Gerald Wesley Moran (born May 29, 1954) is an American politician serving as the junior United States Senator from Kansas since 2011. A member of the Republican Party, he served as Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 113th U.S. Congress, during which he led successful Republican efforts in 2014 election, producing the first Republican Senate majority since 2006. Previously, he served as a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Kansas’s 1st congressional district.
Raised in Plainville, Kansas, Moran graduated from the University of Kansas and the University of Kansas School of Law. He worked in private law and served as the state special assistant attorney general (1982–85) and deputy attorney of Rooks County (1987–95). He served in the Kansas Senate (1989–1997), and was majority leader for his last two years. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1996 and served six terms with little electoral opposition. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 after defeating fellow U.S. Representative Todd Tiahrt in a contentious primary. He was re-elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016.
Moran will become the senior Senator as well as the dean of the Kansas delegation in 2021 when Pat Roberts retires from the Senate.
Early life, education and career
Moran was born in Great Bend, Kansas, the son of Madeline Eleanor (née Fletcher) and Raymond Edwin “Ray” Moran. He was raised in Plainville. He attended Fort Hays State University before enrolling at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in economics in 1976. While attending the University of Kansas, he worked as a summer intern for U.S. Representative Keith Sebelius in 1974, when impeachment proceedings were being prepared against President Richard Nixon.
Moran worked as a banker before receiving his Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1982. He practiced law at Stinson, Mag & Fizzell in Kansas City, and later joined Jeter & Larson Law Firm in Hays, where he practiced law for fifteen years. In addition to his law practice, he served as the state special assistant attorney general (1982–85) and deputy county attorney of Rooks County (1987–95). He also served as an adjunct professor of political science at Fort Hays State University.
U.S. House of Representatives
Moran was elected to Congress in 1996 and reelected five times, never facing serious opposition in the conservative 1st district. In 2006, his opponent for the 2006 midterm election was John Doll, against whom he received almost 79 percent of the vote—one of the highest totals for a Republican congressional incumbent in that election.
During his time in the House of Representatives, Jerry Moran conducted an annual town hall meeting in each of the 69 counties in Kansas’ “Big First” Congressional District. He continues the tradition in the U.S. Senate for all 105 counties.
As a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, then-Congressman Moran worked with colleagues to craft legislation to aid Kansas farms and ranches. Moran was also an active member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, where he served as chairman of the Subcommittee on Health.
Slate’s David Weigel pointed out that, despite his insistence that earmarks are a way that get members of Congress to vote for spending “that we can’t afford,” Moran requested $19.4 million in earmarks in the 2010 budget.
Moran became the 2010 Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Kansas after defeating fellow Congressman Todd Tiahrt in the Republican primary, 50–45%. In the general election, Moran took 70 percent of the vote, defeating Democrat Lisa Johnston, Libertarian Michael Dann, and Reform Party candidate Joe Bellis.
Moran was elected Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 113th U.S. Congress on November 14, 2012. Moran oversaw the Republican gain of nine Senate seats in United States Senate elections, 2014, resulting in the first Republican Senate majority since 2006.
- United States Senate Committee on Appropriations
- Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Department of Defense
- Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
- Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (Chairman)
- Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
- United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
- United States Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
- United States Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet
- United States Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security (Chairman)
- United States Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security
- United States Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
- Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety
- Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight
- Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure
- United States Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
- United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
Moran’s voting record is highly conservative. He has a lifetime rating of 92 from the American Conservative Union.
The Southwest Daily Times once quoted him as saying, “I will always put Kansans ahead of the pressures in Washington”—a quote he posted on his House Web site.
In March 2019, Moran was one of thirty-eight senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue warning that dairy farmers “have continued to face market instability and are struggling to survive the fourth year of sustained low prices” and urging his department to “strongly encourage these farmers to consider the Dairy Margin Coverage program.”
Moran opposed the Medicare reform package of 2003, unlike most congressmen from rural districts. He also opposed the Affordable Care Act of 2010, the health care reform bill championed by President Obama.
In May 2011, Moran sponsored S. 1058, the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act of 2011. In the House, he served as Co-Chairman of the House Rural Health Care Coalition and co-founder of the Congressional Community Pharmacy Coalition.
Moran announced that he was voting ‘no’ on the July 2017 Senate health care bill. Moran criticized the closed-door process for developing the bill and criticized the legislation for not repealing the entire 2010 health law.
