John Barrasso

John Barrasso
United States Senator
from Wyoming
Assumed office
June 25, 2007
Serving with Mike Enzi
Appointed by Dave Freudenthal
Preceded by Craig L. Thomas
Chair of the Senate Environment Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded by Jim Inhofe
Chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee
In office
January 3, 2015  January 3, 2017
Preceded by Jon Tester
Succeeded by John Hoeven
Member of the Wyoming Senate
from the 27th district
In office
January 3, 2003  June 22, 2007
Preceded by Bruce Hinchey
Succeeded by Bill Landen
Personal details
Born John Anthony Barrasso III
(1952-07-21) July 21, 1952
Reading, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Linda Nix (Divorced)
Bobbi Brown
Children 3
Education Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Georgetown University (BS, MD)
Website Senate website

John Anthony Barrasso III (/bəˈrɑːs/; born July 21, 1952) is the junior United States Senator from Wyoming and a member of the Republican Party. He was appointed to the Senate in June 2007, following the death of Craig L. Thomas, and won a special election in 2008 to fill the remaining four years of Thomas's term. He was re-elected to a full six-year term in 2012.

Early life, education, and medical career

Barrasso was born in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1952, the son of Louise M. (née DeCisco) and John Anthony Barrasso, Jr. He is of Italian descent.[1] He is a 1970 graduate of the former Central Catholic High School, which, in 2011, combined with Holy Name High School to form Berks Catholic HS, in Reading, PA. Barrasso began his college career at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (where he became a member of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity) and transferred to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., graduating with a bachelor of science degree in 1974. He also received his M.D. degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1978. He conducted his residency at Yale Medical School in New Haven, Connecticut.

In 1983, following the completion of his residency at Yale, Barrasso moved to Wyoming, together with his wife at the time, Linda Nix.[2] He joined a private orthopedic practice in Casper, Wyoming, and for a time served as chief of staff of the Wyoming Medical Center.[2] He served as State President of the Wyoming Medical Society, President of the National Association of Physician Broadcasters, and as a member of the American Medical Association Council of Ethics and Judicial Affairs.

Barrasso was also a rodeo physician for the Professional Rodeo Cowboy's Association (and a member of the "Cowboy Joe Club") and volunteered as a team physician for Casper College as well as several local high schools.[3] He was named the "Wyoming Physician of the Year". In addition, he was awarded the "Medal of Excellence" by the Wyoming National Guard for his services to the National Guard, and received the "Legislative Service Award" from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) for his support of Wyoming's veterans.

Barrasso was a board-certified orthopedic surgeon in private practice in Casper for 24 years, from 1983 until 2007.[3][4]

1996 U.S. Senate election

Barrasso ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1996 for the seat being vacated by Republican Alan K. Simpson. Barrasso lost the primary election to State Senator Mike Enzi, 32% to 30%, in a seven-candidate election.[5]

Wyoming Senate

Barrasso was elected to the Wyoming Senate unopposed in 2002[6] and won re-election unopposed in 2006.[7]

During his time in the State Senate he served as Chairman of the Transportation and Highways Committee.[8]

U.S. Senate


Barrasso was chosen on June 22, 2007, by Democratic Governor Dave Freudenthal to replace Senator Craig L. Thomas, who died earlier in the month. Under state law, Freudenthal was able to consider only three individuals whose names were submitted to him by the Republican State Central Committee because the seat was vacated by a Republican. The others were former State Treasurer Cynthia Lummis of Cheyenne, later Wyoming's only member of the United States House of Representatives, and former Republican State Chairman and lobbyist Tom Sansonetti, a former aide to Thomas. Matt Mead, grandson of former Senator Clifford P. Hansen, had also sought the nomination but was eliminated by the central committee in fourth place. So had the previous gubernatorial nominee from 2006, Ray Hunkins, a Wheatland rancher and lawyer. Mead later went on to be elected Governor of Wyoming in 2010, and Lummis was elected to Congress in 2008. When he was appointed, Barrasso indicated that he would also run in the November 2008 special election to fill the remainder of Thomas' term.



Barrasso announced on May 19, 2008, that he would run in the general election in 2008 to serve the remainder of Thomas' term, though he had already stated that intention before his appointment. Tom Sansonetti, one of the three Republican candidates selected for consideration by Freudenthal, said he would not challenge Barrasso in the primary. The other candidate for selection, Cynthia Lummis, was a candidate for the Republican nomination to replace retiring U.S. Representative Barbara Cubin for the state's at-large seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The filing deadline in Wyoming was May 30, 2008, and ultimately Barrasso did not face a primary opponent. The Democratic nominee was Nick Carter, a lawyer from Gillette. Pundits unanimously rated the race "Safe Republican." As expected, Barrasso won the general election in a landslide, garnering 73% of the vote.


