John Kline (politician)

For other people with the same name, see John Kline (disambiguation).
John Kline
Chair of the House Education Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Preceded by George Miller
Succeeded by Virginia Foxx (Designate)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 2nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2003
Preceded by Mark Kennedy
Succeeded by Jason Lewis (elect)
Personal details
Born John Paul Kline, Jr.
(1947-09-06) September 6, 1947
Allentown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Christine Lewis (Divorced)
Vicky May Sheldon
Children 1 daughter
1 son
Alma mater Rice University (BA)
Shippensburg University (MPA)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1969–1994
Rank Colonel
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Operation Restore Hope
Awards Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal (3)
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Presidential Service Badge
Navy Commendation Medal

John Paul Kline, Jr. (born September 6, 1947) is an American politician who has served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Minnesota's 2nd congressional district since 2003. The district includes most of the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities, including Apple Valley, Inver Grove Heights, Burnsville, Eagan, Lakeville, Northfield, Shakopee, Prior Lake, and New Prague. A member of the Republican Party, Kline serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Kline has announced that he will retire from his current seat at the end of his term.[1]

Early life, education and career

Kline was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania,[2] the son of Litta Belle (née Rodman) and John Paul Kline, Sr. He is a 1965 graduate of W. B. Ray High School in Corpus Christi, Texas. He earned a B.A. in biology at Rice University (1969), and a Master of Public Administration from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania (1988).

Before his election to Congress, Kline was a 25-year career commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps, where he was a senior military aide to Presidents Carter and Reagan and was responsible for carrying the President's "football".[3] During his military career, Kline was a Naval Aviator who served as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, commanded all Marine aviation forces in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia, flew "Marine One," the Presidential helicopter, in HMX-1, and served as Program Development Officer at Headquarters Marine Corps. He received numerous medals and commendations, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, four awards of the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, three awards of the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Presidential Service Badge.[4] Kline retired from the Marine Corps as a colonel.

Kline and his second wife, Vicky, live in Burnsville, Minnesota.[5] Kline has two children and four grandchildren. Kline was previously married to Christine Lewis.[6]

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee assignments

Political positions

Kline supported President Bush's plan to increase troop levels in Iraq in January, 2007.[7]

During Kline's 2008 bid for reelection he discussed his opposition to earmarks and his refusal to request them for his district.[8]

In 2006, Kline voted to maintain the legal definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.[9] He voted for the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.[10]

Kline has opposed restrictions on gun ownership.[11][12] He voted to repeal parts of the firearms ban for Washington, D.C.[13] He has described himself as "a collector of antique guns and a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment".[14]

Kline has stated, "Job creation is our nation's no. 1 challenge and Congress must make it our no. 1 priority."[15] Kline has spoken in support of education reform designed to encourage parent involvement and teacher accountability.[16] He is opposed to any tax increases and has stated that such strategies must be taken "off the table."[17] In remarks made to fellow representatives, Kline said, "we are watching a massive growth of government power, size, and spending, and I deem that unacceptable."[18]

In 2013 Kline proposed a bill that, among other adjustments, changed the rate on subsidized Stafford loans from 3.4% to 5.9%. The bill linked the rate of interest to the rate of US borrowing.[19]

Kline has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.[20] His campaign site states that "he opposed Obamacare because it is a seriously flawed law that was too big, was passed too fast, and does too much harm." [21]


On April 1, 2014, Kline introduced the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 10; 113th Congress), a bill that would amend and reauthorize both the Charter School Programs and the Credit Enhancement for Charter School Initiatives under Title V of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 through fiscal year 2020 and combine them into a single authorization.[22][23] This is intended to streamline and improve the grants process and increase the funding for these programs from $250 million to $300 million.[24] The bill passed in the House on May 7, 2014.[23]

Political campaigns

Kline made his first run for office in 1998, when he challenged 6th District Democratic incumbent Bill Luther and lost, taking 46% of the vote. He sought a rematch in 2000 and lost by only 5,400 votes, while George W. Bush narrowly carried the district.

After the 2000 census, Minnesota's congressional map was radically altered, though the number of districts was unchanged. The old 28-county 2nd District was dismantled, and a new 2nd District was created in the Twin Cities' southern suburbs. At the same time, the 6th District was pushed slightly north and made significantly more Republican than its predecessor. The remapping left the home of the 2nd District's freshman incumbent, Republican Mark Kennedy, just inside the reconfigured 6th District. Realizing this, Kline immediately filed for the Republican nomination in the new 2nd District; his home had been drawn into this district. After some consideration, Luther opted to run in the 2nd as well, even though it was thought to lean slightly Republican.

During the campaign, Luther came under fire when one of his supporters, Sam Garst, filed for the race under the banner of the "No New Taxes Party." This was done in retaliation for an ad the National Republican Congressional Committee ran in support of Kline that accused Luther of being soft on crime.[25] Kline gained considerable momentum from this, and ultimately won handily, taking 53% of the vote to Luther's 42%.

Kline then defeated Democratic Burnsville City Councilwoman Teresa Daly to win a second term in 2004 and former FBI Special agent and whistleblower Coleen Rowley, one of Time magazine's "Persons of the Year", with 56% of the vote in 2006. In 2008 Kline defeated former Watertown mayor Steve Sarvi and increased his margin of victory to over 57% of the vote.

