Nicholas Valentino Lampson (born February 14, 1945) is an American politician from the state of Texas and a former Congressman representing the 22nd Congressional District and the 9th Congressional District of Texas. He is the founder of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children Caucus, a former member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and remains one of NASA's fiercest advocates.
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Texas's 22nd district
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2009
|Preceded by||Shelley Sekula-Gibbs|
|Succeeded by||Pete Olson|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Texas's 9th district
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2005
|Preceded by||Steve Stockman|
|Succeeded by||Al Green|
|Born||February 14, 1945|
Beaumont, Texas, U.S.
|Residence||Beaumont, Texas (1945-2006, 2009-present)|
Stafford, Texas (2006-2009)
|Alma mater||Lamar University|
|Occupation||Chief Operations Officer, Riceland Healthcare|
Lampson was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas's 9th congressional district from 1997 to 2005. After an extremely controversial mid-decade redistricting, he lost his congressional seat in 2004. In 2006, he was elected to Congress to represent the Republican leaning 22nd district, represented by Tom DeLay, the former Republican Majority Leader and architect of the redistricting plan targeting Lampson. He lost his re-election bid in 2008 to Republican Pete Olson. In 2012, Lampson was defeated by the Republican Randy Weber in his attempt to return to Congress in Ron Paul's old congressional district. The gerrymandered districts in which he ran succeeded in preventing a member of the Democratic Party from being elected. He served a total of five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to his time in Congress, Lampson served nearly twenty years as the Jefferson County tax assessor-collector. He is currently the Vice President of Operations at a regional healthcare company in Southeast Texas.
Early life, education, and early political careerEdit
Lampson is a lifelong resident of Southeast Texas and a second-generation Italian-American. His grandparents came to the United States from Italy one hundred years ago and settled in Stafford, where they had farms and were founding members of their church. His parents grew up, met, and married in Fort Bend County. Lampson's mother and father eventually moved to Beaumont, where he was born.
Lampson is one of six children born to a welder and a homemaker. His father died when he was 12 years old, and Lampson took his first job at that young age sweeping floors to supplement the family's income. Lampson's mother received $19 per month from Social Security as long as he stayed in school. This money helped his family stay together in those difficult years. This would later influence his commitment to protecting Social Security.
Though Lampson's mother had only a fifth grade education, she encouraged her children in school, and all six graduated from college with at least one degree. His mother earned her GED on her 80th birthday. Lampson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a master's degree in education from Lamar University, where he was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He taught high school science at Hebert High School in Beaumont. An inner calling to be of service to others, and the experience of interning with Congressman Jack Brooks in 1969, led him to seek public office.
In 1976, Lampson was elected tax assessor-collector for Jefferson County and served nearly twenty years. He instituted an emphasis on customer service, successfully pushed for major upgrades in computer technology, and reduced the cost of collecting taxes by $3 million a year. He resigned from his post in order to run for congress.
First period in Congress (1997–2005)Edit
In the 1996 election, Lampson decided to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Texas's 9th congressional district. The incumbent was Republican U.S. Congressman Steve Stockman, who was a freshman in congress. The district had been represented by Democrat Jack Brooks for 42 years, but Brooks had been one of the most prominent Democratic incumbents to lose re-election in the "Republican Revolution" of 1994, which brought the House under the control of Republicans for the first time since the 83rd United States Congress following the 1952 elections. Lampson won the Democratic primary with 69% of the vote. In the general election, he defeated Stockman 53%-47%.
He won re-election to a second term against Republican Tom Cottar 64%-36%.
He won re-election to a third term against Republican Paul Williams 59%-40%.
He won re-election to a fourth term against Republican Paul Williams 59%-40%.
Lampson was one of the prime targets of a controversial mid-decade redistricting in 2003. His district was renumbered as the 2nd district. Galveston, which along with Beaumont had anchored the district and its previous incarnations for over a century, was moved into the neighboring 14th District. Much of Galveston County and the portion of Houston including NASA's Johnson Space Center (which had been part of the 9th since 1967) were drawn into DeLay's 22nd District. They were replaced by several heavily Republican areas north and east of Houston.
