John Fleming (American politician)

John Fleming
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 4th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2009
Preceded by Jim McCrery
Succeeded by TBD
Personal details
Born John Calvin Fleming, Jr.
(1951-07-05) July 5, 1951
Meridian, Mississippi, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Cindy
Children 4
Alma mater University of Mississippi, Oxford
University of Mississippi, Jackson
Religion Southern Baptist[1]
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy

John Calvin Fleming, Jr. (born July 5, 1951), is an American politician, physician, and businessman who has served as the U.S. Representative for Louisiana's 4th congressional district since 2009. A member of the Republican Party, he lives in his adopted city of Minden in Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana.

A second cousin (five generations removed) to the former Speaker of the House Henry Clay of Kentucky, Fleming is a member of Sons of the American Revolution and Jamestowne Society; he is only the second Republican to hold his House seat since Reconstruction.

Early life, education and family

Fleming was born in Meridian in Lauderdale County in eastern Mississippi. He was reared in a working class home in which his mother became disabled and could not work when he was still young. Just prior to his high school graduation, Fleming's father died of a heart attack, and young Fleming had to work his way through college. He attended the University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS, where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. Fleming was awarded his Bachelor of Science degree in 1973. He went on to attend medical school at the same university, but at the Jackson campus and received his M.D. degree in 1976.[2] He entered the United States Navy to continue his medical training in 1976 and served until 1982 after completing his residency in 1979. Fleming also trained for years in karate attaining the rank of third degree black belt.[3] Fleming and his wife, Cindy, married in 1978. The couple has four children.[4]

Medical career

After earning his medical degree, Fleming was chief resident in family medicine at the Naval Regional Medical Center in Camp Pendleton, California. He also trained at the drug and alcohol treatment unit at the Navy Regional Medical Center in Long Beach, California.[4] Serving in the Navy after his residency, Fleming practiced family medicine on the island of Guam.[5] From 1979 to 1981, he was the director of drug and alcohol treatment and chairman of the Navy Family Advocacy Committee. He subsequently performed similar duties in Charleston, South Carolina.[4]

After leaving the Navy, Fleming established his practice in Minden in August 1982. His first clinic was on Pearl Street across from the United States Post Office. He chose Minden for his city of residence because, in his words, it "has small-town charm, warm essence of life, long, lazy summer days with watermelon cuts and family reunions."[6] To attract patients to his new practice, Fleming announced evening and Saturday morning hours to accommodate working people and students.[7]

Fleming received a certification from the American Board of Family Practice[4] and joined the staff of the Minden Medical Center.[8] Fleming also joined the Louisiana Academy of Family Physicians (LAFP). In 2007, he was chosen as the LAFP "Louisiana Family Practice Physician of the Year."[4]

Fleming previously worked with chemically dependent persons through the program called "New Beginnings" at the Minden Medical Center.[9] His book, Preventing Addiction: What Parents Must Know to Immunize Their Kids Against Drug And Alcohol Addiction was published in 2006.[10]

Business career

Fleming is a businessman who owns thirty-six Subway sandwich shops in North Louisiana[11][12] and Fleming Expansions, LLC, a regional developer for The UPS Store, with outlets in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.[11]

Webster Parish coroner

In 1987, Fleming entered the race for Webster Parish coroner against the incumbent, the late Dr. Charles Hancock, but withdrew after learning the position would take too much time from his regular medical duties.[13]

In 1995, he ran for coroner again. He defeated the nonpartisan candidate, Dr. Carlos A. Irizarry, 7,842 votes (60.4 percent) to 5,143 (39.6 percent). Fleming succeeded Democratic incumbent Dr. Carl A. Hines, from Minden, who did not seek re-election.[12][14]

U.S. House of Representatives



Fleming entered the race for the District 4 House seat after the 21-year Republican incumbent Jim McCrery announced his retirement from the House. Fleming received political support from the LAFP and the American Academy of Family Physicians' (AAFP) political action committee for his campaign.[15]

Fleming supported the FairTax,[11] which would replace the income tax with a flat rate on consumption, as defined in the legislation, of 23 percent of the total payment on personal consumption.[16]

In the October 4, 2008, Republican closed primary, Fleming ran against Jeff R. Thompson, a lawyer from Bossier City, and Chris Gorman. In the election, no candidate received a majority of the votes. Fleming led with 14,500 votes (35.1 percent), followed by Gorman with 14,072 votes (34.1 percent), and Thompson with 12,693 votes (30.8 percent).[17] This established a primary runoff between Fleming and Gorman. In the runoff, Fleming defeated Gorman, 43,012 votes (55.6 percent) to 34,405 (44.4 percent) and carried all but one of the thirteen parishes in the district.[18]

