John Lewis

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John Lewis currently serves the 5th Congressional district of Georgia

John Robert Lewis, a Democrat, has represented the 5th District of Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1987. The district takes in almost all of Atlanta. (map)

Record and controversies

General information about important bills and votes for can be found in Congresspedia's articles on legislation. You can add information you find on how John Lewis voted by clicking the "[edit]" link to the right and typing it in. Remember to cite your sources!

Iraq War

Lewis voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[1]

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

Support for gun control

Lewis cosponsored H.R. 1312 (Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2005) on July 28, 2005.[2]

Main article: U.S. gun legislation

Civil Rights Movement

Historian Howard Zinn wrote of Lewis: "At the great Washington March of 1963, the chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), John Lewis, speaking to the same enormous crowd that heard Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream," was prepared to ask the right question: "Which side is the federal government on?" That sentence was eliminated from his speech by organizers of the March to avoid offending the Kennedy Administration. But Lewis and his fellow SNCC workers had experienced, again and again, the strange passivity of the national government in the face of Southern violence, strange, considering how often this same government had been willing to intervene outside the country, often with overwhelming force." [1]

"John Lewis and SNCC had reason to be angry. John had been beaten bloody by a white mob [on Bloody Sunday] in Montgomery as a Freedom Rider in the spring of 1961. The federal government had trusted the notoriously racist Alabama police to protect the Riders, but done nothing itself except to have FBI agents take notes. Instead of insisting that blacks and whites had a right to ride the buses together, the Kennedy Administration called for a "cooling-off period," a moratorium on Freedom Rides." [2]

"The white population could not possibly be unaffected by those events --some whites more stubborn in their defense of segregation, but others beginning to think in different ways. And the black population was transformed, having risen up in mass action for the first time, feeling its power, knowing now that if the old order could be shaken it could be toppled." [3]

Lewis's activism continues to this day. On the 41st anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," in March 2006, Lewis released a statement saying, "It is fitting and appropriate that we return to Selma 41 years later to help make it clear that we still need a Voting Rights Act in America today. It was right in 1965, and it is still right in 2006. There are certain sections of the VRA that will expire in February of next year. We return to Selma to say to the Congress and to the American people that voting is not yet fully fair and free in America in today. There are still legal and de facto tactics used to restrict access to the ballot box... We have come a long way, but we still have a distance to go before we lay down the burden of race and class in America. As we stand in the shadow of those brave citizens who came before, we must be prepared today to make the sacrifices that are necessary to give all Americans the fullest capability to exercise their right to vote."

Lewis calls "Bloody Sunday" a "turning point in the Civil Rights Movement, hastening the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, signed into law on August 6 by President Lyndon Johnson."[4]

Rep. William Jefferson scandal and the CBC

According to a report by the Milwaukee Courier, Lewis made a motion on June 8, 2006 to have Rep. William Jefferson's seat on the House Committee on Ways and Means stripped as a result of the ongoing federal investigation against him. This position differs from that of the Congressional Black Caucus, for which Lewis is a long-time member. The CBC believes Jefferson should retain the seat until the charges levied against him are proven true. [5]


Born February 21, 1940 in Troy, Alabama. Lewis was educated at the American Baptist Theological Seminary and at Fisk University, both in Nashville, Tennessee. There he became active in the Civil Rights movement, rising to national prominance as chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) (see "Civil Rights Movement" below).

After leaving SNCC in 1966, Lewis worked with various community-oriented organizations and later became community affairs director for the National Consumer Co-op Bank in Atlanta. In 1981, he was elected to the Atlanta City Council, and in 1986, he was elected to the House, defeating then-state senator Julian Bond, another national Civil Rights leader who went on to lead the NAACP.

From his House biography: "Often called "one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced," John Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties, and building what he calls "The Beloved Community" in America. His dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles has won him the admiration of many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the United States Congress."[6]

According to the Associated Press, Lewis was "the first major House figure to suggest impeaching Bush," he argued that the president "deliberately, systematically violated the law" in authorizing the wiretapping. Lewis added: "He is not King, he is president." [7]

2006 elections

No major candidates announced their intentions to contest Lewis’s seat in the November 2006 election. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [8]

2008 elections

This information was gathered by volunteer researchers as part of the Superdelegate Transparency Project on the superdelegates for the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. For more info see the Georgia superdelegate tracker or visit the STP homepage.

Before Hillary Clinton conceded the race, John Lewis, as a superdelegate, had endorsed Barack Obama for President.

For more information and sources, see the state page for this superdelegate linked to in the blue box above.

Template:Endorsement: Planned Parenthood

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00002577&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for John Lewis
from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.
Fundraising profile: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2006 election cycle Career totals

Committees and Affiliations


Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)



DC Office:
343 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-3801
Fax: 202-225-0351
Web Email

District Office- Atlanta:
The Equitable Building
100 Peachtree Street, Northwest
Suite 1920
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 404-659-0116
Fax: 404-331-0947

Campaign Office:
c/o Michael Collins
PO Box 2323
Atlanta, Georgia 30301

Articles and resources


  1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  2. Thomas page on H.R. 1312
  3. Directors, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, accessed August 20, 2008.
  4. History, Americans for Democratic Action, accessed April 19, 2010.


Published Work

  • Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement (with Michael D'Orso, 1999)


Local blogs and discussion sites

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on John Lewis. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.

Corresponding article on Wikipedia and Cause Caller. (If Cause Caller link does not work, pick from its list of senators and representatives.)

Current Office: U.S. House of Representatives
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

110th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
House Committee on Ways and Means/Subcommittee on Oversight
Ranking Member On:

Congressional Black Caucus
Committees: House Committee on Ways and Means, House Committee on Ways and Means/Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, House Committee on Ways and Means/Subcommittee on Oversight
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 4, 1986
First Took Current Office:
January 6, 1987
Next Election:
November 2, 2010
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
Atlanta City Councilman
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. The Equitable Building 100 Peachtree Street, Northwest Suite 1920 Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 404-659-0116 / Fax: 404-331-0947

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

1. c/o Michael Collins PO Box 2323 Atlanta, Georgia 30301
Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: February 21, 1940