John Barrasso

John Anthony Barrasso III (/bəˈrɑːs/ bə-RAH-soh; born July 21, 1952) is an American physician and politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Wyoming. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served in the Wyoming State Senate.

John Barrasso
John Barrasso official portrait 112th Congress.jpg
United States Senator
from Wyoming
Assumed office
June 25, 2007
Serving with Cynthia Lummis
Preceded byCraig L. Thomas
Chair of the Senate Republican Conference
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
DeputyJoni Ernst
LeaderMitch McConnell
Preceded byJohn Thune
Ranking Member of the Senate Energy Committee
Assumed office
February 3, 2021
Preceded byJoe Manchin
Chair of the Senate Environment Committee
In office
January 3, 2017 – February 3, 2021
Preceded byJim Inhofe
Succeeded byTom Carper
Chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee
In office
January 3, 2015 – January 3, 2017
Preceded byJon Tester
Succeeded byJohn Hoeven
Member of the Wyoming Senate
from the 27th district
In office
January 3, 2003 – June 22, 2007
Preceded byBruce Hinchey
Succeeded byBill Landen
Personal details
John Anthony Barrasso III

(1952-07-21) July 21, 1952 (age 68)
Reading, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Linda Nix (divorced)
Bobbi Brown
(m. 2008)
EducationRensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Georgetown University (BS, MD)
WebsiteSenate website

Born and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania, Barrasso graduated from Georgetown University, where he received his B.S. and M.D. He conducted his medical residency at Yale University before moving to Wyoming and beginning a private orthopedics practice in Casper. Barrasso was active in various medical societies and associations.

Barrasso first ran for U.S. Senate in 1996, narrowly losing the Republican primary to Mike Enzi. In 2002, he was elected to the State Senate, where he stayed until his appointment to the U.S. Senate after the 2007 death of incumbent Craig L. Thomas. He was elected to finish Thomas's term in 2008 and reelected in 2012 and 2018. In 2018, Barrasso was selected as chair of the Senate Republican Conference.[1] He is the dean of Wyoming's congressional delegation.

Early life, education, and medical careerEdit

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.[2] He is a 1970 graduate of the former Central Catholic High School, which in 2011 merged with Holy Name High School to form Berks Catholic High School.[citation needed] Barrasso attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (where he became a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity) for two years before transferring to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. He 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, after completing of his residency at Yale, Barrasso moved to Wyoming, with his wife at the time, Linda Nix.[3] He joined a private orthopedic practice in Casper and for a time was the Wyoming Medical Center's chief of staff.[3] 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.[4] He was named Wyoming Physician of the Year. The Wyoming National Guard awarded Barrasso the Medal of Excellence for his services to the National Guard, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars gave him a Legislative Service Award for his support of Wyoming's veterans.

Barrasso was a board-certified orthopedic surgeon in private practice in Casper from 1983 to 2007.[4][5]

1996 U.S. Senate electionEdit

Barrasso ran for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1996 for the seat being vacated by Republican Alan K. Simpson, losing narrowly to State Senator Mike Enzi, 32% to 30%, in a nine-candidate election.[6]

Wyoming SenateEdit

Barrasso was elected to the Wyoming Senate unopposed in 2002[7] and reelected unopposed in 2006.[8]

During his time in the State Senate he served as chairman of the Transportation and Highways Committee.[9]

U.S. SenateEdit

Barrasso with President Donald Trump in 2018


On June 22, 2007, Governor Dave Freudenthal appointed Barrasso to replace Senator Craig L. Thomas, who died earlier that month. Under state law, Freudenthal was able to consider only three individuals chosen 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 member of the United States House of Representatives and its junior U.S. senator, and former Republican State Chairman and lobbyist Tom Sansonetti, a former aide to Thomas. Matt Mead, grandson of former Senator Clifford P. Hansen, also sought the nomination, as did the 2006 gubernatorial nominee Ray Hunkins, a Wheatland rancher and lawyer. Mead was elected governor of Wyoming in 2010, and Lummis was elected to Congress in 2008. When he was appointed, Barrasso said he would also run in the November 2008 special election to fill the remainder of Thomas's term.



