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Matt Salmon

Matt Salmon
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 5th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by David Schweikert
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2001
Preceded by Sam Coppersmith
Succeeded by Jeff Flake
Member of the Arizona Senate
from the 21st district
In office
January 3, 1991 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by Jerry Gillespie
Succeeded by Stan Barnes
Personal details
Born Matthew James Salmon
(1958-01-21) January 21, 1958
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Nancy Salmon
Children 4
Alma mater Arizona State University
Brigham Young University, Utah
Religion Mormonism
Website House website

Matthew James "Matt" Salmon (born January 21, 1958) is the Republican representative for Arizona's 5th congressional district. The district is based in Mesa and includes most of the eastern suburbs of Phoenix. He previously represented the district, then numbered as the 1st District, from 1995 to 2001. In 2002, he lost to Janet Napolitano in a highly competitive governor's race. He regained his old congressional seat in the 2012 election. Salmon and his wife Nancy have been married for 34 years. They have four children and seven grandchildren.[1]


  • Early life, education, and business career 1
  • Arizona Senate (1991–1995) 2
    • Elections 2.1
    • Tenure 2.2
    • Committee assignments 2.3
  • U.S. House of Representatives (1995–2001) 3
    • Elections 3.1
    • Tenure 3.2
    • Committee assignments 3.3
  • Inter-congressional years (2001–2011) 4
    • 2002 gubernatorial election 4.1
    • Political activism 4.2
  • U.S. House of Representatives (2013–present) 5
    • 2012 election 5.1
    • Tenure 5.2
    • Committee assignments 5.3
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8

Early life, education, and business career

Salmon was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 1991, he decided to run for elected office. He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese.[2]

Arizona Senate (1991–1995)


In 1990, he ran for the Arizona Senate in the 21st Senate District based in Mesa, Arizona. In the Republican primary, he defeated incumbent State Senator Jerry Gillespie, who was controversial due to his support of impeached Governor Evan Mecham and his vote against making the Martin Luther King holiday.[3] In the general election, he defeated Democrat Bill Hegarty 60%–40%.[4] In 1992, he won re-election to a second term unopposed.[5]


Previous Salmon Congressional Photograph

In 1992, he was elected to a new leadership position called assistant majority leader.[6] He served that position until 1995.

In 1993, he sponsored legislation that created new drug test programs for employers.[7] That year, he also called for an independent study of the Department of Economic Services' child welfare agency.[8]

Committee assignments

  • Senate Appropriations Committee[9]
  • Senate Indian Gambling Committee (Co-Chairman)[10]
  • Senate Rules Committee (Chairman)[11]

U.S. House of Representatives (1995–2001)



Incumbent U.S. Congressman Sam Coppersmith, a Democrat, decided to retire after one term in what was then the 1st District in order to run for the U.S. Senate. Salmon won the Republican primary with a plurality of 39% in a five-candidate field.[12] During his first Congressional election campaign, term limits were a high-profile issue. Salmon was one of many candidates nationwide who pledged to serve only three terms in Congress. In the general election, he defeated Democratic State Senator Chuck Blanchard 56%–39%.[13]


He won re-election to a second term with 60% of the vote.[14]


He won re-election to a third term with 65% of the vote.[15]


He honored his campaign pledge and did not seek re-election to a fourth term in 2000.


He signed the Contract with America.[16]

In 1999, he unsuccessfully advocated carving Ronald Reagan's face into Mount Rushmore, claiming that the former President had won the cold war.[17] Salmon was instrumental in obtaining the January 29, 2000 release of U.S. based academic researcher Song Yongyi from detention in China on spying charges.[18]


Committee assignments

Inter-congressional years (2001–2011)

2002 gubernatorial election

Incumbent Republican Arizona Governor Jane Dee Hull was ineligible for re-election in 2002. In the Republican primary, Salmon defeated Arizona Secretary of State Betsy Bayless and Arizona Treasurer Carol Springer 56%–30%–14%. He won every county in the state.[20] In the general election, he faced Democratic nominee and Arizona Attorney General Janet Napolitano, Libertarian nominee Barry Hess, and former Arizona Secretary of State Dick Mahoney (who ran as an independent, but was previously a Democrat). Napolitano defeated Salmon 46%–45%, a difference of just 11,819 votes.[21]

Political activism

After that race, he served as a lobbyist and chairman of the Arizona Republican Party. In 2007, he served as campaign manager to businessman Scott Smith's successful campaign for Mayor of Mesa.[22] In 2008, he became President of the Competitive Telecommunications Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association.[23]

U.S. House of Representatives (2013–present)

Salmon speaking on June 3, 2014

2012 election

In April 2011, Salmon announced he would seek his old congressional seat, which was now numbered as

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Sam Coppersmith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Jeff Flake
Preceded by
David Schweikert
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 5th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Rick Nolan
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Mark Sanford

External links

  • 2002 Arizona Governor's Race USA Today November 11, 2002
  • Salmon holds vision for Arizona's GOP "Ex-congressman eyes chairman seat" The Arizona Republic November 28, 2004 (paywall)

Further reading

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Committee assignments

In 2011 Salmon signed a pledge sponsored by Americans for Prosperity promising to vote against any Global Warming legislation that would raise taxes.[50]

He is a cosponsor to a bill that would prevent politically-based bias causing any discrimination in tax treatment.[42]

Following the recent IRS scandal and the wake of investigation, Salmon has called upon Attorney General Eric Holder to hold independent investigation on the IRS for its alleged targeting of its political opponents due allow for an unbiased non-government council to look into the matter.[42]

Matt Salmon signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, stating he would never vote for legislation to increase taxes on Americans.[48] He opposes new government spending unless it has a plan to initiate some spending cut that will offset the loss.[46] He has voted to cut various taxes, such as the estate and marriage taxes.[49]


Salmon is a strong fiscal conservative and has often caused rifts and defections in his own party to oppose increasing the deficit.[45] He has strictly opposed raising the debt limit and any new spending without matching cuts.[46] He believes government agencies and institutions should undergo reform, not expansion, to meet their needs.[47]


Salmon has been a moderate supporter of environmental protection. He voted to enforce environmental standards on new pipelines, prohibit the EPA from being barred from investigations, reduce nuclear waste, and provide larger forest conservation.[38][44]


Salmon is strictly opposed to the surveillance of personal emails and phone-calls currently allowed and has called for legislation to reduce it.[42] He introduced a bill that would better protect privacy rights by limiting the ability of the government to perform unwarranted searches.[43]

Civil Rights

In April 2013, Salmon announced that he would continue to oppose same-sex marriage even though his son is openly gay.[40] Salmon's stances have been unmoved despite his acceptance of his son's homosexuality.[41] Salmon's son led the Arizona Log Cabin Republicans; he left the group to focus on medical school.[40]

Salmon voted to ban gay couples adopting children and opposes gay marriage.[38]

Gay rights

Salmon is pro-life and has opposed federal funding of abortions as well as family-planning assistance that includes abortions.[38][39]


In March 2013, he endorsed the idea of bringing back the Hastert Rule, which is that in order to bring a bill to the floor it must have a majority of the majority party's support.[36] He also proposed an amendment to the United States Constitution limiting House members to three terms in office and Senators to two.[37]


However, the 5th is a heavily Republican district, and Salmon had effectively assured his return to Congress with his primary victory. [35]

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