Lieutenant Colonel Allen B. West: A Short Biography

Allen B. West was born on February 7, 1961, in Georgia. He is a retired lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Army and a former member of the House of Representatives.

Life and Education

Allen Bernard West was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Elizabeth and Herman West and is third of four generations of military servicemen in his family. His father and older brother were both career military officers; West’s father served in World War II, and his brother served in Vietnam. His mother was a civilian employee of the United States Marine Corps. Although both of his parents were registered Democrats, West has remarked that they raised him very conservatively.

His parents instilled in him a very basic principle, love of God and Country. In 2004, when it was time to retire from more than twenty years of service in the US Army, he brought his wife and two young daughters to Broward County, Florida, where he taught high school for one year. He then returned to Afghanistan as an advisor to the Afghan army, an assignment he finished in November 2007.

Allen West knows that for our children to live their dreams, they need to be safe. He has served in several combat zones: in Operation Desert Storm, in Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he was battalion commander for the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, and in Afghanistan, where he trained Afghan officers to take on the responsibility of securing their own country.

Excellence is a West family tradition. His wife, Angela, holds an MBA and Ph.D. and works as a financial planner. His oldest daughter, Aubrey, attends Archbishop McCarthy HS and his youngest daughter, Austen, attends Cooper City Christian Academy.

“Education is the great equalizer,” he says. “With a good education, any child in America can live his dream.”

In the tenth grade, West joined the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program and entered the Army in 1983 when he graduated from the University of Tennessee. West is the third of four consecutive generations in his family to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. He later received a master’s degree in political science from Kansas State University. He also earned a master of military arts and sciences degree from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Officer College in political theory and military history and operations.

Allen is an avid distance runner, a PADI Master certified SCUBA diver, motorcyclist, and attends Community Christian Church in Tamarac Florida.

Military Career

West was commissioned through ROTC at the University of Tennessee as a Second Lieutenant (2LT) on July 31, 1982. He entered active duty service in the U.S. Army on November 1, 1983, at Fort Sill to attend the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course. He later attended airborne and jumpmaster training at Fort Benning. West’s first assignment was as an airborne infantry company fire support team leader and battalion training officer in the 325th Airborne Battalion Combat Team. In 1987, he was promoted to Captain and attended the Field Artillery Officer Advanced Course.

He was then assigned to the 1st Infantry Division, where he commanded Bravo Battery, 6th Field Artillery Regiment and was a Battalion Task Force fire support officer for 2d Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment. While with the 1st Infantry Division, he participated in Operations Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.

After redeployment from Kuwait, West served as an ROTC instructor at Kansas State University from 1991 to 1994. In January 1995, he was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division Support Command as the Assistant Operations/Combat Plans Officer. During that time, West was promoted to Major and selected for attendance to the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and graduated in 1997. Afterward, he became the Operations Officer of the 18th Field Artillery Brigade (Airborne), followed by an assignment as the Executive Officer of the 1st Battalion (Air Assault), 377th Field Artillery Regiment. Upon completion of these positions, West was assigned to the II Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Lejeune, and selected to serve as an Army exchange officer to this headquarters from 1999 to 2002.

West’s culminating assignment to his career was as Battalion Commander of the 2d Battalion 20th Field Artillery, 4th Infantry Division. He assumed command of this unit on June 6, 2002. He deployed with his unit during the Iraq War in 2003 and continued to command his battalion until his retirement from the Army in 2004 after 22 years of honorable service in defense of the Republic.

In his Army career, Col. West has been honored many times, including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals (one with Valor), and a Valorous Unit Award. He received his valor award as a Captain in Desert Shield/Storm, was the US Army ROTC Instructor of the Year in 1993, and was a Distinguished Honor Graduate III Corps Assault School. He proudly wears the Army Master parachutist badge, Air Assault badge, Navy/Marine Corps parachutist insignia, Italian parachutist wings, and German proficiency badge (Bronze award).

West’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star; Meritorious Service Medal (two Oak Leaf Clusters); Army Commendation Medal (three Oak Leaf Clusters, one Valor Device); Army Achievement Medal (one Oak Leaf Cluster); Valorous Unit Award; Air Assault Badge; and the Master Parachutist Badge. Lt Col West proudly wears the Army Master Parachutist Badge, the Army Air Assault Badge, the Navy/Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia, the Italian Parachutist Wings, and the German Proficiency Badge, a bronze award.

After his retirement from the Army in 2004, Allen taught high school in South Florida for a year before volunteering and deploying to Afghanistan as a civilian military adviser to the Afghan army, an assignment he finished in November 2007.

Political Career

As a member of the Republican Party, he represented Florida in the House of Representatives between 2011 and 2013.

Soon after leaving the military, he moved to Florida with his family, where he worked for a defense contractor. He entered politics in 2008 as member of the Republican Party and representative of the Florida 22nd congressional district. He won a seat in 2010 and took office in 2011, being the first Afro-American republican after Josiah Walls in 1976.

As a member of the Congress, West was a high-profile member of the Tea Party Movement and The Tea Party Caucus. In 2012 House elections he lost to democratic Patrick Murphy by 2,146 votes.

As a member of the Congress, West introduced seven major pieces of legislation, and was the original sponsor of H. R. 1246 which reduces costs at the Department of Defense, was passed unanimously (393-0), and signed into law by President Obama as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Congressman West voted for the Balanced Budget Amendment and voted for over 30 different bills designed to empower small businesses, reduce government barriers to job creation, boost American competitiveness, encourage entrepreneurship and growth, and maximize American energy production.

