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Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.

Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. is the Chairman of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. In addition, he serves on the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee and is Vice Chair on the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee. In the 117th Congress he returned to serve on the House Agriculture Committee where he is a member of the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee as well as the Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee.

He has represented the Second Congressional District of Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1993. As an appropriator and legislator he seeks to use the legislative process to create a better quality of life for all citizens by promoting jobs and a stronger, more diversified economy; opportunities for rural areas; better education; safe and secure communities; a clean environment; affordable and accessible health care; sustainable agriculture; energy independence; and a strong national defense – all within the context of a balanced budget.

Full Biography

Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. is serving his fifteenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Georgia’s Second Congressional District, which covers 29 middle and southwest Georgia counties: Bibb (in part), Baker, Calhoun, Chattahoochee, Clay, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Macon, Marion, Miller, Mitchell, Muscogee (in part), Peach, Quitman, Randolph, Seminole, Schley, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taylor, Terrell, and Webster.

The middle and southwest Georgia legislator seeks to use the legislative process to create a higher, better quality of life for all citizens by promoting jobs and a stronger, more diversified economy, opportunities for rural areas, better education, safe and secure communities, a clean environment, affordable and accessible health care, sustainable agriculture, energy independence, and a strong national defense – all within the context of a balanced budget.

Legislative Record

Congressman Bishop is a leader among the fiscally responsible Democrats in Congress. He believes that the most important way the nation can reduce the federal budget deficit and grow the economy is to get Americans back to work. He endorsed legislation to increase small business lending, extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts to provide tax relief to Americans at all income levels while the economy recovers, eliminate the burdensome estate tax, and close tax loopholes that send American jobs overseas. In order to restore the nation’s economic security, Congressman Bishop has supported a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment; legislation to require any new spending by Congress to be offset by spending cuts and/or enhancing revenues; caps on discretionary spending; and reforming defense procurement and weapons acquisition.

Since 2003, Congressman Bishop has served on the House Committee on Appropriations. At the start of the 116th Congress, he was elected by his colleagues to serve as the Chairman Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. He also serves as a senior member of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee and serves on the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee. As a Member of the House Appropriations Committee, Congressman Bishop has worked to ensure that the Second Congressional District gets its fair share of federal dollars to create and maintain jobs, rebuild its infrastructure, strengthen its schools, bridge the digital divide, fund innovative agriculture research, promote national security, and develop communities. Prior to 2003, Congressman Bishop served on the House Committee on Agriculture; the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs; the House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service; and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Congressman Bishop has spearheaded a wide range of initiatives that benefit the Second Congressional District. He has introduced the Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act, which would permit retired service members who have a service-connected disability rated less than 50% to receive concurrent payment of both retired pay and veterans’ disability compensation. In the 112th Congress, he was the lead House sponsor of the Hiring Heroes Act, which improves programs helping individuals make the transition from service member to civilian employee. The measure was signed into law in November 2011 (P.L. 112-56). In the 111th Congress (2009-2010), Congressman Bishop successfully fought to prevent the U.S. Department of Transportation from banning peanuts on airlines. He also helped over 700 military spouses at Fort Benning keep their career advancement tuition assistance.

In addition, Congressman Bishop was instrumental in securing estate tax relief. In 2009, he successfully fought for House passage of legislation to expand the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in Plains, Georgia. He also worked to promote healthy eating and reduce obesity among the nation’s youth considering military service.

Congressman Bishop promotes the values and morals of Southwest Georgians – “God, country, work, family, and guns.” He has co-sponsored amendments to the U.S. Constitution protecting the U.S. flag against acts of desecration; ensuring a balanced federal budget; and allowing voluntary, non-denominational prayer in schools and other public places. He also supports the Second Amendment, receiving the grade of “A+” from the National Rifle Association.

Congressman Bishop has pushed through many other initiatives of special concern to the Second District, including legislation to name the new U.S. Courthouse in Albany for civil rights leader C.B. King and legislation to rename the main post office in Albany for Dr. Walter Carl Gordon, Jr. He has supported bills to expand and improve the Andersonville Historic Site, as well as efforts to sustain and build new structures at the Second District’s military installations, including Fort Benning and the Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB) in Albany. He supported the minting of a commemorative coin honoring the United States Army Infantry, and helped fund the construction of the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center. Finally, he has secured more than a billion dollars in federal grants and loans for communities throughout the Second District, making the area one of the nation’s leaders in qualifying for federal community development funding.

Public Life

Bishop was first elected to Congress in 1992 after serving in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1977 to 1990 and in the Georgia Senate from 1991-1992.

