Allen Lucas Messer (born February 27, 1969) is an American politician, lobbyist, and author who has represented Indiana's 6th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives since 2013. He is a member of the Republican Party.
Born in Evansville, Indiana, Messer is a graduate of Wabash College and Vanderbilt University Law School. After an unsuccessful run for the U.S. House in 2000, Messer served as the executive director of the Indiana Republican Party from 2001 to 2005. He was appointed to serve in the Indiana House of Representatives in 2003, after State Representative W. Roland Stine was killed in a car accident. Messer represented Indiana's 57th District from 2003 to 2006. Messer opted to not run for re-election and instead joined Ice Miller LLP's lobbying division in 2006. From 2006 to 2012, Messer was a registered lobbyist. Messer ran for the U.S. House again in 2010, but was unsuccessful in his primary challenge to Republican Dan Burton. In 2012, Messer defeated Democratic nominee Brad Bookout and was elected to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
On July 26, 2017, Messer announced that he would run for the U.S. Senate in 2018.
Early life, education, and law career
Messer graduated from Greensburg Community High School in 1987.
Messer attended Wabash College where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and majored in speech. He graduated in 1991. He received a law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1994. Shortly after Messer graduated from Vanderbilt, he served as an Associate Counsel at Koch Industries from 1995 to 1996.
Early political career
Messer started his political career serving as the press secretary for Tennessee Representative Ed Bryant in 1997. He served as the legal counsel on the House Subcommittee for Government Reform for Indiana Representative's David McIntosh and Dan Burton from 1998 to 1999, and as the legal counsel to U.S. Representative Jim Duncan later in 1999. In 1998, he served as the campaign manager for Virginia Murphy Blankenbaker's unsuccessful congressional campaign. In 1999, Messer returned to Indiana and was a practicing attorney at the Barnes & Thornburg Law Firm in Indianapolis.
In 2000, Messer ran for the United States House of Representatives in Indiana's 2nd congressional district, where incumbentDavid M. McIntosh was retiring to run for governor. Messer received the endorsement of The Indianapolis Star. He lost the election to Mike Pence.
Indiana House of Representatives
On May 23, 2003, Messer was sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme CourtRandall Shepard to fill the remainder of the late W. Roland Stine's term. From 2003 to 2006, Messer represented District 57 in the Indiana House of Representatives, which contained portions of Shelby County and Bartholomew County. During the 2005-2006 legislative session, Messer served as the Assistant Majority Floor Leader. His legislation aimed at curbing high school drop-out rates received national attention after Shelbyville High School became a symbol of a national dropout crisis. He did not run for re-election as State Representative in 2006, and was succeeded by Sean Eberhart.
Messer was a registered lobbyist from 2006 to 2012.
In 2006, Messer joined Ice Miller LLP's "lobbying division" as a partner of their public affairs group. Messer's decision to join Ice Miller LLP came a month after voting in favor of Indiana leasing the Indiana Toll Road to Cintra-Macquarie, an international consortium, for "75 years at a cost of $3.85 billion." Ice Miller, the largest law firm in Indiana, represented Cintra-Macquarie in the deal. Messer claimed, "I did not know they represented anyone in connection with the Toll Road."
Messer served as the Indiana co-chair of John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. In 2010, Messer ran for the House of Representatives in Indiana's 5th congressional district. He challenged Dan Burton, the incumbent representative, in the Republican primary. Burton narrowly defeated Messer in the election. Messer then became president and CEO of School Choice Indiana, a lobbying group that supported Indiana's private school voucher law.
Since being elected to Congress in 2012, Ice Miller LLP has been Messer's number one source of campaign contributions, having given him $82,238.
United States House of Representatives
In May 2011, Mike Pence announced his intentions to run for Governor of Indiana. Messer subsequently declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination to represent the 6th District. His home in Shelbyville had been shifted from the 5th District to the 6th District in redistricting. On May 8, 2012, Messer defeated a crowded field of Republican candidates seeking the party's nomination, including Columbus real estate investor Travis Hankins, winning with 71% of the vote. He faced Democrat Brad Bookout, a Delaware County councilman, in the general election. On November 6, 2012, Messer defeated Bookout with roughly 59% of the vote. After the election, Messer moved to the Washington metropolitan area.
In November 2014, Messer was elected by his colleagues to Republican House Leadership as the House Republican Policy Committee Chairman, succeeding James Lankford, who had been elected to the United States Senate. Messer defeated Tom Reed and Rob Woodall.
In 2017, Messer founded the Congressional School Choice caucus to promote the expansion of school voucher programs.
