Fred Upton

For the businessmen, see Frederick and Louis Upton.
Fred Upton
Chair of the House Energy Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Preceded by Henry Waxman
Succeeded by Greg Walden (Designate)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 6th district
Assumed office
January 3, 1993
Preceded by Bob Carr
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1987  January 3, 1993
Preceded by Mark Siljander
Succeeded by Dave Camp
Personal details
Born Frederick Stephen Upton
(1953-04-23) April 23, 1953
St. Joseph, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Amey Rulon-Miller
Alma mater University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (BA)

Frederick Stephen "Fred" Upton (born April 23, 1953) is the U.S. Representative for Michigan's 6th congressional district, serving since 1987. He is a member of the Republican Party and Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. The district stretches along the Michigan-Indiana border in the southwestern part of the state.

Early life, education, and early political career

Upton was born in St. Joseph, Michigan, the son of Elizabeth B. (née Vial) and Stephen Edward Upton.[1] Upton attended Shattuck School in Faribault, Minnesota, graduating in 1971.[2] Upton earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Michigan in 1975. He was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity, Peninsular Chapter and became a sports editor at The Michigan Daily and thought he might someday cover the Chicago Cubs.[3] He served on the congressional staff of U.S. Congressman David Stockman (R-MI) from 1976 to 1980. He was in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1985, while Stockman served as OMB Director.

U.S. House of Representatives



A protege of OMB director and former U.S. Congressman David Stockman, he ran in Michigan's 4th congressional district against incumbent Republican U.S. Congressman Mark Siljander, Stockman's successor. Upton won the Republican primary 55%–45%.[4] He won the general election with 62% of the vote.[5]


Upton won re-election to a second term with 71% of the vote.[6]


He faced a challenge in the Republican primary by Ed Fredericks, ultimately defeating Fredericks by a margin of 63%–37%.[7] In the general election, he won re-election to a third term with 58% of the vote.[8]


After redistricting, Upton decided to run in the newly redrawn Michigan's 6th congressional district, winning re-election in 1992 to a fourth term with 62% of the vote.[9] During this time period, he didn't have a Republican challenger and never won re-election with less than 62%.


After redistricting, Upton faced a primary challenge from state senator Dale Shugars. Upton defeated Shugars 66%–32%.[10] He won the general election with 69% of the vote.[11]


Upton defeated Democrat Scott Elliott, an art gallery owner, 65%–32%.[12]


Upton defeated Democrat Kim Clark 61%–38%.[13]


Upton defeated Democrat Don Cooney, a Kalamazoo City Commissioner, 59%–39%.[14]


Upton was challenged in the Republican primary by former State Representative Jack Hoogendyk. Upton defeated him 57%–43%.[15][16] In the general election, he defeated Cooney in a rematch 62%–34%.[17]


In 2011, Hoogendyk met with the Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative 501(c)4 organization, about running against Upton in a rematch in 2012.[18] Upton has been criticized for not being conservative enough by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, FreedomWorks, Right to Life of Michigan, and the Southwest Michigan Tea Party Patriots.[19] On January 17, 2012, Hoogendyk announced that he would challenge Upton in the primary, the winner of which would face Democrat Mike O'Brien in the general election.[20][21] Upton defeated Hoogendyk in the August 2012 Republican primary, advancing to the general election in November.[22]

While initial polls showed Upton with a sizable lead over the challenger, former marine and businessman Mike O'Brien, a poll in October showed Upton and O'Brien locked in a statistical "dead-heat" heading into the final stretch of the campaign.[23][24]



Upton is running again in 2016.[25]


Upton has been a member of moderate Republican factions The Tuesday Group and the Republican Main Street Partnership.


Upton voted against passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and has since voted in favor of its complete repeal, stating that the law ignored the will of the people and that a bill that important should not have been passed without strong bipartisan support. Upton also believes that with the current level of debt, the United States cannot afford the PPACA. In November 2013, in response to Americans losing their health insurance coverage because of the Affordable Care Act, Upton proposed a bill what would allow them to retain their health insurance coverage.[26] The essence of the Upton bill is to allow insurance companies to maintain their current individual insurance market policies according to state insurance rules that are in effect as of 2013.[27]

On September 27, 2013, Upton introduced the Drug Quality and Security Act (H.R. 3204; 113th Congress), a bill that would grant the Food and Drug Administration more power to regulate drug compounding in the wake of the New England Compounding Center meningitis outbreak.[28] Upton indicated that 3 of those who died were in his district.[29] The bill passed in the House and was being debated in the Senate.


