Military Wiki
Tim Walz
Member of the United States House of Representatives

Assumed office
January 3, 2007
Preceded by Gil Gutknecht
Personal details
Born Timothy James Walz
April 6, 1964(1964-04-06) (age 58)
West Point, Nebraska
Political party Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Spouse(s) Gwen (Whipple) Walz
Residence Mankato, Minnesota
Alma mater Chadron State College, Minnesota State University
Profession high school teacher, retired soldier
Religion Lutheran (raised Catholic)[1]
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army[2]
Years of service 1981-2005[2]
Rank Army-USA-OR-09b.svg Command Sergeant Major[2]
Battles/wars War on Terror[3][4]
Awards Army Commendation Medal[2]
Army Achievement Medal (2)[2]
Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (6)[2]
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal[2]

Timothy James "Tim" Walz (born April 6, 1964)[5] is an American politician and member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party who has served as the U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 1st congressional district since 2007.

The district comprises the state's southern end, running along the entire border with Iowa. It includes Rochester, Austin, Winona and Mankato.

A retired Command Sergeant Major in the Army National Guard, Walz is the highest-ranking enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress. A moderate Democrat, Walz was first elected in 2006, defeating six-term Republican incumbent Gil Gutknecht. He has since been re-elected four times and serves on the Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure and Veterans' Affairs committees.

Early life, education and career

Walz was born in West Point, Nebraska, the son of Darlene R. and James F. "Jim" Walz. His ancestry includes German, Irish, and Swedish.[6] Walz, the son of a public school administrator and community activist, was raised in Chadron, Nebraska, a rural community in the northwestern portion of the state.

Walz graduated from Butte High School in a class of 25 students, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in social science education from Chadron State College. Walz's first teaching experience was at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Walz then accepted a teaching position with WorldTeach, teaching in the People's Republic of China.[7]

Walz enlisted in the Army National Guard in 1981, and over the course of his 24-year career rose to the rank of command sergeant major. In 1989, he earned the title of Nebraska Citizen-Soldier of the Year. After a deployment to Italy with his Guard unit as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, Walz retired from the Army National Guard and resumed teaching as a geography teacher and football coach at Mankato West Senior High School.[7]

He and his wife Gwen ran Educational Travel Adventures, accompanying high school juniors and seniors on summer educational trips to China. Walz has two children — one daughter and one son.[8]

He currently resides in Mankato, Minnesota.[9]

U.S. House of Representatives

Political Campaigns

Walz decide to run for Congress in 2006.[10] Walz had no opponent in the race for the DFL nomination for the seat in the September 12, 2006 primary election. He beat incumbent Republican Gil Gutknecht in the general election on November 7, and took office on January 3, 2007. After the election, a Walz profile described him as having caught Gutknecht “off guard” and as having “resolved never to get caught like that himself....He packaged himself as a moderate from Day One, built an office centered on constituent service and carved out a niche as a tireless advocate for veterans.”[11]

He was reelected in 2008 with 62 percent of the vote, becoming only the second non-Republican to win a second full term in the district. He won a third term in 2010, defeating State Representative Randy Demmer with 50 percent of the vote. He was re-elected in 2012 and 2014.[12]


Walz in 2014

Upon his swearing in, Walz became the highest-ranking retired enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress,[13] as well as only the fourth Democrat/DFLer to represent the 1st District. The others were Thomas Wilson (1887–89), William Harries (1891–93), and Tim Penny 1983-1995 (DFL).

Walz serves on the House Agriculture Committee,[14] Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Along with fellow Minnesota freshman Democrat, Keith Ellison, Walz opposed President Bush's plan to increase troop levels in Iraq.[15] In his first week as a legislator, Walz cosponsored a bill to raise the minimum wage, voted for stem cell research, voted to allow Medicare to negotiate pharmaceutical prices, and voiced support for pay-as-you-go budget rules, requiring that new spending or tax changes not add to the federal deficit.[16]

Representing a district that has traditionally voted Republican, but has recently become a swing district due to changing demographics, Walz has cast votes ranging from moderate to liberal.[17] He voted no on the act to Prohibit Federally Funded Abortion Services,[18] and voted yes to advance the current Health Care bill out of the house.[19] He has also voted to continue troop funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan[20] and he voted against the 2008 TARP bill, which purchased troubled assets from financial institutions.[21]

Walz received a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood in 2012, from the ACLU in 2011, from the American Immigration Lawyers Association in 2009-10, from the AFL-CIO in 2010, from the Teamsters in 2009-10, and from NOW in 2007. In recent years he has received one-digit ratings from the National Taxpayers' Union, Citizens against Government Waste, Americans for Tax Reform, and Freedom Works. The US Chamber of Commerce gave him a 25% rating in 2010.[22]

Veterans issues

Having served 24 years in the Army National Guard, Walz is the highest ranking enlisted soldier to serve in Congress. As a freshman in Congress he was given a rare third committee membership when he was assigned to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.[23] Walz has championed enhanced veterans benefits since taking office in 2007. In May of that year the House unanimously passed his “Traumatic Brain Injuries Center Act” to set up 5 centers around the nation to study traumatic brain injuries and develop improved models for caring for veterans suffering from such injuries.[24]