Barrasso announced on May 19, 2008, that he would run in the general election in 2008 to serve the remainder of Thomas's 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. 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 reelection 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.


Barrasso was reelected with 67% of the vote, the lowest percentage of his three U.S. Senate campaigns and the closest a Democrat came to winning the seat since the 1996 election.


Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John Barrasso in Jerusalem on January 3, 2014

At the time of his appointment to the U.S. Senate 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".[10]

Committee assignmentsEdit

Political positionsEdit


When Barrasso ran for the 1996 Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, he presented himself as a supporter of abortion rights.[11][3] During his tenure in the Wyoming Legislature, he sponsored an unsuccessful bill to treat the killing of a pregnant woman as a double homicide.[3] He has voted to prohibit federal funding for abortion.[12]

Gun lawsEdit

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

In April 2013, Barrasso was one of 46 senators to vote against a bill that would have expanded background checks for all gun buyers. He voted with 40 Republicans and 5 Democrats to stop the bill.[13]

Health careEdit

Barrasso voted against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in December 2009,[14] and against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[15] He was part of the group of 13 senators drafting the Senate version of the American Health Care Act of 2017, a proposed replacement for Obamacare that failed to pass.[16][17][18][19]


Barrasso opposed the CIA's creation of its Center on Climate Change and National Security in 2009.[20] In 2011, he introduced a bill that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from limiting carbon dioxide emissions.[21]

Barrasso denies anthropogenic climate change,[22] rejecting the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is progressing, dangerous, and primarily human-caused. Asked in 2014 whether human activity contributes to climate change, he said, "The climate is constantly changing. The role human activity plays is not known."[23][24][25] As of October 2020 Barrasso has a 7% lifetime score on the National Environmental Scorecard of the League of Conservation Voters.[26][27] He was a leading critic of the President Barack Obama's climate change policies.[28]

Barrasso, Enzi and Senator Pat Roberts introduced a bill to remove tax credits for electric cars.[29] In December 2018, he published a New York Times op-ed stating his belief in climate science and climate change but opposing a carbon fee and dividend.[30]

Barrasso co-authored and was one of 22 senators to sign a letter[31] to President Donald Trump urging Trump to withdraw the United States 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.[32] In 2018 alone he received over $690,000 in funding from oil and gas companies.[33]

In 2019, Barrasso inaccurately claimed that "livestock will be banned" as a result of the Green New Deal, and said we needed to "say goodbye to dairy, to beef, to family farms, to ranches. American favorites like cheeseburgers and milkshake would become a thing of the past."[34]

In September 2020, Barrasso supported a measure to dramatically limit the use of hydrofluorocarbons, used in refrigerants and other applications that have contributed to global warming. Sixteen other Republican U.S. Senators joined him in voting for the bill,[35] which represented a substantial departure from climate change denialism and mimics the Kigali Amendment, which the Trump administration did not support. Joint efforts by U.S. manufacturers, environmentalists, and even right-wing operatives such as Freedom Works[36] appear to have persuaded those lawmakers. "This agreement protects both American consumers and American businesses," Barrasso said. "We can have clean air without damaging our economy."[35]

Criminal justiceEdit

Barrasso opposed the FIRST STEP Act, legislation which sought to reform the federal prison system. The bill passed 87–12 on December 18, 2018.[37]

Foreign policyEdit

Barrasso opposed the Russian-backed Nord Stream 2—a pipeline to deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany. Bloomberg News reported, "Congress brought forward bills authorizing the administration to levy sanctions against a consortium of five European energy companies that have partnered with [Russia's main gas company] Gazprom; at least one bill, sponsored by Republican Senator John Barrasso, would make them mandatory."[38]

Donald TrumpEdit

After it was revealed in November 2018 that Trump had business dealings with Russia while a candidate in the 2016 election, Barrasso said, "The president is an international businessman; I’m not surprised he was doing international business." Asked whether Trump should have disclosed those business ties during the campaign, Barrasso said, "There were so many things involved in the 2016 campaign, it’s hard to point to what one thing influenced voters."[39][40] Barrasso joined Trump on Thanksgiving 2019 in a surprise visit to American troops stationed at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. At the time, approximately 370 Wyoming National Guard soldiers were deployed in Europe and the Middle East, the most since 2009.[41]

