|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's 6th district
January 3, 2009
|Secretary of State of Colorado|
January 9, 2007 - January 3, 2009
|Treasurer of Colorado|
March 27, 2006 - January 9, 2007
|Mark Hillman (Acting)|
January 3, 1999 - June 9, 2005
|Mark Hillman (Acting)|
|Member of the Colorado Senate
from the 27th district
December 12, 1994 - January 3, 1999
|Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
from the 40th district
January 1989 - December 12, 1994
March 19, 1955
Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Cynthia Coffman (m. 2005; div. 2017)|
|Education||University of Colorado Boulder (BA)|
|Service/branch|| United States Army
United States Marine Corps
|Years of service||1972-1978 (Army)
1979-1994, 2005-2006 (Marines)
|Battles/wars||Persian Gulf War
Michael Howard Coffman (born March 19, 1955) is an American politician, businessman, and retired member of the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps. He has served as the U.S. Representative for Colorado's 6th congressional district since 2009. A member of the Republican Party, Coffman previously served as the Secretary of State of Colorado (2007-2009) and as Colorado State Treasurer (1999-2005 and 2006-2007). He served in the Gulf War and the Iraq War.
Michael Coffman was born on March 19, 1955, at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, to Harold and Dorothy Coffman, and is one of five children. His father served in the United States Army at Fort Leonard Wood, and after 1964, at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado.
In 1972, Coffman enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was assigned to a mechanized infantry battalion. The following year, he earned a high school diploma through an army program. Leaving active duty for the U.S. Army Reserve in 1974, he entered the University of Colorado, under the G.I. Bill graduating in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in political science. He also studied at Vaishnav College in Chennai, India, and the University of Veracruz in Mexico for a year. Upon graduation from the University of Colorado, Coffman transferred from the Army Reserve to the United States Marine Corps in 1979, becoming an infantry officer. In 1983, he transferred from active duty to the Marine Reserves, serving until 1994. In 1983, he created an Aurora, Colorado-based property management firm, serving as senior shareholder until 2000.
Coffman began his political career serving as a member of the Colorado House of Representatives from 1989 to 1994. Shortly after winning re-election in 1990, he took an unpaid leave-of-absence from the statehouse during his active duty service in the Persian Gulf War, during which time he saw combat as a light armored infantry officer. He was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon after his first deployment. In 1994, he retired from the U.S. Marine Corps after 20 years of combined service to the Army, Army Reserve, Marines, and Marine Reserve. In 2006, Coffman returned to active duty in the Marines where he deployed to Iraq for combat service. Upon return from his deployment, he retired from the Marine Corps once again after a total of 22 years of military service. When State Senator Bill Owens resigned his seat to become state treasurer, the party's vacancy committee named Coffman the replacement in December 1994. In 1996, he was elected to a full term to the Colorado State Senate unopposed. He became the Chairman of the Finance Committee.
In 1998, Coffman was elected as State Treasurer of Colorado with 51% of the vote, defeating Democratic nominee Jim Polsfut. In 2002, he was re-elected with 56%, defeating Democratic State Senator Terry Phillips.
He resigned from that post in 2005 in order to resume his career in the U.S. Marines, and serve in the War in Iraq, where he helped support the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, which oversaw two national elections, and helped establish interim local governments in the western Euphrates Valley. In 2006, he completed his duty in Iraq and was re-appointed as State Treasurer. He served that position for only a few months because in November 2006, he was elected Colorado Secretary of State with 51% of the vote, defeating Democratic State Senator and Minority Leader Ken Gordon.
Coffman announced that he would run for the U.S. House seat being vacated by retiring Republican Tom Tancredo in 2008 in Colorado's 6th congressional district. Three other candidates decided to run in the Republican primary for the open seat: Wil Armstrong (son of former U.S. Senator Bill Armstrong), State Senator Ted Harvey, and State Senator Steve Ward. Coffman won the August primary with a plurality of 40% of the vote, beating runner-up Wil Armstrong by seven points.
The Denver Post endorsed Coffman on October 10, 2008. In November, Coffman defeated Democrat Hank Eng, an Appleton, Wisconsin City Common Councilman, 61%-39%. Governor Bill Ritter designated State Representative Bernie Buescher, a Democrat, to succeed Coffman as Secretary of State.