National security and military
In the early 2000s, Moran opposed a timetable for military withdrawal from Iraq.
Since entering Congress, Moran has traveled to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan to visit deployed American forces and meet with foreign leaders. His most recent trip to the region was in August 2017 to the Northern regions of Afghanistan.
In March 2018, Moran was one of five Republican senators to vote against tabling a resolution spearheaded by Bernie Sanders, Chris Murphy, and Mike Lee that would have required President Trump to withdraw American troops either in or influencing Yemen within the next 30 days unless they were combating Al-Qaeda. In October 2018, Moran was one of seven senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing that they found it “difficult to reconcile known facts with at least two” of the Trump administration’s certifications that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were attempting to protect Yemen civilians and were in compliance with US laws on arms sales, citing their lack of understanding for “a certification that the Saudi and Emirati governments are complying with applicable agreements and laws regulating defense articles when the [memo] explicitly states that, in certain instances, they have not done so.”
In January 2019, Moran was one of eleven Republican senators to vote to advance legislation intended to block President Trump’s intent to lift sanctions against three Russian companies.
Immigration and refugees
Moran critiqued President Donald Trump‘s 2017 executive order imposing a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, stating: “While I support thorough vetting, I do not support restricting the rights of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Furthermore, far-reaching national security policy should always be devised in consultation with Congress and relevant government agencies.”
In March 2019, Moran was one of twelve Republican senators to vote to block President Trump’s national emergency declaration that would have granted him access to $3.6 billion in military construction funding to build border barriers.
Moran supports accountability metrics for public schools, but believes federal initiatives need to provide flexibility to states. In 2001, Moran voted against passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) because he felt it did not afford sufficient flexibility to schools. In 2017, Moran voted to confirm Betsy DeVos as United States Secretary of Education.
Moran has an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA) for his consistent support of pro-gun policies. The NRA endorsed him for his 2010 Senate run. He was described as a “steadfast supporter of our freedom,” by NRA-Political Victory Fund chairman Chris W. Cox. Since 1998, the NRA has donated $23,850 to Moran’s political efforts.
In 2013, Moran joined other Republicans in saying they would filibuster any Democrat’s proposals that Republican’s considered a threat to the Second Amendment. In April, Moran voted against the Manchin-Toomey proposal for universal background checks for gun purchases.
Moran supports the concept of eliminating gun-free zones on military installations and recruitment centers. He stated that they are an “infringement on the constitutional rights of our service members” and that gun-free zones make military sites “increasingly vulnerable to those who wish to do harm.”
In 2016, Moran voted against the Feinstein Amendment, which would have banned suspected terrorists from acquiring guns.
Environment and climate change
Moran voted in 2015 against a Senate amendment acknowledging that human activity contributes to climate change. In 2016, Moran and several other Senate Republicans signed a letter calling upon the U.S. to withdraw funding from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In 2009, Moran voted against the American Clean Energy and Security Act (Waxman-Markey), which would have established a cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change.
Moran is a strong supporter of the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. During the consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline legislation, Moran introduced an amendment to remove the lesser prairie chicken from the list of threatened species. The amendment failed on a 54–44 vote, having failed to get the required 60 votes.
Entrepreneurship and startups
Moran is “one of the most active members of Congress when it comes to reaching out to Silicon Valley.” In 2014, Consumer Electronics Association President and CEO Gary Shapiro dubbed Moran, “Mr. Innovation” and described him as “one of the biggest tech entrepreneurship leaders in the U.S. Senate.” Moran is the lead sponsor of Startup Act 3.0 legislation which includes several provisions that would reform the American visa system for high-skilled, American educated, and entrepreneurial immigrants. Moran also sponsored the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, also known as the JOBS Act, legislation to expand crowdfunding options for startups. Since the bill’s 2012 passage, he has criticized the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission‘s JOBS Act rulemaking as drawn out and potentially counter productive to the legislation’s intent. Moran is an advocate of increased engagement between Washington and the Startup community and has spoken on the issue at events like South by Southwest (SXSW) and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
Moran opposed the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). On November 2011, Moran, along with Republican Senator Rand Paul and Democratic Senators Ron Wyden and Maria Cantwell, sent a letter to Senate Leadership indicating they would place a Senate hold on PIPA, citing the threats PIPA (and SOPA) posed to liberty and innovation.
