North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, a conservative Republican who has introduced a procedural move to try and unseat House Speaker John Boehner from his post, has gained a lot of confidence since his self-described days as a "fat nerd" during high school in Tampa Bay, Florida.
"It’s tough. When you grow up as a fat kid, everybody makes fun of you, and all you want to do is fit in," the second-term congressman told the Smoky Mountain News in 2012
. "When you run for office, people say stuff. It, at times, can step on pains. We just want to like everyone and be liked."
The evangelical Christian and real estate developer from western North Carolina is known around Washington for being "collegial" with both sides of the aisle, though Politico
reports that Meadows is also a "rock-ribbed conservative" with a rebellious streak.
"He’s among the cadre of conservatives who earlier this year launched the House Freedom Caucus, which has been a hotbed for scheming against leadership," according to Politico. "He voted against Boehner for speaker on the House floor in January — one of 25 Republicans to do so. He also cast one of just 34 Republican votes against a pivotal procedural move on trade.
"He was also a leading member of the group of GOP lawmakers who forced a government shutdown in 2013."
Meadows chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and serves on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
In June, Meadows was briefly removed from his chairmanship as retaliation for opposing a procedural trade vote. An "uproar" from fellow conservatives resulted in Meadows’ reinstatement and "bad blood has lingered" ever since, according to The Washington Post.
Boehner supported Meadows’ removal as chairman.
"When it comes to procedural votes in the House, the majority has to stick together," he said at the time.
Meadows, 56, is a married father of two who has lived in the mountains of North Carolina since graduating from the University of South Florida. He was born on a U.S. Army base in France while his father was serving there. He owned a sandwich shop before becoming a Realtor and, later, a real estate developer.
Meadows has couched his move to unseat Boehner,
which he initiated Tuesday, as a way to spark a "family discussion" within the GOP "about how the House is run," according to Politico. Punishing members who don’t tow the party line is unacceptable, he said.
"I don’t like being in the limelight," he said. "If we have a culture of punishment, then with each action, obviously, there will be the potential for retribution."
House rules dictate that "a speaker may be removed at the will of the House and a speaker pro tempore appointed."
A majority of House members present and voting would be needed to successfully oust the speaker and a number of procedural steps are required before that vote could even be taken.
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