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Ted Poe

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 2nd district
Assumed office 
January 3, 2005
Preceded by Jim Turner

Born September 10, 1948 (1948-09-10) (age 61)
Temple, Texas
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Carol Poe
Residence Humble, Texas
Alma mater Abilene Christian University, University of Houston
Occupation attorney, judge
Religion Church of Christ
Military service
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1970-1976
Unit Reserves

Lloyd "Ted" Poe (born September 10, 1948) is a Republican politician currently representing Texas's 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. The district includes most of northern Houston, as well as most of the Beaumont-Port Arthur metropolitan area.


Early years

Poe was born in Temple, Texas. He now lives in Humble, a suburb of Houston. Poe graduated in 1970, with a degree in political science from Abilene Christian University, where he served as class president, and, in 1973, received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Houston Law Center, where he had participated in the school's honor society. From 1970 to 1976, he served in the United States Air Force Reserve’s C-130 Unit at Houston’s Ellington Air Force Base.

As prosecutor and judge

After serving as a chief felony prosecutor in Harris County (Houston) for eight years, Poe was appointed a felony court judge in Harris County in 1981, becoming one of the youngest judges in the State of Texas. Poe was one of the first Republican judges elected in Harris County since Reconstruction. In this position, he gained national prominence for his unusual criminal sentences that included ordering thieves to carry signs in front of stores from which they stole; required men who abused their wives to publicly apologize on the steps of Houston’s City Hall; commanded sex offenders to place warning signs on their home after serving jail time; and directed murderers to securely place a photo of their victims on the wall of their prison cells, creating a daily reminder of their crime. In a story that is part of jailhouse lore in Texas, he reportedly told a defendant at sentencing of his intention to throw some pennies in the air and, however many hit the ground, would be the number of years the defendant was going to serve. After flinging an entire jar of pennies, he informed the man that the sentence would be twenty years. Ted Poe became well known to most offenders in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, even those from beyond Houston.

During his judgeship, "creative sentencing" became a trademark of his court. However, in at least one case, Poe amended the sentence afterwards without notifying the victim's family. [1]

Election to the United States Congress

In November 2004, Poe ran for the U.S. House against Democrat Nick Lampson in the 2nd District, which had been numbered as the 9th District prior to a controversial mid-decade redistricting. The new 2nd was considerably more Republican than the old 9th, in part due to the loss of Galveston and the area around the Johnson Space Center. They were replaced with several heavily Republican areas around Houston. Poe won 55% of the vote to Lampson's 43%. While Lampson trounced Poe in Beaumont and Port Arthur, Poe swamped Lampson in the Harris County portion of the district.

Within a month of taking office, Poe was chosen by President George W. Bush to be one of two members of the House, along with one member of the Senate, sent to observe firsthand the elections in Iraq.

In January 2005, Poe founded and cosponsored the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus to represent and advocate before the United States Congress and the Administration on behalf of victims. The Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus facilitates discussions, organizes meetings, and disseminates information on the causes of victimization to help achieve greater understanding and to formulate sensible solutions. He has worked closely with rape victim Jamie Leigh Jones who is from his district.

Poe is noted for wrapping up speeches on the floor of the House with the words, "And that's just the way it is."

2006 election

Poe made border security a centerpiece of his re-election strategy, calling for "more [National] Guardsmen on the border front"[1]. On November 7, Ted Poe handily won a second term against Democrat Gary Binderim, a water utility manager and community activist [2][3], and Libertarian Justo Perez [4][5].

2008 re-election

Poe easily defeated Libertarian Craig Wolfe[2] in his campaign for re-election in 2008.

Committee assignments

In addition to Poe's committee assignments, he is the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Victim's Rights Caucus.[3][4]

2010 Texas governor's race

An unofficial grassroots movement has been started to attempt to convince Congressman Poe to run for Governor of Texas in the 2010 election. Supporters believe that Poe's conservative values of reduced government, strong law enforcement and responsible fiscal spending controls would be beneficial to Texas. They believe Poe would be a strong force in reducing the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants across the Southern Texas Border.(site)

Issue positions



Poe firmly supports right to life positions. From NARAL Pro-choice America Poe has a 0 rating in 2007, and has rating of 100 from the National Right to Life Committee in 2007-2008.[5] He also voted for the Prohibiting Federal Funding of Abortion Services amendment on November, 7, 2009.[6]

Fiscal policy

In 2008, the National Taxpayers Union, an organization that supports "lower taxes and smaller government", gave Poe the grade B+, and in 2007 received a rating of 90 from the group Americans for Tax Reform, an organization that advocates "taxes [that] are simpler, [and] flatter".[7] Also Ted Poe voted against the 2009 Economic Stimulus Package (HR 1) and the 2010 Concurrent Budget Resolution (S. Con. Res. 13).[8] The Club for Growth PAC gave Ted Poe a power ranking of 85.85%.[9]

Healthcare reform

Poe doesn’t support what he calls "government run health care"[10] Poe voted "Nay" on the Health Care and Insurance Law Amendments bill on November 7, 2009.[11] In 2008 Poe voted for the Medicare Bill (HR 6331).[12] Poe supports healthcare reform that would “Allow insurance to be purchased across state lines, provide for a safety net for catastrophic injury or illness…and allow for a health savings account".[13]


As a state judge, in November 2002, Poe ruled that he would permit the PBS documentary show Frontline to videotape jury deliberations of a capital murder case.[14] There was considerable concern that this would affect the result of the trial, possibly by skewing the composition of the jury, and the decision was appealed by Harris County prosecuters.[15][16] The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state's highest criminal appellate court, ruled against Poe's decision and prohibited the videotaping.[17]

On May 7, 2007, while speaking on the floor of the house, Poe used a quote from Civil War Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest when describing the military strategy that Poe felt the United States should have followed in Iraq. Forrest's maxim was to: “Git thar furstest with the mostest.” The controversy lies in the personal history of General Forrest, as after his military duty was over, he became the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan (though soon after called for the Klan to disband). Some critics have stated that despite quoting Forrest for a discussion on military strategy and not on race relations, it was still highly inappropriate for Poe to quote such a divisive figure.[18][19][20][21]

On June 7, 2009, Poe signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 1503, the bill introduced as a reaction to conspiracy theories which claimed that U.S. President Barack Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen.[22] On July 23, 2009, he appeared on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight in which he claimed that Certifications of Live Birth issued by Hawaii State Department of Health cannot be used to obtain a U.S. passport, which is untrue.[23][24][25][26] His support of H.R. 1503 and public advocacy for it earned him a negative editorial in the Houston Chronicle.[27]


External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jim Turner
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 2nd congressional district

2005 – present


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