Heath Shuler: Wikis


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Joseph Heath Shuler

Assumed office 
January 3, 2007
Preceded by Charles H. Taylor

Born December 31, 1971 (age 37)
Bryson City, North Carolina
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Nikol Davis Shuler
Children Navy Shuler
Island Shuler
Residence Waynesville, North Carolina
Alma mater University of Tennessee (B.A.)
Occupation Real estate investor, retired football player
Religion Southern Baptist
Heath Shuler
No. 21, 5     
Personal information
Date of birth: December 31, 1971 (1971-12-31) (age 38)
Place of birth: Bryson City, North Carolina
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Weight: 216 lb (98 kg)
Career information
College: Tennessee
NFL Draft: 1994 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
Debuted in 1994 for the Washington Redskins
Last played in 1997 for the New Orleans Saints
Career history
 As player:
*Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 1997
TD-INT     15-33
Yards     3,691
QB Rating     54.3
Stats at NFL.com

Joseph Heath Shuler (born December 31, 1971) is a businessman, politician and former American football player. He is currently a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing North Carolina's 11th congressional district (map) since 2007. The district includes the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina. The largest city in the district is Asheville.

A former NFL quarterback and real estate investor, Shuler defeated eight-term Republican incumbent Charles H. Taylor in the 2006 congressional elections. He was re-elected by a wide margin in 2008. Shuler is also a member of The Family.[1]


Early life and family

Shuler was born in Bryson City, North Carolina; a small town in the Great Smoky Mountains on the Tennessee border. His father was a mail carrier and his mother a homemaker and volunteer with the Swain County Youth Association; he has a younger brother, Benjie.[2]

He is married to Nikol (née Davis) Shuler, with whom he has two children, Navy (b. 1999) and Island (b. 2002).

While in Washington, DC, Shuler lives at the C Street facility of The Family, a controversial organization which operates the property as a tax-exempt church and a residence for several congressmen and senators. The building became notorious during a series of political sex scandals in 2009, in which current or former residents John Ensign, Mark Sanford, and Chip Pickering admitted to adulterous affairs, which their housemates knew of but did not publicize.[1][3][4]

Football career

Shuler's athletic career began at Swain County High School. A standout quarterback who led his team to three state championships and was named the North Carolina High School Player of the Year, he drew plenty of scout attention and accepted an athletic scholarship to the University of Tennessee in 1990.

At Tennessee, Shuler gained national attention as one of the SEC's top quarterbacks. He held nearly all Volunteer passing records at the end of his career, although most of them have since been shattered by Peyton Manning. In 1993, he came in second in the vote for the Heisman Trophy.

Shuler was a first-round selection in the 1994 NFL Draft, taken by the Washington Redskins with the third overall pick. He held out of training camp until he received a 7-year, $19.25 million contract. The Redskins had fallen on hard times since winning Super Bowl XXVI, and Shuler was looked on as the quarterback of the future. However, Shuler's poor play contributed to a quarterback controversy with fellow 1994 draft pick Gus Frerotte. This was evident when Shuler threw five interceptions in a game against the Arizona Cardinals. It was surprising because Shuler had only thrown eight interceptions in his junior year as a Volunteer. Shuler started only 18 games in his first two years with the team and was benched in his third year, as Frerotte went to the Pro Bowl.

After the 1996 season, Shuler was traded to the New Orleans Saints for a fifth-round pick in the 1997 draft and a third-round pick in 1998. With less talent on the New Orleans roster, Shuler's statistics remained poor. He suffered a serious foot injury during the 1997 season in New Orleans and went through two surgeries.

After being unable to take the field due to his foot injury in his second season in New Orleans, Shuler signed with the Oakland Raiders, where he re-injured his foot in training camp and retired. As a pro, his career passer rating was a low 54.3 and in 2004 ESPN rated him the 17th biggest 'sports flop' of the past 25 years.[5] In 2008, ESPN rated him the 4th biggest NFL Draft bust of all time.[6]

After retiring from the NFL, Shuler returned to the University of Tennessee and completed his education, graduating with a degree in psychology. He then became a real estate professional in Knoxville. His real estate company is one of the largest independent firms in East Tennessee. In 2003, Shuler moved to Waynesville, North Carolina, where he lives today.

Political career


2006 U.S. House Campaign

In July 2005, Shuler announced his intentions to seek the Democratic nomination to run against eight-term incumbent Republican Charles H. Taylor. The district covers most of the Western North Carolina mountains where Shuler grew up.

Shuler repeatedly attacked Taylor for not standing up more often for the 11th's interests. For example, he blasted Taylor for missing a vote on the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which only passed by two votes. Shuler pointed out that according to the House roll call, Taylor voted 11 times on the same day CAFTA came up for a vote.[7] Taylor was one of two Republicans who didn't vote on the bill, even though he'd strongly opposed it in the past.[8] Taylor, for his part, claimed that Shuler would be an extra vote for Nancy Pelosi, even though Shuler is almost as conservative on social issues as Taylor.[9]

In the November election, Shuler won with 54 percent of the vote to Taylor's 46 percent. He carried nine of the district's 15 counties, including several areas that had reliably supported Taylor over the years. He even carried Taylor's home county of Transylvania. Shuler was one of only two Democrats to defeat an incumbent in the South that year. His victory gave the Democrats a majority of the state's congressional delegation for the first time since the 1994 elections.