In the 2006 race against McCrery, "Catfish" Kelley ran as a Republican and drew 12 percent of the vote under the old primary format.[19] In 2008, his 3 percent was far more than the margin between Fleming and Carmouche. A plurality is sufficient to win the general election—which, along with the District 2 race, were the last congressional races in the nation in 2008.[20]

Outgoing Vice President Dick Cheney appeared in Shreveport on November 21 to speak at a fundraiser for Fleming.[21] indicated that McCrery supports Fleming but had made no official endorsement and had not appeared at any of Fleming's campaign events.[12] On December 2, McCrery spoke on Fleming's behalf in an appearance on The Moon Griffon Show radio program, which is syndicated in most Louisiana media markets. He used the argument that Carmouche, if successful, would cast his first vote for Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.[22]

On December 10, 2008, Paul Carmouche formally conceded the election to Fleming.[23]Among the Democrats whom Carmouche defeated in his primary was later State Senator John Milkovich of Shreveport.


Fleming was unopposed in the Republican primary in 2010 but was challenged by the Democratic nominee, David R. Melville. Governor Buddy Roemer, then still a Republican and later a candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, supported David Melville in the general election.[24]

Fleming was reelected saying that Democratic policies were out of step with his district and most of America.[25][26]


Fleming was unopposed by a Democratic candidate in his 2012 re-election bid in his district that is 2 to 1 Democratic registration but has a Cook PVI of R +11. In the November 6, 2012 general election, Fleming instead faced opposition from a Libertarian candidate, Randall Lord of Shreveport, a former chiropractor studying psychology at Louisiana State University in Shreveport.[27] Fleming defeated Lord, 187,790 (75.3 percent) to 61,587 (24.7 percent).[28]


On April 4, 2013, Fleming announced that he would not in 2014 seek the United States Senate held since 1997 by the Democratic Mary Landrieu. Instead his colleague, U.S. Representative Bill Cassidy of Baton Rouge, had announced on April 3 that he would challenge Landrieu. In his statement, Fleming said: "For me to enter the race now would risk a contest between two experienced Republican congressmen, potentially offering Senator Landrieu a path back to Washington. I can't let that happen."[29]

In August 2013, Fleming endorsed Republican State Senator Neil Riser of Columbia as his choice to succeed his retiring colleague Rodney Alexander of Jackson Parish in Louisiana's 5th congressional district. The special election to choose a successor to Alexander will be held on October 19.[30]

On December 10, 2014, KTBS, a Shreveport based television station, reported that Fleming was considering running for the senate seat currently held by David Vitter. Vitter, who is running in the 2015 Gubernatorial Election, would have to vacate his seat should he be elected Governor of Louisiana. In a statement, Fleming said "If Senator Vitter is elected as Governor, I would certainly be interested in running for the seat he would vacate."[31]


On December 7, 2015, Fleming officially announced that he is a candidate for the United States Senate.[32] He is a candidate to succeed fellow Republican David Vitter, who will not seek a third term in 2016. Vitter lost the gubernatorial runoff election on November 21, 2015, to the Democrat John Bel Edwards. Others expected to contest the Senate seat are Fleming's House colleague and fellow physician, Charles Boustany of Lafayette, State Treasurer John Neely Kennedy, and Colonel Rob Maness of Madisonville in St. Tammany Parish, a favorite of the Tea Party movement who ran against the defeated Mary Landrieu and the victorious Bill Cassidy in the race for Louisiana's other Senate seat in 2014. Foster Campbell of Bossier Parish, a Democratic member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission and an advisor to John Bel Edwards, has also been mentioned as a senatorial possibility.

"I not only fought the liberals in Washington, I also fought the leadership of my own party when they were all too willing to compromise on our conservative principles," Fleming said in his statement of candidacy.[33]


2011 tax plan comments

In a September 19, 2011 interview on MSNBC, in which Fleming criticized President Obama's proposed plan to increase taxes on the wealthy, Fleming told host Chris Jansing, "The amount that I have to invest in my business and feed my family is more like $600,000 of that $6.3 million.... So by the time I feed my family I have, maybe, $400,000 left over to invest in new locations, upgrade my locations, buy more equipment." When Jansing asked Fleming if he thought the "average person" might be unsympathetic to Fleming's position, Fleming responded, "Class warfare never created a job...This is not about attacking people who make certain incomes. You know in this country, most people feel that being successful in their business is a virtue, not a vice, and once we begin to identify it as a vice, this country is going down."[34]