Upton's website once stated: "I strongly believe that everything must be on the table as we seek to reduce carbon emissions."[30] In April 2009, he maintained that "climate change is a serious problem that necessitates serious solutions. Everything must be on the table."[31] However, "Upton has gradually retreated from his moderate stance on climate change and carbon emissions."[30] In late 2010, he co-authored a Wall Street Journal editorial saying he was "not convinced" that "carbon is a problem in need of regulation," and urging Congress to overturn Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency. (See Regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act)[32] He is the co-sponsor, with Ed Whitfield, of the “Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011”.[33]

Regarding the regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act being upheld in Federal Appeals court, Upton said that Congress’s refusal to approve greenhouse gas limits constituted a decision and that lawmakers should act now to reverse the United States Environmental Protection Agency emissions rules. Carbon regulation “threatens to drive energy prices higher, destroy jobs and hamstring our economic recovery,” per Upton. The American automobile industry supports the regulations.[34] Due to his environmental policies, the Los Angeles Times wrote in 2011 that Upton "represents one of the biggest threats to planet Earth on planet Earth."[35]

In 2007 Upton was a co-sponsor of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 which among other things mandated phased-in energy efficiency standards for most light bulbs. At the time, Upton noted that the legislation, ultimately signed into law by President George W. Bush, would "help preserve energy resources and reduce harmful emissions, all while saving American families billions of dollars on their electric bills."[36] But in 2010, after Glenn Beck called Upton "all socialist" for supporting the bill,[37] Upton led a failed effort to stop Obama from enforcing the new energy standards.[36]


On October 22, 2013, Upton introduced the North American Energy Infrastructure Act (H.R. 3301; 113th Congress), a bill that would make changes to permitting requirements for pipelines and other energy infrastructure at international borders.[38][39] Upton said that the bill "is a sincere effort to focus a targeted solution to lessons learned from the Keystone pipeline... No one can rightly argue that the current presidential permit process as the State Department is not broken, no matter what side of the climate debate you're on."[40] Upton also argued that "we're creating a fair and transparent approval process for cross-border energy projects, putting them all on a level playing field for the benefit of North American energy security, lower energy prices, and jobs."[41]

Video game content ratings

On September 29, 2006, Upton introduced the Video Game Decency Act (H.R. 6120) to the House during the 109th United States Congress.[42] The bill was introduced and referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, but never received consideration. Upton reintroduced a bill by the same title (H.R. 1531) in the 110th United States Congress, which was also referred to that committee and never received a vote.[43]


Upton generally supports pro-life legislation.[44]

Gun laws

Upton does not support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns in most circumstances, and in 2010 received "A" and "A-" ratings from the National Rifle Association and the Gun Owners of America, respectively. Upton supports some gun safety laws. From 1991-2003, Upton supported the interests of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence 55 percent and in 1993, Upton supported a waiting period for gun purchase to provide background checks for criminal records.[44]

LGBT issues

Upton believes that marriage should be defined as between one man and one woman. Upton voted to propose an amendment to the Constitution regarding the definition of marriage on July 18, 2006.[44] He received a 15% rating from the Human Rights Campaign on LGBT Rights in 2008.[45]

Fiscal issues

Upton supports a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, a proposal that failed to acquire the two-thirds support necessary to pass the House in the 112th Congress. Upton also supports the line-item veto, which would authorize the President to propose the rescission of full or partial funding in a bill passed by Congress.

In the 111th session of Congress, Upton tabled $7,225,000 in federal funds through eleven earmarks,[46] but political pressure from inside of the Republican party led Upton to announce his support for a Republican initiative to install a moratorium in Congress on legislative earmarks to reduce unnecessary budget expenditures and the fiscal deficit.[47] According to the Council of Citizens Against Government Waste, a taxpayer watchdog group, Upton refrained from all earmarking activities during the 112th Congress.[48]

Upton has been criticized by the conservative website Human Events for being liberal with regards to fiscal issues.[49] He has been recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with the “Spirit of Enterprise” award for “standing firmly against overreaching regulations and job-destroying mandates”.[50]

Upton introduced legislation to reverse the FCC's ruling on Net Neutrality in 2015.

