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James Mountain "Jim" Inhofe (born November 17, 1934) is an Americanmarker politician from Oklahomamarker. A member of the Republican Party, he currently serves as the senior Senator from Oklahoma. He is among the most vocal global warming skeptics in Congress. Inhofe often cites the Bible as the source for his positions on various political issues.

Early life

Inhofe was born in Des Moinesmarker, Iowamarker and moved with his family to Tulsa, Oklahomamarker, when he was a child. He was a member of the Class of 1953 at Tulsa Central High Schoolmarker, and served in the United States Army from 1957 to 1958.

In 1959, Inhofe married Kay Kirkpatrick, with whom he has four children.

Inhofe received a B.A. degree from the University of Tulsamarker in 1973, at the age of 38.

In his business career, Inhofe was a real estate developer and became president of the Quaker Life Insurance Company; during this time, the company went into receivership. It was liquidated in 1986.

Political career

Inhofe became active in Oklahoma Republican politics in the mid-1960s.

He was a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1967 to 1969, and a member of the Oklahoma Senate from 1969 until 1977, the last four of those years as minority leader. During his time in the state senate, he ran twice for election to other positions: for Governor of Oklahoma in 1974, losing to Democrat David Boren, and in 1976, losing a race to represent Oklahoma's First Congressional District (which was based in Tulsa) to incumbent Democrat James R. Jones. He served as mayor of Tulsa from 1978 to 1984.

House career

In 1986, when Jones retired, Inhofe made another bid for Congress from the 1st congressional district. This time, he won and he continued to serve in Congress from 1987 until 1994, being handily re-elected every two years in what rapidly became a strongly Republican district. He first came to national attention in 1993, when he led the effort to reform the House's Discharge petition rule, which the House leadership had long used to bottle up bills in committee.

Senate career

In 1994, incumbent Sen. David Boren, who had been serving in the Senate since 1979, agreed to become president of the University of Oklahomamarker and announced he would resign as soon as a successor was elected. Inhofe won the Republican nomination for the November special election and was swept to victory amid a strong Republican tide that saw the Republicans take both houses of Congress and elected the state's second-ever Republican governor. He took office on November 17, his 60th birthday, giving him a bit more Senatorial seniority than the incoming class of senators. After serving the last two years of Boren's term, he won his first full term in 1996. He was re-elected in 2002 and 2008.

Only Texasmarker senator John Cornyn received more campaign donations from the oil and gas industry than Inhofe in the 2002 election cycle. The contributions Inhofe has received from the energy and natural resource sector since taking office have exceeded one million dollars.

Committee membership

Inhofe, as of the 111th Congress, is a member of the following committees:

Political views

Inhofe is one of the most conservative members of either house of Congress (the eighth-most conservative Senator, according to the March 2007 National Journal rankings of Liberal/Conservative members of Congress.)

As a member of the Armed Services Committee, he was among the panelists questioning witnesses about the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse. There he made news by claiming he was "outraged by the outrage" over the revelations of abuse, suggesting that shock at the crimes was more offensive than the crimes themselves. In 2006, Inhofe was one of only nine senators to vote against the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 which prohibits "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of individuals in U.S. Government custody.

Environmental issues

Inhofe, former chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, is a strong critic of the scientific consensus that climate change is occurring as a result of human activities. In a July 28, 2003, Senate speech, Inhofe claimed to offer "compelling evidence that catastrophic global warming is a hoax. That conclusion is supported by the painstaking work of the nation's top climate scientists." He cited as support for this the 1992 Heidelberg Appeal and the Oregon Petition (1999), as well the opinions of individual scientists that he named. In his speech, Inhofe also claimed that, "satellite data, confirmed by NOAA balloon measurements, confirms that no meaningful warming has occurred over the last century." However the satellite temperature record corroborates the well-documented warming trend noted in surface temperature measurements. Additionally, the satellite record begins in 1979 and the balloon record effectively in 1958, so it is unclear what Inhofe means by "last century". Inhofe's views have been opposed by climate scientists.

In a 2006 interview with the Tulsa World newspaper, Inhofe said regarding the environmentalist movement, "It kind of reminds... I could use the Third Reich, the Big Lie... You say something over and over and over and over again, and people will believe it, and that's their [the environmentalists'] strategy... A hot summer has nothing to do with global warming. Let's keep in mind it was just three weeks ago that people were saying, 'Wait a minute; it is unusually cool...." He then said, "Everything on which they [the environmentalists] based their story, in terms of the facts, has been refuted scientifically." Inhofe had previously compared the United States Environmental Protection Agency to the Gestapomarker and he compared EPA Administrator Carol Browner to Tokyo Rose. He had also made allegations that the Weather Channel is behind the alleged global warming hoax, so as to attract viewers. Inhofe had previously claimed that Global Warming is "the second-largest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state."