Political Views

Jobs/Economy:

Under the Congressional Democrats’ watch, Florida’s unemployment rate has skyrocketed to a staggering 12%, our foreclosure rate is the 3rd highest in the country, and the national debt has grown to unprecedented levels. As your Congressman, I will curb out of control Government spending, I will work towards across the board tax cuts, I will fight tirelessly to bring jobs back to South Florida. We must realize that American Exceptionalism depends on a strong and robust economy, which means that the fight begins here at home.

If we are serious about fixing our economy, then we must get back to basics. First, our tax code must be redefined. I support transitioning from the progressive tax to a flat tax system- both individual and corporate/business. Second, we must understand that the true strength of our economy lies within small businesses, and as elected leaders in Congress, we have an obligation to support small business growth through tax cuts and incentives. Finally we need to challenge the status quo in Washington and stop the floodgates of government spending. In the last two years alone, Democrats have quadrupled the deficit, thanks in large part to the failed stimulus package. Factoring in the recent passage of the healthcare bill, the deficit is projected to increase by $9.3 trillion over the next decade. As your Congressman, I will carry the torch of conservative, small government principles with me to Washington.

Peace Through Strength:

The Preamble of the Constitution of the United States defines the Federal Government’s role in “providing for the common defense” of our great country. It is not only the primary mission of our government, but the most important obligation our elected leaders have upon accepting the oath of office. As a 22-year Army Veteran who served in Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, and as a Civilian Advisor to the Afghan Army in Operation Enduring Freedom, I understand both the gravity of giving the order, and the challenge of carrying it out.

Make no mistake, we are a nation at war against a totalitarian theocratic political ideology that glorifies death rather than celebrating life. To defeat it, we must stay on the offensive. From Afghanistan and Iraq to the Greater Middle East and South America, radical Islam is on the march. And while our attention is focused on combating global terrorism, we must not forget other looming threats just on the horizon in China, North Korea, Venezuela, Russia & Iran. These nations and their leaders represent the biggest threat to our great nation. As your Congressman, I will work to reestablish American Exceptionalism by growing and modernizing America’s Armed forces to ensure that we are prepared for the strategic challenges ahead. Like President Reagan, I believe that peace is best kept through a strong national defense.

Energy Independence:

Energy Independence is critical for the future and legacy of our great country. In the late 1970s we were importing some 18-20% of our energy resources. Today we are importing close to 65% of our energy resources from foreign sources. Due to this increased reliance on foreign energy supplies, terrorists have found a great source of funding through “petro-dollars” emanating from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Libya.

Now is the time to make America energy-independent by encouraging the indomitable spirit of American ingenuity and developing our full spectrum of energy resources. That means that we must invest in oil, natural gas, clean coal, nuclear, hydrogen, cost-effective bio-fuels, wind, and solar (research, exploration, refinement, and development). America must look at energy independence much the same as having a diversified investment portfolio built upon the solid foundation of proven methods in both energy extraction and economic development.

Illegal Immigration:

The Constitution of the United States of America has these three mandates; ensure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare, and provide for the common defense. All three of these directives relate to the issue of illegal immigration, as illegal immigration adversely affects our economy, jobs, national security, crime levels, education, and healthcare. Illegal immigration also allows human traffickers, drug runners, and Islamic terrorists to exploiting our porous border.

Quite simply, federal laws already on the books aimed at stopping the flow of illegal immigration must be enforced. Furthermore, states must be given the resources necessary to confront the problem, which includes strengthening the border patrol. When dealing with illegal immigration, the answer is simple; enforce Constitutional mandates, and you will protect Floridians and the American people.

Israel:

Recent developments in the Israel are disturbing, and unfortunately predictable. Since 2009, the Obama Administration has shown an unprecedented disregard for the sovereignty of the State of Israel – America’s strongest ally. Whether browbeating Israel for building homes in their rightful capitol, or disrespecting Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House, President Obama has clearly demonstrated that he is no friend of the Jewish State.

Liberals in Congress have provided nothing but lip service while the rest of the world continues to condemn this nation’s right to defend itself against continued terror and aggression by Hamas – a terror organization whose very charter calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and its supporters. In the days and weeks ahead, our friends in Israel, the only true and stable democracy in the Middle East, need more than words from America’s leaders. Above all, the Jewish State needs stronger representation in Congress and a solid voice that will not be afraid to stand up to the Obama Administration’s appeasement of Islamic terrorism. As a combat veteran who has faced our common enemy, my commitment to Israel will rise above mere statements of support.

Social Security:

The critical aspect of social security is that we must restore it to the independent trust fund account. Once the politicians moved it to the general operating account they used it for their pork barrel spending spree. The fact that we are creating a jobless morass in America means there are less workers paying into the system. This is another reason why we need private sector growth, which in turn creates jobs, which will replenish the Social Security fund.

Putting Money Back into the Pockets of Americans:

In January 2011, America will witness the largest tax increase we have ever seen.  For the production class Americans, taxes will be raised on married couples, the child tax credit will be cut 50%, dividends and capital gains taxes increase, the death tax returns, the number of families paying the alternative minimum tax will increase, and there will be an increase on all wage earner tax brackets, not just the upper 35% bracket. It is a proven fact that where taxation is lightest and spending is reduced, revenues increase. The 2010 mid-term elections come down to two diametrically opposing philosophies: public sector raising taxes, printing and borrowing more money or private sector investment, ingenuity, and innovation.

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