Kevin Hern
Chair of the Republican Study Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2023
Preceded byJim Banks
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 1st district
Assumed office
November 13, 2018
Preceded byJim Bridenstine
Personal details
Born (1961-12-04) December 4, 1961 (age 61)
Belton, Missouri, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Tammy Hern
(m. 1994)
EducationArkansas Tech University (BS)
Georgia Institute of Technology
University of Arkansas, Little Rock (MBA)
WebsiteHern website

Kevin Ray Hern (born December 4, 1961) is an American businessman and politician from Oklahoma. A Republican, he is a member of the United States House of Representatives for Oklahoma's 1st congressional district. The chair of the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative Republicans in the House,[1] Hern was first elected in 2018. In the 2023 Speaker of the House of Representatives election, Hern was nominated for Speaker of the House as a protest candidate against Kevin McCarthy.[2]

Early life and education

Born on an Air Force base in Missouri, Hern moved to Pope County with his mother, Freda Flansburg,[3] and younger brother after his parents separated.[4] He graduated from Dover High School in 1980 and Arkansas Tech University in 1986 before working at Rockwell International while pursuing a PhD in astronautical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He left his degree program without finishing after the Challenger disaster in 1986.[5]

Hern received his MBA from University of Arkansas, Little Rock, in 1999.[6]


McDonald's franchises

In 1987, Hern moved to Arkansas and went to work for McDonald's; within a few years, he was an operations manager for several McDonald's franchises in the Little Rock area.[4] In January 1997, he bought his first McDonald's, in North Little Rock. He sold that franchise in 1999 to move to Muskogee, Oklahoma, where he bought two franchises. He expanded his business to 18 franchises in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area.[5] In 2018, during his first campaign for office, The Frontier coined the nickname "McCongressman" for Hern in reference to his McDonald's franchises.[7] The nickname was subsequently picked up by other outlets after his election.[8][9] He sold his last McDonald's franchise in 2021.[10]

Current businesses

In addition to his restaurant holdings, Hern started a number of other business enterprises in Oklahoma, including a hog farm, a community bank, and several high-school sports publications. In 2019, he owned a company that manufactured decor and furniture for some of the largest U.S. fast-food restaurant companies[4] and had assets worth between $38.7 million and $92.9 million.[11]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hern's KTAK Corporation received between $1 million and $2 million in federally backed small business loans from American Bank and Trust as part of the Paycheck Protection Program. KTAK stated it would retain 220 jobs. The loan was seen as notable since Hern is a vocal opponent of deficit spending; in 2018, discussing a balanced budget, he said, "While there is no easy fix to this, the first step is clear: stop adding to it." In 2020, he said, "This isn't a bailout. It's a repayment of what the government has taken away from American workers and businesses."[12][13][14] KTAK operates franchises. During the Paycheck Protection Program negotiations, Hern pushed to increase the amount of aid going to franchises.[14] Hern was ranked number 7 in the United States House of Representatives by total number of stock trades while in office between January 2020 and January 2022 and violated the STOCK Act in 2021.[15]

U.S. House of Representatives



See also: 2018 United States House of Representatives elections in Oklahoma § District 1

After Jim Bridenstine resigned from the United States House of Representatives in 2018 to become administrator of NASA, Hern ran to succeed him in Oklahoma's 1st congressional district in the 2018 elections. Hern advanced to the runoff,[16][17] where he defeated Tim Harris.[18] He then advanced to the general election, where he defeated Democratic nominee Tim Gilpin.[19] Outgoing Governor Mary Fallin then appointed Hern to serve the rest of Bridenstine's third term. She was able to do so because under Oklahoma law, if a House seat falls vacant in an even-numbered year and the incumbent's term is due to end the following year, the governor can appoint someone to serve the remainder of the term. Accordingly, Hern was sworn into the House on November 13.[20][21]


See also: 2020 United States House of Representatives elections in Oklahoma § District 1

Hern defeated Democratic nominee Kojo Asamoa-Caesar and Independent Evelyn L. Rogers in the November 2020 general election.[22]


See also: 2022 United States House of Representatives elections in Oklahoma § District 1

Hern ran for a third term in 2022, despite speculation that he might run for the open Senate seat being vacated by Jim Inhofe.[23] Hern defeated Democratic nominee Adam Martin and Independent Evelyn L. Rogers in the November general election.[24]


In December 2020, Hern was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives to sign an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden prevailed[25] over incumbent Donald Trump. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of an election held by another state.[26][27][28]


Hern voted against the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, which authorizes DHS to nearly double the available H-2B visas for the remainder of FY 2020.[29][30]

Hern voted against the Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 1158),[31] which effectively prohibits Immigration and Customs Enforcement from cooperating with the Department of Health and Human Services to detain or remove illegal alien sponsors of Unaccompanied Alien Children.[citation needed]

Hern sponsored H.R. 6202, the American Tech Workforce Act of 2021, introduced by Representative Jim Banks. The legislation would establish a wage floor for the high-skill H-1B visa program, thereby significantly reducing employer dependence on the program. The bill would also eliminate the Optional Practical Training program that allows foreign graduates to stay and work in the United States.[32]