In December 2019, Barrasso appeared to promote Senator John Kennedy's views supporting the discredited conspiracy theory of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.[42]

In February 2021, Barrasso opposed the second impeachment of Donald Trump, calling it a "partisan crusade."[43] On February 13, 2021, Barrasso voted to acquit Trump of inciting the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.[44]

Personal lifeEdit

Barrasso has three children. He is divorced from Linda Nix and married to his second wife, Bobbi Brown.[45][46] 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 director of Barrasso's state senate offices, announced their engagement. Brown then resigned from her position in Barrasso's state Senate offices.[47] They were married on January 1, 2008, in Thermopolis.[48]

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. He is a member of the Casper Chamber of Commerce.[49] He identifies as a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA).[50]

Election historyEdit

Republican primary results[51]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Barrasso (incumbent) 68,194 100.00
Total votes 68,194 100.00
United States Senate special election in Wyoming, 2008[52]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican John Barrasso (incumbent) 183,063 73.35% +3.37%
Democratic Nick Carter 66,202 26.53% -3.33%
None Write-ins 293 0.12%
Majority 116,861 46.83% +6.70%
Turnout 249,558
Republican hold Swing
Republican primary results[53]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Barrasso (incumbent) 73,516 89.9
Republican Thomas Bleming 5,080 6.2
Republican Emmett Mavy 2,873 3.5
Republican Write-in 279 0.3
Total votes 81,748 100
United States Senate election in Wyoming, 2012[54]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican John Barrasso (incumbent) 185,250 75.66% +2.31%
Democratic Tim Chesnut 53,019 21.65% -4.88%
Wyoming Country Joel Otto 6,176 2.52% N/A
n/a Write-ins 417 0.17% +0.05%
Total votes 244,862 100.0% N/A
Republican hold
Republican primary results, Wyoming 2018[55]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Barrasso (incumbent) 74,292 64.76%
Republican Dave Dodson 32,647 28.46%
Republican John Holtz 2,981 2.60%
Republican Charlie Hardy (withdrawn) 2,377 2.07%
Republican Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente 1,280 1.16%
Republican Anthony Van Risseghem 870 0.7%
Write-in 267 0.23%
Total votes 114,714 100%
United States Senate election in Wyoming, 2018[56]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican John Barrasso (incumbent) 136,210 66.96% -8.70%
Democratic Gary Trauner 61,227 30.10% +8.45%
Libertarian Joseph Porambo 5,658 2.78% N/A
Write-in 325 0.16% N/A
Total votes 203,420 100% N/A
Republican hold

