Open main menu

Leon William Paxon (born April 29, 1954) is a lobbyist and former member of the United States House of Representatives from New York.

Bill Paxon
Bill Paxon.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 27th district
In office
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 1999
Preceded byJames T. Walsh
Succeeded byThomas M. Reynolds
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 31st district
In office
January 3, 1989 – January 3, 1993
Preceded byJack Kemp
Succeeded byAmo Houghton
Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 147th district
In office
January 1, 1983 – December 31, 1988
Preceded byRichard L. Kennedy
Succeeded byThomas M. Reynolds
Personal details
Leon William Paxon[1]

(1954-04-29) April 29, 1954 (age 65)
Akron, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Susan Molinari (1994-present)
RelativesGuy Molinari (father-in-law)
ResidenceAlexandria, Virginia
Alma materCanisius College


Early lifeEdit

Paxon was born in Akron, New York, near Buffalo. At the age of 15, Paxon volunteered for the first congressional campaign of former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jack Kemp. Kemp, decades later, was the Republican Vice Presidential nominee in 1996.

Paxon graduated from St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute high school in 1972, and then from Canisius College. He was elected to the Erie County Legislature in November 1977 at the age of 23, making him the youngest member ever when elected. In addition, he holds honorary doctorates from Daemen College, Roberts Wesleyan College and Canisius College.

Political careerEdit

Paxon was a member of the New York State Assembly from 1983 to 1988, sitting in the 185th, 186th and 187th New York State Legislatures.

He was elected to the 101st, 102nd, 103rd, 104th and 105th United States Congresses, holding office from January 3, 1989, to January 3, 1999. Paxon chaired the Republican House Leadership committee during the 105th Congress. In 1992, Paxon was elected to chair the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Leadership challengeEdit

In the summer of 1997 several House Republicans, who saw Newt Gingrich's public image as a liability, attempted to replace him as Speaker. The challenge began July 9 with a meeting between Republican conference chairman John Boehner of Ohio and Republican leadership chairman Paxon. According to their plan, House Majority Leader Dick Armey, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, Boehner and Paxon were to present Gingrich with an ultimatum: resign, or be voted out. However, Armey balked at the proposal to make Paxon the new Speaker, and told his chief of staff to warn Gingrich about the coup.[2][3]

On July 11, Gingrich met with senior Republican leadership to assess the situation. He explained that under no circumstance would he step down. If he was voted out, there would be a new election for Speaker, which would allow for the possibility that Democrats, along with dissenting Republicans, would vote in Dick Gephardt as Speaker. On July 16, Paxon offered to resign his post, feeling he had not handled the situation correctly, as the only member of the leadership who had been appointed to his position, by Gingrich, instead of elected.[4]

Later careerEdit

After leaving Congress, Paxon became an advisor to GOP congressional members.[5][6]

Following his 21-year public service career, Paxon joined the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where, since January 1999, he has advised a wide range of public and private sector clients on policy issues. He has consistently been rated one of Washington's top lobbyists.[citation needed]

Paxon was hired by Boeing to lobby members of Congress.[7]

Personal lifeEdit

While in Congress, the conservative Paxon worked closely with moderate then Rep. Susan Molinari R-Staten Island, who is now a lobbyist. They married on July 3, 1994 and live in Alexandria, Virginia.[8] They have two daughters, Susan Ruby and Katherine Marie.


  1. ^ "Better get a fix on Paxon and shoot his star down". The Buffalo News. December 21, 1995. Archived from the original on 2018-01-12. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
  2. ^ "Attempted Republican Coup: Ready, Aim, Misfire". CNN. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  3. ^ "Attempted Republican Coup: Ready, Aim, Misfire". CNN. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  4. ^ Gingrich, Newt (1998). Lessons Learned the Hard Way. HarperCollins Publishers. pp. 159–60. ISBN 978-0-06-019106-1.
  5. ^ Kurtz, Howard. "Moving to the Right". The Washington Post. April 19, 2006.
  6. ^ "The press breaks out: once used only by activists, outing is growing popular with mainstream reporters". The Advocate. October 13, 1998.
  7. ^ Carney, Timothy. "Who were Boeing's lobbyists?"[permanent dead link]. Washington Examiner. February 24, 2011.
  8. ^ "MOLINARI, Susan | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". Retrieved 2017-05-05.

External linksEdit

New York Assembly
Preceded by
Richard L. Kennedy
Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 147th District

Succeeded by
Thomas M. Reynolds
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jack Kemp
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 31st congressional district

Succeeded by
Amo Houghton
Preceded by
James T. Walsh
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 27th congressional district

Succeeded by
Thomas M. Reynolds
Party political offices
Preceded by
Guy Vander Jagt
Chairman of National Republican Congressional Committee
Succeeded by
John Linder