In July 2021, Hern voted against the bipartisan ALLIES Act, which would increase by 8,000 the number of special immigrant visas for Afghan allies of the U.S. military during its invasion of Afghanistan, while also reducing some application requirements that caused long application backlogs; the bill passed in the House 407–16.[33]

Big Tech

In 2022, Hern was one of 39 Republicans to vote for the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act of 2022, an antitrust package that would crack down on corporations for anti-competitive behavior.[34][35]

2023 Speaker election

Main article: 2023 Speaker of the United States House of Representatives election

On the eighth ballot of the 2023 Speaker of the House of Representatives election, Hern received two votes, from Representative Lauren Boebert and Representative Josh Brecheen. Hern himself voted for Kevin McCarthy.[2] He was officially nominated by Boebert on the ninth ballot and received three votes.[36] He was again nominated by Boebert on the tenth ballot,[37] and received seven votes.[2] On the 11th ballot, Representative Bob Good of Virginia nominated Hern and he received seven votes.[38][39] After the votes, Hern told The Frontier he was not ruling out a run for the Speakership and he would "think and pray about [it] before deciding."[2] The next day, Kevin McCarthy secured the votes to win the election.[40]

Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023

Hern was among the 71 Republicans who voted against final passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 in the House.[41]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Political positions


In 2023, Hern was among 47 Republicans to vote in favor of H.Con.Res. 21 which directed President Joe Biden to remove U.S. troops from Syria within 180 days.[43][44]


Hern has called current welfare spending "tragic". He is a strong supporter of work requirements for welfare programs and credits his support of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to its work requirement.[45]

Electoral history

Republican primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Tim Harris 28,392 27.5
Republican Kevin Hern 23,425 22.7
Republican Andy Coleman 22,584 21.9
Republican Nathan Dahm 20,843 20.2
Republican Danny Stockstill 8,086 7.8
Total votes 103,330 100.0
Republican primary runoff results
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Kevin Hern 40,373 54.9
Republican Tim Harris 33,138 45.1
Total votes 73,511 100.0
Oklahoma's 1st congressional district, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Kevin Hern 150,129 59.3
Democratic Tim Gilpin 103,042 40.7
Total votes 253,171 100.0
Republican hold
Oklahoma's 1st congressional district, 2020[22]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Kevin Hern (incumbent) 213,700 63.70
Democratic Kojo Asamoa-Caesar 109,641 32.68
Independent Evelyn L. Rogers 12,130 3.62
Total votes 335,471 100.0
Republican hold
Oklahoma's 1st congressional district, 2022[24]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Kevin Hern (incumbent) 142,800 61.16
Democratic Adam Martin 80,974 34.68
Independent Evelyn Rogers 9,721 4.16
Total votes 233,495 100.0
Republican hold

Personal life

Hern and his wife, Tammy, have three children and two grandchildren.[46] It is his second marriage.[4]

Hern is Protestant.[47][48]