In the 2004 election, Lampson opted to run for reelection in the 2nd District. His Republican opponent was Ted Poe, a longtime district court judge in Harris County, home to most of Houston. Poe defeated Lampson, 56%-43%. Though Beaumont and Jefferson County gave Lampson a majority, he was swamped in the Harris County portion of the district, which supported Poe with 70% of the vote. He was one of several Democratic incumbents that were successfully removed from office as a direct result of Tom Delay's controversial mid-decade redistricting plan.
Second period in Congress (2007–2009)Edit
On May 4, 2005, Lampson announced his candidacy in Texas's 22nd congressional district, which had been held by DeLay for 20 years. In the 2003 redistricting, DeLay drew much of Lampson's former territory into his own 22nd district, including part of Galveston County (but not Galveston city) and the Johnson Space Center. Lampson had briefly considered a so-called "kamikaze" run against DeLay. He moved to Stafford, a city halfway between Houston and Sugar Land, where his grandparents immigrated to from Italy.
Conservative media pundits criticized Lampson's decision to run in the 22nd. Fred Barnes of Fox News Channel called him "a carpetbagger" who "moved into" DeLay's district. However, Lampson had represented all of the 22nd's portion of Galveston County, as well as part of its share of Houston, during his first stint in Congress. Also, as mentioned above, he had family connections in the district.
The 22nd had long been considered a solidly Republican district, with a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+15. A Democratic presidential candidate had not carried the district since the Texan Lyndon B. Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater in the 1964 election. Democrats had not held the congressional seat since after the 1978 election. The 2008 presidential candidate Ron Paul had held the seat as a Republican before DeLay took over in 1985. Historically, among districts in the Houston area, only the 7th District has been considered more Republican.
DeLay, who was then the House Majority Leader, was seen as vulnerable. He had only won re-election by 14 points in 2004 against a relatively unknown Democrat who spent virtually no money—an unusually close margin for a party leader. Many experts believed that as a result of DeLay's attempts to make the other Houston-area districts more Republican, his own district was more competitive than the one he'd represented for his first 10 terms in Congress. Most importantly, DeLay had been investigated for corruption and was indicted on conspiracy and money laundering charges. DeLay denies all allegations and a Texas judge dismissed the former charge in late 2006; still, this damaged DeLay's credibility in the campaign.
On April 4, 2006, DeLay withdrew his candidacy for the upcoming November midterm elections in the face of questions about his ethics; he cited troubling poll numbers as the reason. Lampson announced on August 17, 2006, that three major police associations had endorsed him: the National Association of Police Organizations, the International Union of Police Associations, and the Texas State Police Coalition.
Texas Governor Rick Perry announced on August 29, 2006, that a special election would take place for the balance of DeLay's 11th term, coinciding with the general election on November 7, 2006. This meant that voters voted once in the special election for a candidate to fill DeLay's seat during the lame-duck session of the 109th Congress, and voted a second time for a candidate to represent the district in the 109th Congress. Lampson ran only for the full term, facing Republican Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs.
On September 22, 2006, The Hotline ranked Texas' 22nd Congressional District House race as third (up from a previous ranking of fifth) in a list of the top 30 House races in the country. Additionally, other traditionally conservative organizations backed Lampson's candidacy. The National Rifle Association and the Veterans of Foreign Wars both supported Lampson in the 2006 election.
Three national political journals—the Cook Political Report, Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, and Congressional Quarterly—rated the race as Leans Democratic. On October 30, 2006, a Zogby poll commissioned by the Houston Chronicle-KHOU-TV was released, showing the write-in candidate, Sekula-Gibbs, at 27.9 percent and Lampson at 36 percent, with nearly 25 percent still undecided.
