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Joe Wilson has dedicated his life to public service—serving his family, his community and his country.
Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Joe attended the High School of Charleston before receiving his undergraduate degree from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. After graduation, Joe earned a law degree from the University of South Carolina. He joined a small law firm and worked as a real estate attorney in West Columbia.
Joe learned the value of public service early, serving in the offices of Senator Strom Thurmond and Congressman Floyd Spence. In Washington, he also served in Ronald Reagan’s administration as a Deputy General Counsel in the Department of Energy under Secretary (and former South Carolina Governor) Jim Edwards. He also served for 17 years as a member of the South Carolina State Senate and was the first modern Republican to be elected Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.
Passionate about serving his country, Joe retired from the Army Reserves and South Carolina Army National Guard after 31 years of service as a Colonel in 2003. His love of our military can be seen in his sons—all four of whom have served in our military overseas. He has steadfastly supported our military personnel and their families.
Today, Joe serves as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he is the Ranking Member of the Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism Subcommittee and a member of the Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and Environment Subcommittee. Additionally, Joe serves on the House Armed Services Committee where he is a member of the Subcommittees on Readiness and Strategic Forces. Since the 111th Congress, he has been appointed to the highly influential Republican Policy Committee. He serves as Chair of the Bulgaria Caucus and the French Caucus, as well as Co-Chair for the Slovak Caucus, Morocco Caucus, and UK Caucus and is a founding member of the EU Caucus. He is a also member of the Americans Abroad Caucus, amongst many others.
Joe is committed to the fight for conservative values in Congress. He works closely with fellow members of Congress to promote a strong national defense promoting peace through strength, creating jobs, and limiting the size and scope of the federal government.
With his wife Roxanne, Joe is the proud parent of four Eagle Scout sons and grandparent to eight grandchildren.
Economy and Jobs
Economic success stems from limited government and expanded freedom. For years, President Obama’s agenda destroyed jobs and took money out of hard earned paychecks. With President Donald Trump and strong conservative support in the House and Senate, we have been given a new opportunity to promote positive conservative change.
In order to increase national employment and put our economy back on the path to prosperity, our nation must maintain a strong right-to-work workforce. South Carolina’s positive pro-business environment proves that these policies will create jobs and bring success. I believe we should provide broad, growth-oriented, permanent incentives for economic activity across all sectors and industries, with immediate application and sustained long-term implications. This will ensure that Washington takes a back seat to Main Street and job creators are empowered to do what they do best—create jobs. Small businesses, which are America’s job creators, deserve positive encouragement.
House Republicans know what it takes to get our economy moving again, which is why we pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which promotes job creation through tax cuts and deregulation.
I believe in the power and promise of the American people to do what is necessary to rebuild our economy and to make it stronger. The government, for its part, needs to be bold but also precise. Our economy has shown record success throughout the Trump Administration and we must continue to protect American prosperity by avoiding actions today that could lead to hyperinflation, high interest rates, and higher taxes in the future.
I am committed to strengthening America’s education system. Since coming to Congress, I have fought to advance fiscally responsible reforms to improve educational opportunities from pre-K early childhood education through higher education and beyond.
Every child is unique, which is why I support school choice and local governance of schools. Over the past few years, unnecessary federal regulations have made it much harder for teachers to offer their students an education that is tailored to their needs. I support returning responsibility back to the states, locally elected school boards, administrators, and professional classroom educators, who best know what it takes to provide quality education to our children. It is the responsibility of Congress to work with these entities and not Washington bureaucrats, to support their needs and ensure that students in the Second Congressional District receive the highest quality education.
The national security of our country is tied closely to our energy security, which is why it is important to reduce our dependence on foreign energy. As energy prices continue to fluctuate, we must have a comprehensive, all-of-the-above strategy focused on exploration, innovation, and conservation. This approach will simultaneously invest in our country’s natural resources, domestic energy infrastructure, and alternative fuel sources. It will also provide for energy security and lower energy costs for businesses and families, thus improving economic conditions across America.
I fully support the domestic production of our natural resources. I believe we must continue to explore offshore, in locations where natural resources are abundant, for even more opportunities that may support American efforts to reduce dependency on foreign oil. A key energy project which would directly support our desire to wean ourselves off foreign oil while at the same time adding hundreds of thousands of jobs here at home is the Keystone XL Pipeline. The Trump Administration has supported the Keystone XL Pipeline, a project that would transport crude oil from Canadian oil sands to refineries along the Gulf Coast.
We also must invest in new and existing technologies to diversify our energy portfolio. These include, but are not limited to, biomass, nuclear, solar, wind, and hydrogen fuel cell. I remain committed to investing in and providing incentives for all unique forms of alternative energy.
South Carolina is doing its part to lead our country towards energy independence. In doing so, we have created jobs and will produce cost-efficient energy. The federal government needs to take a page out of the South Carolina playbook. More stringent regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency will only drive up the cost of energy and kill jobs. I support President Trump in rolling back regulations the limit innovation in these emerging technologies. We have been blessed with ample resources here at home. It is of paramount importance that we utilize our proven reserves in addition to our exceptional minds as we develop the technologies of the future while harnessing the resources we have.