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Bolton, Alexander. "McConnell reelected as leader, Thune promoted to whip". The Hill. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  2. ^ " Home Page". Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Lancaster, John (May 31, 2011). "Rising from the Right: Barrasso's rise in Senate follows increasingly conservative course". Wyo File. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "John A. Barrasso (profile)". Archived from the original on August 18, 2010. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  5. ^ "Barrasso's Biography". Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  6. ^ "Our Campaigns - WY US Senate - R Primary Race - Aug 20, 1996". Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  7. ^ "Statewide Legislative Abstract -- Official General Election Results" (PDF). November 5, 2002. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  8. ^ "Statewide Legislative Candidates Official Summary : Wyoming General Election" (PDF). November 7, 2006. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  9. ^ "Barrasso: Streamline Projects to Help Rebuild America's Infrastructure". February 7, 2018. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Kraushaar, John (June 22, 2007). "State senator John Barrasso appointed to fill vacant Wyoming Senate seat". Politico. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  12. ^ "John Barrasso on Abortion". Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  13. ^ Silver, Nate (April 18, 2013). "Modeling the Senate's Vote on Gun Control". The New York Times.
  14. ^ "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress - 1st Session". Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  15. ^ "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". U.S. Senate. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  16. ^ Bash, Dana; Fox, Lauren; Barrett, Ted (May 9, 2017). "GOP defends having no women in health care group". CNN. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  17. ^ 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 June 17, 2017.
  18. ^ Litvan, Laura (June 13, 2017). "Senate Republicans Are Writing Obamacare Repeal Behind Closed Doors". Bloomberg. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  19. ^ Scott, Dylan (June 9, 2017). "Senate Republicans are closer to repealing Obamacare than you think". Vox. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  20. ^ Broder, John M. (October 6, 2009). "C.I.A. Climate Center Irks Barrasso". The New York Times (blog post). Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  21. ^ Broder, John M. (January 31, 2011). "Wyoming Senator Seeks to Lasso E.P.A." The New York Times (blog post). Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Cusack, Bob (June 5, 2014). "Republican leader: Climate change science 'not known'". The Hill. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  24. ^ "Newsmakers with Senator John Barrasso". Newsmakers. C-SPAN. June 5, 2014. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ "John Barrasso". National Environmental Scorecard. League of Conservation Voters. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  27. ^ Herzog, Katie (November 16, 2016). "Well, that snowballed quickly". Grist. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ Lambert, Fred (February 6, 2019). "Republican senators push new bill to kill electric vehicle tax credit completely and add new EV tax". Electrek. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  30. ^
  31. ^ Inhofe, James; et al. (May 25, 2017). "[Letter to Donald J. Trump]". U.S. Senate. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  32. ^ "The Republicans who urged Trump to pull out of Paris deal are big oil darlings". The Guardian. June 1, 2017. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  33. ^ NW, The Center for Responsive Politics 1300 L. St; Washington, Suite 200; fax857-7809, DC 20005 telelphone857-0044. "Sen. John A Barrasso - Campaign Finance Summary". OpenSecrets. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  34. ^ Lewis, Bobby (February 20, 2019). "How Republicans have seen red over Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  35. ^ a b In rare bipartisan climate agreement, senators forge plan to slash use of potent greenhouse gas, Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson, September 10, 2020. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  36. ^ Maguire, Robert (October 24, 2013). "More than Kochs, Small Donors Fueled Heritage Action in 2012". Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  37. ^ Levin, Marianne. "Senate approves Trump-backed criminal justice overhaul". Politico. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  38. ^ "The Right (and Wrong) Way to Deal With Nord Stream 2". Bloomberg. November 27, 2018.
  39. ^ "Cohen's guilty plea suggests Russia has 'leverage' over Trump, top Democrat says". Washington Post. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  40. ^ "Cohen cooperation is proof of Russian 'leverage' over Trump, Rep. Nadler says". NBC News. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  41. ^ "Sheridan Media News". Archived from the original on November 30, 2019.
  42. ^ Costa, Robert; Demirjian, Karoun (December 3, 2019). "GOP embraces a debunked Ukraine conspiracy to defend Trump from impeachment". Washington Post. Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  43. ^ Fike, Ellen (February 9, 2021). "Barrasso: Impeachment of Trump Will Do Nothing". Cowboy State Daily. Retrieved February 11, 2021.
  44. ^
  45. ^ Morton, Tom (June 23, 2007). "Casper wishes Barrasso well in D.C." Casper Star Tribune. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  46. ^ "Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)". Roll Call. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  47. ^ "Sen. Barrasso announces his engagement". Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  48. ^ Barrasso, United States Senator John. "United States Senator John Barrasso". Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  49. ^ "Casper Chamber of Commerce". Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  50. ^ "McDaniel: As Presbyterians, Trump, Enzi and Barrasso made a covenant". Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Retrieved January 30, 2020.
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^ "Statewide Candidates Official Summary" (PDF). Secretary of State of Wyoming. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  54. ^
  55. ^ Statewide Candidates Official Summary
  56. ^

External linksEdit

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
Chair of the Senate Republican Conference
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Craig Thomas
U.S. senator (Class 1) from Wyoming
Served alongside: Mike Enzi, Cynthia Lummis
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
Succeeded by
Tom Carper
Preceded by
Joe Manchin
Ranking Member of the Senate Energy Committee
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jon Tester
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Roger Wicker