On January 4, 2013, Messer voted in favor of the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, which prohibits federal family planning funds being distributed to organizations that offer abortions unless the abortion is the result of pregnancy from incest or rape, or if the woman's life is at risk.
On May 9, 2013, Messer voted in support of the Full Faith and Credit Act, which prioritized spending if the debt limit is reached.
In July 2017, Messer authored legislation to "upend the way American students pay for college." His legislation lays the framework for income share agreements, which have several advantages over traditional student loans. Messer has introduced legislation to require annual debt letters to be sent to student loan borrowers, which is based on an Indiana University program that reduced borrowing at the institution by 10 percent. Messer worked with Sen. Patty Murray to restore Pell Grant eligibility to students who were attending ITT Tech when the institution closed, by convincing the Education Department to restore these benefits using an existing statute.
In August 2013, Messer worked to pass bipartisan legislation to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling in 2013 and to link student loan interest rates to market rates.
- Health care
In May 2017, Messer voted for the House bill American Health Care Act of 2017, to partially repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
In July 2017, Messer authored legislation that would prevent undocumented immigrants from claiming the child tax credit. President Donald Trump included the same proposal in his 2018 budget request to Congress.
Messer voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and has stated his support for reforming the tax code to simplify it and reduce tax rates.
In 2013, he signed a pledge sponsored by conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity promising to vote against any global warming legislation that would raise taxes.
Messer supported a GI Bill reform package passed by the House on June 25, 2017 and signed into law by President Trump, which included a provision he authored that would retroactively restore education benefits to veterans attending schools that close mid-semester, like ITT Technical Institute.
- Women's rights
In February 2013, Messer voted in favor of reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.
Messer has a 62 percent rating from the National Association of Police Organizations for his voting record regarding issues importance to police and crime.
Messer supports the expansion of school voucher programs.
In 2012, the National Rifle Association gave Messer an "A" rating for his gun-related voting record. Messer opposes restrictions on gun purchases.
Messer is in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") and replacing it with "something better".
Messer supports a balanced budget amendment. He opposes federal stimulus spending and supports limiting federal spending growth to per-capita inflation rate.
Messer commented on the work of a 2013 bipartisan House working group on immigration reform, saying that a pathway to citizenship and a deal on metrics to measure border security would be the biggest challenges to final passage of immigration reform. Messer told Indiana's Biz Voice Magazine, "Those who came here unlawfully will have to pay penalties and back fees." 
Messer supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to impose a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, describing it as a measure to "protect Americans from terrorist threats" and saying that "President Trump is right to prioritize American safety."
Messer is pro-life. He has a 100 percent rating from Indiana Right to Life for his abortion-related voting record. He opposes the federal government funding organizations that offer abortions, unless the abortions are the result of rape, incest or the woman's life is threatened.
Messer has a "D" rating from NORML for his voting history regarding cannabis-related causes. Messer opposes veterans having access to medical marijuana if recommended by their Veterans Health Administration doctor and if it is legal for medicinal purposes in their state of residence.
Messer opposes same-sex marriage.
|Democratic||Susan Hall Heitzman||45,509||29.35|
|Democratic||Barry A. Welsh||79,135||26.70|
Messer and his wife Jennifer have two daughters and one son. Luke and Jennifer Messer are the authors of a children’s book entitled Hoosier Heart.
Following Messer's election to Congress, he sold his house in Shelbyville, Indiana and moved to McLean, Virginia, a Washington, D.C. suburb. He is now listed as a registered voter at his mother's address in Greensburg, Indiana. Messer has clarified that he owns the home with his mother and lives there when he is in the state.
Messer has faced criticism from his opponents in the 2018 Republican primary election for the United States Senate for moving his family to the Washington, D.C. area. Residency concerns have plagued other Indiana elected officials, like former Democratic Senator Evan Bayh and Republican Richard Lugar. Questions regarding Bayh's residency was a key theme in the 2016 Senate election in Indiana, which he ultimately lost to Todd Young.
Jennifer Messer's legal work controversy
Fishers, an Indianapolis suburb, has paid Luke Messer's wife, Jennifer Messer, $580,000 since 2015 in legal consulting she primarily does from the family's Washington, D.C. area home. She is paid $20,000 a month doing part-time contract work for the city. Jennifer Messer began the work for the City of Fishers two years before Luke Messer was elected to Congress. Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said the arrangement helped usher in an era of "unprecedented" economic success in the growing suburb of about 85,000 people. Jennifer Messer's contract with the city has generated criticism of Luke Messer, who ran for Congress in 2012 on a pledge to "stop reckless spending." Messer has defended his wife's work, calling her "the brains of the Messer outfit", and Jennifer defended her work in an op-ed for The Indianapolis Star, calling the Associated Press story about Jennifer Messer "unfair, intellectually dishonest and straight-up sexist".