Barrasso ran for re-election to a first full term in 2012. He faced three opponents for the Republican nomination, which he won with 90% of the vote. In the general election, he faced Democratic nominee Tim Chestnut, a member of the Albany County Board of Commissioners. Barrasso won the election with 76% of the vote.


At the time of his temporary appointment to the U.S. Senate for Wyoming in 2007, Barrasso was quoted as saying on his application: "I believe in limited government, lower taxes, less spending, traditional family values, local control and a strong national defense"; he also said that he had "voted for prayer in schools, against gay marriage and [had] sponsored legislation to protect the sanctity of life".[9]


In 1996, when Barrasso ran for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate for Wyoming he presented himself during the primary as a candidate in favor of abortion rights.[10][2] Subsequently, during his tenure in the Wyoming Legislature, he sponsored an unsuccessful bill to treat the killing of a pregnant woman as a double homicide.[2]

Gun laws

In 2002, he received an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association. According to a Washington Post survey, he has voted with Republicans 94 percent of the time.

In April 2013, Barrasso was one of 46 senators to vote against the passing of a bill which would have expanded background checks for all gun buyers. Barrasso voted with 40 Republicans and 5 Democrats to stop the bill.[11]

Health care

Barrasso voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009,[12] and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[13] Barrasso is part of the group of 13 Senators drafting the Senate version of the AHCA behind closed doors.[14][15][16][17]


Barrasso opposed the CIA's creation of its Center on Climate Change and National Security in 2009.[18] In 2011, Barrasso introduced a bill that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from limiting carbon dioxide emissions.[19]

Barrasso is an outspoken contrarian on climate change.[20] Asked in 2014 on the C-SPAN interview program Newsmakers if human activity contributes to climate change, Barrasso said, "The climate is constantly changing. The role human activity plays is not known."[21][22][23] As of January 2017 Barrasso has a 9% lifetime score on the National Environmental Scorecard of the League of Conservation Voters.[24][25] Barrasso was a leading critic of the climate change policies of the administration of US President Barack Obama.[26]

Paris Agreement

Barrasso co-authored and was one of 22 senators to sign a letter[27] to President Donald Trump urging the President to have the United States withdraw from the Paris Agreement. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Barrasso has received over $585,000 from the oil and gas industry since 2012.[28]

Committee assignments

Personal life

Barrasso has three children: Peter, Emma, and Hadley. He is divorced from Linda Nix. Barrasso is married to his second wife, Bobbi Brown.[29][30] On August 11, 2007, during Cheyenne's annual Race for the Cure, Barrasso and Brown, herself a breast cancer survivor and at the time, the state director for Barrasso's state senate offices, announced that they would marry. Once the two were engaged, Brown resigned her position in Barrasso's state Senate offices.[31] They were married on January 1, 2008, with their children in attendance in Thermopolis.[32]

Barrasso is a member of the board of directors of Presidential Classroom, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that brings young people to Washington, D.C. to learn about government. Barrasso is a member of the Casper Chamber of Commerce[33] and the Casper Rotary Club.

Barrasso is a perennial local host for the Jerry Lewis Telethon and a frequent guest on Utah Public Television and the Casper ABC affiliate, KTWO-TV, where he offers commentary on a wide range of medical topics. He is author of a regular newspaper column, "Keeping Wyoming Healthy."

Election history

United States Senate Republican primary election in Wyoming, 1996
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Mike Enzi 27,056 32.47%
Republican John Barrasso 24,918 29.90%
Republican Curt Meier 14,739 17.69%
Republican Nimi McConigley 6,005 7.21%
Republican Kevin Meenan 6,000 7.20%
Republican Kathleen Jachkowski 2,269 2.72%
Republican Brian Coen 943 1.13%
Republican Cleveland Holloway 874 1.05%
Republican Russ Hanrahan 524 0.63%
United States Senate special election in Wyoming, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Barrasso 183,063 73.35%
Democratic Nick Carter 66,202 26.53%
United States Senate Republican primary election in Wyoming, 2012
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Barrasso 73,516 90.24%
Republican Thomas Bleming 5,080 6.24%
Republican Emmett Mavy 2,873 3.53%
United States Senate election in Wyoming, 2012
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John Barrasso 184,531 75.90% +2.55%
Democratic Tim Chesnut 52,596 21.60% -4.93%
Wyoming Country Joel Otto 6,138 2.60%