Kline accepted $11,000 in political contributions from former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham's PAC. After Cunningham’s indictment on fraud charges, Kline donated the money to charity.[26]

Kline's reelection in 2012 made him the 40th U.S. Representative from Minnesota to win six House terms.[27]

On September 3, 2015, Kline announced that he would not seek re-election in 2016.[1][28]

Campaign finance

In the 2014 election cycle, Kline's largest campaign contributor was the Apollo Group, a corporation that owns several for-profit educational institutions. The corporation gave $33,100 toward Kline's campaign.[29]

Bill Maher's "Flip a District" contest

In 2014, he was the "winner" of comedian Bill Maher's "Flip a District" from a group of 16 semi-finalists nominated by viewers nationwide.[30][31]

Local paper the Star Tribune reported Kline planned to raise $100,000 to counteract the notoriety brought by Maher's campaign. Kline's spokesman said "Minnesotans are tired of sleazy and slimy politics,” but Kline's opponent, “certainly isn’t.” Kline's opponent Mike Obermueller reported a 700 percent increase in fundraising.[32]

Electoral history


In 2014 Kline again faced Democrat Mike Obermuller. This time incumbent Kline defeated Obermuller by a 17-point margin.[33]


In the 2012 US House elections, Kline defeated Democrat Mike Obermueller by 8%.[34]

2008 Second Congressional District of Minnesota Elections
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Kline 220,926 57
Democratic Steve Sarvi 164,079 43
N/A others 614 <1
2006 Second Congressional District of Minnesota Elections
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Kline 163,292 56
Democratic Coleen Rowley 116,360 40
Independence Doug Williams 10,802 4
2004 Second Congressional District of Minnesota Elections
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Kline 206,313 57
Democratic Teresa Daly 147,527 40
Independence Doug Williams 11,822 3
2002 Second Congressional District of Minnesota Elections
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Kline 152,533 53
Democratic Bill Luther 121,072 42
No New Taxes Party Sam Garst 12,408 5
2000 Sixth Congressional District of Minnesota Elections
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Kline 48
Democratic Bill Luther 50
1998 Sixth Congressional District of Minnesota Elections
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Kline 46
Democratic Bill Luther 50

See also


  1. 1 2 "GOP chairman John Kline to retire". TheHill.
  2. "John Kline - U.S. Congress Votes Database - The Washington Post".
  3. "Key Republican Ready to Roll Back Testing Mandates of ‘No Child Left Behind'". C1 control character in |title= at position 56 (help)
  4. "Congressman John Kline – Representative of Minnesota". John Kline's Biography. United States House of Representatives. Archived from the original on May 15, 2006. Retrieved December 22, 2006.
  5. "Biography | U.S. House of Representatives". Retrieved 2014-08-18.
  6. "Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet". Imgur.
  7. Diaz, Kevin (January 8, 2007). "Minnesota delegation offers cool response". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on October 21, 2007. Retrieved January 9, 2007.
  8. Schmickle, Sharon. John Kline, Steve Sarvi clash over policies and tone of campaigns. Minn Post. October 20, 2008.
  9. "2014 All Key Votes – Project Vote Smart". Retrieved 2014-08-18.
  10. "2014 All Key Votes – Project Vote Smart". Retrieved 2014-08-18.
  11. "National Special Interest Groups – Project Vote Smart". Retrieved 2014-08-18.
  12. "National Special Interest Groups – Project Vote Smart". Retrieved 2014-08-18.
  13. "2014 All Key Votes – Project Vote Smart". Retrieved 2014-08-18.
  14. "Public Statements – Project Vote Smart". Retrieved 2014-08-18.
  15. Archived April 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. "Education is a jobs issue". TheHill. 2014-06-23. Retrieved 2014-08-18.
  17. Archived April 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. "Public Statements – Project Vote Smart". Retrieved 2014-08-18.
  19. Henry, Devin. "House to take up Kline bill on student-loan interest rates". MINNPOST. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  20. "H.R. 2 (112th): Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act (On Passage of the Bill)". 2011-01-19. Retrieved 2014-08-18.
  21. "Issues – John Kline for Congress". Retrieved 2014-08-18.
  22. "CBO – H.R. 10". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  23. 1 2 "H.R. 10 – All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  24. Bidwell, Allie (9 May 2014). "House Steams Ahead on Charter School Expansion". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  25. Scheck, Tom. Luther, Kline get heated in TV debate. Minnesota Public Radio, August 22, 2002.
  26. Some Republicans are dumping donations given by Cunningham Accessed August 12, 2006
  27. Ostermeier, Eric (July 18, 2013). "John Kline: Six Going on Seven?". Smart Politics.
  28. Coolican, J. Patrick. "U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., will not seek re-election". Minneapolis Star Tribune. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  29. "Rep. John Kline: Campaign Finance/Money - Top Donors - Representative 2014 - OpenSecrets".
  30. Aaron Blake (September 12, 2014). "Bill Maher announced he's targeting Rep. John Kline. He picked the wrong guy.". Washington Post.
  31. "Ep 328 September 12, 2014: New Rules l Real Time with Bill Maher l HBO". HBO.
  32. "Pol tries to turn tables on Bill Maher". POLITICO.
  33. "MN Election Results". Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  34. Anand, Priya. "With Michele Bachmann out, Democrats targetting John Kline". Politico. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mark Kennedy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Jason Lewis
Preceded by
George Miller
Chair of the House Education Committee
Succeeded by
Virginia Foxx
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Steve King
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Candice Miller
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