Lampson defeated Sekula-Gibbs in the November 7 election, 52 to 42 percent, with the remaining 6 percent going to Libertarian Bob Smither. He officially returned to Congress on January 4, 2007. But, DeLay was still on the ballot as the official Republican candidate (Democrats successfully sued to prevent Sekula-Gibbs' from replacing DeLay on the ballot, forcing her to run a write-in campaign). Meanwhile, Sekula-Gibbs ran unopposed in the special election. This caused confusion for many voters, who were told repeatedly "write in Sekula-Gibbs" but then found her name on the ballot. This resulted in a large (but unreleased) number of excluded votes for Tom DeLay in the general election. Numerous ballots were discarded, including all straight-party votes and direct votes for DeLay. This caused a small outcry of resentment from supporters of Sekula-Gibbs, who felt the election was stolen and their votes disfranchised.
The two elections held on the same day resulted in Sekula-Gibbs winning to serve the last two months of DeLay's term, while Lampson won the seat for a full term, starting in January 2007.
Lampson faced reelection in 2008 against Pete Olson, an attorney and a former aide to Senators Phil Gramm and John Cornyn. Despite the perception that the district was more competitive than the one DeLay represented for his first 10 terms, the 22nd was considered a heavily Republican district. It gave Bush 64 percent of the vote in 2004. By most accounts, it was one of the few realistic chances for a Republican challenger to unseat a Democrat in what was forecast to be a bleak year for Republicans.
On November 4, 2008, Olson defeated Lampson with 52.5% of the vote to Lampson's 45.3%. Lampson carried the Galveston County portion of the district, but could not overcome a 15,900-vote deficit in Harris County.
Congressional Missing and Exploited Children CaucusEdit
Perhaps best known as a tireless advocate for the protection of American children, Lampson brought the issues of child abduction and exploitation into the collective consciousness of the House, Senate, and nation. Just months into his first term, a family in Lampson's district suffered a widely publicized tragedy. A 12-year-old girl from Friendswood was abducted on April 3, 1997 and found murdered two weeks later on April 20. Lampson established the first-ever Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus, which now numbers more than 120 members from both parties.
Lampson introduced a concurrent resolution agreed to in the House and Senate expressing the sense of the Congress on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction urging America's allies to recommend the production of practice guides to fight against child abduction. He introduced the “Protecting Our Children Comes First Act of 2007” which was passed in the House and Senate, and signed by President George W. Bush into law. It reauthorized the Missing Children's Assistance Act through FY 2013 and increased federal resources for protecting and assisting missing children and their families. This legislation provided the resources to ensure that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children could continue its important work to combat child abduction and exploitation. He also introduced and passed the SAFE Act of 2007 in the U.S. House of Representatives. Its intent was to amend the federal criminal code to expand the reporting requirements of electronic communication and remote computing service providers with respect to violations of laws prohibiting sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. Provisions of Lampson’s legislation were adopted in the PROTECT Our Children Act of 2008, passing both chambers of Congress, and ultimately signed into law. He committed himself to sponsoring and co-sponsoring various pieces of legislation geared towards the protection and safety of children. His leadership initiated community, state, and national efforts to combat the growth of child abduction and exploitation leading to the national AMBER Alert System, Code Adam, Know The Rules, and the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. It became the largest bi-partisan, issue-based caucus in the House and inspired the creation of an identical caucus in the Senate.
NASA's Johnson Space CenterEdit
Representing the interests of NASA's Johnson Space Center remains one of Lampson's proudest responsibilities in Congress. The international relationships he established encouraged cooperation across both party lines in the name of space exploration and the peaceful uses of outer space. He led various efforts over the years to increase funding for the space program, notably in 2007, when he secured $300 million more than was requested in President Bush's budget proposal. In 2008, twelve House members from Texas and 18 others from across the country, led by Lampson, successfully urged House leaders to add $2 billion to NASA's budget. The additional funding allowed for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, which measures antimatter in cosmic rays and searches for evidence of dark matter, to be installed on the International Space Station. In 2002 he introduced the Space Exploration Act. This bill was written to establish long-term goals for NASA and its space program. Much of the bill was adopted as policy under the Bush administration.
