More than a quarter of members of Congress have some connection to BSA

Update, May 4: Added three more Scouting alumni: Rep. Jack Bergman (Mich.), Rep. Ted Budd (N.C.) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), including one Eagle Scout (Fitzpatrick).


Scouts reach some high places. They summit Mount Everest, walk on the moon, become CEOs and win Super Bowls.

Some even make their way to the highest political offices, like the U.S. Congress.

Of the 535 members of the 115th U.S. Congress, 150 have some sort of connection to the BSA. That’s 28 percent.

I’m defining “connection” as one or more of the following:

  • They were in Scouting as a youth (Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Venturer, Sea Scout, Explorer)
  • They earned the Eagle Scout rank
  • They served (or are still serving) as a BSA adult volunteer

These Scouting alumni come from nearly every state and represent both major political parties. The list includes an impressive 33 Eagle Scouts.

The 115th Congress meets from Jan. 3, 2017, to Jan. 3, 2019. Below, a state-by-state breakdown.

One quick note

Eagle Scout status was confirmed against National Eagle Scout Association records.

Youth member or adult volunteer status was self-reported by the office of the member of Congress. If you know of a representative or senator with Scouting ties who isn’t included, please leave a comment.

Scouting alumni in the 115th Congress

Alabama

Youth members

  • Sen. Richard Shelby
  • Sen. Luther Strange — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Robert Aderholt
  • Rep. Mo Brooks
  • Rep. Mike Rogers

Alaska

Youth member

  • Rep. Don Young

Adult volunteer

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Arizona

Youth members

  • Sen. John McCain
  • Rep. David Schweikert

Adult volunteer

  • Sen. John McCain

Arkansas

Youth member and adult volunteer

  • Rep. French Hill — Eagle Scout

California

Youth members

  • Rep. Ken Calvert
  • Rep. Salud Carbajal
  • Rep. Jeff Denham
  • Rep. John Garamendi — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Darrell Issa
  • Rep. Jerry McNerney
  • Rep. Dana Rohrabacher — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Ed Royce
  • Rep. Adam Schiff
  • Rep. Mike Thompson

Adult volunteers

  • Rep. Julia Brownley
  • Rep. Jerry McNerney
  • Rep. Adam Schiff

Colorado

None

Connecticut

Youth member

  • Rep. John B. Larson

Delaware

Youth member and adult volunteer

  • Sen. Tom Carper

Florida

Youth members

  • Rep. Gus Bilirakis
  • Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart
  • Rep. Neal Dunn — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Dennis A. Ross
  • Rep. Darren Soto

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Dennis A. Ross

Georgia

Youth members

  • Sen. Johnny Isakson
  • Rep. Sanford Bishop — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Jody Hice
  • Rep. Barry Loudermilk

Adult volunteers

  • Sen. Johnny Isakson
  • Rep. Sanford Bishop

Hawaii

None

Idaho

Youth member

  • Sen. Mike Crapo — Eagle Scout

Illinois

Youth members

  • Sen. Dick Durbin
  • Rep. John Shimkus

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Danny Davis

Indiana

Youth members

  • Sen. Todd Young
  • Rep. Larry Bucshon
  • Rep. Luke Messer

Iowa

Youth members

  • Rep. Steve King
  • Rep. David Young

Kansas

Youth members

  • Sen. Jerry Moran
  • Sen. Pat Roberts

Adult volunteer

  • Sen. Jerry Moran

Kentucky

Youth members

  • Sen. Rand Paul
  • Rep. Andy Barr

Louisiana

Youth member

  • Sen. John Neely Kennedy

Maine

None

Maryland

Youth members

  • Rep. Elijah Cummings
  • Rep. John Sarbanes

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Jamie Raskin

Massachusetts

Youth member

  • Rep. Jim McGovern

Michigan

Youth members

  • Sen. Gary Peters — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Jack Bergman
  • Rep. Mike Bishop
  • Rep. Dan Kildee
  • Rep. Fred Upton

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Debbie Dingell

Minnesota

Youth members

  • Rep. Rick Nolan
  • Rep. Tim Walz

Mississippi

Youth members

  • Sen. Thad Cochran — Eagle Scout
  • Sen. Roger Wicker
  • Rep. Trent Kelly — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Steven Palazzo
  • Rep. Bennie Thompson

Adult volunteers

  • Sen. Thad Cochran
  • Sen. Roger Wicker

Missouri

Youth members

  • Rep. Lacy Clay
  • Rep. Emanuel Cleaver
  • Rep. Sam Graves — Eagle Scout

Adult volunteer

  • Sen. Roy Blunt

Montana

None

Nebraska

Youth members

  • Rep. Don Bacon
  • Rep. Jeff Fortenberry

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Don Bacon

Nevada

None

New Hampshire

None

New Jersey

Youth members

  • Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen
  • Rep. Chris Smith — Eagle Scout

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Leonard Lance

New Mexico

Youth members

  • Sen. Tom Udall
  • Rep. Steve Pearce

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Steve Pearce

New York

Youth members

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer
  • Rep. Chris Collins — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Joseph Crowley
  • Rep. Brian Higgins
  • Rep. Gregory Meeks

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Chris Collins

North Carolina

Youth members

  • Rep. G.K. Butterfield
  • Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr.
  • Rep. Patrick McHenry
  • Rep. Mark Meadows
  • Rep. David Price

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Ted Budd
  • Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr.

