Birthdate: Feb. 21, 1970
Birth Place: Gulfport, MS, United States
Residence: Biloxi, MS
First Elected: 2010
District: District 4
Steven Palazzo was born and raised in Gulfport, Miss., and now lives in Biloxi. He earned a bachelor's and a master's degree from the University of Southern Mississippi.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in 1988, serving in the 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War. He enlisted in the Mississippi National Guard in 1997 and is still a member.
Palazzo and his wife started an accounting firm, Palazzo & Co., in 2001. He won a 2006 special election to fill a vacancy in the Mississippi House in a district that's entirely in Harrison County. He won election to the U.S. House is 2010.
Palazzo and his wife, Lisa, have three children.
Republican Steven Palazzo faces two challengers in the November 2012 general election: Democrat Michael Herrington and the Reform Party's Robert Claunch. Palazzo received 74 percent of the vote in the March 2012 GOP primary, defeating two other candidates.
Palazzo won south Mississippi's 4th District U.S. House seat in November 2010 by defeating Gene Taylor, a fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrat who had held the seat since a 1989 special election.
Although Palazzo was elected in 2010 with the help of tea party voters, some of them sharply criticized his congressional voting record during his first years in office. In the summer of 2011, for example, Palazzo voted to raise the federal debt ceiling, saying he didn't want the government to shut down or default on its debt.
Palazzo faced questions in 2011 about whether he had adequately restructured his accounting firm to meet legal requirements, about using congressional staff to conduct personal business and about taking a trip to Israel paid for by a lobbying group. In all cases, Palazzo said he acted ethically and legally.
Palazzo is a lifelong resident of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and says he understands shipbuilding, tourism and other issues that are important to the state's 4th District, which stretches about 150 miles inland from the coastline.
Palazzo won a vacant seat in the state House in 2006. While he was still in office and gearing up for his 2010 congressional campaign, he and fellow Republican state Rep. Alex Monsour of Vicksburg launched a state initiative in response to the 2010 federal health care overhaul. The proposed state constitutional amendment by Palazzo and Monsour would've said people could not be penalized for not participating in any particular health care plan.
Source: Associated Press