Bishop holds a number of leadership positions. He was a Senior Democratic Whip in the 112th and 113th Congresses. He earlier served as Chairman of a Democratic House Task Force on Homeland Security and the Working Group on Defense of Physical Infrastructure and Natural Resources.

In addition, Congressman Bishop serves as a member of the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally-conservative House Democrats. He is the Co-Chairman and Co-Founder of the Congressional Military Family Caucus. He serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Peanut Caucus and the Congressional Working Forests Caucus. He is a member of the No Labels Problem Solvers group, “a grassroots movement of conservative, liberal, and everything in between dedicated to promoting the politics of problem solvers.” He is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Caucus on Coal, Congressional Caucus on Community Health Centers, Congressional Caucus on Intellectual Property Promotion and Piracy Prevention, Congressional Caucus on Taiwan, Congressional Diabetes Caucus, Congressional Fire Services Caucus, Congressional Fraternal Caucus, Congressional Glaucoma Caucus, Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition, Congressional HUBZone Coalition, Congressional Humanities Caucus, Congressional JOBS NOW! Caucus, Congressional Pro-Sports Caucus, Congressional Real Estate Caucus, Congressional Robotics Caucus, Congressional Rural Caucus, Congressional Scouting Caucus, Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, Congressional Steel Caucus, Congressional Sudan Caucus, Congressional Vision Caucus, Congressional Zoo and Aquarium Caucus, Friends of Job Corps Congressional caucus, House Agriculture Energy Users Caucus, House Army Caucus, House Biotechnology Caucus, House Military Industrial Facilities caucus, Impact Aid Coalition, International Conservation Caucus, Law Enforcement Caucus, National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus, Out of Poverty Caucus, Rural Housing Caucus, Rural Working Group, Textile Caucus, USO Congressional Caucus, Water Caucus, Heart and Stroke Caucus, Congressional Glaucoma Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motor-Sports Caucus, Expand Social Security Caucus, Military Families Caucus and the U.S. - Japan Caucus.

Congressman Bishop has held leadership positions at the community, state and national levels, including serving as Georgia’s representative on the Southern Growth Policies Board and on the Governor’s Advisory Council on Drug Abuse. For the last several years, he has been named by Georgia Trend magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians.

Personal Background

Bishop was born February 4, 1947, in Mobile, Alabama, and is the son of the late Dr. Sanford D. Bishop, Sr., the first president of Bishop State Community College in Mobile, Alabama, and Mrs. Minnie S. Bishop, a librarian. He is married to the Honorable Vivian Creighton Bishop, who serves as the elected Clerk of the Municipal Court of Columbus, Georgia (court administrator). They have a daughter, Aayesha J. Reese, and a granddaughter, Londyn.

Bishop graduated with his bachelors from Morehouse College in 1968 and with his law degree from Emory University Law School in 1971. In addition to these degrees, Morehouse awarded Bishop an honorary doctor of laws in 2010.

He enlisted into the U.S. Army in 1969 and successfully completed basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He then enrolled in Advanced Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) training and later received an Honorable Discharge in 1971. He resided in Columbus, Georgia from 1972 to 1996, where he was the primary partner in the law firm of Bishop and Buckner, P.C. He is an Eagle Scout, a 33rd Degree Mason (PHA), a member of the Order of St. John, and a Shriner. He is a resident of Albany, Georgia, where he is a Deacon and Trustee of the Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Congressman Bishop has received numerous awards including the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America, given to Eagle Scouts for distinguished career achievement; the Spirit of Enterprise Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; the Georgia Peanut Commission’s “Work Horse” Award; the Man of the Year Award from the Men’s Progressive Club of Columbus, Georgia; the Friend of the Children Award from the Child Advocacy Coalition; the Charles Dick Medal of Merit from the National Guard Association of the United States; The Order of St. Maurice from the National Infantry Association; and commendations from the Georgia Association of Educators, Georgia Municipal Association, Georgia School Bus Drivers Association, Georgia Council for the Arts, the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and the American Legion.

Awards and Commendations

The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America

The Spirit of Enterprise Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The “Man of the Year” Award from the Men’s Progressive Club of Columbus, Georgia

The “Friend of the Children” Award from the Child Advocacy Coalition

The Legislative Impact Award from Military Spouse Magazine

George “Buck” Gillispie Award for Meritorious Service

HBCU/PBI Champion Award from the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education

The Charles Dick Medal of Merit

2017 U.S. Army Distinguished Civilian Service Medal

2017 U.S. Chamber Spirit of Enterprise Award

2016 Friend of the Farm Bureau

2016 U.S. Chamber Spirit of Enterprise Award

2014 Lifetime Achiever Award from the Alabama Black Achievers Awards Gala

2014 National Bar Association Hall of Fame (Commendation)

2013 Distinguished Community Health Defender Award from the National Association of Community Health Centers, Inc.

2013 NAM Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence in 112th Congress from the National Association of Manufacturers

