TX-17: Pete Sessions (R)
Born and raised in Waco, Texas, Sessions distinguished himself early in life by earning the rank of Eagle Scout, the Boy Scouts of America’s highest honor.
In fact, accounts of his early life are absolutely idyllic. He attended Waco public schools until the ninth grade, excelled in sports, and earned spending money delivering the Wace Tribune-Herald to his neighbor’s front lawns.
Sessions left his hometown before the 10th grade when his family moved to Washington, D.C., where his father, Bill Sessions, began his career at the Justice Department.
Sessions credits his father, who rose from U.S. attorney to federal judge to director of the FBI with giving him a sense of duty and the integrity needed in all positions of public service.
The family moved back to Texas when Bill Sessions became U.S. Attorney in San Antonio, and it was there that Pete Sessions graduated from Churchill High School.
After graduating from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, Sessions joined the Southwestern Bell Telephone company, where he worked for 16 years.
Rising through the ranks, eventually becoming district manager, Sessions took early retirement just before his first run for Congress.
In 1994, Sessions ran for Congress against incumbent Democrat John Bryant, falling just short of pulling off an upset. He ran again in 1996, winning that year and serving in Congress from 1997 until he lost his seat in the 2018 mid-term elections.
Sessions attributed his loss to the enormous success that year of former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who won Sessions’ congressional district in his almost-successful bid to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz.
While in Congress, Sessions was part of the Republican House majority that balanced the federal budget four years in a row from 1998 to 2001. He led the National Republican Congressional Committee as its chairman from 2009 through 2012, directing the party to regain the House majority with a net 63-seat victory in 2010, which ended Nancy Pelosi’s first tenure as House Speaker.
Sessions and his wife Karen reside in Waco, and have two sons and three stepsons.