Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. is serving his thirteenth 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.
Congressman Bishop is a leader among the fiscally responsible Democrats in Congress. He believes that the most important 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. In order to restore the nation’s economic security, Congressman Bishop has supported a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment; legislation to require any new spending by Congress to 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 115th Congress, he was elected by his colleagues to serve as the top Democrat on the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. He also serves as a senior member of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee and serves on the Financial Services and General Government 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 112th Congress, he was the lead House sponsor of the Hiring Heroes Act, which improves programs helping individuals make the transition from service member to civilian employee. The measure was signed into law in November 2011 (P.L. 112-56). 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 fought 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; 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. Finally, 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.
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 and 113th Congresses. 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. He is the Co-Chairman and Co-Founder of the Congressional Military Family Caucus. He serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Peanut Caucus and the Congressional Working Forests Caucus. He is a member of the No Labels Problem Solvers group, "a grassroots movement of conservative, liberal, and everything in between dedicated to promoting the politics of problem solvers." He is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, 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, Water Caucus, Heart and Stroke Caucus, Congressional Glaucoma Caucus, and the U.S. - Japan 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.
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 with his bachelors from Morehouse College in 1968 and with his law degree from Emory University Law School in 1971. In addition to these degrees, Morehouse awarded Bishop an honorary doctor of laws in 2010.
He enlisted into the U.S. Army in 1969 and successfully completed basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He then enrolled in Advanced Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) training and later 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), a member of the Order of St. John, 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.
1979 GA State Appointed Lieutenant Colonel
1987 Star Legislator Award
1996 The UNCF “Masked” Award
1996 Health Service Award
2001 Haynes-Taylor Award YMCA
2002 Community Health Super Hero Award
2003 Community Health Super Hero Award
2003 Kappa Citizenship Award, 52nd Southeastern Province Council Meeting Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
2005 Whitney M. Young Jr. Community Service Award – Urban League of Greater Columbus, Inc.
2006 National Family Week Advocacy Award
2006 Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Award
2006 The Family Center, Inc. Advocacy Award
2007 Spirit of Enterprise Award – US Chamber of Commerce
2007 Impact Award – National Peanut Buying Points Association
2007 GA ACTE Policy Maker of the Year
2007 Legislator of the Year - Licensed Professional Counselors Association of GA
2007 Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Award
2008 Honorary Black Belt – Brunson Martial Arts
2008 CLEO Legacy Diversity Award, a Tireless Dedicated Public Servant
2008 Community Service Award, The Courier Eco Latino
2008 Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Award
2009 “Keeper of the Flame” Award
2009 Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Award
2010 Distinguished Community Health Defender Award
2010 Georgia Peanut Special Award “Work Horse”
2010 Civil Liberty Award, IPOE of the World
2010 Great Idea Award, Teenage Parenting Center
2010 TV One Award For Championing Choice and Diversity in Cable Television Programming
2010 “Friend of the National Parks Award” from National Parks Conservation Association
“2011 Friend of Labor Award” presented by GA AFL-CIO Labor
2011 Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET) Champions’ Award
2011 African American Golfers Hall of Fame “Leadership Award”
2012 “Our Star in Washington Award,” Terrell County NAACP
2012 “Good Scout” Award from the National Capitol Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America
2012 The Patriot Award from the Georgia Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve
2012 Congressional Partnership Award from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO)
2012 Distinguished Service Award from the American Logistics Association
2013 NAM Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence in 112th Congress from the National Association of Manufacturers
2013 Distinguished Community Health Defender Award from the National Association of Community Health Centers, Inc.
2014 Lifetime Achiever Award from the Alabama Black Achievers Awards Gala
2016 Friend of the Farm Bureau
2016 U.S. Chamber Spirit of Enterprise Award
2017 U.S. Army Distinguished Civilian Service Medal
The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America
The Spirit of Enterprise Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
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 Legislative Impact Award from Military Spouse Magazine
George "Buck" Gillispie Award for Meritorious Service
HBCU/PBI Champion Award from the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
The Charles Dick Medal of Merit
1993 The 42nd Southeastern Province Council
1994 The Gamma Zeta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Founders’ Day Program
1995 Young’s Tae Kwon Do Championships
1995 Rural Economic Communications Development
1996 GA Power Olympic Team
1996 The Black History Month
1997 Inaugural Parade, the Muscogee Troopers
1999 Stewart Webster Rural Health, Inc. Expansion funding for City of Richland
1999 The Citizens’ Flag Alliance, Inc. 106th Congress
2000 School of the Americas
2000 Commissioned as Honorary Texan by the Honorable Rodney Ellis, Acting Governor of Texas
2002 Andrew College Education Program
2003 Annual Men’s Day Service
2003 CBFT3 Columbus Biosolids Flow Through Thermophilic Treatment
2004 Quitman County Family Connection
2004 The American Legion
2005 Historic Columbus Foundation
2005 Reese Road Elementary School
2005 S.P.E.A.K. Washington Tour
2005 Farewell International Military Students of The Infantry Captains Career Course
2006 A.J. McClung YMCA & Marshall Movers –Lights on After School Event
2006 Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. –Platinum Sponsor DR. King Breakfast
2006 Muscogee County Junior Marshall Program
2006 De Bouch Chapter American Business Women’s Association
2006 Junior Marshall Program
2007 MLK Unity Award Breakfast, Delta Iota Foundation, Inc.
2007 Ft Benning Retirement Appreciation Day
2007 Disabled American Veterans
2008 Faith Community Outreach Center Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Performance and Lasting Contributions
2008 National Peanut Research Laboratory working for National Peanut Research Industry
2008 Operation Stand Down
2008 Edgewood Red Devils Snapper Bowl Tournament
2009 Volunteers for Organizing America Certificate for recognizing support of President Obama’s budget and bold vision for America
2009 SOWEGA Libraries Certificate of Appreciation for Continued Support
2009 Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. –Platinum Sponsor DR. King Breakfast
2009 Greater Ward Chapel AME Church
2009 Operation Stand Down
2009 Greater Ward Chapel A.M.E. Church
2014 National Bar Association Hall of Fame