Frederick Stephen Upton (born April 23, 1953) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Michigan’s 6th congressional district since 1987. The district, numbered as the 4th district from 1987 to 1993, is based in Kalamazoo and stretches along the Michigan-Indiana border in the southwestern part of the state. A member of the Republican Party and former Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, he has played a major role in shaping post-Obamacare health care legislation. Upton is the only U.S. Representative in history to vote to impeach two presidents; he voted for the impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998 and the second impeachment of Donald Trump in 2021. He was one of ten Republicans who voted to impeach Trump.[1]

After Sander Levin retired at the end of the 115th Congress, Upton became the dean of Michigan’s congressional delegation.

Early life, education, and early political career

Upton was born in St. Joseph, Michigan, the son of Elizabeth B. (née Vial) and Stephen Edward Upton.[2] He attended Shattuck-Saint Mary’s, graduating in 1971.[3] He earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Michigan in 1975. He was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, Peninsular Chapter and became a sports editor at The Michigan Daily and thought he might someday cover the Chicago Cubs.[4] He served on the congressional staff of U.S. Representative David Stockman from 1976 to 1980. He was in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1985, while Stockman served as OMB Director.[5]

U.S. House of Representatives

Upton during the 100th Congress

Upton with President Ronald Reagan in 1988

Elections

1986

Upton ran in Michigan’s 4th congressional district against incumbent Mark Siljander, Stockman’s successor. Upton won the Republican primary 55%–45%[6] and the general election with 62% of the vote.[7]

1988

Upton won reelection to a second term with 71% of the vote.[8]

1990

Upton defeated Ed Fredericks in the Republican primary, 63%–37%.[9] In the general election, he was reelected to a third term with 58% of the vote.[10]

2000

After redistricting, Upton decided to run in the newly redrawn Michigan’s 6th congressional district, winning reelection to a fourth term with 62% of the vote.[11]

2002

After redistricting, Upton faced a primary challenge from State Senator Dale Shugars. Upton defeated Shugars 66%–32%.[12] He won the general election with 69% of the vote.[13]

2004

Upton defeated Democratic nominee Scott Elliott, an art gallery owner, 65%–32%.[14]

2006

Upton defeated Democratic nominee Kim Clark, 61%–38%.[15]

2008

Upton defeated Democratic nominee Don Cooney, a Kalamazoo City Commissioner, 59%–39%.[16]

2010

Upton defeated former State Representative Jack Hoogendyk in the Republican primary, 57%–43%.[17] In the general election, he defeated Cooney, 62%–34%.[18]

2012

In 2011, Hoogendyk met with the Club for Growth, a conservative 501(c)4 organization, about running against Upton again.[19] Upton had been criticized for not being conservative enough by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, FreedomWorks, Right to Life of Michigan, and the Southwest Michigan Tea Party Patriots.[20] On January 17, 2012, Hoogendyk announced that he would challenge Upton in the primary, the winner of which would face the Democratic nominee, former marine and businessman Mike O’Brien.[21][22]

Initial polls showed Upton with a sizable lead over O’Brien, but an October poll showed Upton and O’Brien in a dead heat heading into the final stretch of the campaign.[23][24]

2014

Upton won with 55.9% of the vote, defeating Democrat Paul Clements, Libertarian Erwin Haas, and Green Party candidate John Lawrence.

2016

Upton was reelected, defeating Democratic nominee Paul Clements, a political science professor at Western Michigan University, 58.5%–36.4%.[citation needed]

2018

Upton was reelected with 50.2% of the vote against Democratic nominee Matt Longjohn (45.75%) and U.S. Taxpayers Party candidate Stephen Young (4.1%).[25]

2020

Upton was reelected with 55.9% of the vote against Democratic nominee Jon Hoadley (40.2%), Libertarian Party nominee Jeff Depoy (2.75%), and Green Party candidate John Lawrence (1.2%).[26]

Tenure

Upton has been a member of moderate Republican factions The Tuesday Group and the Republican Main Street Partnership.[27] On February 4, 2021, he joined 10 other Republican House members voting with all voting Democrats to strip Marjorie Taylor Greene of her House Education and Labor Committee and House Budget Committee assignments in response to controversial political statements she had made.[28]

Health care

Upton voted against passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and has since voted in favor of its complete repeal. In November 2013, in response to Americans losing their health insurance coverage because of the ACA, Upton proposed a bill what would allow them to retain it.[29] The essence his bill was to allow insurance companies to maintain their individual insurance market policies according to state insurance rules that were in effect as of 2013.[30] In 2017, Upton played an import role advancing Republican Party efforts to repeal the ACA.[31]