Inhofe, claiming uncertainties related to climate science and the adverse impact that mandatory emission reductions would have on the U.S. economy, voted on June 22, 2005 to reject an amendment to an energy bill that would have forced reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases and created a mandatory emissions trading scheme. "Global warming is still considered to be a theory and has not come close to being sufficiently proven", he said.

Inhofe has similarly criticized predictions of ozone depletion, particularly in relation to the Arctic.

In 2006, Inhofe gave a speech in the Senate in which he argued that the threat of global warming was exaggerated by "the media, Hollywoodmarker elites and our pop culture." Inhofe claimed that "From the late 1920s until the 1960s they [the media] warned of global warming. From the 1950s until the 1970s they warned us again of a coming ice age. This makes modern global warming the fourth estate's fourth attempt to promote opposing climate change fears during the last 100 years." He also accused the media of ignoring scientists such as Roger A. Pielke and William Gray who, Inhofe claims, disagree with global warming.

In 2006, Inhofe introduced Senate Amendment 4682 with Kit Bond (R-MO). This bill would have released the Army Corps of Engineers from oversight by independent review committees; according to the League of Conservation Voters, analyses for Corps projects "have been manipulated to favor large-scale projects that harm the environment." During the 109th Congress, Inhofe voted to increase offshore oil drilling, to include provisions for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refugemarker in the House Budget Amendment, and to deny funding for both low-income energy assistance and environmental stewardship, citing heavy costs and unproven programs. As of 2006, the League of Conservation Voters has given Inhofe the lowest possible score on environmental issues.

Support for Israel

In a Senate speech (March 4, 2002) James M. Inhofe presented his position on the "seven reasons that Israelmarker has the right to their land"

These are summarized as follows:

  1. Archeological evidence. Excerpt: "Every time there is a dig in Israel, it does nothing but support the fact that Israelis have had a presence there for 3,000 years"
  2. Historic right. Inhofe's case includes the historic presence of Israel prior to the Roman Empire, and the promise given to the Jews by Britain in 1917 to provide a Jewish homeland.
  3. Agricultural development. That Israel has been "able to bring more food out of a desert environment than any other country in the world."
  4. Humanitarian Concerns. Inhofe argues that due to the extent of their persecution - he cites Russia - and their slaughter - during World War Two by the Nazis - the Jews are entitled to a homeland, and that this is not an unreasonable demand.
  5. Strategic Ally of the United States. "They vote with us in the United Nations more than England, more than Canada, more than France, more than Germany -- more than any other country in the world."
  6. Israel acts as an effective roadblock to terrorism. In this part of his speech, Inhofe refers to four wars which Israel has fought and won (as of the date of his speech, dated 2002): "The 1948 War of Independence, the 1956 Sinai campaign, the 1967 Six Day War, and the 1973 Yom Kippur War." And he states that "In all four cases, Israel was attacked. They were not the aggressor ... In regard to their effectiveness They are great warriors. They consider a level playing field being outnumbered 2-to-1." He also states at this point that, "One of the reasons I believe the spiritual door was opened for an attack against the United States is that the policy of our government has been to ask the Israelis, and demand it with pressure, not to retaliate in a significant way against the terrorist strikes that have been launched against them."
  7. Biblical references. Inhofe states, "I believe very strongly that we ought to support Israel, and that it has a right to the land, because God said so."

In a Senate speech, Inhofe said that America should base its Israelmarker policy on the text of the Bible:

In March 2002, Inhofe also made a speech before the U.S. Senate that included the explicit suggestion that the 9/11 attacks were a form of divine retribution against the U.S. for failing to defend Israel. In his words: "One of the reasons I believe the spiritual door was opened for an attack against the United States of America is that the policy of our Government has been to ask the Israelis, and demand it with pressure, not to retaliate in a significant way against the terrorist strikes that have been launched against them."


Inhofe wrote the Inhofe Amendment to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, which was debated in Congress in May 2006. The amendment would make English the national language of the United States and require that new citizens take an English proficiency test. The amendment was passed on May 18, 2006 with 32 Democrats, 1 independent, and 1 Republican dissenting. The measure had 11 cosponsors, including one Democrat.

