ⓘ Clay Higgins

                                     

ⓘ Clay Higgins

Glen Clay Higgins is an American Republican politician, reserve law enforcement officer from the state of Louisiana. He is the U.S. Representative for Louisianas 3rd congressional district. The district is located in the southwestern corner of the state and includes Lafayette, Lake Charles, New Iberia and Opelousas. He won the runoff election held on December 10, 2016, in which he defeated fellow Republican Scott Angelle.

Although an elected official, Higgins continues to hold a law enforcement commission as a reserve officer with the Louisiana Attorney Generals office.

                                     

1. Early life and education

Clay Higgins is the seventh of eight children. He was born in New Orleans, and his family moved to Covington, Louisiana, when he was six years old. The family raised and trained horses. After graduation from Covington High School, Higgins attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

                                     

2. Marriages and family

Higgins married Eloisa Rovati. They had a daughter together, who died a few months after she was born. Higgins and his wife divorced. She later died in an automobile crash.

Higgins married Rosemary "Stormy" Rothkamm-Hambrice. He adopted her child from a previous marriage, and they had two more children together. They divorced in 1999.

Higginss third wife was Kara Seymour.

Higgins married again and lives in Port Barre, Louisiana with his fourth wife Becca.

                                     

3. Career

At age 18, Higgins enlisted in the Military Police Corps of the Louisiana National Guard, serving for six years 1979–1985 and reaching the rank of staff sergeant.

He worked for several years as a manager of car dealerships.

                                     

3.1. Career Local law enforcement

In 2004 Higgins changed direction, becoming a patrol officer for the Opelousas City Police Department. By 2007, Opelousas Police Department Chief Perry Gallow was prepared to take major disciplinary action against Higgins. In a letter to the City Council, he said: "Clay Higgins used unnecessary force on a subject during the execution of a warrant and later gave false statements during an internal investigation. Although he later recanted his story and admitted to striking a suspect in handcuffs and later releasing him." Higgins resigned before disciplinary action could be imposed. In September 2016 during his Congressional campaign, Higgins claimed to have resigned for other reasons. Gallow, by then retired, disputed Higgins claim at that time.

Higgins next worked for the Port Barre Police Department through 2010. In 2011, he joined the St. Landry Parish Sheriffs Office. After the offices public information officer was reassigned in October 2014, Higgins was appointed to the role and promoted to captain. As public information officer, Higgins made videos for the parish Crime Stoppers program.

He first used standard scripts, but began to improvise in his own style, appealing to suspects to surrender and sometimes threatening them by name. His videos went viral, and he was referred to by national media in 2015 as the "Cajun John Wayne" for his intimidating persona. Sheriff Bobby Guidroz urged restraint, advising Higgins to refrain from personal comments about suspects and to keep a professional tone in his videos.

Higgins also made a video for the state police, with a script that prompted protests from suspects families and the ACLU. He resigned from the St. Landry Parish Sheriffs Office in February 2016. Sheriff Bobby Guidroz had warned him against using disrespectful and demeaning language about suspects. The Sheriff had ordered him to "Tone down his unprofessional comments on our weekly Crime Stoppers messages". He issued a statement saying that Higginss comments underlined "a growing undertone of insubordination and lack of discipline on Higgins’ part". Guidroz said that Higgins had gone against department policy by misusing his official badge and uniform for personal profit and gain, citing Higginss wearing a uniform in an ad for a security firm. In addition, he reprimanded Higgins for using his badge and uniform in his personal website to support sales of T-shirts and shot glasses for his Limited Liability Corporation LLC. In addition, Higgins used the departments physical address in registering his LLC with the state, and both actions were against department policy.

Salon reported in an investigative article that during this period, Higgins "negotiated paid speaking appearances with other police departments. In one email, Higgins discussed his request for a speaker’s fee that included shopping money for his wife and part of the fuel for his friend’s private plane." He asked for cash payments. In addition, Higgins conducted his private business via email on "his government email account during work hours without the permission or knowledge of his supervisors. Higgins also appears to have attempted to conceal his earnings from the IRS in order to avoid wage garnishment for unpaid taxes. Whether those actions constitute tax fraud is unclear."

Shortly after resigning from St. Landry Parish, in March 2016 Higgins was accepted and sworn in as a Reserve Deputy Marshal in the city of Lafayette, Louisiana. Reserve forces in city and Parish Sheriffs offices in Louisiana receive regular training and are commissioned as law enforcement officers. They are part-time and made up of persons from many walks of life.

In 2019, Higgins retired his commission as a Reserve Deputy Marshal. He maintains an active law enforcement commission as a reserve officer with the Louisiana Attorney Generals office.



                                     

3.2. Career Honors

Higgins was awarded the title of Kentucky Colonel in March 2016 by Kentucky Governor, Matt Bevin.

