|Ranking Member of the House Education and Labor Committee|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||Bobby Scott (Education and the Workforce)|
|Chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee|
January 3, 2017 – January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||John Kline|
|Succeeded by||Bobby Scott (Education and Labor)|
|Secretary of the House Republican Conference|
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2017
|Preceded by||John Carter|
|Succeeded by||Jason T. Smith|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from North Carolina's 5th district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2005
|Preceded by||Richard Burr|
|Member of the North Carolina Senate|
January 1, 1995 – January 1, 2005
|Preceded by||Alexander Paul Sands III |
Fred Folger Jr.
|Succeeded by||John Garwood|
|Constituency||12th District (1995-2003) |
45th District (2003-2005)
Virginia Ann Palmieri
June 29, 1943
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
|Education||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (BA)|
University of North Carolina at Greensboro (MA, EdD)
Virginia Ann Foxx (née Palmieri; June 29, 1943) is an American politician, educator, and businesswoman serving as the U.S. representative for North Carolina's 5th congressional district, which encompasses much of the northwestern portion of the state and the Gastonia area. Foxx is a member of the Republican Party and served as Secretary of the House Republican Conference from 2013 to 2017. She has been the ranking member of the House Committee on Education and Labor since 2019, and served as the committee's chair from 2017 to 2019.
Foxx was born in The Bronx, New York, to Dollie (née Garrison) and Nunzio John Palmieri. She was reared in a rural area of Avery County, North Carolina. Foxx grew up in a poor family and first lived in a home with running water and electricity at age 14.
While attending Crossnore High School in Crossnore, North Carolina, Foxx worked as a janitor at the school and was the first in her family to graduate from high school. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor's degree in 1968 and later earned both a Master of Arts in college teaching (1972) and an Ed.D (1985) from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Foxx and her husband owned and operated a nursery and landscaping business.
Foxx worked as a research assistant and then an English instructor at Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute and Appalachian State University before moving into university administration. From 1987 until her 1994 entry into politics, she was president of Mayland Community College. Under North Carolina Governor James G. Martin, Foxx served as Deputy Secretary for Management. From 1994 to 2004, she served in the North Carolina Senate.
Foxx was first elected to the U.S. House in 2004, defeating Jim Harrell, Jr. with 59% of the vote.
Foxx was briefly targeted for defeat in the 2006 elections, but the Democrats' top choice, Winston-Salem mayor Allen Joines, decided not to run. Joines later said he lacked the stomach for the kind of race he felt it would take to defeat Foxx. Her 2006 opponent was Roger Sharpe, whom she defeated.
Roy Carter of Ashe County was Foxx's opponent in the 2008 election; she won by a substantial margin.
In 2010, Foxx was reelected with about 65% of the vote.
In 2014, Foxx was reelected with about 60% of the vote, defeating software developer Josh Brannon.
In 2016, Foxx was reelected with about 59% of the vote, again over Brannon.
In 2018, Foxx was reelected with 57% of the vote, defeating DD Adams, a council member for the North Ward of Winston-Salem.
In the 2020 general election, Foxx won over 66% of the vote, defeating Democrat David Brown.
In 2022, Foxx is seeking reelection in the newly drawn 5th district, which favors Republicans. She will have primary opposition, but has a significant advantage in both fundraising and name identification. Foxx was endorsed by former President Donald Trump in 2021.
In September 2005, Foxx was one of 11 members of Congress to vote against the $51 billion aid package to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The first bill Foxx sponsored that was signed into law was the HERO Act, signed by President George W. Bush on Memorial Day 2006. It allows U.S. troops to increase their retirement savings by investing a portion of their combat pay into Individual Retirement Accounts.
The second bill Foxx sponsored that was signed into law is the Electronic Pay Stub Act, which gives federal employees the choice of receiving their pay stubs electronically. This legislation was projected to save taxpayers millions of dollars. Studies have shown that it costs 10 times more to purchase and distribute paper stubs than it does to distribute electronic stubs. This bill was signed into law in October 2008.
Shortly after Congress approved the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Foxx identified a provision in the law that allowed her to force consideration of a measure to deny the second, $350 billion, tranche of the TARP bailout. On November 19, 2008, she introduced H.J.Res. 101, which met all the parliamentary requirements for consideration once the president requested the second tranche.
In the next (111th) Congress, Foxx reintroduced the measure as H.J.Res. 3, and shortly before leaving office, Bush requested the second tranche, thereby activating the trigger allowing her to commandeer the House floor, although she was not a member of the majority party. Her measure passed the House 270–155; the act was never addressed in the Senate.
In a 2007 interview, Foxx said, "We have the best economy we have had in 50 years."
In April 2009, Foxx expressed opposition to the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, claiming that Matthew Shepard's murder was not a hate crime. While debating the act in the House, she called the murder a "very unfortunate incident" but claimed "we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn't because he was gay." She ultimately called that allegation "a hoax that continues to be used as an excuse for passing hate crimes bills." Some media outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Huffington Post, criticized her statements, as did Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Democratic sources claimed that Matthew Shepard's mother was present during Foxx's statements.
Foxx later retracted her comments, suggesting her use of the word "hoax" was in bad taste. She suggested that Shepard's murder was a tragedy and that his killers had received appropriate justice.
In 2010, Foxx voted against the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act.
In 2015, Foxx condemned the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that same-sex marriage bans violated the constitution.
In 2019, Foxx strongly opposed the Equality Act, a bill that would expand the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and urged Congress members to vote against it.
When commenting on the House version of the reform bill that funds counseling for end-of-life issues, Foxx said, "Republicans have a better solution that won't put the government in charge of people's health care" and "[The plan] is pro-life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government." She later said, "we have more to fear from the potential of the Affordable Health Care for America Act passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country."
Foxx has been a member of the Congressional Caucus on Turkey and Turkish Americans since 2005. Her former son-in-law, Mustafa Özdemir, is a Turkish businessman.
In January 2013, Foxx co-sponsored legislation that would stop children born in the United States to undocumented parents from gaining citizenship.
On December 18, 2019, Foxx voted against both articles of impeachment (abuse of power and obstruction of Congress) of President Donald Trump.
In May 2021, Foxx became the fifth Republican representative to be fined for evading metal detectors put in place outside the chamber after the January 2021 storming of the Capitol. Foxx ran through the magnetometer, setting it off, and ignored officers attempting to prevent her entering the House floor.
Foxx, along with all other Senate and House Republicans, voted against the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Foxx opposes abortion. She voted for a bill to repeal a rule requiring state and local governments to distribute federal funds to qualified health centers, even if they perform abortions. In 2014 Foxx was asked whether there were any conditions under which she considered abortion acceptable. She replied that, even in the case of rape, incest, or the health of the mother, no exception should be made to justify abortion.
In December 2020, Foxx 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 defeated Donald Trump.
On January 6, 2021, Foxx was one of 147 Republican lawmakers who objected to the certification of electoral votes from the 2020 presidential election.
In December 2020, Foxx voted against the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment & Expungement Act (MORE). According to financial disclosure reports, she made at least six investments in Altria, one of the world's largest tobacco companies and a leader in the burgeoning U.S. cannabis industry, since September 2020. In all, records show she has purchased somewhere between $79,000 and $210,000 in Altria stock.
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