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- ^"Lobbyist Browsing". secure.in.gov. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
- ^GUINANE, PATRICK. "Lawmaker to work for firm linked to Toll Road lease". nwitimes.com. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
- ^InsideIndianaBusiness.com Report. "State Representative Luke Messer Joins Ice Miller – Newsroom – Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick". Insideindianabusiness.com. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- ^"INDIANA: Lawmaker-Lobbyist". Bond Buyer. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
- ^ abGUINANE, PATRICK. "Lawmaker to work for firm linked to Toll Road lease". nwitimes.com. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
- ^"25 Largest Indianapolis-Area Law Firms". AmericanRegistry.com. March 2005.
- ^Davies, Tom (September 24, 2008). "Politics | Obama out to flip Indiana to Dems | Seattle Times Newspaper". Seattletimes.com. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- ^Schneider, Mary Beth (July 9, 2011). "Candidates line up for Pence's open seat in Congress". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
- ^"Messer defeats Bookout, wins Pence's 6th seat". San Francisco Chronicle. Associated Press. November 6, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
- ^"Rep. Luke Messer: Campaign Finance/Money - Top Donors - Representative Career | OpenSecrets". www.opensecrets.org. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
- ^"Former state lawmaker announces run for Congress". Los Angeles Times. May 21, 2011. Archived from the original on December 21, 2013. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- ^"Messer conquers crowded Republican field in 6th District". indystar.com. May 8, 2012. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- ^"Bookout to face 'young gun' Messer in race for U.S. Congress seat | The Star Press". thestarpress.com. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- ^"Messer, Bookout win vote in Delaware County for U.S. Congress seat | The Star Press". thestarpress.com. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- ^Johannesen, Kirk (November 7, 2012). "Messer puts focus on jobs, budget work". The Republic.
- ^ ab"Mr. Messer goes to Washington". Madison Courier. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
- ^Fuller, Matt (November 13, 2014). "Indiana's Messer Wins Republican Policy Committee Gavel (Updated)". Retrieved October 5, 2017 – via www.rollcall.com.
- ^ ab"Messer has allies in push to expand school choice". USA Today. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
- ^ ab"Luke Messer on Abortion". On The Issues. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
- ^ ab"Luke Messer on Budget & Economy". On The Issues. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
- ^ ab"A New Way To Pay For College Gets A Boost In Congress". Forbes. July 6, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
- ^"Bill would make IU student debt initiative a nationwide requirement". The Bloomington Herald Times. March 18, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
- ^"Bipartisan Solution". Inside Higher Ed. October 31, 2016. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
- ^"An Unusual Feat in Congress: Student Loan Bill Breezes On". The New York Times. July 31, 2013. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
- ^ abWiechmann, Stephanie (May 4, 2017). "Congressman Messer Votes For AHCA As Healthcare Plan Passes House". Indiana Public Radio. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
- ^"GOP rep urges Trump to prevent illegal immigrants from claiming child tax credits,". The Hill. February 13, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
Luke Messer is the Congressman for Indiana’s 6th Congressional District, a 19 county region of east-central and southeastern Indiana comprised of manufacturing and agricultural communities. Elected President of the Freshman Class by his peers, Messer serves on the House Committees on Budget, Foreign Affairs, and Education & the Workforce.
Congressman Messer is a 6th-generation Hoosier and national advocate for limited government, fiscal discipline, a strong national defense, and traditional values. Messer opposes bailouts, government takeovers and runaway federal spending.
Prior to his service in Congress, Luke Messer gained experience as a lawyer and former two-term State Representative working with Governor Daniels on budget issues as a Member of the Indiana House Ways & Means Committee. Messer is an accomplished education reformer: authoring nationally recognized high school drop-out reform legislation in the Indiana Statehouse and serving in the private sector as the President and CEO of the Hoosiers for Economic Growth Network & School Choice Indiana.
Raised by a single-mom who still works at a factory in Greensburg Indiana, Luke Messer was taught the value of hard work at an early age. He worked his way through school with jobs that included collecting garbage, mowing lawns, waiting tables, telemarketing and umpiring baseball games. Eventually, Messer graduated summa cum laude & Phi Beta Kappa from Wabash College. Luke earned his law degree at Vanderbilt University where he also served on the Law Review.
Luke and his wife Jennifer have two daughters, one son and three dogs. Luke has also served as an elder at his church and is the author of a children’s book about Indiana entitled “Hoosier Heart.”