North Dakota

None

Ohio

Youth members

  • Sen. Sherrod Brown — Eagle Scout
  • Sen. Rob Portman
  • Rep. Steve Chabot
  • Rep. Bob Gibbs
  • Rep. Bob Latta
  • Rep. Steve Stivers — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Brad Wenstrup

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Steve Stivers

Oklahoma

Youth members

  • Sen. James Lankford
  • Rep. Jim Bridenstine — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Frank Lucas

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Steve Russell

Oregon

Youth members

  • Sen. Jeff Merkley — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Earl Blumenauer
  • Rep. Peter DeFazio
  • Rep. Greg Walden — Eagle Scout

Pennsylvania

Youth members

  • Sen. Pat Toomey — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Lou Barletta — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Glenn Thompson — Eagle Scout

Adult volunteers

  • Rep. Charlie Dent
  • Rep. Mike Kelly
  • Rep. Glenn Thompson

Rhode Island

Youth members

  • Sen. Jack Reed
  • Rep. James Langevin

South Carolina

Youth members

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham
  • Rep. Jim Clyburn
  • Rep. Jeff Duncan
  • Rep. Mark Sanford — Eagle Scout

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Joe Wilson

South Dakota

None

Tennessee

  • Sen. Lamar Alexander — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Jim Cooper — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Phil Roe — Eagle Scout

Adult volunteers

  • Sen. Lamar Alexander
  • Rep. Jim Cooper
  • Rep. Marsha Blackburn

Texas

Youth members

  • Sen. John Cornyn
  • Rep. Joe Barton
  • Rep. Kevin Brady
  • Rep. John Culberson
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Jeb Hensarling — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Sam Johnson
  • Rep. Michael McCaul
  • Rep. Ted Poe
  • Rep. Pete Sessions — Eagle Scout

Adult volunteers

  • Rep. Joe Barton
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert
  • Rep. Kay Granger
  • Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee
  • Rep. Pete Sessions
  • Rep. Mac Thornberry

Utah

Youth members

  • Sen. Orrin Hatch
  • Sen. Mike Lee — Eagle Scout

Adult volunteer

  • Sen. Orrin Hatch

Vermont

Youth members

  • Sen. Patrick Leahy
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders

Adult volunteer

  • Sen. Patrick Leahy

Virginia

Youth members

  • Sen. Mark Warner
  • Rep. Don Beyer
  • Rep. Gerry Connolly
  • Rep. Bob Goodlatte
  • Rep. Donald McEachin — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Bobby Scott
  • Rep. Scott Taylor
  • Rep. Rob Wittman

Adult volunteers

  • Rep. Bob Goodlatte
  • Rep. Rob Wittman

Washington

Youth members

  • Rep. Rick Larsen
  • Rep. Adam Smith

West Virginia

Youth members

  • Sen. Joe Manchin
  • Rep. David McKinley — Eagle Scout

Wisconsin

Youth members

  • Rep. Sean Duffy
  • Rep. Paul Ryan

Wyoming

Youth members

  • Sen. John Barrasso
  • Sen. Mike Enzi — Eagle Scout

How to contact these individuals with Scouting ties

I’m betting these Scouting alumni in the House and Senate would enjoy hearing from fellow Scouts and Eagle Scouts.

You can learn how to contact the senators here and the representatives here.


Thanks to the BSA’s Scott Olson for the info.

26 Comments

  1. Considering the Congressional approval ratings, BSA may wish to think twice about promoting this relationship.

  2. It would be great if they formed a Scouter Caucus and promoted the values they learned in BSA. Things like TRUSTWORTHY, LOYAL, HELPFUL, KIND, OBEDIENT, especially THRIFTY!

  3. I echo what others have said, given the current level of ineptitude in our National legislative bodies, I’m not sure BSA wants to connect itself to it. The whole “do my best to do my duty to God and my country” seems lost in DC. My 2 cents, your trail mileage will vary.

    • Two weeks back, I had a conversation with an 11 year old who is here because her homeland failed her in ways unimaginable to us. Regardless of our level of disapproval, our congress remains a shining beacon to her and her family.

      As a scouter and a citizen, I am proud that BSA is linked by charter and alumni to this great governing body.

  4. I have to agree with prior comments that it appears that many of those listed have forgotten their Scout Oath and Law as applied to their everyday lives. I also found it interesting that, while the list didn’t show party affiliation, more detailed examination shows that of the Congresspersons named, over 2/3 are Republicans.

    • On his first day in office and several times since then, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke referred to what he learned as a Boy Scout. He is also a former U.S. Navy SEAL Commander who grew up right next to Glacier National Park.

    • Both the Secretary of State and Attorney General are Scouters. See previous stories on this blog for information on both.

  5. One of the greatest things I learned as a scout was stewardship. My scoutmasters earnestly believed in stewardship. It’s a concept that we need to promote in our communities. Stewardship– we need to remind these representatives that they have a great responsibility as stewards and as leaders.

  6. For people at the center of public service, 27.5% seems like a very low number. Typically I am a very ‘glass-half-full’ person, but this seems more like a ‘glass-72.5% empty’ situation to me…..

  7. Impressive numbers. Of the 147 involved in scouting, 22% are Eagle Scouts. Impressive because of all who join scouts as youth, only about 3% to 5% achieve Eagle Status. It appears to me that without these scouting folks in Congress, progress might be going much slower.

    • We can confirm Brian Fitzpatrick from Pennsylvania is an Eagle Scout. He will be shown in the final document shared with media and parents on our web site. Thanks for the note.

  8. At first, 32 Eagles of 535 did not seem that impressive (5.9%), just a little above the national average for eagle scouts. But, I then realized only the men in congress can be eagle scouts so the percentage goes way up after you only consider the men in congress, and not the whole body!

  9. It’s too bad that hardly any of them actually act like Scouts. Some of them in particular, the BSA should be flat-out embarrassed to be associated with.

  10. Looking at this from an out of country perspective. This is not a good look for the BSA. They should actively be calling out congresspeople that are not living up to their values. Scouting isn’t political but actively lying to congress is not a good look for your AG.

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