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Sanford Bishop

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 2nd district
Assumed office 
January 3, 1993
Preceded by Charles Hatcher

Born February 4, 1947 (1947-02-04) (age 62)
Mobile, Alabama
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Vivian Creighton
Residence Albany, Georgia
Alma mater Morehouse College, Emory University
Occupation attorney
Religion Baptist
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1969-1971

Sanford Dixon Bishop Jr. (born February 4, 1947) has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1993, representing the 2nd District of Georgia (map). The district is located in the southwestern part of the state and includes Albany, Thomasville and most of Columbus.


Early life, career, and family

Bishop was born in Mobile, Alabama to Minnie B. Slade and Sanford Dixon Bishop,[1] who was the first president of Bishop State Community College. He was educated at Morehouse College and Emory University School of Law, and served in the United States Army,[2] entering the Reserve Officer Training Corps. While at Morehouse, he was a classmate of Herman Cain. After receiving his honorable discharge, Bishop operated a law firm in Columbus, Georgia, and was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1977, where he remained until being elected to the Georgia Senate in 1990.

He has received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), given to Eagle Scouts for distinguished career achievement.[3][4] He is a member of BSA's Order of the Arrow (OA) and as a youth was on the OA ceremonies team.[3] He is a resident of Albany, Georgia, where he is a member of the Mount Zion Baptist Church. Bishop is a Life Member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc initiated at Morehouse College's Pi Chapter.[5] Bishop is a Shriner and 33° Mason.[6]

On September 10, 2007, Sanford Bishop endorsed Barack Obama for President and is co-chair of Georgia for Obama campaign; Bishop's wife, Vivian Creighton Bishop, a municipal court clerk in Columbus, was co-chair of the Georgia Women for Hillary committee.[7]

Congressional career

After only one term in the Georgia State Senate, he ran for the Democratic nomination in the 2nd District, which was held by six-term Democrat Charles Hatcher. Bishop finished second behind Hatcher in a crowded six-way primary, forcing Hatcher into a runoff. In the runoff, Bishop attacked Hatcher for bouncing 819 checks in the House banking scandal. In addition, the 2nd had been reconfigured as a black-majority district during congressional apportionment following the 1990 Census. He won handily in November, and was reelected with little difficulty in 1994.

In 1995, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court ruled that this redistricting violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. However, in 1998, Bishop was able to win reelection in the newly redrawn district, which was now 60 percent white. He has only faced one serious contest since then; in 2000 he narrowly fought off Republican Dylan Glenn, a young black Republican who received strong backing from many national Republican leaders.

He is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Arguably the most conservative African-American in Congress, Bishop is a member of the Blue Dog Democrats, a group of moderate to conservative Democrats in Congress. Serving a primarily agricultural district, Bishop has fought to preserve the federal price supports for peanuts, southwest Georgia's most important crop. In 2005, he caused considerable controversy within his own party by cosponsoring a bill by U.S. Representative Ernest Istook (R-Oklahoma) to introduce a constitutional amendment to protect religious expression on public property.

On October 10, 2002, Sanford Bishop was one of only four of 36 Congressional Black Caucus members who voted for the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War. The other three Congressional Black Caucus members who voted for the resolution authorizing the Iraq War are no longer members of Congress: Bill Jefferson (D-LA), Albert Wynn (D-MD), and Harold Ford, Jr. (D-TN), now chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council.[8][9][10]

Committee assignments


  1. ^ 1
  2. ^ "Veterans in the US House of Representatives 109th Congress" (PDF). Navy League. Retrieved 2007-10-08.  
  3. ^ a b Townley, Alvin. Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 165–72. ISBN 0-312-36653-1. Retrieved 2006-12-29.  
  4. ^ "Distinguished Eagle Scouts". Troop & Pack 179. Retrieved 2006-03-02.  
  5. ^ Congressman Bishop participates in Kappas on Kapitol Hill
  6. ^ Official Congressional Biography
  7. ^ Dewan, Shaila (January 18, 2008). "Southern Blacks Are Split on Clinton vs. Obama". The New York Times: p. A1.  
  8. ^ "Final vote results for roll call 455". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. October 10, 2002.  
  9. ^ "H.J.RES.114 To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq". THOMAS. October 16, 2002.  
  10. ^ Eversley, Melanie (October 10, 2002). "Georgians in House divided on Iraq". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: p. A1. "Democrat Sanford Bishop unabashedly announced his support of the current Republican president."  

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles Hatcher
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 2nd congressional district

January 3, 1993 – present


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