In the debate, Inhofe cited a 2005 Zogby Poll showing 84% of Americans support making English the official language of governmental operations, including 71% of Hispanics. He also noted that 27 states and 51 nations have made English their official language and that the Office of Management and Budget estimated that it costs taxpayers between $1–2 billion to provide language assistance under President Clinton’s Executive Order 13166 that created the entitlement to services provided in any language other than English.

Student loans

Sen. Inhofe is one of a small minority of senators opposed to expanding access to students by lowering interest rates. According to the Claremore Daily Progress, Inhofe was one of 12 senators who voted against a 2007 bill to cut interest rates on student loans in half from 6.8% to 3.4%. The bill passed 79-12.

LGBT rights

Inhofe has generally been seen as overtly hostile by LGBT advocacy groups, earning a 0% in every one of his terms on Human Rights Campaign's position scorecard. Inhofe is in favor of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, against adding sexual orientation to the definition of hate crimes, and voted against prohibiting job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Inhofe’s office has said he “does not hire openly gay staffers due to the possibility of a conflict of agenda.”

Inhofe campaigned for his Senate seat in 1994 using the phrase "God, guns, and gays," reflecting his ability to master political support in opposition to gay rights in general (and gays in the military in particular). This phrase came to be a popular term for GOP campaign strategy, with Howard Dean and other politicians using it in the 2004 election cycle. In 2008 his campaign was noted by the Associated Press for running an ad with "anti-gay overtones" featuring a wedding cake with two male figures on top, fading into his opponent's face.

On June 6, 2006, in a speech on the Senate floor about the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment, Inhofe said, pointing at a large photograph of his family:

GI Bill reform

Inhofe, an initial sponsor of Senator Jim Webb's Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, subsequently withdrew support for this bill to support S 2938, a competing bill that would have provided benefits beyond those offered in Webb's bill. However, Inhofe nevertheless did vote to enact Webb's legislation in June 2008.


Trained by the US Navy, Inhofe is one of the very few national politicians who is licensed as a commercial pilot, and he has always been influential in Senate and Congressional debates involving aircraft regulation. He has been noted for using his plane in 1994 as a daily campaign vehicle to crisscross Oklahoma and visit almost every town in the state.

Electoral history

: Results 1986–1992
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1986 61,663 43% 78,919 55% Independent 3,445 2%
1988 93,101 47% James Inhofe 103,458 53%
1990 Kurt G. Glassco 59,521 44% James Inhofe 75,618 56%
1992 John Selph 106,619 47% James Inhofe 119,211 53%

Oklahoma Senator (Class II)]]: Results 1990–2008
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1990 735,684 83% Stephen Jones 148,814 17%
1994 392,488 40% 542,390 55% Danny Corn Independent 47,552 5%
1996 Jim Boren 474,162 40% James Inhofe 670,610 57% Bill Maguire Independent 15,092 1% Agnes Regier Libertarian 14,595 1%
2002 369,789 36% James Inhofe 583,579 57% James Germalic Independent 65,056 6%
2008 527,736 39% James Inhofe 763,375 57% Stephen Wallace Independent 55,708 4%

*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1996, Chris Nedbalek received 8,691 votes. **David Boren resigned his seat in 1994 to head up the University of Oklahoma; Inhofe won the special election to fill the rest of his term.