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Personal life

Upton's grandfather, Frederick Upton, was co-founder of appliance manufacturer and marketer Whirlpool Corporation, which is headquartered in Benton Harbor. His wife’s name is Amey, and he has two children, Meg and Stephen.[53] Upton's niece is supermodel Kate Upton.[54][55] In 2014, Michigan Radio reported that Upton had a net worth of $7.3 million. [56]

Upton is a supporter of Michigan Wolverines athletics as well as an enthusiastic Chicago Cubs baseball fan.[3] He is a member of the Emil Verban Society.[53]

Electoral history

Michigan's 4th congressional district: Results 1986–1990[57][58]
Year Republican Votes % Democratic Votes % Third Party Party Votes %
1986 Fred Upton 70,331 62% Dan Roche 41,624 37% Richard Gillmor Independent 1,649 1%
1988 Fred Upton 132,270 71% Norman Rivers 54,428 29%
1990 Fred Upton 75,850 58% JoAnne McFarland 55,449 42%
Michigan's 6th congressional district: Results 1992–2016[57][58][59][60]
Year Republican Votes % Democratic Votes % Third Party Party Votes % Third Party Party Votes % Third Party Party Votes %
1992 Fred Upton 144,083 62% Andy Davis 89,020 38%
1994 Fred Upton 121,932 73% David Taylor 42,348 26% E. A. Berker Natural Law 1,667 1%
1996 Fred Upton 146,170 68% Clarence Annen 66,243 31% Scott Beavers Libertarian 3,370 2%
1998 Fred Upton 113,292 70% Clarence Annen 45,358 28% Glenn Whitt Libertarian 1,833 1% Ken Asmus Natural Law 1,091 1%
2000 Fred Upton 159,373 68% James Bupp 68,532 29% William Bradley Libertarian 3,573 2% Richard Overton Reform 1,872 1% C. Dennis James USTPM 1,290 1%
2002 Fred Upton 126,936 69% Gary Giguere 53,793 29% Richard Overton Reform 2,788 2%
2004 Fred Upton 197,425 65% Scott Elliott 97,978 32% Randall MacPhee Green 2,311 1% Erwin Haas Libertarian 2,275 1% W. Dennis FitzSimons USTPM 2,169 1%
2006 Fred Upton 142,125 61% Kim Clark 88,978 38% Kenneth Howe Libertarian 3,480 1%
2008 Fred Upton 188,157 59% Don Cooney 123,257 39% Greg Merle Libertarian 4,720 1% Edward Pinkney Green 3,512 1%
2010 Fred Upton 123,142 62% Don Cooney 66,729 34% Melvin Valkner USTPM 3,672 2% Fred Strand Libertarian 3,369 2% Pat Foster Green 1,784 1%
2012 Fred Upton 174,955 55% Mike O'Brien 136,563 43% Christie Gelineau Libertarian 6,366 2% Jason Gatties USTPM 2,591 1%
2014 Fred Upton 116,801 56% Paul Clements 84,391 40% Erwin Haas Libertarian 5,530 3% John Lawrence Green 2,254 1%
2016 Fred Upton 193,246 58% Paul Clements 119,975 36% Lorence Wenke Libertarian 16,249 5%