In 2009, a documentary film about the successful 2006 Democratic campaign to retake control of the House, HouseQuake, prominently featured then-Congressman Rahm Emanuel's efforts to recruit new candidates including Shuler. "Mr. Emanuel’s efforts to get him to run offer one of the most revealing moments in the film," including two weeks of frequent phone calls about the balancing of family and Congressional obligations. The film was directed and produced by Karen Elizabeth Price, daughter of Congressman David Price who represents the 4th District of North Carolina.[10]

U.S. House of Representatives

Shuler is a conservative Democrat. He opposes abortion[11] and gun control, and also takes a hard line on illegal immigration.[12] These stances are not surprising given the nature of his district. Although this area is historically Democratic, it has a strong tinge of social conservatism (especially in Asheville's suburbs). However, on economic and environmental matters, Shuler tends to vote more with his party. He is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a caucus of moderate-to-conservative House Democrats.

Not long after his election, he became close friends with Brad Ellsworth, a fellow conservative freshman Democrat from Indiana.[13]

In 2007, Shuler introduced proposed legislation co-sponsored with fellow North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones to require airlines to have sections of the aircraft where large movie screens would not be visible.[14]

Reportedly owing to his success in real estate, Shuler was named chairman of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Rural and Urban Entrepreneurship.[15] He is also a deputy majority whip.

Shuler won his bid for re-election in 2008. He defeated Asheville City Councilman Carl Mumpower by a 62%-36% margin—a massive sophomore surge. He easily carried all 15 counties in the district, including traditionally heavily Republican Henderson County.

In early 2009, there was speculation that he may run against Richard Burr for the United States Senate in the 2010 elections.[16] On March 9, 2009 Shuler released a statement saying that he would not run for the seat.[17]

A fiscal conservative, Shuler voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 both times it came before the House.[18][19] He later joined seven other conservative House Democrats in voting against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, an $819 billion economic stimulus bill proposed by President Barack Obama. Shuler also voted against the Affordable Health Care for America Act, or HR 3962, along with 38 other Democrats, despite voting yes on the Stupak amendment in the same bill, which prohibits federal funds to be used for abortions.[20][21]

Shuler voted in favor of HR 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act which would implement a cap and trade system aimed at controlling pollution. [22]

Committee assignments

Electoral history

2006 Race for U.S. House of Representatives — North Carolina 11th District
2008 Race for U.S. House of Representatives - North Carolina 11th District
  • Heath Shuler (D) (inc.), 62%
  • Carl Mumpower (R), 36%
  • Keith Smith (LIB), 2%


  1. ^ a b Belz, Emily; Pitts, Edward Lee (June 26, 2009). "The C Street house". World Magazine. http://www.worldmag.com/webextra/15584. Retrieved July 20, 2009. 
  2. ^ Democrats for Values. Heath Shuler
  3. ^ Collins, Michael (2009-07-10). "Wamp, housemates hurt by links to scandals". Knoxville News Sentinel. http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2009/jul/10/c-street-group-hurt-by-links-to-scandals/. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  4. ^ Gilgoff, Dan (June 24, 2009). "Sanford Cites Secretive Christian Group's Role in Helping Confront Affair." US News and World Report. Retrieved on July 13, 2009.
  5. ^ ESPN25: The 25 Biggest Sports Flops of 1979–2004
  6. ^ ESPN.com's ranking of the top 50 busts in NFL draft history
  7. ^ Heath Shuler campaign press release on Taylor's missed CAFTA vote
  8. ^ Joel Burgess, "Taylor explains absent nay vote", Times-News, July 29, 2005
  9. ^ Whitmire, Tim. GOP Raises Specter of 'Speaker Pelosi'. Associated Press via San Francisco Chronicle, 2006-08-12.
  10. ^ "Emanuel at the Epicenter: Then and Now" by Peter Baker, The New York Times, October 21, 2009. Retrieved Oct. 21, 2009.
  11. ^ Shuler on family values
  12. ^ Shuler on the 2nd Amendment
  13. ^ http://www.newsweek.com/id/44604
  14. ^ Bill targets sex and violence in inflight movies - CNN.com
  15. ^ Hendersonville Times-News
  16. ^ "Heath Shuler mulls race for Senate seat". http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20081113/NEWS/811120188/1042?Title=Heath_Shuler_mulls_race_for_Senate_seat. Retrieved 03-10-2009. 
  17. ^ "Shuler won't seek NC Senate seat in 2010". http://www.charlotteobserver.com/politics/story/587216.html. Retrieved 03-10-2009. 
  18. ^ Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. Final Vote Results for Roll Call 674 September 29, 2008
  19. ^ Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. Final Vote Results for Roll Call 681 October 3, 2008
  20. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll887.xml#Y
  21. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll884.xml
  22. ^ Roll call vote on HR 2454 [1]>

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Andy Kelly
Tennessee Volunteers Starting Quarterbacks
Succeeded by
Jerry Colquitt
Preceded by
Mark Rypien
Washington Redskins Starting Quarterbacks
Succeeded by
Gus Frerotte
Preceded by
Jim Everett
New Orleans Saints Starting Quarterbacks
Succeeded by
Billy Joe Tolliver
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles H. Taylor
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 11th congressional district

2007-01-03 – present


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