As members of a global community, the United States and all nations of the world have much to learn from each other. Our nation has a proud history of leading the world in times of peace and times of war. We have formed coalitions of nations to depose tyrannical dictators that threatened the freedoms and safety of our citizens and allies. Together with our friends we have drawn attention to humanitarian crises and worked to improve the quality of life in those parts of the world that live in poverty and turmoil.
As a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, I have the privilege to help address the issues facing our relationships with nations around the world. As one of only a few members of Congress to serve on both the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Armed Services Committee, I have the unique opportunity to contribute to our national dialogue from a military as well as a diplomatic perspective. An open and candid discussion among friendly nations and a clear and consistent message to unfriendly nations will ensure the safety and prosperity of the United States.
America is a nation of immigrants, and we benefit tremendously when people legally immigrate to our country. Unfortunately, throughout the past decade, millions of people have chosen to disregard our immigration laws and illegally enter our country or overstay their visas.
The Obama Administration failed to successfully protect our borders over the last several years. Thousands of immigrants from all over the world are now streaming across our southern border with the anticipation of receiving amnesty. There are many in Congress, including myself, who are not in favor of amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Thankfully, President Donald Trump understands he has a duty to faithfully execute the laws as they are currently written. Disregarding current immigration law makes it difficult to determine what changes to immigration law should be made.
Until the appropriate laws already on the books are strongly enforced, illegal immigrants will continue to pour across our borders and weaken our national security. Once our laws are enforced, our nation will create a new generation of dedicated, patriotic American citizens. Legal immigrants have obeyed our regulations, and America must demonstrate our commitment to these hard-working individuals by ensuring those who follow our laws are treated courteously by immigration officials, and their immigration applications are processed in a timely fashion.
The Second District of South Carolina has a rich military tradition with bases in and around the Midlands and Aiken-Barnwell communities. These include Fort Jackson in Columbia which is directly located inside the District; and Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter and Fort Gordon in Augusta, GA, both of which lie just outside the District with many of its personnel living in the Second District. We are proud of our troops and the support they enjoy within South Carolina, and are eternally thankful for their selfless devotion to protecting the American people.
As the father of four sons currently serving in the military and a 31-year veteran of the South Carolina Army National Guard and Reserves, I have always been an enthusiastic and ardent supporter of our brave men and women in uniform. As Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and a member of the House Committee on Armed Services, I am very grateful to have the opportunity to work on the national security challenges our nation faces.
After our country was attacked on September 11, 2001, we woke up in a new era of conflict where our service members are now working throughout the world to prevent additional acts of terrorism against the American people and our country’s interests. U.S. troops risk their lives daily, in Afghanistan and beyond, as they face terrorists abroad so that we do not have to face them on the streets of America.
Due to the passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011, the Department of Defense is expected to suffer an automatic across-the-board $500 billion budget cut over 10 years, also known as Sequestration. These cuts will not be used to reduce our growing national deficit, but instead will be shifted from defense to other departments and agencies. Not only will these cuts threaten our national security, military strength, and defense capabilities, it will also destroy approximately one million jobs across our country while sending a message to enemies we lack resolve to resist their attacks.
From day one, I have made my opposition to Sequestration very clear. We MUST replace the impending cuts to our defense by cutting other unnecessary, government over-reaching programs that are not in place to protect our national security. I believe it is Congress’ Constitutional responsibility to ensure our troops receive the best resources available to keep them safe at home and abroad. We must ensure that there is no interruption or restriction of funding for American troops in combat zones.
The United States military has successfully remained the most superior power in the world by practicing President Ronald Reagan’s national security approach of providing peace through strength. It is no accident America has not been attacked in more than a decade. No matter the legislation before me, I will always fight to make sure our military has the equipment and funding they need to do the job we have asked of them, which is to keep the American people safe from foreign threats.
For two decades our brave men and women in uniform have served heroically in the Global War on Terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other terrorist safe havens. Over these 20 years they kept Americans safe and gave thousands the opportunity to escape the oppressive rule of the Taliban. As a veteran myself with four sons who have served overseas, we honor their sacrifice and must safeguard all veterans’ right to quality healthcare.
I was honored to be awarded the 2020 Arthur T. Marix Congressional Leadership Award by the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) for drafting bipartisan legislation that repealed the “widows tax,” an unjust financial penalty on surviving spouses of servicemembers. This is welcome relief for the 65,000 families affected by this unfair offset. Following this win, on average, surviving families will receive an increase of $12,000 per year.
I am grateful to work with MOAA and other military and veteran groups to advocate for veterans and their families. These partnerships are a long-term effort to ensure our servicemembers and their families have strong advocates in Washington, D.C.
As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am committed to protecting and advocating for our active duty, retirees, veterans, and their families and proud to serve those who have sacrificed so much.