  1. "Frederick Stephen Upton". Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  2. 1 2 Will, George F. (January 9, 2011). "Fred Upton, Rust Belt revolutionary". The Washington Post.
  3. "MI District 4 – R Primary Race – Aug 05, 1986". Our Campaigns. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  4. "MI District 4 Race – Nov 04, 1986". Our Campaigns. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  5. "MI District 4 Race – Nov 08, 1988". Our Campaigns. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  6. "MI District 4 – R Primary Race – Aug 07, 1990". Our Campaigns. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  7. "MI District 4 Race – Nov 06, 1990". Our Campaigns. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  8. "MI District 6 Race – Nov 03, 1992". Our Campaigns. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  9. "MI District 6 – R Primary Race – Aug 06, 2002". Our Campaigns. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  10. "MI District 6 Race – Nov 05, 2002". Our Campaigns. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  11. "MI – District 06 Race – Nov 02, 2004". Our Campaigns. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  12. "MI – District 06 Race – Nov 07, 2006". Our Campaigns. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  13. "MI – District 06 Race – Nov 04, 2008". Our Campaigns. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  14. "Elections : Elections News and Photos". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  15. "MI District 06 – R Primary Race – Aug 03, 2010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  16. "MI – District 06 Race – Nov 02, 2010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  17. Toeplitz, Shira (November 2, 2011). "Club for Growth Encouraging Upton Primary Challenger". Roll Call.
  18. Samuelsohn, Darren; Dobias, Matt (January 11, 2012). "Fred Upton still faces arrows from the right". Politico. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  19. Klug, Fritz (January 17, 2012). "Jack Hoogendyk to challenge U.S. Rep. Fred Upton again for seat in Congress". Kalamazoo Gazette. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  20. Coeman, Zak. "Democrat Campaigns for House". Western Herald. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  22. "House Race Ratings". New York Times. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  23. Klug, Fritz. "Southwest Michigan Politics: Mike O'Brien poll shows challenger in 'dead heat' with Congressman Fred Upton". MLive. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  24. Walorski and Upton drawn into controversy over Trump's comments March 3, 2016 South Bend Tribune
  25. Parker, Ashley; Shear, Michael D. (November 13, 2013). "With Enrollment Slow, Some Democrats Back Change in Health Law". New York Times. Retrieved November 14, 2013. (subscription required (help)). In addition, a vote is scheduled Friday in the Republican-controlled House on a bill that would allow Americans to keep their existing health coverage through 2014 without penalties. The measure, drafted by Representative Fred Upton, the Michigan Republican who is the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, is opposed by the White House, which argues that it would severely undermine the Affordable Care Act by allowing insurance companies to continue to sell health coverage that does not meet the higher standard of Mr. Obama’s health care law.
  26. Capretta, James C. (November 13, 2013). "The Upton Bill Is No Small Matter". The Weekly Standard. Washington, D.C. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  27. Cox, Ramsey (14 November 2013). "Senate inches toward passing drug bill". The Hill. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  28. "House Passes Upton Bill to Prevent Repeat of Deadly Meningitis Outbreak, Strengthen Prescription Drug Supply Chain". Office of Representative Upton. September 28, 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  29. 1 2 Sheppard, Kate (2011-01-04) Fred Upton's Climate Changeup, Mother Jones
  30. Upton hails KVCC wind energy program as Congress debates climate change bill, River Country Journal (April 24, 2009)
  31. Upton, Fred; Phillips, Tim (December 28, 2010). "How Congress Can Stop the EPA's Power Grab". The Wall Street Journal.
  32. Hawkins, Dave (February 9, 2011). "Dirty Air Extremism". Switchboard. Natural Resources Defense Council. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  33. Court Backs E.P.A. Over Emissions Limits Intended to Reduce Global Warming June 26, 2012
  34. "Year in Review: Congress' 10 biggest enemies of the Earth". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  35. 1 2 Grunwald, Michael "Long Live the Lightbulb. Big Government has made it better", Accessed May 21, 2012, Time magazine, May 20, 2013, p. Business-6
  36. "Fred Upton to revisit light bulb ban", Politico, November 18, 2010, Accessed May 21, 2013
  37. "CBO – H.R. 3301". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  38. "H.R. 3301 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  39. Carna, Timothy (24 June 2014). "WH threatens veto of House oil pipeline bill". The Hill. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  40. Passut, Charlie (25 June 2014). "House Passes Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Bill". Natural Gas Intel. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  41. "H.R. 6120 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  42. "H.R. 1531 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  43. 1 2 3 "Project Vote Smart". Retrieved 2010-11-24.
  44. Congressional Scorecard, Human Rights Campaign, 2008, p. 22.
  45. (n.d.). Fred Upton: Earmarks (fiscal year 2010).
  46. Bonyun, S.C. (2010, March 11). Upton urges all members to join effort banning earmarks. U.S. Congressman Fred Upton.
  47. CCAGW. (2012). Pig book.
  48. Hair, Connie. "Connie Hair Upton's Shocking Votes on Energy-Related Bills". Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  49. Ken Paulman (31 March 2011). "Upton Honored by U.S. Chamber of Commerce". Midwest Energy News. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
  50. "Congressional Automotive Caucus". Congressman Dale Killdee. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
  51. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Representative Frederick 'Fred' Stephen Upton's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
  52. 1 2 "Representative Frederick 'Fred' Stephen Upton". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  53. Leach, Robin (February 14, 2012). "Photos and videos: Kate Upton — from S.I. Rookie of the Year to cover girl. if". Las Vegas Sun.
  54. Meet Kate Upton’s Uncle; How a moderate Republican retooled for the Tea Party era, July 30, 2012, VOL. 17, NO. 43 Weekly Standard
  55. Michigan's Top 3 Richest and Poorest Members of Congress
  56. 1 2 "Office of the House Clerk – Electoral Statistics". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Archived from the original on 2008-07-30.
  57. 1 2 "Election Results". Federal Election Commission.
  58. "Previous Election Information". Michigan Department of State. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mark Siljander
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Dave Camp
Preceded by
Bob Carr
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 6th congressional district

Preceded by
Henry Waxman
Chair of the House Energy Committee
Succeeded by
Greg Walden
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Lamar Smith
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Nancy Pelosi
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