Biography of Tom Coburn, M.D.
Tom A. Coburn, M.D. was elected on November 4, 2004 to represent Oklahoma in the United States Senate. Dr. Coburn and his wife, Carolyn, a former Miss Oklahoma, were married in 1968 and have three children and four grandchildren. They attend First Baptist Church of Muskogee, Oklahoma. As a citizen legislator, Coburn has pledged to serve no more than two terms in the Senate. He returns home to Oklahoma each weekend, and continues to care for patients in Muskogee as the Senate schedule permits.
In a little more than four years in the Senate, Dr. Coburn has become the leader in the fight to reduce wasteful Washington spending, to increase accountability and transparency for all taxpayers, to restore Constitutional government, and to make health care more affordable and accessible for all Americans. In addition, Dr. Coburn has fought to protect the sanctity of life, and has led he charge to promote private property rights. He is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Intelligence Committee, the Indian Affairs Committee and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Bringing his Oklahoma independence to the Capitol, Dr. Coburn is successfully challenging the broken culture of Washington. He has offered more amendments than any other senator to stop out of control spending and to protect the liberties recognized by our Founders. His efforts have helped to expose business as usual in Washington including the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” and countless other special projects that were intended to enrich lobbyists and preserve the jobs of careers politicians in both political parties. His work on behalf of taxpayers has saved billions of dollars. Additionally, Dr. Coburn has led the charge for transparency and accountability in our nation’s capital. In 2006, he teamed with then-Senator Barack Obama to pass the most sweeping transparency legislation in a decade. His legislation led to the creation of www.usaspending.gov, an online tool for taxpayers to search and track all federal spending.
Currently, Dr. Coburn is leading the fight to increase access to healthcare and to make it more affordable for all Americans by offering the leading alternative to government-run health care. His Patients Choice Act will lower costs and improve quality—all while ensuring that the federal bureaucrats are never empowered to make health care decisions or interfere with decisions that should be left to patients and their doctors.
From 1995-2001 Dr. Coburn represented Oklahoma's 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was first elected in 1994, then re-elected in 1996 and 1998, becoming the first Republican to hold the seat for consecutive terms. A family physician, Coburn was a Member of the Committee on Commerce where he sat on the subcommittees on Health & Environment, as vice-chairman, Energy & Power and Oversight and Investigations. Near the end of 2001, after the completion of his third congressional term, Coburn was chosen to be Co-chair of the President's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
Described by newspapers as a budget hawk, Coburn made balancing the budget a top priority. He played a central role in Medicare and health care debates. Coburn also founded and served as co-chairman of the congressional Family Caucus, a group of about 60 members of the House dedicated to family issues.
An avid supporter of congressional reform, Coburn declined his government pension and health care benefits and supported legislation to limit perks to all members of Congress.
Despite his short tenure, Coburn wrote and passed far-reaching legislation. One Coburn bill encouraged the testing of infants for HIV. The Wall Street Journal said that: "In 10 long years of AIDS politics and funding, this is actually the first legislation to pass in this country that will rescue babies." Coburn also has written legislation that would provide senior citizens more health care choices, while also seeking to crack down on Medicare fraud and abuse.
Following his short time in the House of Representatives, Dr. Coburn kept his word to serve no more than six years and returned full time to his medical practice in Muskogee. If re-elected to the Senate, this will be Dr. Coburn’s final term in the Senate, again fulfilling his commitment to restoring limited government and ending the grip that career politicians have on our federal government.
Coburn was raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma and graduated from the public school System in 1966. Four years later, he graduated with a B.S. in Accounting from Oklahoma State University. One of the top ten seniors in the School of Business, Coburn served as President of the College of Business Student Council.
From 1970-78, Coburn was the manufacturing manager at the Ophthalmic Division of Coburn Optical Industries in Colonial Heights, Virginia. Under his leadership, the Virginia division of Coburn Optical grew from 13 employees to more than 350 and captured 35% of the U.S. market.
After the family business was sold, Coburn changed the course of his life by returning to school to become a physician. Again he emerged as a leader, becoming President of his class at the University of Oklahoma Medical School where he graduated in 1983. He then did his internship in general surgery at Saint Anthony's Hospital in Oklahoma City and family practice residency at the University of Arkansas, Fort Smith.
Coburn returned to Muskogee where he specializes in family medicine, obstetrics and allergy. Dr. has personally delivered more than 4000 babies.