In 2013, Upton introduced a bill that would grant the Food and Drug Administration more power to regulate drug compounding in the wake of the New England Compounding Center meningitis outbreak.[32] In 2016, Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act[33] into law, a bill Upton co-sponsored. The act establishes funds for biomedical research and to develop and implement a strategic plan for biomedical research.[34] In 2018, Upton and Representative Debbie Dingell worked together on legislation designed to combat opioid addiction. Among other things, it would allocate funding for research into new, non-addictive pain relievers.[35]

Environment and energy

In 2007 Upton co-sponsored the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which, among other things, mandated phased-in energy efficiency standards for most light bulbs.[36] At the time, he noted that the legislation, ultimately signed into law by President George W. Bush, would “help preserve energy resources and reduce harmful emissions, all while saving American families billions of dollars on their electric bills.”[37] Glenn Beck called Upton “all socialist” for supporting the bill.[38]

In April 2009, Upton said that “climate change is a serious problem that necessitates serious solutions. Everything must be on the table.”[39] But “Upton has gradually retreated from his moderate stance on climate change and carbon emissions.”[40] He led a failed effort to stop the Obama administration from enforcing the new energy standards.[37]

Upton’s website once stated: “I strongly believe that everything must be on the table as we seek to reduce carbon emissions.”[40] In late 2010, he co-authored a Wall Street Journal opinion piece saying he was “not convinced” that “carbon is a problem in need of regulation” and urging Congress to overturn Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency.[41]

Upton and Ed Whitfield co-sponsored H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011.[42] Due to his environmental policies, The Los Angeles Times wrote in 2011 that Upton “represents one of the biggest threats to planet Earth on planet Earth.”[43]

In 2012, Upton, as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that Congress’s refusal to set greenhouse gas limits “constituted a decision and that lawmakers should act now to reverse the EPA emissions rules.” Carbon regulation, he said, “threatens to drive energy prices higher, destroy jobs and hamstring our economic recovery.”[44]

On October 22, 2013, Upton introduced the North American Energy Infrastructure Act (H.R. 3301; 113th Congress), a bill that would make changes to permitting requirements for pipelines and other energy infrastructure at international borders.[45][46] He said the bill “is a sincere effort to focus a targeted solution to lessons learned from the Keystone Pipeline… No one can rightly argue that the current presidential permit process as the State Department is not broken, no matter what side of the climate debate you’re on.”[47] Upton added, “we’re creating a fair and transparent approval process for cross-border energy projects, putting them all on a level playing field for the benefit of North American energy security, lower energy prices, and jobs.”[48]

As of 2017, Upton has received more than $2 million in campaign donations from oil and gas companies and electric utilities over the course of his political career.[49] In 2018, he joined the Climate Solutions Caucus.[50]

Technology and infrastructure

Upton introduced legislation to reverse the FCC’s ruling on net neutrality in 2015.[51][52] On November 5, 2021, Upton was one of 13 House Republicans to break with their party and vote with a majority of Democrats in favor of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.[53]

Guns

In 2019, Upton supported a bill that requires background checks for private firearm sales.[54] He has called for Congress to pass a bipartisan red flag law.[55]

In March 2021, Upton was one of eight Republicans to join the House majority in passing the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021.[56]

LGBT rights

In 2004 and 2006, Upton voted for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.[57] In 2019, he voted against the Equality Act, which would extend existing civil rights legislation to protect LGBT individuals from discrimination.[57]

In 2013, Upton condemned controversial anti-gay remarks by Republican National Committeeman David Agema.[58]

Economy

In 2019, during the 116th Congress, Upton broke with his party, one of seven Republicans to side with Democrats by voting for legislation that would fund government services and end a shutdown.[59]

In February 2021, Upton voted against a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill that provided $10 billion in federal aid to Michigan.[60]

Donald Trump

During Trump’s presidency, Upton voted in line with Trump’s stated position 78.6% of the time.[61]

In July 2019, Upton was one of four Republican House members to vote in support of a motion to condemn comments Trump made on Twitter calling on four Democratic Congresswomen, three of whom were born in the U.S., to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”[62][63]

On December 18, 2019, Upton voted against both articles of impeachment against Trump.[64]

On January 12, 2021, Upton announced he would vote to impeach Trump in the pending vote on a second impeachment, after Trump incited the storming of the U.S. Capitol building, becoming the fourth House Republican to say they would vote to impeach.[65][66] He ultimately did so alongside nine other Republicans on January 13.[67] On January 21, the Allegan County Republican Party censured Upton for his vote to impeach Trump.[68] He was later censured by the Cass County Republican Party for voting to remove Marjorie Taylor Greene from the House Education Committee.[69]

On May 19, 2021, Upton was one of 35 Republicans who joined all Democrats in voting to approve legislation to establish the January 6 commission meant to investigate the storming of the U.S. Capitol.[70] Before the vote, he was one of few Republican lawmakers to openly express support for the commission.[71]