2012 Distinguished Service Award from the American Logistics Association

2012 Congressional Partnership Award from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO)

2012 The Patriot Award from the Georgia Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve

2012 “Good Scout” Award from the National Capitol Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America

2012 “Our Star in Washington Award,” Terrell County NAACP

2011 African American Golfers Hall of Fame “Leadership Award”

2011 Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET) Champions’ Award

2011 Friend of Labor Award presented by GA AFL-CIO Labor

2010 Distinguished Community Health Defender Award

2010 Georgia Peanut Special Award “Work Horse”

2010 Civil Liberty Award, IPOE of the World

2010 Great Idea Award, Teenage Parenting Center

2010 TV One Award For Championing Choice and Diversity in Cable Television Programming

2010 “Friend of the National Parks Award” from National Parks Conservation Association

2009 “Keeper of the Flame” Award

2009 Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Award

2009 Volunteers for Organizing America Certificate for recognizing support of President Obama’s budget and bold vision for America (Commendation)

2009 SOWEGA Libraries Certificate of Appreciation for Continued Support (Commendation)

2009 Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. –Platinum Sponsor DR. King Breakfast (Commendation)

2009 Greater Ward Chapel AME Church (Commendation)

2009 Operation Stand Down (Commendation)

2009 Greater Ward Chapel A.M.E. Church (Commendation)

2008 Honorary Black Belt – Brunson Martial Arts

2008 CLEO Legacy Diversity Award, a Tireless Dedicated Public Servant

2008 Community Service Award, The Courier Eco Latino

2008 Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Award

2008 Faith Community Outreach Center Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Performance and Lasting Contributions (Commendation)

2008 National Peanut Research Laboratory working for National Peanut Research Industry (Commendation)

2008 Operation Stand Down (Commendation)

2008 Edgewood Red Devils Snapper Bowl Tournament (Commendation)

2007 Spirit of Enterprise Award – US Chamber of Commerce

2007 Impact Award – National Peanut Buying Points Association

2007 GA ACTE Policy Maker of the Year

2007 Legislator of the Year - Licensed Professional Counselors Association of GA

2007 Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Award

2007 MLK Unity Award Breakfast, Delta Iota Foundation, Inc. (Commendation)

2007 Ft Benning Retirement Appreciation Day (Commendation)

2007 Disabled American Veterans (Commendation)

2006 National Family Week Advocacy Award

2006 Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Award

2006 The Family Center, Inc. Advocacy Award

2006 A.J. McClung YMCA & Marshall Movers –Lights on After School Event (Commendation)

2006 Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. –Platinum Sponsor DR. King Breakfast (Commendation)

2006 Muscogee County Junior Marshall Program (Commendation)

2006 De Bouch Chapter American Business Women’s Association (Commendation)

2006 Junior Marshall Program (Commendation)

2005 Whitney M. Young Jr. Community Service Award – Urban League of Greater Columbus, Inc.

2005 Historic Columbus Foundation (Commendation)

2005 Reese Road Elementary School (Commendation)

2005 S.P.E.A.K. Washington Tour (Commendation)

2005 Farewell International Military Students of The Infantry Captains Career Course (Commendation)

2004 Quitman County Family Connection (Commendation)

2004 The American Legion (Commendation)

2003 Community Health Super Hero Award

2003 Kappa Citizenship Award, 52nd Southeastern Province Council Meeting Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

2003 Annual Men’s Day Service

2003 CBFT3 Columbus Biosolids Flow Through Thermophilic Treatment (Commendation)

2002 Andrew College Education Program (Commendation)

2002 Community Health Super Hero Award

2001 Haynes-Taylor Award YMCA

2000 School of the Americas (Commendation)

2000 Commissioned as Honorary Texan by the Honorable Rodney Ellis, Acting Governor of Texas

1999 Stewart Webster Rural Health, Inc. Expansion funding for City of Richland (Commendation)

1999 The Citizens’ Flag Alliance, Inc. 106th Congress (Commendation)

1997 Inaugural Parade, the Muscogee Troopers (Commendation)

1996 The UNCF “Masked” Award

1996 Health Service Award

1996 GA Power Olympic Team

1996 The Black History Month

1995 Young’s Tae Kwon Do Championships

1995 Rural Economic Communications Development

1994 The Gamma Zeta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Founders’ Day Program

1993 The 42nd Southeastern Province Council

1987 Star Legislator Award

1979 GA State Appointed Lieutenant Colonel