See also


  1. Chris Mooney, The Republican War on Science, page 75. Basic books, 2005. ISBN 978-0-465-04675-1
  2. "Serving Christ in the Senate", Today's Pentecostal Evangel June 30, 2002
  3. Andrea Eger, "Central grads to be honored", Tulsa World, November 12, 2000.
  4. "James Mountain Inhofe, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress"
  5. "Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier". Association of the United States Army (broken link)
  6. Hyde Mulvihill APC Lawyers — "Insurers in Liquidation, Rehabilitation and under Conservation/Supervision"
  7. Top 20 Recipients of Oil & Gas contributions, 2002
  8. Contributions to James Inhofe by sector
  10. Text of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 (Department of Defense, Emergency Supplemental Appropriations to Address Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and Pandemic Influenza Act, 2006/Division A/Title X), SEC. 1003. PROHIBITION ON CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT OF PERSONS UNDER CUSTODY OR CONTROL OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT: In this section, the term `cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment´ means the cruel, unusual, and inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, as defined in the United States Reservations, Declarations and Understandings to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  11. Senate Supports Interrogation Limits
  12. Inhofe Delivers Major Speech On The Science Of Climate Change
  13. 'The Science of Climate Change Senate Floor Statement by U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe'
  14. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate of 2004 Annual Review, section on temperature trends
  15. Heat wave has senator sticking to beliefs
  16. "James Inhofe proves "flat Earth" doesn't refer to Oklahoma.". Chris Mooney. The American Prospect, April 13, 2004.
  17. "I think we have got a Tokyo Rose running the EPA." - Inhofe's remarks to the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, as reported in the Tulsa World, November 18, 1997.
  18. Lawmakers hear of interference in global warming science. CNN. January 31, 2007
  19. Inhofe appearance on "Fox & Friends", January 30, 2007. Video available at
  20. Charles P. Pierce. In Praise of Oklahoma. The American Prospect
  21. The Science of Climate Change — Senate Floor Statement by U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe
  22. Text of speech by James Inhofe in the Senate on 25 Sept 2006 on global warming. Accessed 28 Sept 2006.
  23. LCV Scorecard
  24. League of Conservation Voters
  25. PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST, Senate Floor Statement by U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla)
  26. Crackpot Theology Makes Bad Foreign Policy, The Cato Institute
  27. Zogby Poll Zogby Poll
  28. Inhofe and student loans. Claremore Daily Progress. October 1, 2007
  29. HRC profile of James Inhofe
  30. James Inhofe On the Issues
  31. Reprinted in Seattle Times, "Senate takes up fight on banning gay marriages" Chicago Tribune - Chicago, Ill. Jill Zuckman and Anastasia Ustinova, Washington Bureau. Jul 11, 2004
  32. The Freshmen: What Happened to the Republican Revolution?, Linda Killian, 1999. Basic Books. "From there it was on to Hominy, where Inhofe walked up and down Main Street and stopped by the local coffee shop to shake some hands. He told the morning customers the Senate race could be summed up by the "three Gs - God, gays, and guns." Inhofe claimed Dave McCurdy was a liberal Washington insider out of touch with what Oklahomans care about, who was against prayer in schools, for gays in the military and gun control, and who voted with Bill Clinton more than 80 percent of the time."
  33. Jacob Weisberg. " Why It's Even Worse For Clinton Than You Think," New York Magazine, November 21, 1994, page 41. Inhofe describes how the phrase came to be in The Associated Press via USA Today, Ron Jenkins, September 18 2008. "Inhofe, in a telephone interview from Washington, recalled that 14 years ago he was told by a small group in Hugo that he would carry McCurtain County, a Democratic stronghold in southeastern Oklahoma. He said he asked the Hugo residents why he would win, "and they said because of the three G's. They're the ones who came up with that and it became almost a chant out there.""
  34. Referenced in The Wall Street Journal Opinion Section. James Taranto, Tuesday, November 11, 2003. Originally appeared on, in a now inaccessible article by Bill Cotterell, who wrote: "Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean said Tuesday that Southerners must stop basing their votes on "race, guns, God and gays" and forge a multiracial coalition that focuses next year's presidential election on jobs, health care and a foreign policy reflecting American values. In a wide-ranging luncheon address to the Capital Tiger Bay Club, the former Vermont governor also said U.S. Sen. Bob Graham is on his "short list" for vice president - if he wins the top spot at the Democratic National Convention in Boston next summer. Dean called Graham, who said Monday that he won't run for re-election to the Senate, "one of the greatest public servants in the United States." An enthusiastic throng of Dean supporters filled the courtyard of the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center to greet Dean, the first active presidential candidate to campaign in Tallahassee."
  35. Think Progress, Faiz Shakir, September 18 2008.
  36. The Associated Press via Tulsa World, September 17 20088
  37. Senate prepares for GI Bill showdown - Army News, opinions, editorials, news from Iraq, photos, reports - Army Times
  38. United States Senate Roll Call Votes, 110th Congress, 2nd Session, accessed September 1, 2009.
  39. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association says this about Inhofe: "An active pilot for more than 50 years, aircraft owner and AOPA member, Sen. Jim Inhofe has been at the forefront of every aviation debate since arriving in Congress in 1986, offering his real-world perspective. He was a major force behind passage of the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994 that is credited with reviving aviation manufacturing in America. During the current battle over user fees, Senator Inhofe spent countless hours working behind the scenes to educate his colleagues in the Senate about the negative impacts of a user fee-funded system. He even took the unusual step of testifying before the Senate’s aviation subcommittee to explain his opposition to user fees and the detrimental impact it would have on general aviation. Oklahoma pilots can be proud of Senator Inhofe’s accomplishments and dedication to work on issues affecting pilots."
  40. The Freshmen: What Happened to the Republican Revolution?, Linda Killian, 1999. Basic Books. "Inhofe, one of Congress's few certified commercial pilots, has been crisscrossing the state in his 1969 Piper Aztec and managed to visit almost every town in Oklahoma before the end of the campaign."

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