In 2017, Moran voted to repeal FCC Internet privacy rules that blocked internet providers from sharing or selling data on customers’ private data (such as browsing history) without the customer’s permission.
Moran had lived in Hays for most of his political career. However, in 2012 he moved to Manhattan. He wanted to be closer to a major airport in order to cut down on his drive time back to Kansas each weekend. The nearest airport to Hays is Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, some three hours south-east; in contrast Manhattan is two hours from Wichita and Kansas City. Additionally, Manhattan Regional Airport has direct jet service daily to and from Chicago and Dallas.
Moran volunteers his time with several community organizations. He is a former trustee of the Eisenhower Foundation, serves on the Board of Trustees of the Fort Hays State University Endowment Association, and serves on the Executive Committee of the Coronado Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He was also the 2008 Honorary Chair of the Law Enforcement Torch Run of the Kansas Special Olympics. Moran and his wife, Robba, have two daughters, Kelsey and Alex. Kelsey graduated from Kansas State University in 2010 and from Georgetown University Law Center in 2015. She is now an attorney at Hogan Lovells. Alex studied at Kansas State University and graduated from Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2016.
|Kansas 1st Congressional District Republican Primary election, 1996|
|Republican||R. W. Yeager||15,376||16.27%|
|Kansas 1st Congressional District election, 1996|
|Kansas 1st Congressional District election, 1998|
|Republican||Jerry Moran (inc.)||152,775||80.67%|
|Kansas 1st Congressional District election, 2000|
|Republican||Jerry Moran (inc.)||214,328||89.34%|
|Kansas 1st Congressional District election, 2002|
|Republican||Jerry Moran (inc.)||189,976||91.09%|
|Kansas 1st Congressional District election, 2004|
|Republican||Jerry Moran (inc.)||239,776||90.70%|
|Kansas 1st Congressional District election, 2006|
|Republican||Jerry Moran (inc.)||156,728||78.60%|
|Kansas 1st Congressional District election, 2008|
|Republican||Jerry Moran (inc.)||214,549||81.80%|
|U.S. Senate Republican Primary election in Kansas, 2010|
|Republican||Robert “Bob” Londerholm||8,278||2.50%|
|U.S. Senate election in Kansas, 2010|
|Libertarian||Michael Wm. Dann||17,922||2.10%|
|Reform||Joseph “Joe” Bellis||11,624||1.30%|
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- “How Senators Voted on Betsy DeVos”. The New York Times. February 7, 2017. ISSN 0362-4331.
- Peter Hancock, Sens. Roberts, Moran unite behind DeVos for education secretary despite widespread criticism, Lawrence Journal-World (February 2, 2017).
- “The Voter’s Self Defense System”. Vote Smart. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
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- Kate Sheppard & Jessica Schulberg, Senate Republicans Want To Cut Funding For UN Climate Change Agency, Because Palestine, Huffington Post (April 19, 2016).
- James Carlson, Cap and trade vote splits delegation Archived December 16, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, Topeka Capitol-Journal (June 29, 2009).
- John Hanna, U.S. Sens. Moran, Roberts predicting success on Keystone XL project Archived July 30, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, ‘Topeka Capitol-Journal (November 20, 2014).
- Sen. Moran Statement on Senate Keystone XL Passage (press release), Office of Senator Jerry Moran (January 29, 2015).
- Lindsay Wise, Senate votes not to remove lesser prairie chicken from ‘threatened’ list, McClatchy Washington Bureau (January 28, 2015).
- Keystone XL bill: Lesser prairie chicken amendment is rejected, Associated Press (January 29, 2015).
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- “Five questions with the man behind CES, Gary Shapiro”. siliconprairienews.com. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
- “Letter to The Honorable Mary Jo White, Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, from Jerry Moran and Mark Warner”. moran.senate.gov. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
- “Pando: Washington needs to escape its jobland fantasy”. pandodaily.com. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
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- Dave Ranney, Anti-abortion leader berates Shallenburger’s inclusiveness, Lawrence Journal World (August 12, 2005).
- James Rosen, Sen. Graham pushes measure to limit abortions, Wichita Eagle (November 7, 2013).
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- “Moran moving from Hays to Manhattan”. The Associated Press. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
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- Senator Jerry Moran official U.S. Senate website
- Jerry Moran for Senator
- Jerry Moran at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kansas’s 1st congressional district
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Kansas
| Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee
| U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Kansas
Served alongside: Pat Roberts
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Senators by seniority