See also


  1. " Home Page". Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Lancaster, John (May 31, 2011). "Rising from the Right: Barrasso's rise in Senate follows increasingly conservative course". Wyo File. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  3. 1 2 "John A. Barrasso (profile)". Who Runs Gov. The Washington Post. Archived from the original on August 18, 2010. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  4. "Barrasso's Biography". Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  5. "Our Campaigns - WY US Senate - R Primary Race - Aug 20, 1996". Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  6. "Statewide Legislative Abstract -- Official General Election Results" (PDF). November 5, 2002. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  7. "Statewide Legislative Candidates Official Summary : Wyoming General Election" (PDF). November 7, 2006. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  8. Template:Citation web
  9. Moen, Bob (June 22, 2007). "Wyoming governor appoints GOP state Sen. John Barrasso to replace late U.S. Sen. Craig Thomas". Associated Press. Archived from the original on June 28, 2009 via by the Union-Tribune.
  10. Kraushaar, John (June 22, 2007). "State senator John Barrasso appointed to fill vacant Wyoming Senate seat". Politico. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  11. Silver, Nate (April 18, 2013). "Modeling the Senate's Vote on Gun Control". The New York Times.
  12. "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress - 1st Session". Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  13. "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". U.S. Senate. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  14. Bash, Dana; Fox, Lauren; Barrett, Ted (May 9, 2017). "GOP defends having no women in health care group". Retrieved 2017-06-14.
  15. Bryan, Bob (June 9, 2017). "'We have no idea what's being proposed': Democratic senator gives impassioned speech on GOP healthcare bill secrecy". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-06-17.
  16. Litvan, Laura (June 13, 2017). "Senate Republicans Are Writing Obamacare Repeal Behind Closed Doors". Retrieved 2017-06-17.
  17. Scott, Dylan (June 9, 2017). "Senate Republicans are closer to repealing Obamacare than you think". Vox. Retrieved 2017-06-17.
  18. Broder, John M. (October 6, 2009). "C.I.A. Climate Center Irks Barrasso". The New York Times (blog post). Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  19. Broder, John M. (January 31, 2011). "Wyoming Senator Seeks to Lasso E.P.A." The New York Times (blog post). Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  20. Schlossberg, Tatiana (January 17, 2017). "What Should Senators Ask Scott Pruitt, Trump's E.P.A. Nominee? Here's What Readers Said". The New York Times. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  21. Cusack, Bob (June 5, 2014). "Republican leader: Climate change science 'not known'". The Hill. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  22. "Newsmakers with Senator John Barrasso". Newsmakers. C-SPAN. June 5, 2014. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  23. Sheppard, Kate (April 19, 2016). "Senate Republicans Want To Cut Funding For UN Climate Change Agency, Because Palestine". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  24. "John Barrasso". National Environmental Scorecard. League of Conservation Voters. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  25. Herzog, Katie (November 16, 2016). "Well, that snowballed quickly". Grist. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  26. Davenport, Coral (January 16, 2016). "U.S. Pledges to Ease Pain of Closing Coal Mines in Shift to Cleaner Energy". The New York Times. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  27. Inhofe, James; et al. (May 25, 2017). "[Letter to Donald J. Trump]". U.S. Senate. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  28. "The Republicans who urged Trump to pull out of Paris deal are big oil darlings". The Guardian. June 1, 2017. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  29. Morton, Tom (June 23, 2007). "Casper wishes Barrasso well in D.C." Casper Star Tribune. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  30. "Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)". Roll Call. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  31. "Sen. Barrasso announces his engagement". Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  32. Barrasso, United States Senator John. "United States Senator John Barrasso". Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  33. "Casper Chamber of Commerce". Retrieved 29 August 2018.
Wyoming Senate
Preceded by
Bruce Hinchey
Member of the Wyoming Senate
from the 27th district

Succeeded by
Bill Landen
Party political offices
Preceded by
Craig Thomas
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Wyoming
(Class 1)

2008, 2012, 2018
Most recent
Preceded by
Lisa Murkowski
Vice Chair of the Senate Republican Conference
Succeeded by
Roy Blunt
Preceded by
John Thune
Chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Craig Thomas
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Wyoming
Served alongside: Mike Enzi
Preceded by
Lisa Murkowski
Ranking Member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee
Succeeded by
Jon Tester
Preceded by
Jon Tester
Chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee
Succeeded by
John Hoeven
Preceded by
Jim Inhofe
Chair of the Senate Environment Committee
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jon Tester
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Roger Wicker
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