Full Biography

Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. is serving his eleventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Georgia's Second Congressional District, which covers 29 middle and southwest Georgia counties: Bibb (in part), Baker, Calhoun, Chattahoochee, Clay, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Macon, Marion, Miller, Mitchell, Muscogee (in part), Peach, Quitman, Randolph, Seminole, Schley, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taylor, Terrell, and Webster.

The middle and southwest Georgia legislator seeks to use the legislative process to “create a higher, better quality of life for all citizens by promoting jobs and a stronger, more diversified economy, better education, safe and secure communities, a clean environment, affordable and accessible health care, sustainable agriculture, energy independence, and a strong national defense -- all within the context of a balanced budget.”

Legislative Record
Congressman Bishop is a leader among the fiscally responsible Democrats in Congress.  He believes that the number one way the nation can reduce the federal budget deficit and grow the economy is to get Americans back to work. He endorsed legislation to increase small business lending, extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts to provide tax relief to Americans at all income levels while the economy recovers, eliminate the burdensome estate tax, and close tax loopholes that send American jobs overseas.  To help restore the nation’s economic security, Congressman Bishop has supported a balanced budget constitutional amendment, legislation to require any new spending by Congress be offset by spending cuts and/or enhancing revenues, caps on discretionary spending, and reforming defense procurement and weapons acquisition.

Since 2003, Congressman Bishop has served on the House Committee on Appropriations.  At the start of the 112th Congress, he was elected by his colleagues to serve as the top Democrat on the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee.  He also serves on the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee and the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee.  As a Member of the House Appropriations Committee, Congressman Bishop has worked to ensure that the Second Congressional District gets its fair share of federal dollars to create and maintain jobs, rebuild its infrastructure, strengthen its schools, bridge the digital divide, fund innovative agriculture research, promote national security, and develop communities.  Prior to 2003, Congressman Bishop served on the House Committee on Agriculture, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, the House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. 

Congressman Bishop has spearheaded a wide range of initiatives that benefit the Second Congressional District.  He has introduced the Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act, which would permit retired service members who have a service-connected disability rated less than 50% to receive concurrent payment of both retired pay and veterans’ disability compensation.  In the 111th Congress (2009-2010), Congressman Bishop successfully fought to prevent the U.S. Department of Transportation from banning peanuts on airlines.  He also helped over 700 military spouses at Fort Benning keep their career advancement tuition assistance. 

In addition, Congressman Bishop was instrumental in securing estate tax relief.  In 2009, he successfully pushed for House passage of legislation to expand the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in Plains, Georgia.  He also worked to promote healthy eating and reduce obesity among the nation’s youth considering military service.

Congressman Bishop promotes the values and morals of Southwest Georgians – "God, country, work, family, and guns.  He has co-sponsored amendments to the U.S. Constitution protecting the U.S. flag against acts of desecration, preserving the institution of marriage, ensuring a balanced federal budget, and allowing voluntary, non-denominational prayer in schools and other public places.  He also supports the Second Amendment, receiving the grade of “A+” from the National Rifle Association.

Congressman Bishop has pushed through many other initiatives of special concern to the Second District, including legislation to name the new U.S. Courthouse in Albany for civil rights leader C.B. King and legislation to rename the main post office in Albany for Dr. Walter Carl Gordon, Jr.  He has supported bills to expand and improve the Andersonville Historic Site, as well as efforts to sustain and build new structures at the Second District's military installations, including Fort Benning and the Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB) in Albany.  He supported the minting of a commemorative coin honoring the United States Army Infantry, and helped fund the construction of the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center.  Additionally, he has secured more than a billion dollars in federal grants and loans for communities throughout the Second District, making the area one of the nation's leaders in qualifying for federal community development funding.

Public Life
Bishop was first elected to Congress in 1992 after serving in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1977 to 1990 and in the Georgia Senate from 1991-1992.

Bishop holds a number of leadership positions.  He was a Senior Democratic Whip in the 112th Congress.  He earlier served as Chairman of a Democratic House Task Force on Homeland Security and the Working Group on Defense of Physical Infrastructure and Natural Resources.

In addition, Congressman Bishop serves as a member of the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally-conservative House Democrats and is the Co-Chairman and Co-Founder of the Congressional Military Family Caucus and Congressional Chicken Caucus.  He has served as Co-Chair of the Congressional Peanut Caucus.  He is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus (Co-Chair of Defense, Veterans and Homeland Security Task Force), Congressional Caucus on Coal, Congressional Caucus on Community Health Centers, Congressional Caucus on Intellectual Property Promotion and Piracy Prevention, Congressional Caucus on Taiwan, Congressional Diabetes Caucus, Congressional Fire Services Caucus, Congressional Fraternal Caucus, Congressional Glaucoma Caucus, Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition, Congressional HUBZone Coalition, Congressional Humanities Caucus, Congressional JOBS NOW! Caucus, Congressional Pro-Sports Caucus, Congressional Real Estate Caucus, Congressional Robotics Caucus, Congressional Rural Caucus, Congressional Scouting Caucus, Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, Congressional Steel Caucus, Congressional Sudan Caucus, Congressional Vision Caucus, Congressional Zoo and Aquarium Caucus, Friends of Job Corps Congressional caucus, House Agriculture Energy Users Caucus, House Army Caucus, House Biotechnology Caucus, House Military Industrial Facilities caucus, Impact Aid Coalition, International Conservation Caucus, Law Enforcement Caucus, National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus, Out of Poverty Caucus, Rural Housing Caucus, Rural Working Group, Textile Caucus, USO Congressional Caucus, and Water Caucus. 

Congressman Bishop has held leadership positions at the community, state and national levels, including serving as Georgia's representative on the Southern Growth Policies Board and on the Governor's Advisory Council on Drug Abuse.  For the last several years, he has been named by Georgia Trend magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians.

Personal Background
Bishop was born February 4, 1947, in Mobile, Alabama, and is the son of the late Dr. Sanford D. Bishop, Sr., the first president of Bishop State Community College in Mobile, Alabama, and Mrs. Minnie S. Bishop, a librarian.  He is married to the Honorable Vivian Creighton Bishop, who serves as the elected Clerk of the Municipal Court of Columbus, Georgia (court administrator).  They have a daughter, Aayesha J. Reese, and a granddaughter, Londyn.

Bishop graduated from Morehouse College in 1968 and from Emory University Law School in 1971.  He served in the U.S. Army, completed basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, entered Advanced Reserve Officers Training, and received an Honorable Discharge in 1971.  He resided in Columbus, Georgia from 1972 to 1996, where he was the primary partner in the law firm of Bishop and Buckner, P.C.  He is an Eagle Scout, a 33rd Degree Mason (PHA), and a Shriner.  He is a resident of Albany, Georgia, where he is a Deacon and Trustee of the Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Congressman Bishop has received numerous awards including the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America, given to Eagle Scouts for distinguished career achievement; the Spirit of Enterprise Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; the Georgia Peanut Commission’s “Work Horse” Award; the Man of the Year Award from the Men's Progressive Club of Columbus, Georgia; the Friend of the Children Award from the Child Advocacy Coalition; the Charles Dick Medal of Merit from the National Guard Association of the United States; The Order of St. Maurice from the National Infantry Association; and commendations from the Georgia Association of Educators, Georgia Municipal Association, Georgia School Bus Drivers Association, Georgia Council for the Arts, the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and the American Legion.