Virginia Foxx

Virginia Ann Foxx (née Palmieri;[1][2] June 29, 1943) is an American 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.[3] 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.

Virginia Foxx
Virginia Foxx official photo.jpg
Ranking Member of the House Education and Labor Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Preceded byBobby Scott (Education and the Workforce)
Chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee
In office
January 3, 2017 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byJohn Kline
Succeeded byBobby Scott (Education and Labor)
Secretary of the House Republican Conference
In office
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2017
LeaderJohn Boehner
Paul Ryan
Preceded byJohn Carter
Succeeded byJason T. Smith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 5th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2005
Preceded byRichard Burr
Member of the North Carolina Senate
In office
January 1, 1995 – January 1, 2005
Preceded byAlexander Paul Sands III
Fred Folger Jr.
Succeeded byJohn A. Garwood
Constituency12th District (1995-2003)
45th District (2003-2005)
Personal details
Virginia Ann Palmieri

(1943-06-29) June 29, 1943 (age 78)
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Thomas Foxx
(m. 1963)
EducationUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (BA)
University of North Carolina at Greensboro (MA, EdD)
WebsiteHouse website

Early life, education and careerEdit

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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[2][6] Foxx and her husband owned and operated a nursery and landscaping business.[6]

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.[6] From 1994 to 2004, she served in the North Carolina Senate.[7]

United States House of RepresentativesEdit

Committee assignmentsEdit

Caucus membershipsEdit

Political campaignsEdit

Virginia Foxx talking with constituents in Yadkinville, NC

Foxx was first elected to the U.S. House in 2004, defeating Jim Harrell, Jr. with 59% of the vote.[11]

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.[12] 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.[13]

In 2014, Foxx was reelected with about 60% of the vote, defeating software developer Josh Brannon.[14]

In 2016, Foxx was reelected with about 59% of the vote, again over Brannon.[15]

In 2018, Foxx was reelected with 57% of the vote, defeating DD Adams, a council member for the North Ward of Winston-Salem.[16]


Foxx during the 110th Congress

Hurricane KatrinaEdit

In September 2005, Foxx was one of 11 members of Congress to vote against[17] the $51 billion aid package to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Heroes Earned Retirement Opportunities (HERO) ActEdit

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.

Electronic Pay Stub ActEdit

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.[18] This bill was signed into law in October 2008.[19]

Troubled Asset Relief ProgramEdit

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.[citation needed]

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.[20]

In a 2007 interview, Foxx said, "We have the best economy we have had in 50 years."[21]

Opposition to LGBT rightsEdit

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."[22] Some media outlets, including the New York Times,[23] Washington Post,[24] and Huffington Post,[25] criticized her statements, as did Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz.[26] Democratic sources claimed that Matthew Shepard's mother was present during Foxx's statements.[26]

Foxx later retracted her comments, suggesting her use of the word "hoax" was in bad taste.[27] She suggested that Shepard's murder was a tragedy and that his killers had received appropriate justice.[27]

In 2010, Foxx voted against the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act.[28]

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.[29]

Health care debateEdit

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."[30] 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."[31][32]

Turkish American CaucusEdit

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.[33][34]

Opposition to birthright citizenshipEdit

In January 2013, Foxx co-sponsored legislation that would stop children born in the United States to undocumented parents from gaining citizenship.[35]

Trump impeachmentEdit

On December 18, 2019, Foxx voted against both articles of impeachment (abuse of power and obstruction of Congress) of President Donald Trump.

House securityEdit

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.[36][37][38]

COVID-19 pandemicEdit

Foxx, along with all other Senate and House Republicans, voted against the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.[39]

Political positionsEdit


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.[40] 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.[41]


  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (H.R. 803; 113th Congress) – Foxx introduced the bill on February 25, 2013.[42] The bill would consolidate job training programs under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) into a single funding stream.[43] It would also amend the Wagner-Peyser Act, reauthorize adult-education programs, and reauthorize programs under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.[43]
  • Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act (H.R. 4983; 113th Congress) – Foxx introduced this bill on June 26, 2014.[44] The bill would reserve $1 million from funding for the United States Department of Education to replace the current College Navigator website with a new site and change the type of information that the site would provide.[45] The bill also would amend the requirements for the department's net-price calculator, which provides details on the costs of post-secondary education.[45]
  • Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (H.R. 1313; 115th Congress) – Foxx introduced this bill on March 2, 2017.[46] The bill would eliminate the genetic privacy protections of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (Public Law 110–233); allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars; and let employers see that genetic and other health information.[47][48]
  • H.R. 150: Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency Act of 2019 (GREAT Act) -- introduced by Foxx on January 3, 2019.[49] Pertains to open data.

Texas v. PennsylvaniaEdit

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.[50]

2021 Electoral College vote certificationEdit

On January 6, 2021, Foxx was one of 147 Republican lawmakers who objected to the certification of electoral votes from the 2020 presidential election.[51]

Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment & Expungement Act (MORE) conflict of interestEdit