Iraq

In June 2021, Upton was one of 49 House Republicans to vote to repeal the AUMF against Iraq.[72][73]

Steve Bannon

On October 21, 2021, Upton was one of nine House Republicans who voted to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress.[74]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Personal life

Upton’s grandfather and namesake, Frederick Upton, was co-founder with his brother Louis Upton of appliance manufacturer and marketer Whirlpool Corporation, headquartered in Benton Harbor. He and his wife have two children.[83] Upton’s niece is supermodel Kate Upton.[84][85] Open Secrets reported that Upton had a net worth of $78 million in 2018, making him one of Congress’s richest members.[86]

Upton is a supporter of Michigan Wolverines athletics, as well as an enthusiastic Chicago Cubs baseball fan.[4] He is a member of the Emil Verban Society.[83]

Electoral history

Michigan’s 4th congressional district: Results 1986–1990[87][88]
YearRepublicanVotes%DemocraticVotes%Third PartyPartyVotes%
1986Fred Upton70,33162%Dan Roche41,62437%Richard GillmorIndependent1,6491%
1988Fred Upton132,27071%Norman Rivers54,42829%
1990Fred Upton75,85058%JoAnne McFarland55,44942%
Michigan’s 6th congressional district: Results 1992–2020[87][88][89][90]
YearRepublicanVotes%DemocraticVotes%Third PartyPartyVotes%Third PartyPartyVotes%Third PartyPartyVotes%
1992Fred Upton144,08362%Andy Davis89,02038%
1994Fred Upton121,93273%David Taylor42,34826%E. A. BerkerNatural Law1,6671%
1996Fred Upton146,17068%Clarence Annen66,24331%Scott BeaversLibertarian3,3702%
1998Fred Upton113,29270%Clarence Annen45,35828%Glenn WhittLibertarian1,8331%Ken AsmusNatural Law1,0911%
2000Fred Upton159,37368%James Bupp68,53229%William BradleyLibertarian3,5732%Richard OvertonReform1,8721%C. Dennis JamesUSTPM1,2901%
2002Fred Upton126,93669%Gary Giguere53,79329%Richard OvertonReform2,7882%
2004Fred Upton197,42565%Scott Elliott97,97832%Randall MacPheeGreen2,3111%Erwin HaasLibertarian2,2751%W. Dennis FitzSimonsUSTPM2,1691%
2006Fred Upton142,12561%Kim Clark88,97838%Kenneth HoweLibertarian3,4801%
2008Fred Upton188,15759%Don Cooney123,25739%Greg MerleLibertarian4,7201%Edward PinkneyGreen3,5121%
2010Fred Upton123,14262%Don Cooney66,72934%Melvin ValknerUSTPM3,6722%Fred StrandLibertarian3,3692%Pat FosterGreen1,7841%
2012Fred Upton174,95555%Mike O’Brien136,56343%Christie GelineauLibertarian6,3662%Jason GattiesUSTPM2,5911%
2014Fred Upton116,80156%Paul Clements84,39140%Erwin HaasLibertarian5,5303%John LawrenceGreen2,2541%
2016Fred Upton193,24658%Paul Clements119,97536%Lorence WenkeLibertarian16,2495%
2018Fred Upton147,43650%Matt Longjohn134,08246%Stephen J. YoungUSTPM11,9204%
2020[91]Fred Upton211,49656%Jon Hoadley152,08540%Jeff DepoyLibertarian10,3993%John LawrenceGreen4,4401%

See also

References

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  2. ^ “Frederick Stephen Upton”. rootsweb.ancestry.com. Archived from the original on October 19, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
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  5. ^ Mack, Julie; David Stockman, former southwest Michigan congressman and Reagan aide, offers dire view of U.S. economy; Michigan Live; April 1, 2013; https://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2013/04/david_stockman_former_southwes.html Archived July 10, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
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    Upton won reelection with 50.2% of the vote against Democratic candidate Matt Longjohn (45.75%) and U.S. Taxpayers Party candidate Stephen Young (4.1%).
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External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan’s 4th congressional district

1987–1993
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan’s 6th congressional district

1993–present
Incumbent
Preceded by

Chair of the House Energy Committee
2011–2017
Succeeded by

Party political offices
New office Chair of the Tuesday Group
1995–2005
Served alongside: Mike Castle, Nancy Johnson
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Chair of the Republican Governance Group
Tuesday Group: 2019–2020

2019–2021
Served alongside: Susan Brooks, John Katko
Succeeded by

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

United States representatives by seniority
7th
Succeeded by

as Speaker

Succeeded by

Otherwise Frank Pallone