  1. ^ Carney, Jordain; Ferris, Sarah; Beavers, Olivia (January 4, 2023). "GOP debates: Who could take McCarthy's place?". Politico. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d Krehbiel, Randy (January 5, 2023). "Kevin Hern gets votes for House speaker on third day of fight in D.C." Tulsa World. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  3. ^ "Oklahoma Rep. Kevin Hern honors late mother on U.S. House floor". Fox 23. January 10, 2023. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d Lockwood, Frank E. (February 25, 2019). "Multimillionaire burger maker with Arkansas roots ready to legislate in Congress". Arkansas Online. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  5. ^ a b Hardiman, Samuel (August 5, 2016). "5 Questions with Kevin Hern, McDonald's franchisee | 5 Questions". Tulsa World. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  6. ^ "Dover native receives Congressional GOP nomination in Oklahoma". Archived from the original on October 20, 2018. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  7. ^ Goforth, Dylan (June 25, 2018). "The McCongressman? Out-of-state McDonald's money flows into the campaign of Tulsa restaurateur Kevin Hern". The Frontier. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  8. ^ Gray, Sarah (September 16, 2021). "All Five Oklahoma Congressional Reps Stand Behind Anti-Semite, 9/11 Denier Rep. Marjorie Greene". Black Wall Street Times. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  9. ^ O'Brien, Timothy L. (July 7, 2020). "'McCongressman' Gets a Large Order of PPP". Bloomberg News. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  10. ^ Krehbiel, Randy (May 14, 2021). "First District Congressman Kevin Hern gets out of the hamburger business". Tulsa World. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  11. ^ Casteel, Chris (January 27, 2019). "Hern worth more than rest of state's congressional delegation combined". The Oklahoman. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  12. ^ Hamburger, Tom; Gregg, Aaron; Narayanswamy, Anu (July 8, 2020). "After railing against federal spending, GOP lawmakers, conservative groups benefit from government aid program". Washington Post. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  13. ^ Syed, Moiz; Willis, Derek (July 7, 2020). "KTAK CORPORATION I - Coronavirus Bailouts - ProPublica". ProPublica. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Treasury, SBA data show small-business loans went to private-equity backed chains, members of Congress". The Washington Post. 2020.
  15. ^ Kight, Stef W.; Olde, Thomas (February 9, 2022). "The House's top stock traders". Axios. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  16. ^ Krehbiel, Randy (June 27, 2018). "Tim Harris, Kevin Hern headed to 1st Congressional District runoff; Democrats also going to second round". Tulsa World. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  17. ^ "Rare runoffs to decide 1st Congressional District nominees | Homepagelatest". August 26, 2018. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  18. ^ "Kevin Hern beats Tim Harris for Congressional 1st District Republican nomination". August 28, 2018. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  19. ^ "Kevin Hern beats Tim Gilpin to replace Jim Bridenstine in Congress". Tulsa World. November 6, 2018. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  20. ^ Sweeney, Catherine (November 8, 2018). "Hern taking office ahead of freshman congressional class". The Journal Record.
  21. ^ "New 1st District Congressman Kevin Hern sworn in | Government". January 1, 1970. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  22. ^ a b "November 3, 2020 - Official Results". Oklahoma State Election Board.
  23. ^ Gorman, Reese (April 14, 2022). "Catching up with Congress: Kevin Hern passes on a run for open U.S. Senate seat". The Frontier. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  24. ^ a b "November 8 2022 Oklahoma Official results". Oklahoma State Election Board. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  25. ^ Blood, Michael R.; Riccardi, Nicholas (December 5, 2020). "Biden officially secures enough electors to become president". AP News. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  26. ^ Liptak, Adam (December 11, 2020). "Supreme Court Rejects Texas Suit Seeking to Subvert Election". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  27. ^ "Order in Pending Case" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United States. December 11, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  28. ^ Diaz, Daniella. "Brief from 126 Republicans supporting Texas lawsuit in Supreme Court". CNN. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  29. ^ "Text - H.R.1865 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020". December 20, 2019.
  30. ^ "Roll Call 689 Roll Call 689, Bill Number: H. R. 1865, 116th Congress, 1st Session". December 17, 2019.
  31. ^ "H.R. 1158: DHS Cyber Hunt and Incident Response Teams Act … -- House Vote #690 -- Dec 17, 2019".
  32. ^ "Cosponsors - H.R.6206 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): American Tech Workforce Act of 2021 | | Library of Congress". U.S. Congress. December 9, 2021. Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  33. ^ Quarshie, Mabinty (August 17, 2021). "These 16 Republicans voted against speeding up visas for Afghans fleeing the Taliban". USA Today. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  34. ^ "House passes antitrust bill that hikes M&A fees as larger efforts targeting tech have stalled". CNBC. September 29, 2022.
  35. ^ "H.R. 3843: Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act of 2022 -- House Vote #460 -- Sep 29, 2022".
  36. ^ Chasmer, Jessica (January 5, 2023). "McCarthy set to lose 9th speaker vote, as Donalds and Hern split GOP votes". Fox News. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  37. ^ Astor, Maggie (January 5, 2023). "Who is Kevin Hern? More about one of the rebels' protest candidates". The New York Times. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  38. ^ Gold, Michael (January 5, 2023). "House Speaker Vote: Updates". The New York Times. Retrieved January 5, 2023. As we enter the 11th ballot, we're not done with speaker nominations yet. Bob Good of Virginia, after a long wind-up speech, is putting forward Kevin Hern as a candidate.
  39. ^ Dorn, Sara (January 5, 2023). "McCarthy Falls Short Again In Chaotic House Speaker Race—As Voting Stretches Past 11 Rounds For First Time In 163 Years". Forbes. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  40. ^ Mascaro, Lisa; Amiri, Farnoush (January 7, 2023). "Kevin McCarthy wins House speaker in 15th round of voting". Tulsa World. Retrieved January 7, 2023.
  41. ^ Gans, Jared (May 31, 2023). "Republicans and Democrats who bucked party leaders by voting no". The Hill. Retrieved June 6, 2023.
  42. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  43. ^ "H.Con.Res. 21: Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of … -- House Vote #136 -- Mar 8, 2023".
  44. ^ "House Votes Down Bill Directing Removal of Troops From Syria". Associated Press. March 8, 2023.
  45. ^ Polansky, Chris (July 21, 2021). "Hern: American Dream Means Working 'Until You're Not Here Anymore'". Public Radio Tulsa. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  46. ^ "Quick 5: Congressional District 1 candidates answer questions". Muskogee Phoenix. October 31, 2018. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  47. ^ "Religious affiliation of members of 118th Congress" (PDF). PEW Research Center. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  48. ^ "Faith on the Hill: The religious composition of the 118th Congress". Pew Research Center. Retrieved March 6, 2023.
U.S. House of Representatives Preceded byJim Bridenstine Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Oklahoma's 1st congressional district 2018–present Incumbent Party political offices Preceded byJim Banks Chair of the Republican Study Committee 2023–present Incumbent U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial) Preceded byTroy Balderson United States representatives by seniority 229th Succeeded byJoseph Morelle