In December 2020, Foxx voted against the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment & Expungement Act (MORE).[52] 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.[53] In all, records show she has purchased somewhere between $79,000 and $210,000 in Altria stock.[54]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "First-term women members of the 109th Congress" (PDF). Government Printing Office. August 1, 2006. Retrieved 2012-07-19.
  2. ^ a b Foxx, Virginia Ann. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  3. ^ Sherman, Jake. "House committee chairs all men" Politico. (Published 27 Nov 2012) <> Retrieved 28 Nov 2012.
  4. ^ "Virginia Foxx". Raleigh News & Observer. Archived from the original on July 28, 2012. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  5. ^ "Celebrities, Notable Public Figures Reveal Their Most Memorable Teachers". National Education Association. Archived from the original on 2012-04-24.
  6. ^ a b c "About Virginia Foxx". Archived from the original on February 16, 2012. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  7. ^ "Biography". Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  8. ^ "Committees | Congresswoman Virginia Foxx". Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  9. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  10. ^ "Members". Congressional Constitution Caucus. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Statistics of the Presidential & Congressional Election of November 2, 2004" (PDF). United States House of Representatives. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  12. ^ WSJ Local News. 2007-09-30!localnews&s=1037645509099. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2018-10-23. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ "House Results Map". The New York Times.
  14. ^ "TWC News Politics".
  15. ^ New York Times
  16. ^ "NY Times Elections".
  17. ^ McMurray, Jeffrey (September 22, 2005). "Representatives stand by their votes against hurricane aid". Rome News-Tribune.
  18. ^ Hicks, Adam. "Foxx-Authored Bill Passes in Congress". July 31, 2008.
  19. ^ "Foxx's Legislation Signed into Law". Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  20. ^ Sec. 115 of Pub.L. 110–343 (text) (pdf)
  21. ^ "Congresswoman Virginia Foxx to Young Turks". Turk of America Magazine. Turkish Coalition of America. August 8, 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  22. ^ Mary Ann, Akers (2009-04-29). "Virginia Foxx: Matthew Shepard's Murder Not a Hate Crime". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
  23. ^ "Matthew Shepard Act". The New York Times. May 5, 2009. Retrieved 2012-07-19.
  24. ^ Akers, Mary Ann (April 29, 2009). "The Sleuth – Virginia Foxx: Matthew Shepard's Murder Not a Hate Crime". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2012-07-19.
  25. ^ Ryan, Grim (2009-05-30). "Virginia Foxx: Story of Matthew Shepard's Murder A "Hoax"". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2011-12-20.
  26. ^ a b Thrush, Glenn (April 29, 2009). "Matthew Shepard killed in non-bias "robbery," Foxx says". Politico. Retrieved 2012-07-19.
  27. ^ a b Malcolm, Andrew (April 30, 2009). "Rep. Virginia Foxx retracts word 'hoax' in Matthew Shepard murder". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-07-19.
  28. ^ Final Vote Results for Roll Call 317
  29. ^ "House Debate on the Equality Act". C-SPAN. May 17, 2019.
  30. ^ Tucker, Chad (July 30, 2009). "Virginia Foxx Uses Strong Words to Oppose Health Care Reform Bill". Archived from the original on August 2, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
  31. ^ "Rep. Foxx: Health Care Bill A Greater Threat Than Any Terrorist In The World". November 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
  32. ^ O'Brien, Michael (November 2, 2009). "Foxx: Health bill a greater threat than any terrorist". Retrieved 2009-11-02.
  33. ^[permanent dead link]
  34. ^ Taniş, Tolga (6 January 2011). "Ermeni tasarısı iki yıl yok". Hürriyet (in Turkish).
  35. ^ Foley, Elise (January 4, 2013). "Steve King Introduces Bill To Stop 'Anchor Babies'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  36. ^ Solender, Andrew. "Rep. Virginia Foxx Is Latest Republican Fined $5,000 For Evading Metal Detector: 'Good Thing No One Stopped Me'". Forbes. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  37. ^ McFall, Caitlin (2021-05-18). "Rep. Virginia Foxx becomes 5th House member fined for failing to pass through metal detectors". Fox News. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  38. ^ Zilbermints, Regina (2021-05-18). "Fourth House GOP lawmaker issued $5,000 metal detector fine". TheHill. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  39. ^ Carl Hulse (March 6, 2021). "After Stimulus Victory in Senate, Reality Sinks in: Bipartisanship Is Dead". New York Times.
  40. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron (2017-01-30). "Tracking Virginia Foxx In The Age Of Trump". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  41. ^ WXII 12 News (2014-10-15), Virginia Foxx talks immigration, abortion, debt limit, retrieved 2017-08-04
  42. ^ "H.R. 803 – All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  43. ^ a b "CBO – H.R. 803". Congressional Budget Office. 8 March 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  44. ^ "H.R. 4983 – All Actions". United States Congress. 2014-07-24. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  45. ^ a b "H.R. 4983 – CBO". Congressional Budget Office. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  46. ^ "H.R. 1313 – Text". United States Congress. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  47. ^ Willingham, Emily (March 10, 2017). "The GOP Wants To Let Your Boss Poke Around In Your Genome". Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  48. ^ Begley, Sharon (March 10, 2017). "House Republicans Would Let Employers Demand Workers' Genetic Test Results". Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  49. ^ "Congress: Bills: Government Operations and Politics". GovTrack. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  50. ^ Blood, Michael R.; Riccardi, Nicholas (December 5, 2020). "Biden officially secures enough electors to become president". AP News. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  51. ^ Yourish, Karen; Buchanan, Larry; Lu, Denise (January 7, 2021). "The 147 Republicans Who Voted to Overturn Election Results". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  52. ^ Porter, Jane (2021-09-10). "Report: U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx Opposes Marijuana Legalization But Invests in Cannabis Stock". INDY Week. Retrieved 2021-09-19.
  53. ^ "Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives". Retrieved 2021-09-19.
  54. ^ "Meet the anti-legalization GOP Congresswoman cashing in on marijuana stocks". Salon. 2021-05-29. Retrieved 2021-09-19.

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 5th congressional district

Preceded by Chair of the House Education Committee
Succeeded by
Preceded by Ranking Member of the House Education Committee
Party political offices
Preceded by Secretary of House Republican Conference
Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by