Stephen Allen Womack[1] (/ˈwˌmæk/ WOH-mack; born February 18, 1957) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Arkansas’s 3rd congressional district since 2011. The district, which was once represented by future Senator J. William Fulbright, covers much of northwestern Arkansas, including Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Springdale, and Womack’s hometown of Rogers. A member of the Republican Party, Womack was mayor of Rogers before his election to Congress.

Womack chaired the House Budget Committee from 2018 to 2019, and was its ranking member from 2019 to 2021.

Early life, education, and business career

Steve Womack as an Army National Guard lieutenant colonel in 2002

Womack was born in Russellville, Arkansas, the son of Elisabeth F. (Canerday) and James Kermit Womack.[2] He spent most of his childhood in Moberly, Missouri, but moved back to Russellville at age 16 and graduated from Russellville High School in 1975. He graduated from Arkansas Tech University in 1979. Shortly afterward, he enlisted in the Arkansas Army National Guard. He served for 30 years, retiring in 2009 as a colonel. Womack’s father founded KURM-AM in 1979, and Womack served as station manager from 1979 to 1990. He then served as executive officer of the Army ROTC program at the University of Arkansas from 1990 to 1996, then joined Merrill Lynch as a financial consultant.

Mayor of Rogers

In 1998, Womack was elected mayor of Rogers, holding the post for 12 years.[3] During his mayoralty, Womack sought to crack down on illegal immigration by assigning two Immigration and Naturalization Service agents to the Rogers Police Department.[4] As a result, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a class-action suit against the city’s police force, accusing it of racial profiling.[5]

Womack was reelected unopposed in 2002 and 2006.[6]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

2010

In late 2009, Womack jumped into the race for the 3rd District after incumbent Representative John Boozman announced that he would run for the United States Senate. The 3rd is one of the most Republican districts in the South and the nation (Republicans have held it since 1967), and it was generally believed that whoever won the Republican primary would be the district’s next representative. Womack ranked first in the seven-candidate primary with 31% of the vote.[7] In the June runoff, he defeated State Senator and fellow Rogers resident Cecile Bledsoe, 52%-48%.[8]

In the general election, Womack defeated Democratic nominee David Whitaker, 72%-28%.[9]

2012

Womack was originally set to face veteran Ken Aden in his reelection bid, but Aden withdrew from the race on July 8, after admitting to exaggerating his military record. As it was too late to select a replacement candidate for Aden (under Arkansas law, the Democratic Party could only name a replacement at that date if the original candidate died, moved out of the district or opted to seek another office), Womack faced no major-party opposition in November.[10] He was reelected with 76% of the vote.[11]

Tenure

Womack in 2011.

In 2010, Womack signed a pledge sponsored by Americans for Prosperity promising to vote against any global warming legislation that would raise taxes.[12]

Womack was a member of the House Appropriations Committee when in 2014[13] lawmakers inserted a prohibition into an appropriations bill that would prevent USDA staff from working on finishing regulations related to the meat industry.[14]

In a 2015 episode of his show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, John Oliver criticized Womack for blocking the enforcement of laws proposed by the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration that were designed to protect chicken farmers from being threatened or punished by the companies they work for if they spoke out regarding their farming experiences.[15]

In December 2017, Womack voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[16][17][18]

On May 19, 2021, Womack was one of 35 Republicans to join all 217 Democrats present in voting to approve legislation to establish the January 6 commission meant to investigate the storming of the U.S. Capitol.[19][20][21]

As of October 2021, Womack had voted in line with Joe Biden‘s stated position 15% of the time.[22]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Personal life

Womack attends Cross Church Pinnacle Hills, a Southern Baptist church in Rogers, Arkansas.[25]

Womack’s son, James Phillip Womack, was sentenced to nine years in prison on felony gun and drug charges in April 2019.[26]

Electoral history

YearOfficeDistrictDemocraticRepublicanLibertarianOther
2010U.S. House of RepresentativesArkansas’s 3rd districtDavid Whitaker27.56%Steve Womack72.44%
2012U.S. House of RepresentativesArkansas’s 3rd districtSteve Womack75.9%David Pangrac8.09%Rebekah Kennedy (G)16.01%
2014U.S. House of RepresentativesArkansas’s 3rd districtSteve Womack79.41%Grant Brand20.59%
2016U.S. House of RepresentativesArkansas’s 3rd districtSteve Womack77.31%Steve Isaacson22.69%
2018U.S. House of RepresentativesArkansas’s 3rd districtJoshua Mahony32.65%Steve Womack64.78%Michael Kalagias2.57%
2020U.S. House of RepresentativesArkansas’s 3rd districtCeleste Williams31.81%Steve Womack64.31%Michael Kalagias3.88%