Walz also supported the new GI Bill of 2008 which expanded education benefits for veterans and in some cases allowed them to transfer education benefits to family members.[25] In 2009, Walz gave the keynote address at the American Legion National Convention in Louisville, KY. In his speech he spoke about the need for the VA and Department of Defense to work together to make sure that returning service men and women “do not fall through the cracks when they transition to civilian life.” [26]

Following his re-election in 2014, Walz announced that he intended to seek the position of ranking member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee. The position will be open as ranking member Mike Michaud did not run for re-election. Although Walz is the third longest-serving member, he is technically the most junior as he gets a waiver from the leadership to sit at the bottom of the committee and remain on two others. His announcement will likely set up a battle with Corrine Brown, who is officially next in line.[27]

2008 financial crisis

During 2008, Walz repeatedly spoke out against using taxpayer money to bail out financial institutions; in late September he voted against the $700 billion TARP bill, which purchased troubled assets from these institutions.[28] Walz released a statement after passage of the bill saying, "The bill we voted on today passes the buck when it comes to recouping the losses taxpayers might suffer. I also regret that this bill does not do enough to help average homeowners, or provide sufficient oversight of Wall Street.”[29] In December 2008 he used the same reasoning when he voted against the bill that offered $14 billion in government loans to bail out the country’s large automobile manufacturers.[30] In June 2009 Walz introduced a bi-partisan resolution calling on the federal government to "relinquish its temporary ownership interests in the General Motors Corporation and Chrysler Group, LLC, as soon as possible” and stated that the government must not be involved in the management decisions of those companies.[31]


Despite his “No” votes on bailout bills which loaned taxpayer money to the large banks and auto manufacturers, Walz did vote with his Democratic colleagues to support the 2009 American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (aka Stimulus bill). As a member of the House Transportation Committee, Walz saw the stimulus bill as an opportunity to work “with his congressional colleagues to make job creation through investment in public infrastructure like roads, bridges and clean energy the cornerstone of the economic recovery plan.”[32] Walz has focused heavily on job and economic issues that are important to his southern Minnesota district, which has a mix of larger employers like the Mayo Clinic along with small businesses and agricultural interests. In July 2009 he voted for the Small Business Research and Innovation Act which he described as "part of our long-term economic blueprint to spur job creation by encouraging America's entrepreneurs to innovate toward breakthrough technological advancements."[33][34] Walz has also put emphasis on the farm economy by urging assistance for hog and dairy farmers who struggled with lower prices for their commodities in 2008 and 2009.[35]


Walz was a public school teacher for 20 years. He is a strong supporter of Public Schools and opposes using merit pay for teachers in low-income schools as punishment.[36] Voting in favor of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Walz pointed to its strong provisions in support of public school buildings.[37][38] Walz is on record supporting legislation to lower tuition costs.[39] He said in a February 12, 2009 speech, that the most important thing to do “to ensure a solid base for [America’s] economic to provide the best education possible for [American] children.”[40] He has received strong backing for these policies by many interest groups such as the National Education Association, the American Association of University Women and the National Association of Elementary School Principals.[22]

Women's Issues

When asked in 2006 Walz responded that he supported all kinds of legal abortions, including cases of incest or rape.[36] Planned Parenthood, a national organization supporting the reproductive rights of women and women's health initiatives, gave Walz a 100% rating on their issues, including contraceptive, women's health education and family planning.[22] Walz voted against House Amendments 509 & 510.[Clarification needed][18][41] The National Right to Life Committee gave Walz a rating of zero.[22] In early 2009, Walz voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, ensuring women receive equal pay for equal work.[42]

LGBT Issues

Walz is a strong supporter of equal rights for all, including women and the LGBT community. In early 2009, Walz voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, ensuring women receive equal pay for equal work.[42] When asked, Walz confirmed his support for federal anti-discrimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation.[36] In a 2009 speech in Washington DC, Walz called for an end to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, saying that sexual discrimination has no place in the military and that sexual orientation of individuals does not affect the “professionalism” of units.[43] Walz voted in favor of the Matthew Shephard Hate Crimes Act, making sure federal law mirrored Minnesota law when it comes to hate crimes against the LGBT community. He also voted in favor of the Sexual Orientation Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would prohibit LGBT people from being fired because of their sexual orientation.[44] In 2007, Walz received a 90% grade from the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT organization.[22] In 2011, Walz announced his support for the Respect for Marriage Act.[45]

Committee assignments

Walz in 2010

  • Committee on Agriculture
    • Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry
    • Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management
  • Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
    • Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management
    • Subcommittee on Highways and Transit
    • Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials
  • Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    • Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs
    • Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity

