Democrat Timothy 'Tim' James Walz

House
Timothy 'Tim' James Walz

Birthdate: April 6, 1964
Birth Place: West Point, NE, United States
Residence: Mankato, MN
Religion: Lutheran
First Elected: 2006
Gender: Male

Candidacy

Party: Democratic
State: Minnesota
Office: House
District: District 1

Education

Undergraduate: Chadron State College

Degree: BS

Graduate: St. Mary's University

Degree: MS

Tim Walz was born in West Point, Neb., and now lives in Mankato, Minn. He earned a bachelor's degree from Chadron State College and a master's degree from St. Mary's University.

Walz enlisted at age 17 and served in the Nebraska National Guard from 1981 to 1996. He served in the Minnesota National Guard from 1996 to 2005, when he retired from the 125th Field Artillery Battalion as a command sergeant major.

Walz taught on the Pine Ridge, S.D., Indian reservation. He led a group of U.S. teachers to China in 1989 and 1990, and then started an educational exchange business for U.S. high school students.

Walz taught and coached football at Mankato West High School before winning election to the U.S. House in 2006.

He and his wife, Gwen, have two children.

Profile

Tim Walz sometimes campaigns in a National Rifle Association cap, a shorthand way of showing independence as a Democrat in an independent-minded southern Minnesota district.

He was one of the 17 Democrats who voted with Republicans in June 2012 to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for withholding documents about a bungled gun-trafficking operation called Fast and Furious. The vote outraged many of Walz's fellow Democrats.

Walz has resisted being portrayed as a party line Democrat, even as Republicans accuse him of voting like one.

He voted with his party for the 2010 federal health care reform bill, the 2009 approximately $800 billion economic stimulus package and the 2009 climate change bill _ all votes that Republicans have used against him in campaigns. In 2011, he voted to raise the nation's debt limit, saying the consequences of a potential federal default would hurt working families.

GOP attempts to dislodge Walz have failed since he unseated six-term Republican Rep. Gil Gutknecht in 2006. Walz beat Brian Davis, a Mayo Clinic doctor, in 2008 and Randy Demmer, a state legislator with deep business ties to the district, in 2010.

In 2012, Republicans nominated former state legislator Allen Quist in a contested primary. Walz held back during the primary campaign as state Sen. Mike Parry dredged up provocative statements Quist made decades ago. Quist, who has run unsuccessfully for governor and Congress before, is focusing almost exclusively on the federal debt.

Walz was swept into Congress on a Democratic wave and his regular-guy appeal as a high school teacher, football coach and National Guard veteran. With nearly a quarter century in the Guard, Walz was one of the "fighting Democrats" with military experience who challenged President George W. Bush's handling of the Iraq war.

Walz has said he decided to run for office after a hassle on his way into a 2004 Bush rally. Walz said he was stopped, questioned and threatened with detainment because one of the high school students with him displayed a John Kerry sticker on his wallet. Walz has said the incident crystallized his discontent with the Bush administration and dissatisfaction with Congress for not putting a check on Bush.

The 1st District stretches across southern Minnesota, bordering on South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin. It includes farms, small towns and regional centers like Rochester, which is home to the Mayo Clinic. The area is a classic swing district, going for Obama after twice backing Bush and splitting tickets for other offices between Democrats and Republicans.

Walz has focused in Congress on farm and veteran's issues, with spots on the Agriculture and Veterans' Affairs committees. He also serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as well as subcommittees on railroads, highways and transit and economic development.

Walz, who voted against the 2008 financial industry bailout, saw a bill he pushed, the STOCK Act, signed into law in March 2012. It prohibits members of Congress from profiting by using nonpublic information to make trades and requires more disclosure of their financial transactions.

Source: Associated Press

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