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Ike Skelton


Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 4th district
Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 3, 1977
Preceded by William Randall

Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 4, 2007
Preceded by Duncan Hunter

Born December 20, 1931 (1931-12-20) (age 78)
Lexington, Missouri
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Patty Martin (married 2009–present)
Susan Anding Skelton
(married 1961–2005)
Residence Lexington, Missouri
Alma mater Wentworth Military Academy, University of Missouri, University of Edinburgh
Occupation Attorney
Religion Disciples of Christ

Isaac Newton "Ike" Skelton IV (born December 20, 1931) is an American politician from the U.S. state of Missouri currently serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. A Democrat, he represents Missouri's 4th congressional district which takes in most of the western-central part of the state. The district is based in the state capital of Jefferson City and includes other cities such as Sedalia, Warrensburg, Marshall, and Lebanon.

Skelton currently serves as Chair of the House Armed Services Committee. He had previously served as Ranking Member on the House Armed Services Committee since 1998 but was promoted to Chairman following the 2006 midterm elections when Democrats regained control of Congress.

Contents

Early life, career, and education

Skelton was born in Lexington, Missouri, where he still lives today.

In 1928, Skelton's father met Harry S. Truman, then a Jackson County judge, and the two became good friends. When he was 17, Skelton attended Truman’s 1949 inauguration.[1]

Skelton was an Eagle Scout.[2] He earned an associate of arts degree from Wentworth Military Academy and College in 1951, an A.B. in 1953 and an LL.B. in 1956 from the University of Missouri. He is a brother of Sigma Chi and Alpha Phi Omega at the University of Missouri. He also attended the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in 1953. Skelton then became a lawyer and entered private practice in Lafayette County, Missouri.

He was a prosecuting attorney from 1957 until 1960 and a special assistant attorney general. Skelton was a member of the Missouri Senate from Lafayette County from 1971 until 1977. When William J. Randall retired after 17 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Skelton won the Democratic nomination to succeed him with 40% of the vote in a crowded primary field of nine Democratic candidates.[3] He ran with the endorsement of Truman's widow, Bess, which he attributes to his own father's support for Harry S. Truman in the 1940 U.S. Senate primary.[1]

Congressional career

Skelton is generally described as a moderate-to-conservative Democrat. He sides with social conservatives on hot-button social issues such as abortion, crime, gun control, and gay rights, but on the economic front his record is more varied as he is strongly supportive of labor.[4] Skelton has a mixed record on environmental issues with his most recent rating from the League of Conservation Voters at 53 percent. He was one of the few Congressional Democrats to vote in favor of CAFTA and mostly supports free trade deals. Skelton voted against the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.

Before the election, Skelton told Newsweek's George Will that his main priority as chair of the Armed Services Committee was "oversight, oversight, oversight!" While he voted for the War in Iraq, he has expressed serious misgivings about troop readiness. He favors reducing the number of troops in Iraq and even supports redeploying a brigade from Iraq to Kuwait. Will suggested that under Skelton, the Armed Services Committee would resemble a U.S. Senate committee created to examine defense spending during World War II. This committee was chaired by Skelton's hero, Harry S. Truman.[5]

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Committee assignments

As chairman of the full committee, Skelton may serve as an ex officio member of all subcommittees.

Controversy

On October 8, 2009, Skelton, after addressing fellow Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, a Republican, on the House floor, said to Akin, "stick it up your ass." The comment was picked up by the microphone and could be heard on the C-SPAN broadcast. Skelton's spokeswoman, Jennifer Kohl, said the comment was not intended to be broadcast and was "said out of frustration in the heat of debate." Akin's spokesman, Steve Taylor, said the remark was "shocking and not characteristic of Skelton's behavior."[6]

Personal life

His wife of 44 years, Susan Anding Skelton, died on August 23, 2005. Later that year, on November 26, Skelton was injured when a van carrying him and fellow U.S. Representatives Tim Murphy and Jim Marshall overturned near Baghdad Airport while on an official visit to Iraq. Skelton and Murphy were airlifted to a U.S. Military hospital in Germany after complaining of neck pain. Both made a full recovery.

On August 29, 2009, Skelton married Patty Martin, a longtime friend and widowed middle school counselor from his home town.[7]

Skelton is an honorary chieftain in Scouting's Tribe of Mic-O-Say. He is also of distant relation to Daniel Boone as well as to U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter of New York.[8]

2008 Presidential Campaign

During the course of the Democratic Presidential Primary, Skelton endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton for President, citing Clinton's strong appeal in the rural areas. Clinton solidly carried Skelton's district in the Missouri Democratic Presidential Primary.

References

  1. ^ a b "Ike Skelton (D-Mo.)". Who Runs Gov. http://www.whorunsgov.com/Profiles/Ike_Skelton. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  2. ^ "Distinguished Eagle Scouts". Troop & Pack 179. http://members.cox.net/scouting179/Eagle%20Distinguished.htm. Retrieved 2006-03-02. 
  3. ^ Michael Barone and Grant Ujifusa (1981). The Almanac of American Politics 1982. Washington, D.C.: Barone and Company. p. 620. ISBN 0-940702-01-0. 
  4. ^ GovTrack: Ike Skelton
  5. ^ msnbc.msn.com
  6. ^ http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gl0pZtEG8WsZNr2wPb1743ZhLgFwD9B7P4E00
  7. ^ Rothstein, Betsy (February 11, 2009). "Rep. Skelton: Engaged, full of wisdom on love". The Hill. http://thehill.com/cover-stories/rep.-skelton-engaged-full-of-wisdom-on-love-2009-02-11.html. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  8. ^ Barone & Cohen, 2008 Almanac of American Politics, p.958

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William J. Randall
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 4th congressional district

1977 – present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Duncan Hunter
California
Chairman of House Armed Services Committee
2007 – Present
Succeeded by
Incumbent

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