Thomas Massie Article

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Thomas Massie
Thomas Massie official portrait.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 4th district
Assumed office
November 13, 2012 [1]
Preceded by Geoff Davis
Judge-Executive of Lewis County
In office
January 3, 2011 – June 30, 2012
DeputyJohn Patrick Collins
Preceded bySteve Applegate
Succeeded byJohn Patrick Collins
Personal details
Thomas Harold Massie

(1971-01-13) January 13, 1971 (age 48)
Huntington, West Virginia, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s)Rhonda Massie
Education Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( BS, MS)
Website House website

Thomas Harold Massie (born January 13, 1971) is an American inventor, entrepreneur, and Republican politician who has been the United States Representative for Kentucky's 4th congressional district since 2012.

In 2012, he defeated Bill Adkins in the special and general elections to represent Northern Kentucky in Washington, D.C. Before joining congress, Massie was Judge-Executive of Lewis County, Kentucky, from 2011 to 2012. He also ran a start-up company based in Massachusetts, where he previously studied robotics at MIT. He is an engineer by practice and education. [2]

Massie has been described as a libertarian Republican [3] and is associated with the House Liberty Caucus.

Early life, education, and business career

Thomas Massie was born in Huntington, West Virginia. He grew up in Vanceburg, Kentucky, and met his future wife, Rhonda. He earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. [4]

In 1993, at MIT, he and his wife started a company called SensAble Devices Inc. [5] [6] Massie was the winner in 1995 of the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for inventors. [4] The company was re-incorporated as SensAble Technologies, Inc., in 1996 after partner Bill Aulet joined the company. [5] They raised $32 million of venture capital, had 24 different patents, and 70 other employees. [7]

Massie sold the company, and he and his wife moved back to their hometown in Lewis County. They raised their children on a farm, [6] [8] where he built his own off-the-grid timberframe house. [9]

Lewis County Judge Executive

In 2010, Massie pursued the office of Judge Executive of Lewis County, in order to fight what he considered wasteful spending and intrusion into the lives of the county's citizens by the government. [6] Massie won the primary election, defeating the incumbent by a large margin, [6] and went on to defeat his Democratic opponent by nearly 40 points. [10] Massie also campaigned for then-U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul, speaking to various Tea Party groups on his behalf. [6]

Massie resigned as Lewis County Judge-Executive, effective June 30, 2012.[ citation needed]

U.S. House of Representatives

2012 election

Results of the primary by county. Red indicates a county won by Massie, green by Webb-Edgington. Gray indicates a county that is not within the 4th congressional district.

In December 2011, Congressman Geoff Davis announced his decision to retire from his seat in Kentucky's 4th congressional district. Massie announced his decision to join the race on January 10, 2012. [11] Massie was endorsed by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, [12] [13] and Rand's father, Texas Congressman Ron Paul. [14] [15] He also received endorsements from FreedomWorks, [16] Club for Growth, [17] [18] Gun Owners of America, [19] and Young Americans for Liberty. [20]

On May 22, 2012, Thomas Massie was elected as the Republican nominee for the 4th congressional district, beating his closest opponents, State Representative Alecia Webb-Edgington and Boone County Judge Executive Gary Moore, by a double-digit margin. [21] [22] In his victory speech, Massie thanked "the Tea Party, the liberty movement, and grassroots Ronald Reagan Republicans." [23] Massie was challenged by Democrat Bill Adkins in the general election, and was expected to win the election by a wide margin. [21] [24] Massie resigned as Lewis County Judge-Executive, effective June 30, 2012, in order to focus on his campaign for U.S. Congress, and allow an election to be immediately held in order to replace him. [25] He was succeeded by Deputy Lewis County Judge-Executive John Patrick Collins, who was appointed temporarily by Governor Steve Beshear. [26] On July 31, 2012, Congressman Geoff Davis resigned from office, citing a family health issue for his abrupt departure. [27] On August 1, 2012, the Republican Party committee for Kentucky's 4th Congressional district voted unanimously to endorse Massie as the party's nominee once a special election was called. [28] A special election was called by Governor Steve Beshear to take place on the same day as the general election, November 6, 2012. [29] This meant that Massie would be running in two separate elections on the same day—one for the right to serve the final two months of Davis' fourth term, another for a full two-year term. [30]

On November 6, 2012, Massie won both the general and special elections. He defeated his opponent by a wide margin in both elections. [31]


Massie being sworn into office by Speaker of the House John Boehner on November 13, 2012.
Massie speaking at the 2013 Liberty Political Action Conference (LPAC)

Massie was sworn into office to serve out the balance of Geoff Davis's term on November 13, 2012. [1] Massie served on three committees, including the committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, Oversight and Government Reform and Science, Space and Technology. [32] He became Chairman of the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation, replacing outgoing Chairman Ben Quayle. [33]

Massie was the sole member of the House to vote "present" on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action of Iran's nuclear agreement, citing constitutional concerns that the treaties are not ratified by the House of Representatives and that he had no authority to vote for or against the nuclear deal [34] [35]

