Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. is serving his thirteenth 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.
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 115th Congress, he was elected by his colleagues to serve as the top Democrat on the 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.
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, 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.
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
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Georgia's 2nd district
January 3, 1993
|Preceded by||Charles Hatcher|
|Member of the Georgia Senate|
from the 15th district
January 3, 1991 – January 3, 1993
|Succeeded by||Ed Harbison|
|Member of the Georgia House of Representatives|
from the 94th district
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1991
|Succeeded by||Bill Lee|
|Born||Sanford Dixon Bishop, Jr.|
(1947-02-04) February 4, 1947 (age 71)
Mobile, Alabama, U.S.
|Alma mater||Morehouse College|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1968–1971|
Sanford Dixon Bishop, Jr. (born February 4, 1947) is the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 2nd congressional district, serving since 1993. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district is located in the southwestern part of the state and includes Albany, Thomasville and most of Columbus and Macon.
Early life, education, and law career
Bishop was born in Mobile, Alabama to Minnie B. Slade and Sanford Dixon Bishop, 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. While at Morehouse, he was a classmate of Herman Cain. After receiving his honorable discharge, Bishop operated a law firm in Columbus, Georgia.
He has received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), given to Eagle Scouts for distinguished career achievement. He is a member of BSA's Order of the Arrow (OA) and as a youth was on the OA ceremonies team. 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 initiated at Morehouse College's Pi chapter. Bishop is a Shriner and 33° Mason.
In October 2013, Bishop announced he was diagnosed as having lymph node cancer after discovering a lump in near the base of his neck. By January 2014, Bishop said that he was cancer free.
He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1977, where he remained until being elected to the Georgia Senate in 1990.
U.S. House of Representatives
After only one term in the state senate, he ran for the 2nd District in 1992, which was held by six-term U.S. Congressman Charles Hatcher, a white moderate Democrat. The 2nd had been reconfigured as a black-majority district during congressional apportionment following the 1990 Census. Bishop finished second behind Hatcher in a crowded six-way primary. Hatcher failed to reach the 50% threshold, and was forced into a runoff election. During the campaign Bishop attacked Hatcher for bouncing 819 checks in the House banking scandal. Bishop defeated him 53%-47%. In the general election, he defeated Republican Jim Dudley 64%-36%.
In the Democratic primary, he defeated James Bush 67%-33%. In the general election, he won re-election to a second term with 66%.
In 1995, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court ruled that the redistricting of Georgia had violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The 2nd district was thus redrawn. The newly redrawn district was 60% white. Nonetheless he won re-election to a third term with 54% of the vote.
Bishop won re-election to a fourth term against Republican Joseph F. McCormick with 57% of the vote. During the campaign, Bishop received twice the campaign financing that his opponent raised. 
Bishop defeated Dylan Glenn, a young black Republican who received strong backing from many national Republican leaders. The vote was 53%-47%.
Bishop won re-election to a sixth term unopposed.
Bishop won re-election to a seventh term with 67% of the vote.
See also: United States House of Representatives elections in Georgia, 2006 § District 2; United States House of Representatives elections in Georgia, 2008 § District 2; United States House of Representatives elections in Georgia, 2010 § District 2; and United States House of Representatives elections in Georgia, 2012 § District 2
He won re-election to an eighth term with 68% of the vote.
Bishop won re-election to a ninth term with 69% of the vote.
Bishop won re-election to a tenth term against Republican State RepresentativeMike Keown, 51%-49%, the closest margin of his career. In a year where the Democrats lost the majority in the house, the New York Times noted that Bishop's re-election possibilities seemed slim as an "incumbent in an anti-Washington year", his identity as a black man in a majority white district (49% White,47% Black), and the scholarship scandal surrounding his non-profit.
After redistricting, the 2nd district has once again become a black majority district. Notably, it added most of Macon, previously the heart of the 8th District. Bishop was heavily favored in the general election as a result. As expected, he defeated Republican John House with 63 percent of the vote.
Bishop is one of the more conservative black Democrats in the House. He is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as the Blue Dog Democrats, a group of moderate to conservative House Democrats. Due to his willingness to work across the aisle, Congressman Bishop was ranked the 16th most bipartisan member of the 114th Congress, which is made up of 435 total members. This ranking was part of the Bipartisan Index put forth by The Lugar Center in collaboration with Georgetown University. Serving a primarily agricultural district, Bishop has fought to preserve the federal price supports for peanuts, southwest Georgia's most important crop. The New York Times quoted Mr. Adams, chairman of the agency that administers Federal farm programs in Georgia saying "It's questionable whether it would have survived without the votes he brought to it". In 1997, 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, known as the H. J. Res, 78, the Religious Freedom Amendment. The specific wording of the amendment allowing the practice of religion on public property, most notably public schools, reads as follows:
"To secure the people's fight to acknowledge God according to the dictates of conscience: The people's right to pray and to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage and traditions shall not be infringed. The Government shall not require any person to join in prayer or other religious activity, prescribe school prayers, discriminate- against religion, or deny equal access to a benefit on account of religion...The people's right to pray and to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage, or traditions on public property, including schools, shall not be infringed."
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 of Louisiana, Albert Wynn of Maryland, and Harold Ford, Jr. of Tennessee.
On September 10, 2007, Sanford Bishop endorsed Barack Obama for President and was 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. However, he joined with other pro-life Democrats who voted no on President Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act because of wording in the bill that permits federal funding for Abortions.
In September, 2010, the Associated Press reported that Bishop had, between 2003 and 2005, directed scholarships and awards funded by the Congressional Black Caucus to ineligible persons, including his stepdaughter, Aayesha Owens Reese, his niece, Emmaundia J. Whitaker, and other people with close ties to the family, threatening to turn the program into a larger political problem for the party. Ashton McRae released a statement by Bishop's office, "It is our understanding that the CBC Foundation in 2008 revisited the guidelines and processes for its scholarship programs, and as such, included language to clarify that CBC family members are not eligible to receive the scholarships. These scholarships… were awarded prior to 2008.” Ultimately Rep. Bishop's spokesman said the congressman would repay the scholarship fund for any awards he made in violation of the rules.Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington mentioned Bishop in its annual Most Corrupt Members of Congress report in 2011.
In 1997, the Pigford v. Glickman lawsuit came out of legislative discrimination of black farmers, the case was led by Timothy Pigford and 400 black farmers. The Washington Times reported that by the end of the case in 1999, over 94,000 claims were filed in conjuncture with the original case, "even though the U.S. Census Bureau never counted more than 33,000 black farmers in America during the years in question." In 2007, then Senator Barack Obama passed legislation to increase the amount of money given via Pigford II. Since then reports from multiple news sources have reported on the growing reports of fraud within the program. In February 2011, three farmers brought these allegations of fraud to Mr. Bishop, including Eddie Slaughter, vice president of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association, Bishop responded with "yes, I am aware that there is fraud in the program, that's why anti-fraud provisions were written into the settlement...It's not my job to monitor fraud in the program." Interviews with Mr. Slaughter have circulated the internet and criticism has been raised regarding his comments about fraud allegations leading the end of the program.
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