NATO Parliamentary AssemblyEdit
Lampson participated in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, an organization of representatives of parliaments from each of the member nations. He was involved in the effort to expand NATO to include all of the Balkan states following the dissolution of the USSR. Traveling to each of the countries, Lampson served as a delegate to help determine their membership eligibility. Lampson’s influence on international matters was amplified when he served as chairman of the German Study Group, an inter-parliamentary assembly between the German Bundestag and U.S. House of Representatives. The abduction of American children by a non-custodial parent and failure of countries such as Germany in honoring the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction were of particular concern to him. It was his leadership that led to Germany re-evaluating their non-compliance and honoring the enforcement of international treaties compelling them to intervene in the return of abducted children to their country of origin.
Committee and Caucus InvolvementsEdit
During his tenure in Congress, Lampson served as chairman of the House Science Subcommittee on Energy, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Committee on Agriculture, and chairman of the Congressional Study Group on Germany. Lampson was also active in issue-oriented Congressional caucuses, including Manufactured Housing, Correctional Officers, I-69 Highway, Coast Guard, Coastal, Human Rights, Spina Bifida, Cancer, Asian and Pacific American and Arts.
2012 Congressional ElectionEdit
After 14th District U.S. Congressman Ron Paul decided that he would not run for re-election to Congress in order to focus on his presidential campaign, Lampson filed papers to run for Congress in that 14th District. The 14th had been shifted well to the east in redistricting, and now included roughly 85 percent of the territory Lampson had represented during his first stint in Congress. Notably, Beaumont and Galveston, the largest cities in Lampson's old district, were now in the 14th. Lampson won the May 29, 2012 primary with 83.23% of the vote and faced State Rep. Randy Weber in the November 6th general election. Lampson was defeated by Weber on November 6, 2012 by a 53% to 45% margin. Lampson only carried his home county of Jefferson County and was unable to overcome the partisan lean of a district that was significantly redder than the territory he had previously represented.
2018 Judicial ElectionEdit
Lampson ran for county judge of Jefferson County in 2018. His opponent was Republican incumbent Jeff R. Branick. The election was held on November 6th, 2018. He lost the election, 50.63% to 49.37%. Being out of office for ten years, going up against a two time incumbent, and the displacement of thousands of residents after Hurricane Harvey were contributing factors in not overcoming the 949 vote deficit. Governor Greg Abbott, Senator Ted Cruz, and Sean Hannity made public appearances in Jefferson County in order to rally support for the vulnerable incumbent who had recently switched to the Republican Party. Lampson was endorsed by the Beaumont Enterprise. He focused his campaign on securing relief for victims of Hurricane Harvey and diversifying the economic development of Jefferson County.
Outside Elected OfficeEdit
Lampson has worked on seniors' issues at the local and national levels as a director of the Area Agency on Aging. He served as a delegate to the 1995 White House Conference on Aging. He is active with local organizations such as the American Heart Association, Land Manor (a rehabilitation facility), and the Young Men's Business League. He is a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He was chair of the 1995 Bishop's Faith Appeal at the Diocese of Beaumont.
Awards and HonorsEdit
In 2019, Austria's Habsburg family honored Lampson with the "Medal of Friendship" in recognition of his work as a leading advocate for the NASA space program, the relationships he built with international partners, and his overall commitment to peace.
In 2012, Nick was honored as one of the "Legends of Galveston" at the Hilton Galveston Island Resort.
In 2008, Lampson was honored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with their prestigious "Spirit of Enterprise Award" in recognition of his pro-business voting record. During the same year he was the recipient of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Guardian of Small Business Award in recognition of his strong voting record and his efforts to increase business opportunities, reduce taxes, and eliminate overly burdensome taxes in the 110th Congress.
In 2004, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children honored Lampson with the Congressional Leadership Award in recognition of his commitment to protecting American children. National television network Court TV honored Lampson with its first annual “Keep America Safe” award for his work on child safety issues.