References

  1. ^ “Rep. Steve Womack”. legistorm.com. LegiStorm. 2011. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  2. ^ “Ancestry® | Genealogy, Family Trees & Family History Records”. freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  3. ^ “Steve Womack (R)”. Election 2012. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  4. ^ “Arkansas Congressman Criticizes Constituent For Wearing Mexican Flag Shirt”. Fox News Latino. September 10, 2013. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  5. ^ A Town’s Two Faces. Newsweek (2001-06-04). Retrieved on 2011-06-24.
  6. ^ Bio at Rogers city site. Rogersarkansas.com. Retrieved on 2011-06-24.
  7. ^ “Our Campaigns – AR District 03 – R Primary Race – May 18, 2010”. www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  8. ^ “Our Campaigns – AR District 03 – R Runoff Race – Jun 08, 2010”. www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  9. ^ “Our Campaigns – AR – District 03 Race – Nov 02, 2010”. www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  10. ^ Brantley, Max (July 9, 2012). “Ken Aden dropping out of 3rd District congressional race”. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  11. ^ “Our Campaigns – AR – District 03 Race – Nov 06, 2012”. www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  12. ^ http://americansforprosperity.org/noclimatetax//wp-content/uploads/2010/04/womack.pdf
  13. ^ “What is the “GIPSA Rider” and why is the House once again attacking farmers’ rights?”. sustainableagriculture.net. June 17, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  14. ^ Arnsdorf , Isaac (June 5, 2019). “Chicken farmers thought Trump was going to help them, but his administration did the opposite”. msn.com. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  15. ^ Haas, Nathaniel (June 1, 2015). “John Oliver vs. chicken”. Politico. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  16. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (December 19, 2017). “How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill”. The New York Times. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  17. ^ Kamper, Deni (December 21, 2017). “What You Should Know About the New Tax Plan”. NWAHOMEPAGE. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  18. ^ “Senate OKs tax bill; House revote set”. Northwest Arkansas Democratic Gazette. December 20, 2017. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  19. ^ LeBlanc, Paul (May 19, 2021). “Here are the 35 House Republicans who voted for the January 6 commission”. CNN. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  20. ^ Roll Call 154 Bill Number: H. R. 3233 117th Congress, 1st Session, United States House of Representatives, May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  21. ^ How Republicans voted on a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Washington Post, May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  22. ^ Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (October 22, 2021). “Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?”. FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved October 28, 2021.
  23. ^ “Our Members”. U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  24. ^ “The Tuesday Group Still Lives”. National Review. June 20, 2013. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  25. ^ “Ten Southern Baptists sworn in as new reps”. bpnews.net. Baptist Press. 5 January 2011. Archived from the original on 26 December 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2019. Here is information on the new House members who have been confirmed to be members of Southern Baptist churches. Arkansas: Rep. Rick Crawford, First District, Nettleton Baptist Church, Jonesboro; Rep. Tim Griffin, Second District, Immanuel BC, Little Rock.; Rep. Steve Womack, Third District, Cross Church Pinnacle Hills, Rogers.
  26. ^ “Arkansas congressman’s son gets 9-year term in gun, drug case”. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Bentonville, Arkansas: WEHCO Media. 18 April 2019. ISSN 1060-4332. Archived from the original on 19 April 2019. Retrieved 2 December 2019. BENTONVILLE — The son of an Arkansas congressman was sentenced to nine years in prison last week after pleading guilty to drugs and firearm-related charges. James Phillip Womack, 31, was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of a counterfeit substance with purpose to deliver, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of firearms by certain persons. Womack resolved his case through a plea agreement Shane Wilkinson, his attorney, reached with David James, deputy prosecutor. Womack is the son of U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, a Republican.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas’s 3rd congressional district

2011–present
Incumbent
Preceded by

Chair of the House Budget Committee
2018–2019
Succeeded by

New office Chair of the Joint Budget and Appropriations Reform Committee
2018–2019
Position abolished
Preceded by

Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee
2019–2021
Succeeded by

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by

United States representatives by seniority
154th
Succeeded by