/> Congressman Chip Pickering hails from a longtime Republican family from Laurel, Mississippi. Currently serving his fourth term representing Mississippi's Third District, he was first elected to Congress in 1996, at the age of 33. Chip serves as Vice Chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and also serves on the Agriculture Committee. He is also an assistant majority whip in the House of Representatives.
Before coming to Congress, Chip pioneered the first full-time presence by a Southern Baptist missionary behind the Iron Curtain in Budapest, the capital of then communist Hungary. President George H. W. Bush appointed Chip to the United States Department of Agriculture to bring economic and democratic reform to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
Later, as a member of Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's staff, and as a professional staff member on the Senate Commerce Committee, Chip helped shape the landmark Telecommunications Act of 1996. He continues to be a leader on telecommunications and technology issues reflecting the growing importance of these industries to Mississippi's economic future.
Chip served as George W. Bush's Co-Chairman of Mississippi for Bush 2000 and has been chosen again this year as President Bush's Co-Chairman of Mississippi for Bush 2004. Chip's growing record of achievement has earned him a reputation as an effective voice for Mississippi's interests, a rising star in the Congress, and a champion for the changes that are transforming America's economy in this century and beyond.
Chip holds a bachelors degree in business administration from the University of Mississippi and a masters degree in business administration from Baylor University.
Chip is married to the former Leisha Jane Prather of Memphis, Tennessee. Leisha is an accomplished pastry chef with some of her creations featured on the Food Network. She also operates an event planning business. She has coordinated events for the Presidential Inauguration, planned the 9-11 Widows' Baby Shower in New York, worked with the First Lady's Luncheon, and catered dinners for some of the most prominent names in Washington, DC including Karl Rove, President George W. Bush's chief advisor.
After graduating from the University of Mississippi where she was a cheerleader, Leisha worked with high school students while serving on the staff at a church in Dallas, Texas. She has also served in missions work in China, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic.
She serves on the Board of Directors for the Palmer Home for Children, leads the Congressional Members and Families Committee, and works with organizations including the Republican Spouses, Congressional Club, and the International Club.
Chip and Leisha have five sons: Will, Ross, Jackson, Asher, and Harper. The Pickering family resides on a small farm in rural Madison County.
Bio and picture taken from the official Chip Pickering campaign website
Read the JFP Interview with Chip Pickering, by Ayana Taylor.