected to the state Senate in 2004. While a state senator, she served as chair of the Senate Republican Caucus, the first woman in Tennessee history to hold that title. She also served on the Judiciary and Finance committees.
She was elected to the U.S. House in 2010.
Black and her husband, David, have three children.
Diane Black, representing Tennessee's 6th Congressional District, is considered a rising star by Republican leaders in Washington. First elected to the U.S. House in 2010, Black edged Lou Ann Zelenik by fewer than 400 votes in the GOP primary, before defeating Democrat Brett Carter in the general election.
Facing and defeating Zelenik again in 2012, Black received endorsements from U.S. Reps. Allen West and Michele Bachmann, who called Black a "wonderful tea party representative" and lauded her record on trying to repeal the 2010 health care reform bill backed by President Barack Obama. She also was endorsed by National Right to Life and Tennessee Right to Life
Black does not have a Democratic opponent in the November 2012 general election.
Black serves on the Ways and Means Committee, one of only two members from her freshman class to get a slot on the committee.
In July 2011, Black introduced legislation that sought to close a loophole in a federal law that would allow some middle-class Americans to receive benefits from Medicaid, the health care program for the poor. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the problem would cost the federal government roughly $13 billion over 10 years. The measure passed the House with bipartisan support and was unanimously approved by the Senate in November 2011.
Black drew attention during her campaign in 2010 when the company owned by her husband sued her Republican opponent, Lou Ann Zelenik, for defamation over a campaign ad that implied its $1 million in state contracts were received as a result of Black's legislative power. Zelenik won dismissal of the claim earlier this year and the company that produced the ads settled out of court.
Black made national headlines in 2009 when a legislative aide in her office sent a racist e-mail about Obama from her state computer. Titled "Historical Keepsake Photo," the e-mail forwarded by the staffer displayed an official portrait of every president except Obama, who was shown as a caricature with wide eyes on a field of black. Diane Black was criticized for giving the staffer a letter of reprimand instead of firing the woman. As a result of the incident, all Tennessee legislative staffers attended mandatory diversity training.
While a state senator, Black also became a strong supporter of the tea party initiatives. During the last days of the 2010 Tennessee General Assembly, Black was part of an unusual parliamentary move by Senate Republicans to resurrect a tea party-supported bill that would allow Tennesseans to opt out of the federal health care law. Black won her motion to move her bill directly from a closed committee to the floor because a separate version of the "Health Freedom Act" died in the House.
Democratic state Sen. Douglas Henry of Nashville called the move unprecedented in his 40 years in the Senate. The motion nevertheless drew the support of all 19 Republicans and three Democrats. Ten Democrats voted against it. Black said at the time that she was just following the Senate rules. The previous bill sponsored by state Sen. Mae Beavers passed the Senate but died in a House committee. Black said her bill would be amended to mirror the previous version passed by the Senate. However, the bill eventually died in a conference committee.
Source: Associated Press