Tom A. Coburn, M.D. was elected to the U.S. Senate on November 2, 2004. Dr. Coburn and his wife, Carolyn, a former Miss Oklahoma, were married in 1968 and have three children and four grandchildren. They are members of Muskogee's New Community Church.
Dr. Coburn's priorities in the Senate include reducing wasteful spending, balancing the budget, improving health care access and affordability, protecting the sanctity of all human life - including the unborn - and representing traditional, Oklahoma values. As a citizen legislator, Dr. Coburn has pledged to serve no more than two terms in the Senate and to continue to care for patients. He is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Intelligence Committee, the Indian Affairs Committee and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Prior to his election to the Senate, Dr. Coburn represented Oklahoma's Second Congressional District in the House of Representatives from 1995 through 2001. He was first elected in 1994, then re-elected in 1996 and 1998, becoming the first Republican to hold the seat for consecutive terms. Dr. Coburn retired from Congress in 2001, fulfilling his pledge to serve no more than three terms in the House.
During his tenure in the House, Dr. Coburn wrote and passed far-reaching legislation. These include laws to expand seniors' health care options, to protect access to home health care in rural areas and to allow Americans to access cheaper medications from Canada and other nations. Dr. Coburn also wrote a law intended to prevent baby AIDS. The Wall Street Journal said about the law, "In 10 long years of AIDS politics and funding, this is actually the first legislation to pass in this country that will rescue babies." He also wrote a law to renew and reform federal AIDS care programs. In 2002, President George Bush chose Dr. Coburn to serve as co-chair of the President's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA).
During his three terms in the House, Dr. Coburn also played an influential role in reforming welfare and other federal entitlement programs. He led efforts to balance the budget, offering countless amendments to trim the bloated federal budget.
In 1970, Dr. Coburn graduated with an accounting degree from Oklahoma State University. One of the Top Ten seniors in the School of Business, Dr. Coburn served as president of the College of Business Student Council.
From 1970 to 1978, Dr. Coburn served as manufacturing manager at the Ophthalmic Division of Coburn Optical Industries in Colonial Heights, Virginia. Under his leadership, the Virginia division of Coburn Optical grew from 13 employees to more than 350 and captured 35 percent of the U.S. market.
After the family business was sold, Dr. Coburn changed the course of his life by returning to school to become a physician. Again he emerged as a leader, becoming president of his class at the University of Oklahoma Medical School where he graduated in 1983. He then did his internship in general surgery at St. Anthony's Hospital in Oklahoma City and family practice residency at the University of Arkansas, Fort Smith.
Dr. Coburn returned to Muskogee where he specializes in family medicine, obstetrics and the treatment of allergies. Dr. Coburn has personally delivered more than 4,000 babies.
Dr. Coburn also is a two-time cancer survivor.