Congressional Profile: Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC)

Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) currently scores a 96% on our Legislative Scorecard and was part of the Tea Party wave that rode into Congress in the historic 2010 elections. Rep. Gowdy holds a firm belief that conservative principles and limited government are what will rescue our economy, and it is those principles that guide him in Congress. He has said that his test for supporting legislation in Congress is whether the bill’s sponsor can point to the section of the U.S. Constitution that would allow such legislation.

Rep. Gowdy was born in Greenville, South Carolina in 1964 and graduated from Spartanburg High School in 1982. His father saved his money from a childhood paper route so that he could attend college. In 1986, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in history from Baylor University and went on to receive his law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1989. While in law school, he was a member of the scholastic honor society known as the “Order of the Wig and Robe.”

After law school, Rep. Gowdy clerked for the late John P. Gardner on the South Carolina Court of Appeals and United States District Court Judge Ross Anderson. In 1994, after going into private practice for a few years, Rep. Gowdy became a federal prosecutor.

Rep. Gowdy served as a prosecutor in both the federal and state systems for 16 years, prosecuting everything from shoplifting to seven death penalty cases, including the murder of a federal witness. He tried nearly 100 jury trials and lost just one. He was even awarded the Postal Inspector’s Award for successfully prosecuting J. Mark Allen, one of “America’s Most Wanted” suspects. Two years in a row he received the highest performance rating possible for a federal prosecutor.

In 2000, he was elected to be the 7th Circuit Solicitor, defeating incumbent Holman Gossett in the GOP primary. He ran unopposed in the general election, and was reelected in 2004 and 2008 without opposition. As the Solicitor, he appeared on the popular crime documentary series “Forensic Files” twice, as well as Dateline NBC and SCETV.

In the 2010 primary, Rep. Gowdy defeated incumbent Representative Bob Inglis for the nomination in a runoff, receiving 71% of the vote. In the general election, he beat Democratic opponent Paul Corden 64% to 29%.

Rep. Gowdy currently serves on the Judiciary Committee, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the Committee on Education and Workforce.

Rep. Gowdy loves all sports but is good at just one – golf, which he plays regularly.

Rep. Gowdy is married to a former Miss Spartanburg and 2nd runner up Miss South Carolina Terri Dillard Gowdy. He says that his luck in marrying her is “proof there is a God and He loves me.” Together the couple have two children: Watson, 19; and Abigail, 15. The family owns three dogs named Judge, Jury and Bailiff, so its’ never difficult to figure out what Rep. Gowdy did before coming to Congress.

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