                                     

4. U.S. House of Representatives

Committee assignments

  • Committee on Homeland Security
  • Subcommittee on Oversight
  • Subcommittee on Border Security Ranking Member
  • Subcommittee on Environment.
  • Committee on Oversight and Reform


                                     

4.1. U.S. House of Representatives 2016 campaign

After Higgins resignation from the St. Landry Sheriffs Office, Chris Comeaux, a Republican campaign staffer, recruited Higgins to run for office. In May 2016, Higgins declared his candidacy for the 2016 election to represent Louisianas 3rd congressional district and build on his name recognition. He crossed district lines to run for this seat, as he resides in the 5th congressional district. Higgins was supported by a Super PAC political action committee, headed by US Senator David Vitters former chief of staff.

Higgins finished in second place in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on November 8, behind Republican Scott Angelle, in which nearly 68% of the parish voted. He faced Angelle in a runoff election on December 10 and won with 56.1 percent of the votes cast; turnout had declined to about 28% of voters. Angelle outspent Higgins by a 5–1 margin in the losing effort. An LSU professor noted that "Higgins was a YouTube sensation before running for office and already was well-versed in attracting attention."



                                     

4.2. U.S. House of Representatives Tenure

Higgins was sworn into the House of Representatives on January 3, 2017.

He has said that he sleeps on an air mattress on the floor of his Capitol Hill office. He works out and showers in the House gymnasium in the early morning. In the evenings, he spends more time at his desk to prepare for expected House votes the next day.

Higgins voted with other Republicans in favor of the American Health Care Act of 2017, which would have repealed and replaced major portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

On June 5, 2017, Higgins announced what the American Press described as a historically rare feat; he had secured an additional $10 million from the Army Corps of Engineers discretionary fund to support dredging the Calcasieu Ship Channel. Port Director Bill Rase said," It has been a long time since we’ve had strong leadership in Washington to get the whole delegation together. We’ve been working with everybody to try to keep Calcasieu in the forefront of the dredging situation, and Congressman Higgins has been very strong in that area since he has been office.”

In December 2017, Higgins voted with other Republicans in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Although Higgins touted the benefits of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Congressional Budget Office projects that GDP growth will decline to 2.4 percent in 2019 as business investment and government purchases slow.

                                     

4.3. U.S. House of Representatives Committee assignments

  • Committee on Homeland Security
  • Subcommittee on Oversight
  • Subcommittee on Border Security Ranking Member
  • Subcommittee on Environment.
  • Committee on Oversight and Reform
                                     

5.1. Political positions Guns

Higgins supports gun rights and opposes the regulation of firearms. In 2017 he stated "The modern hysteria over guns is another example of our weakened society. Guns werent really regulated at all prior to the 60s in America. Throughout our history, prior to just 50 years ago, a child could purchase a gun from any seller, if daddy sent him with the money."

In 2018, Higgins commented on his Facebook page about an OpEd article by retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens in the New York Times, which called for the repeal of the Second Amendment. Higgins said, "Judge John Paul Stevens, Your Honor, whatever. put together any badass socialists you can muster. As their attorney, make sure they have their affairs in order. Molon Labe."

                                     

5.2. Political positions National security

Higgins supported President Donald Trumps 2017 executive order to temporarily curtail travel from certain countries. He stated that "The president’s executive order for a short-term restriction on visa entries from seven countries, that are known to foster terrorists, combined with a systematic review of our immigration and vetting procedure, is reasonable."

                                     

5.3. Political positions Immigration

In July 2018, House Democrats called for a floor vote that sought to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE. House GOP leaders scrapped the latter and called for the House to vote on a resolution authored by Higgins and Kevin McCarthy to support ICE.



                                     

5.4. Political positions Abortion

Higgins is against abortion and has compared women choosing to terminate their pregnancy to The Holocaust.

                                     

6. Auschwitz video

In early July 2017, Higgins posted a five-minute video on YouTube from Auschwitz concentration camp, including a section from within one of the gas chambers. He said, "This is why homeland security must be squared away, why our military must be invincible". This video was widely condemned as inappropriate, including by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, whose spokesman wrote in a Twitter post that "the building should not be used as a stage". Higgins later removed his video from YouTube and issued an apology.

                                     

7. Personal life

His ex-wife Rosemary "Stormy" Rothkamm-Hambrice, then living in Mississippi, filed a lawsuit in Louisiana the day after the 2016 election against Higgins for unpaid child support of more than $140.000, including interest on overdue payments. Higgins said that he sought reduced payments in 2005 after changing careers to law enforcement, but the issue was never settled. The Daily Advertiser reported: "Calls about the case made by this newspaper in September, first to the Texas Attorney General’s Office, then to Louisiana courts, brought similar responses from both places: Clay Higgins was not in trouble with the courts in either state over the child support payments."