Lynn A. Westmoreland
Georgia), a politician from the U.S.
state of Georgia, has been a member of the U.S. House of
since 2005, and currently serves as a Republican
. The district, which included most of the
former 8th District during his first term, stretches from the far
southern Atlanta suburbs to
the suburbs of Columbus.
Georgia House of Representatives
his election to the United States
Congress, Westmoreland owned a construction company and worked
as a real estate developer after dropping out of Georgia State
He also served in the Georgia House of
beginning in 1993 and began serving as the
House Republican Leader in 2001, until he resigned from that
position to pursue his Congressional campaign in late 2003. He
continued to serve in the Georgia House until his election to the
U.S. House in 2004.
During his time as the Republican Leader in the Georgia House, he
led the fight against redistricting by the Democratic majority in
2001, and then was instrumental in the re-redistricting that took
place in 2005 after Republicans won control of the Georgia
legislature in the 2004 elections.
United States House of Representatives
Westmoreland won a plurality of votes in the Republican primary
election in 2004, but faced fellow Republican Dylan Glenn in a
runoff. Westmoreland received 55.5% of the vote in the runoff. The
district was so heavily Republican that Westmoreland's primary
victory was tantamount to election in November. He routed his
opponent, businesswoman Silvia Delamar, with almost 76 percent of
the vote. He was handily reelected in 2006 after his district was
renumbered as the 3rd and made even more Republican.
During his first term in the 109th United States Congress
Westmoreland was appointed to the U.S. House Committee on Small
, U.S. House Committee on
, and the U.S.
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
In 2005, Westmoreland received criticism for spreading a memo to
fellow House members that consisted of auto-industry talking
points, verbatim, even using the same font as the auto-industry
document. An aide defended him, saying, "such behavior is standard
As a U.S. congressman, Westmoreland cosponsored a bill to place the
in the House of
Representatives and the Senate
Westmoreland also sponsored a bill that the Ten Commandments could
be displayed in courthouses in a historical setting. In May 2006,
political humorist Stephen Colbert
interviewed Westmoreland for The
show segment Better Know a District
during the interview, asked Westmoreland to name the Ten
Commandments. Westmoreland was only able to name three of
Westmoreland led a group of congressmen who opposed the 2006
renewal of certain provisions in the Voting Rights Act
that require nine
Southern states and a number of counties (mostly in the South) to
obtain Federal permission for certain changes to election law or
changes in venue. Westmoreland and his colleagues claimed that it
was no longer fair to target their states, given the passage of
time since 1965 and the changes their states had made to provide
fair elections and voting. Despite Westmoreland's objections, a
strong bipartisan majority renewed the Voting Rights Act for
another 25 years without changes.
In 2008, Westmoreland ran unopposed in the Republican primary and
was re-elected after defeating his Democratic opponent Stephen
Camp. After his win, Westmoreland announced that he was considering
running for the office of the governor of Georgia
but later indicated in an April 2009 press release that he would
On September 4, 2008, Westmoreland described Democratic
nominee Barack Obama
and his wife
," a pejorative historically used to
describe African-Americans who have made economic, social, or
political progress. He told reporters: "Just from what little I’ve
seen of her and Mr. Obama, Senator Obama, they're a member of an
elitist-class individual that thinks that they're uppity,"
Westmoreland said. Asked to clarify that he used the word “uppity,”
Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah.”
The ensuing media attention compelled Westmoreland to issue the
following statement: "I’ve never heard that term used in a racially
derogatory sense. It is important to note that the dictionary
definition of ‘uppity’ is ‘affecting an air of inflated self-esteem
— snobbish.’ That’s what we meant by uppity when we used it in the
mill village where I grew up."
In response to Westmoreland's comment, social commentator and comic
Westmoreland as a "stupid cracker" on his show The Colbert Report
on September 5, 2008.
In the same show, in an update of a "Better Know a District"
segment, Colbert also accused Westmoreland of being part of the
"do-nothing Congress" and that he was the "do-nothingest"
Republican, that he voted against providing relief to Hurricane Katrina
victims, and that he
advocates eliminating the United States Department of Education.
Colbert also replayed the ten commandments interview from May 2006.
On November 24, 2008 Congressman Westmoreland was also mocked by
's character on the TV show
for the same
U.S. House committee assignments
Westmoreland grew up in metro Atlanta. He attended Georgia State
University but dropped out to work in a family construction
business, in which he later became an executive.
Georgia, with his wife, Joan; they have three children and
- Election districts drawing attention - The
Washington Times: Nation/Politics - February 26, 2005
- The New Republic
- Just who is this 'Stephen Colbert' character?,
June 9, 2008, CNN.
- The Resonance of Racism, April 16, 2008,
- Westmoreland Calls Obama Uppity, September 4,
2008, The Hill.
- Audio recording of Rep. Westmoreland referring to
Obamas as "uppity"
- Video of Colbert Report segment