Mark Souder

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Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994, serving Northeast Indiana. Souder was originally elected to Indiana's 4th District, but the 2001 redistricting changed his District to the 3rd while making very few changes to his district map.

He has served as Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources since 2001. In this role, Souder was the architect of an amendment to the Higher Education Act that bars anyone convicted of a drug crime from receiving federal student financial aid. Souder claims that the amendment was not intended to be as punitive as it's implementation has proven, but he has done nothing to correct this supposed misinterpretation by the executive branch.

Souder also serves on the House Committee on Resources -- with subcommittee assignments pertaining to mining and national parks -- and, in 2003, was appointed to the House Select Committee on Homeland Security.

Souder made a self-imposed 12-year term limit pledge a cornerstone of his initial campaign. When challenged on his intention to adhere to this pledge by 2002 primary challenger Paul Helmke, Souder said that the redistricting allowed him to restart his term limit countdown.

Souder regularly keeps very low campaign finance reserves on hand but can raise significant amounts if needed, as evidenced by the over $400,000 he raised to beat back Helmke in the 2002 primary.

Souder is an extreme social conservative. His has been a very divisive term of service, with at least as many constituents opposed to his radical agenda as in favor. 2002 General Election challenger Jay Rigdon's internal polling showed disapproval numbers on Souder in excess of 50%.

While being politically astute, Souder's lack of verbal communication savvy often causes him consternation when his actual quotes are published in print. (He, of course, blames the "left-wing media.")


  • When asked "What would really happen in a government 'shut down'?", Souder responded, "We don't know or really care." - Albion Monitor February 18, 1996 (Source)
  • "...latest health fad in the southern boom town of Shenzhen to be the consumption of human fetuses, which are believed to improve complexions and general health. Unlike the serving of endangered reptiles, a human embryo as food trade is not illegal or underground in China." - Testimony of Representative Mark Souder, "Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act," Congressional Record: June 28, 1995 (House), Page H6446-H6480. (Source)

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