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Joe Schwarz
Member of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Nick Smith
Succeeded by Tim Walberg
Member of the Michigan Senate
from the 24th district
20th District (1987-1994)

In office
January 1, 1987 – December 31, 2002
Preceded by Harry A. DeMaso
Succeeded by Patricia L. Birkholz
Mayor of Battle Creek

In office
Personal details
Born John J. H. Schwarz
November 15, 1937(1937-11-15) (age 85)
Battle Creek, Michigan
Political party Independent[1]
Spouse(s) Deceased
Residence Battle Creek, Michigan
Alma mater University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Harvard University
Occupation physician
Religion Roman Catholic

John J. H. "Joe" Schwarz, M.D. (born November 15, 1937), is an independent politician from Michigan,[1] who was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2004 as a moderate Republican. He represented Michigan's 7th congressional district from January 2005 to January 2007.

Early life and career

Schwarz was born and raised in Battle Creek, Michigan, after his family moved there in 1935 so his father could work as a physician in the Veterans Administration Hospital. He has two older siblings, Frank and Janet. He attended Fremont Elementary School, W.K. Kellogg Junior High School, and graduated from Battle Creek Central High School. He played on the baseball, swimming and football teams at B.C. Central. In 1959, he received a B.A. in History from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he played on the 1956 reserve football team as a center.[2] He earned an M.D. from Wayne State University, Detroit, in 1964, completed his medical residency in Los Angeles and subsequently joined the United States Navy, where he served as a combat surgeon for a Marine battalion in Vietnam. He was then assigned to the U.S. Embassy at Jakarta, Indonesia, where he first met his future wife, Anne. From 1968 to 1970, he worked as a Central Intelligence Agency operative in Southeast Asia. After resigning from the CIA in 1970, he completed his surgical training in otolaryngology at the Harvard Medical School, where he married his wife and had a daughter, Brennan.

He returned, with his new family, to Battle Creek in 1974, and has been a practicing physician in Battle Creek since that time. He currently sees patients at the Family Health Center in Battle Creek, a federally qualified health center. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. His first wife, Anne, died in 1990, and he is divorced from his second wife. He has one daughter from his first marriage.[3]

Political career

He served as a Battle Creek City Commissioner, 1979–1985, as mayor of Battle Creek, 1985–1987, and as a member of the Michigan Senate, 1987–2002, where he was president pro tempore, 1993–2002. He left the Senate due to term-limit laws, but launched an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination for governor in 2002, losing the primary to Lt. Gov. Dick Posthumus.

Schwarz had previously attempted a bid for the Republican nomination for a seat in the U.S. House in 1992. He finished second to fellow state senator Nick Smith in the primary for the 7th District. Although Schwarz is from Battle Creek, the largest city in the district, two other candidates from the western portion of the district split the vote. This allowed Smith, the major candidate from the eastern portion, to win with only 37 percent of the vote.

In 2004, Schwarz ran for the 7th District again. Smith opted not to run for reelection, honoring a promise to serve only six terms in the House. Schwarz defeated Smith's son Brad Smith, Tim Walberg, and three others in a six-way Republican primary race. In the general election, Schwarz received 58% of the vote, while Democrat Sharon Renier received 36%. The remaining 6% was divided between the Green, Libertarian and U.S. Taxpayers Party candidates.

During his time in Congress, Schwarz is a member of the Republican Leadership Council and The Republican Main Street Partnership. He is also a member of The Republican Majority For Choice, Republicans for Choice and Republicans for Environmental Protection.

In 2006, Schwarz voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment,[4] which would have banned every state from legally recognizing same-sex marriage. Schwarz is considered to be a moderate Republican who supports abortion rights and favors embryonic stem cell research.[5] He has favored extending tax cuts, manufacturing liability reform and overhauling America's medical malpractice laws, which he says lead to frivolous lawsuits and force doctors to demur from treating patients. Schwarz was one of many GOP Congressmen to return to Washington, DC to vote to maintain Terri Schiavo's life support (Bill S 686) and also voted in favor of Bill HR 6099 which was designed to ensure that women seeking an abortion are informed regarding the pain allegedly experienced by their unborn fetus.

2006 election

Schwarz lost in the 2006 Republican primary to Tim Walberg, a former state representative who finished third (18% to Schwarz' 28%) behind Schwarz in the 2004 primary. Walberg is considerably more conservative than Schwarz, and attacked Schwarz for his stances on social and fiscal issues. He was backed by the fiscally conservative 501(c)4 organization Club for Growth and Right to Life of Michigan.

The race drew more than $1 million from outside groups; Schwarz received support from President Bush and Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Post-congressional life

Schwarz has maintained a busy schedule since leaving office in January 2007. On the state level, Schwarz was appointed to Gov. Jennifer Granholm's Emergency Financial Advisory Panel, led by former Michigan governors Milliken (R) and Blanchard (D). On the national level, Schwarz was appointed by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to serve on the independent panel to investigate the conditions at Walter Reed Army Hospital in suburban Washington, DC. Schwarz was reappointed to the Altarum Institute Board of Trustees, a position he held prior to his congressional service, in February 2007. Altarum Institute is a nonprofit health policy research institute based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He also accepted a teaching position at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, which began in fall 2007.[6] Schwarz is also active in the UM Alumni Association, and is often spotted at UM sporting events.

In 2007, Schwarz was appointed to John McCain's presidential finance committee for the state of Michigan. He had been co-chairman of McCain's 2000 presidential campaign; the two have been friends for many years.

Schwarz had been rumored to be considering a run for his old congressional seat against Walberg in 2008, either as an independent or a Democrat. Ultimately, he endorsed Walberg's successful Democratic challenger, State Senate Minority Leader Mark Schauer.

As of 2015, Schwarz is a member of the Michigan State Medical Society's Board of Directors from District 3.[7]

On June 16, 2014, Schwarz signed a brief in support of same-sex marriage.[8]

Electoral history

  • 2006 Race for the U.S. House of Representatives, 7th District
    • Tim Walberg (R), 50%
    • Sharon Renier (D), 46%
    • David Horn (UST), 1%
    • Robert Hutchinson (L), 2%
    • Joe Schwarz, 1% (Write-in candidate)
  • 2006 Race for the U.S. House of Representatives, 7th District – Republican Primary
    • Tim Walberg (R), 53%
    • Joe Schwarz (R) (inc.), 47%
  • 2004 Race for the U.S. House of Representatives, 7th District
    • Joe Schwarz (R), 58%
    • Sharon Renier (D), 36%
  • 2004 Race for the U.S. House of Representatives, 7th District – Republican Primary
    • Joe Schwarz (R), 28%
    • Brad Smith (R), 22%
    • Tim Walberg (R), 18%
    • Clark Bisbee (R), 14%
    • Gene DeRossett (R), 11%
    • Paul DeWeese (R), 7%
  • 2002 Race for Governor – Republican Primary
    • Dick Posthumus (R), 81%
    • Joe Schwarz (R), 19%


External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Nick Smith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by
Tim Walberg

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