Fleming's remarks were widely reported and resulted in considerable commentary. Bruce Alpert, of Louisiana newspaper The Times-Picayune, reported that "on liberal blogs, Fleming was portrayed as insensitive to millions of working Americans who are struggling to meet expenses in the face of high unemployment and stagnant wages." [34] Conservative sources including Bill O'Reilly and the Drudge Report defended Fleming's remarks; Josh Beavers, publisher of the Minden Press-Herald in Fleming's hometown, wrote an editorial which stated, "[Fleming's] sentiment was only that the more taxes he pays the fewer people he can employ. High taxes on business owners thwart economic activity."[34][35][36]

2013 budget cuts statement

In 2013, Fleming was quoted in Forbes as saying:"Republicans in general, we desperately want a reduction in spending to get government back into balance. We would rather take some cuts in areas that we are not comfortable with than have no cuts at all."[37] Forbes noted that Fleming's district includes Barksdale Air Force Base and Fort Polk, both major employers.[37] At a discussion in February 2013 in DeRidder, Fleming stated he would not vote to allow the government to cut $600 million from the defense plan.[38] Fleming voted against the Budget Control Act of 2011,[39] the act which caused the automatic budget sequestration in March 2013. In this November 21, 2011 statement Fleming criticized the Budget Control Act because of what he called "devastating cuts to military spending." [40]

Health care

In September 2013, Fleming cosponsored and introduced the Republican Study Committee's American Health Care Reform Act, which would repeal the soon-to-be-implemented Affordable Care Act, which Fleming said was "not fixable or repairable."[41]

Fleming's "harsh criticism of the Affordable Care Act" has drawn media attention.[42] In 2013, Fleming called the act "the most dangerous piece of legislation ever passed in Congress."[42]

Religious Liberty/LGBT issues

In 2012, Fleming condemned a private religious ceremony that took place at Fort Polk, Louisiana, between an enlisted woman and civilian woman. (Fort Polk, a U.S. Army base, lies within Fleming's congressional district.) Fleming said that the ceremony "should not have occurred at Fort Polk, especially since the people of Louisiana have made it abundantly clear that our state does not recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions" and characterized the event as part of a "liberal social experiment with our military."[43]

Fleming condemned the Supreme Court's 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which found a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Fleming stated that he was "greatly disappointed" and disagreed with the decision.[44]

2013 military issues

In June 2013, Fleming sponsored an amendment to a Defense spending bill requiring the military to accommodate, except in cases of military necessity, "actions and speech" reflecting the "conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the member." The amendment drew objections from the White House, with a spokesman saying that commanders need discretion to, "address potentially problematic speech and actions within their units" and that the measure would "have a significant adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale and mission accomplishment." The amendment was approved by the House Armed Services Committee, and a companion measure passed in the Senate.[45] The amendment was criticised as allowing service members to harass gay colleagues.[46] Fleming's amendment was subsequently stripped from the final version of the bill.[47]

In July 2013, the U.S. House passed a measure—sponsored by Fleming—that bars the Defense Department from appointing atheist chaplains. Fleming said, "The notion of an atheist chaplain is nonsensical; it's an oxymoron." Democratic Congressman Rob Andrews of New Jersey said that it was "wrong" to tell an irreligious service member that they "must go to a mental health professional in order to receive counseling, rather than someone who comes from their philosophical faith or tradition."[48]

Committee assignments

Upon his election to the United States House of Representatives, Fleming was assigned to these committees:

