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Sanford Dixon Bishop Jr. (born February 4, 1947) has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1993, representing the 2nd District of Georgiamarker ( map). The district is located in the southwestern part of the state and includes Albanymarker, Thomasvillemarker and most of Columbusmarker.

Early life, career, and family

Bishop was born in Mobile, Alabamamarker to Minnie B. Slade and Sanford Dixon Bishop, who was the first president of Bishop State Community Collegemarker. He was educated at Morehouse Collegemarker and Emory University School of Lawmarker, and served in the United States Army, entering the Reserve Officer Training Corps. While at Morehouse, he was a classmate of Herman Cain. After receiving his honorable discharge, Bishop operated a law firm in Columbus, Georgiamarker, and was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1977, where he remained until being elected to the Georgia Senate in 1990.

He has received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), given to Eagle Scouts for distinguished career achievement. He is a member of BSA's Order of the Arrow (OA) and as a youth was on the OA ceremonies team. He is a resident of Albany, Georgiamarker, where he is a member of the Mount Zion Baptist Church. Bishop is a Life Member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc initiated at Morehouse College's Pi Chapter. Bishop is a Shriner and 33° Mason.

On September 10, 2007, Sanford Bishop endorsed Barack Obama for President and is co-chair of Georgia for Obama campaign; Bishop's wife, Vivian Creighton Bishop, a municipal court clerk in Columbus, was co-chair of the Georgia Women for Hillary committee.

Congressional career

After only one term in the Georgia State Senate, he ran for the Democratic nomination in the 2nd District, which was held by six-term Democrat Charles Hatcher. Bishop finished second behind Hatcher in a crowded six-way primary, forcing Hatcher into a runoff. In the runoff, Bishop attacked Hatcher for bouncing 819 checks in the House banking scandal. In addition, the 2nd had been reconfigured as a black-majority district during congressional apportionment following the 1990 Census. He won handily in November, and was reelected with little difficulty in 1994.

In 1995, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court ruled that this redistricting violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. However, in 1998, Bishop was able to win reelection in the newly redrawn district, which was now 60 percent white. He has only faced one serious contest since then; in 2000 he narrowly fought off Republican Dylan Glenn, a young black Republican who received strong backing from many national Republican leaders.

He is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Arguably the most conservative African-American in Congress, Bishop is a member of the Blue Dog Democrats, a group of moderate to conservative Democrats in Congress. Serving a primarily agricultural district, Bishop has fought to preserve the federal price supports for peanuts, southwest Georgia's most important crop. In 2005, he caused considerable controversy within his own party by cosponsoring a bill by U.S. Representative Ernest Istook (R-Oklahomamarker) to introduce a constitutional amendment to protect religious expression on public property.

On October 10, 2002, Sanford Bishop was one of only four of 36 Congressional Black Caucus members who voted for the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War. The other three Congressional Black Caucus members who voted for the resolution authorizing the Iraq War are no longer members of Congress: Bill Jefferson (D-LAmarker), Albert Wynn (D-MDmarker), and Harold Ford, Jr. (D-TNmarker), now chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council.

An Ethics Committee violation investigation has been launched to see if U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop knew his daughter and son-in-law were employed by a local youth program to which he steered federal funding, and state authorities have also launched an investigation into possible misappropriation of funds at the program.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said the investigation is focused on the Muscogee County Junior Marshal program based in Columbus. Authorities have not said who has been interviewed in connection with the investigation.

Committee assignments


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