Caucus memberships

Co-Chair National Guard and Reserve Component Caucus

  • Congressional Motorcycle Safety Caucus

Election campaigns



2010 First Congressional District of Minnesota Elections
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Tim Walz (Incumbent) 122,390 49.4% -13.1%
Republican Randy Demmer 109,261 44.1%
Independent Steven Wilson 13,243 5.3%


2008 First Congressional District of Minnesota Elections
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Tim Walz (Incumbent) 207,748 62.5 +9.5
Republican Brian J. Davis 109,446 32.9 -
Independence Gregory Mikkelson 14,903 4.5 -


2006 First Congressional District of Minnesota Elections
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Tim Walz 141,622 53 -
Republican Gil Gutknecht (Incumbent) 126,487 47 -13


  1. "Mr. Timothy J. Walz (MN)". Background Information. Project Vote Smart. 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-16. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 "Once a Soldier... Always a Soldier". Legislative Agenda. Association of the United States Army. 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  3. "Corrections". 11 May 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2013. "A story on Page 04B last Sunday incorrectly described Democratic Rep. Tim Walz's military service. He is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, the Afghanistan war, during which he served in Italy providing supply-line security." 
  4. "Walz Vows to Stand Up for Veterans". Congressman Tim Walz. United States House of Representatives. Retrieved 28 January 2013. "Before retiring, Walz served overseas in Italy with his battalion in support of Operation Enduring Freedom." 
  5. "Elections 2008". Chicago Sun-Times. 2008-10-23. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Tim Walz for US Congress". Retrieved 2007-01-08. 
  8. Felker, Ed (2007-01-05). "Walz pledges new direction in capital". Post-Bulletin Company, LLC. Retrieved 2007-01-08. 
  9. "Congressman Tim Walz". Retrieved 2012-06-06. 
  10. Ed Felker. "Walz stays mum on choice for No. 2 House leader". Retrieved 2006-11-16. 
  11. James Hommann (14 October 2010). "Tim Walz confident about survival". Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  12. "Democrat Tim Walz re-elected to Congress in southern Minnesota, defeating GOP's Jim Hagedorn". Star Tribune. November 4, 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  13. "Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz to Deliver Democratic Radio Address". Tim Walz. Archived from the original on 2007-04-25. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  14. "Walz, Ellison, get first committee assignments". 2007-01-08. Archived from the original on 2007-01-12. Retrieved 2007-01-08. 
  15. Diaz, Kevin (2007-01-08). "Minnesota delegation offers cool response". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2007-01-09. [dead link]
  16. Fischenich, Mark (2007-01-07). "Walz eager to dig into legislative issues". Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.. Retrieved 2007-01-12. 
  17. "Minnesota's 1st Congressional District". OpenCongress. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on H Amdt 509 - Prohibiting Federally Funded Abortion Services". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  19. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 3962 - Health Care and Insurance Law Amendments". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  20. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 2642 - Funding for Military Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  21. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 1424 - Financial Asset Purchase Authority and Tax Law Amendments". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 "Representative Timothy 'Tim' J. Walz's Special Interest Group Ratings".  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "votesmart2" defined multiple times with different content
  23. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Walz Receives Rare Third Committee Appointment". 2007-01-18. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  24. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Walz's TBI Legislation Unanimously Passes House". 2007-05-24. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  25. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 2642 - GI Bill, Funding for Midwest Flood Cleanup, Extension of Unemployment Benefits, and Other Provisions". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  26. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Congressman Walz Gives Keynote Address At American Legion National Convention". 2009-08-26. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  27. "Tim Walz Challenges Corrine Brown For Veterans’ Affairs Seat". Roll Call. November 7, 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  28. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 3997 - Financial Asset Purchase Authority". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  29. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Walz Votes Against Bailout Plan". 2008-09-29. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  30. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 7321 - Automotive Industry Financing". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  31. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Walz Introduces Resolution Calling for Exit Strategy of the Federal Government's Ownership of Car Companies". 2009-06-26. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  32. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Walz Votes to Create Millions of Jobs Through House Economic Recovery Plan". 2009-01-28. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  33. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Rep. Tim Walz Votes to Create Small Business Jobs, Spur Economic Growth". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  35. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Walz Urges Swift Action to Assist Dairy Producers". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  37. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 3221 - Student Aid Program Modifications". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  38. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 1 - Appropriations, Tax Law Amendments, and Unemployment Benefit Amendments ("Stimulus Bill")". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  39. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Rep Walz Announces New Program to Make College More Affordable". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  40. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — School Funding". 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  41. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on H Amdt 510 - Substitute Health Care and Insurance Law Amendments". 2010-01-01. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  42. 42.0 42.1 "Bill Text - 110th Congress (2007-2008) - THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  43. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Repeal The Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  44. "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 3685 - Sexual Orientation Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA)". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  45. Ameigh, Sarah. "North Carolina’s Anti-LGBT Measure: A Reactionary’s Response to Progress". american humanist. american humanist. Retrieved 25 September 2011. 

See also

  • US Congressional Delegations from Minnesota
  • List of United States Representatives from Minnesota

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Gil Gutknecht
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Adrian Smith
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Peter Welch

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