Caucus memberships

See also


  1. Staff (January 5, 2011). "Ten Southern Baptists sworn in as new reps.". Baptist Press. Archived from the original on December 26, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  2. "Rep. John Fleming". National Journal Almanac. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  3. Gannon, Patricia (September 2007). "Physician Spotlight: John C. Fleming". Retrieved November 22, 2008.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Brown, Ida (June 27, 2007). "Meridian native named Family Doctor of Year". The Meridian Star. Retrieved November 22, 2008.
  5. Minden Press-Herald, November 18, 1982, p. 14
  6. Minden Press-Herald, August 10, 1982, p. 1
  7. Minden Press-Herald, September 2, 1982, p. 10
  8. "Physicians". Minden Medical Center. Retrieved November 23, 2008.
  9. "Dr. Fleming will help chemical dependents", Minden Press-Herald, October 18, 1987, p. 10
  10. Fleming, John C. (2006). Preventing Addiction: What Parents Must Know to Immunize Their Kids Against Drug And Alcohol Addiction. Hannibal Books. ISBN 0929292456
  11. 1 2 3 "Minden's Fleming running for Congress". Minden Press-Herald. January 18, 2008. p. 1. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
  12. 1 2 3 Kraushaar, Josh (November 11, 2008). "GOP fights to hold onto Louisiana seat". Politico. Retrieved November 22, 2008.
  13. "Dr. Fleming exits race for coroner", Minden Press-Herald, October 1, 1987, p. 1
  14. "Results for Election Date: 10/21/95 – Parish of Webster". Official Parish Election Results. Louisiana Secretary of State.
  15. Submitted by Fleming for Congress. "John Fleming, MD, Wins the Republican Nomination for 4th Congressional District". Louisiana Academy of Family Physicians. Retrieved November 22, 2008. On Friday, October 31, Dr. Roberts, LAFP Past President, presented Dr. Fleming with a check from FamMedPac, the AAFP's Political Action Committee. 'We were honored to receive another check from FamMedPac. I have received lots of support from fellow physicians, and I want to sincerely thank each one who has helped my campaign.'
  16. Regnier, Pat (September 7, 2005). "Just how fair is the FairTax?". Money Magazine. Retrieved September 24, 2008.
  17. "Results for Election Date: 10/04/08,". Official Election Results. Louisiana Secretary of State.
  18. "Results for Election Date: 11/04/08" (See primary returns for Fourth Congressional District). Official Election Results. Louisiana Secretary of State.
  19. "Results for Election Date: 11/07/06". Official Election Results. Louisiana Secretary of State.
  20. "Still Some Undecided Races, But Obama Gets Electoral Grace Note in Nebraska". CQ Politics. November 11, 2008. Archived from the original on November 28, 2008. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
  21. Prine, John Andrew (November 22, 2008). "Cheney boosts Fleming's campaign". Shreveport Times. Retrieved November 22, 2008.
  22. The Moon Griffon Show, syndicated radio program, December 2, 2008
  23. Kraushaar, Josh (December 10, 2008). "Carmouche concedes to Fleming". Politico. Retrieved December 11, 2008.
  24. KEEL Radio News, October 11, 2010
  25. "Republican John Fleming re-elected for Congress" KSLA News, November 2, 2010. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  26. "Elections 2010:Louisiana" at the Wayback Machine (archived March 29, 2012)
  27. Bonnie Culverhouse, "Final candidate roster", Minden Press-Herald, August 20, 2012
  28. "Louisiana election returns, November 6, 2012". Retrieved November 11, 2012.
  29. "Jordan Blum, "Fleming opts out of Landrieu challenge", April 4, 2013". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  30. "Jordan Blum, Veterans job speeds D.C. exit". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, August 7, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  31. "Fleming eyes U.S. Senate seat". 10 December 2014. Archived from the original on December 24, 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  32. deslatte, melinda. "Rep. Fleming Officially Announces for Louisiana Senate Race". ABC NEWS. associated press. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  33. Deborah Barfield Berry (December 7, 2015). "Rep. Fleming officially enters Louisiana Senate race". The Shreveport Times. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  34. 1 2 3 Alpert, Bruce. "Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana catches flak for income remarks." The Times-Picayune, 2011-09-20.
  35. The O'Reilly Factor. Fox News. 2011-09-22. Transcript.
  36. Beavers, Josh. "Congressman Fleming Said Nothing Wrong." Minden Press-Herald, 2011-09-21.
  37. 1 2 Thompson, Loren (February 4, 2013). Forbes magazine website "Republicans Target Their Own Voters In Defense Budget Switch" Check |url= value (help). Forbes. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  38. Fleming speaks about budget, Fort Polk at town hall meeting – News – Beauregard Daily News – Beauregard, LA
  39. Roll call vote 690, via
  40. Fleming Responds to Failure of Debt Reduction Committee | Congressman John Fleming
  41. "Republican Alternative to Obamacare Relies on Repeal". National Journal. 2013-09-22. Retrieved 2013-11-20.
  42. 1 2 Bruce Alpert, Rep. Fleming gets attention for calling Obamacare 'most dangerous law ever passed by Congress', The Times-Picayune (October 28, 2013).
  43. Alan Duke, Same-sex ceremony on Army post draws fire, CNN (June 7, 2012).
  44. Bruce Alpert, Louisiana GOP congressional members condemn ruling for gay marriage, Democrats say it advances freedom, The Times-Picayune (June 26, 2015).
  45. "Fleming proposal to require free religious expression in military draws White House objections". The Times-Picayune. 2013-06-12.
  48. "House passes Rep. John Fleming's measure to ban atheist military chaplains". The Times-Picayune. 2013-07-24.

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United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jim McCrery
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 4th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Gerry Connolly
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Brett Guthrie
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