In 2002, the Houston Chronicle ranked Lampson #1 in constituent services among all other Houston area congressmen.
He was recognized as the Outstanding Young Man of Beaumont in 1978 by the Texas Jaycees.
Lampson is married to Susan Floyd-Lampson, a retired special education teacher and former Ms. Port Arthur. They have two daughters, Hillary and Stephanie, and six grandchildren. He and his family reside in their hometown of Beaumont. He currently serves as the Vice President of Operations at a regional healthcare company and administrator over their hospice program. He also owns restaurants in Port Arthur and Bridge City.
|1996||Nick Lampson *||83,782||44%||Steve Stockman *||88,171||46%||Geraldine Sam||Democratic||17,887||9%|
|1996||Nick Lampson||59,225||53%||Steve Stockman||52,870||47%|
|1998||Nick Lampson||86,055||64%||Tom Cottar||49,107||36%|
|2000||Nick Lampson||130,143||59%||Paul Williams||87,165||40%||F. Charles Knipp||Libertarian||2,508||1%|
|2002||Nick Lampson||86,710||59%||Paul Williams||59,635||40%||Dean L. Tucker||Libertarian||1,613||1%|
|2004||Nick Lampson||108,156||43%||Ted Poe||139,951||56%||Sandra Leigh Saulsbury||Libertarian||3,931||2%|
|Year||Democrat||Votes||Pct||Republican||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct|
|2006||(no candidate)||Shelley Sekula-Gibbs||76,924||62%||Bob Smither||Libertarian||23,425||19%||Steve Stockman||Republican||13,600||11%||*|
|2006||Nick Lampson||76,775||52%||(no candidate)||Shelley Sekula-Gibbs||Write-in||61,938||42%||Bob Smither||Libertarian||9,009||6%||*|
|2008||Nick Lampson||139,879||45%||Pete Olson||161,600||52%||John Wieder||Libertarian||6,823||2%|
- Gamboa, Suzanne (November 5, 2008). "Olson upends Lampson in closely watched race". Dallas Morning News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 8 November 2008. Retrieved 5 November 2008.
- Pinkerton, James. "GOP's Weber beats Lampson in race to succeed Ron Paul", Houston Chronicle, November 7, 2012.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2008-04-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- CBS News article
- Toronto Global and Mail article[permanent dead link]
- NBC News
- Galveston Daily News Archived 2006-04-26 at the Wayback Machine
- National Journal article Archived 2008-05-17 at the Wayback Machine
- Kristen Mack, "Write-in for DeLay spot has a shot" Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine, Houston Chronicle, October 30, 2006
- "Lampson, Olson Scheduled To Debate In Rosenberg At Chamber Event". FortBendNow.com. June 6, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-08.[dead link]
- Anand, Easha (October 28, 2008). "Down the Homestretch: Texas's 22nd District (Democratic Incumbent)". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-10-28.
- Thurlkill, Jason (October 27, 2008). "Houston Chronicle/Zogby: Olson has 17 point lead over Lampson, Culberson holding off Skelly". PolitickerTX.com. Retrieved 2008-10-28.[permanent dead link]
- "Houston Politics" (PDF). Zogby International. Houston Chronicle. October 22, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 29, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-28.
- Sabato, Larry (October 30, 2008). "The Last Word--Almost". Rassamussen Reports. Retrieved 2008-10-30.
- Pinkerton, James. GOP's Weber beats Lampson in race to succeed Ron Paul, Houston Chronicle, November 7, 2012.
- "2008 Spirit of Enterprise Awards". U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 2013-12-15. Retrieved 2019-06-30.
- "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Archived from the original on 2007-12-26. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- "2008 General Election Results". Secretary of State. State of Texas. November 4, 2008. Retrieved November 6, 2008.[dead link]
- Official U.S. Congressional campaign site
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Profile at SourceWatch
- Biography and issue positions at Votimus.com
- Nick Lampson at Curlie
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 9th congressional district
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 22nd congressional district