Massie broke from the majority of his party by opposing the reelection of Speaker of the House John Boehner, instead casting his vote for Republican Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan. [36] In May 2013, he voted against the Stolen Valor Act of 2013, which passed 390 to 3. [37] In December 2013, he was the only congressman to vote against the Undetectable Firearms Act. [38]

In March 2014, Massie voted against a bill to name Israel an American strategic partner. Massie voted no because this bill would have subsidized green energy companies in Israel. He said he would not support subsidies for American green energy companies, let alone foreign ones. [39] However, the bill passed by a margin of 410-to-1. [40] In May 2014, Massie objected to a voice vote to award golf star Jack Nicklaus a gold medal recognizing his "service to the nation", and demanded a roll call vote. [37] The vote passed easily, 371 to 10. [37] Through mid-June 2014, Massie had voted "no" at least 324 times in the 113th Congress – opposing one of every three measures that came to the House floor. Politico named him "Mr. No". [37] In November 2016, Massie voted against an extension of U.S. sanctions against Iran, the only member of the House to do so. [41]

Massie identifies himself as a constitutional conservative. He believes in intellectual property and thinks it is necessary for incentivizing innovation. Massie has remarked that this is one of the areas in which he does not identify as libertarian. [42]

In 2017, Massie introduced a one-page bill that would abolish the United States Department of Education, [43] and cosponsored a bill that would abolish the Environmental Protection Agency. [44]

In April 2017, Massie expressed skepticism over the role of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in the 2017 Khan Shaykhun chemical attack. [45]

On May 4, 2017, Massie was the sole House member to vote against sanctions on North Korea, which the final vote was 419-1. [46]

In July 2017, Thomas Massie joined Reps. Justin Amash, John Duncan Jr. (R-TN) and Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in opposing a bill that would impose new economic sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea. President Trump opposed the bill, pointing out that relations with Russia were already "at an all-time and dangerous low." He did, however, sign the bill though likely out of political pressure. [47]

On December 29, 2017, Massie voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. [48] Prior to voting, Massie stated he would support the bill in order to cut taxes, but that he would oppose "new government spending," despite the $1.5 trillion estimated to be added to the national debt according to the Congressional Budget Office in wake of the bill being passed. [49] [50]

As of January 2019 Massie is ranked number 1 in Conservative Review Top 25 Conservatives list. [51]

Committee assignments

Political positions


Massie is pro-life and believes life begins at conception. He opposes federal funding being used for abortions and supports defunding Planned Parenthood. [52]


Massie has a "B+" rating from NORML for his voting history regarding cannabis-related causes. Massie supports veterans having access to medical marijuana if recommended by their Veterans Health Administration doctor and if it is legal for medicinal purposes in their state of residence. He supports industrial hemp farming and expanded research into medical marijuana. [53]


Massie supports dismantling the US Department of Education. [43]


He has said that the evidence behind the scientific consensus on climate change is not compelling. [54] On the topic of climate change, Massie said "there's a conflict of interest for some of the people doing the research. I think some people are trying to integrate backwards, starting with the answer and working the other way. I think the jury is still out on the contribution of our activities to the change in the earth's climate." [54] In 2013, he implied that cold weather undercut the argument for climate change, tweeting "Today’s Science Committee Hearing on Global Warming canceled due to snow." [55]

Massie supports dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency. [56] He voted to block the U.S. Department of Defense from spending on climate adaptation. [57] He voted to repeal the Stream Protection Rule, which imposed stricter requirements on coal mining to prevent coal debris from getting into waterways. [58]

In 2018, after French President Emanuel Macron held a speech to Congress where he mentioned his desire that the United States re-join the Paris Climate Accords to curb climate change, Massie said Macron was "a socialist militarist globalist science-alarmist. The dark future of the American Democratic Party." [59]

Health care

Massie supports repealing the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"). [52] In 2017, he criticized the Republican-led efforts to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, saying the efforts fell "far short of our promise to repeal Obamacare." [60]

Electoral history

Kentucky's 4th Congressional district election (2012) [61]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Thomas Massie 186,036 62.13
Democratic William Adkins 104,734 34.98
Independent David Lewis 8,674 2.90
Total votes 299,444 100.00
Republican hold
Kentucky's 4th Congressional district election (2014) [62]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Thomas Massie 150,464 67.73
Democratic Peter Newberry 71,694 32.27
Total votes 222,158 100.00
Republican hold
Kentucky's 4th Congressional district election (2016) [63]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Thomas Massie 233,922 71.32
Democratic Calvin Sidle 94,065 28.68
Total votes 327,987 100.00
Republican hold

Personal life

Massie operates a cattle farm in Garrison, Kentucky with his wife Rhonda and their four children. They live in a solar-powered home that Massie built himself. [64] [65] He is a Christian. [66]


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  2. ^ "From MIT Entrepreneur to Tea Party Leader: The Thomas Massie Story". Xconomy. 17 May 2012.
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External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Steve Applegate
Judge-Executive of Lewis County
Succeeded by
John Patrick Collins
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Geoff Davis
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 4th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Suzan DelBene
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Donald Payne