In redistricting, Colorado's 6th congressional district was made more favorable to Democrats than previously. Aurora was added to the district. Democratic State Representative Joe Miklosi challenged Coffman. Coffman defeated Miklosi 48%-46%, a difference of 6,992 votes.
During a campaign fundraiser in Elbert County on May 12, 2012, Coffman expressed doubt that President Barack Obama had been born in the United States and declared that: "I don't know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don't know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he's not an American. He's just not an American." Coffman apologized several days later saying that he had misspoken and that he had "confidence in President Obama's citizenship and legitimacy as President of the United States."
Coffman ran for re-election to the U.S. House in 2014. He won the Republican nomination in the primary election on June 24, 2014, unopposed. He faced Democrat Andrew Romanoff in the general election. Coffman won 52%-43%.
Coffman ran for re-election in 2016 as the Republican nominee against Democratic State Senator Morgan Carroll. He defeated Carroll in the general election, winning 51% of the vote to Carroll's 42%. In July 2016, the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity announced plans to launch a major advertising campaign opposing Carroll.
Coffman subsequently held a public town hall meeting the following April, where he was challenged and often times shouted down by residents of his district and others in attendance. Coffman's performance at the town hall and frank discussion with the audience earned praise from KUSA commentator Kyle Clark, who remarked that "[Coffman's] opponents might not like me saying this, but he is clearly prepared to debate the issues, his positions, and his policies." Coffman also made national news during the town hall, telling the audience that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer "needs to go" because of his historically inaccurate remarks about the Holocaust.
For the 114th United States Congress, Coffman was ranked as the 25th most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives (and the most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Colorado) in the Bipartisan Index created by The Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy that ranks members of the United States Congress by their degree of bipartisanship (by measuring the frequency each member's bills attract co-sponsors from the opposite party and each member's co-sponsorship of bills by members of the opposite party). As of January 2018, Coffman has voted with his party in 92.8% of votes in the 115th United States Congress.
Vote Smart, a non-profit, non-partisan research organization that collects and distributes information on candidates for public office in the United States, "researched presidential and congressional candidates' public records to determine candidates' likely responses on certain key issues." According to Vote Smart's 2016 analysis, Coffman generally supports pro-life legislation, opposes an income tax increase, opposes federal spending and supports lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth, opposes requiring states to adopt federal education standards, supports building the Keystone Pipeline, supports government funding for the development of renewable energy, opposes the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, opposes gun-control legislation, supports repealing the Affordable Care Act, opposes same-sex marriage, and supports requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship.
EMILY's List, a political action committee that works to elect pro-choice Democratic women, endorsed Coffman's 2016 U.S. House opponent. It criticized Coffman for allegedly "co-sponsoring a bill to redefine rape". PolitiFact.com rated the claim "Mostly True", writing that "Coffman did co-sponsor the bill to redefine a ban on federal funding for abortions to exempt 'forcible rape.' Yet he later voted on the floor for an amended version that had removed the 'forcible' modifier from the bill."
Coffman supports nationwide reciprocity of concealed weapons permits and opposes universal background checks for gun purchases. He supported the 2012 renewal of the Violence Against Women Act.
In 2014, Coffman signed on as a co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2016, Coffman initially supported but ultimately opposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act which would provide protections and exemptions to "any religious corporation, religious association, religious educational institution, or religious society" that receives a federal defense contract.
Coffman has a "B+" rating from marijuana legalization group National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) regarding his voting record on cannabis-related matters. He supports allowing veterans access to medical marijuana, if legal in their state, per their Veterans Health Administration doctor's recommendation. He also supports allowing cannabis businesses access to banking, medical marijuana research, and industrial hemp farming.
Coffman did not endorse Donald Trump, the Republican Party's nominee for U.S. president in 2016. In August 2016, he ran an advertisement promising to "stand up" to Trump. The ad represented the first time a House Republican used explicitly anti-Trump messaging in paid advertising. It is rare for incumbent members of Congress to run advertisements attacking presidential nominees of their own party. Coffman also released a version of the commercial which featured him speaking Spanish. He criticized Trump for his attacks on the parents of Captain Humayun Khan.
In February 2017, he voted against a resolution that would have directed the House to request ten years of Trump's tax returns, which would then have been reviewed by the House Ways and Means Committee in a closed session.
In April 2017, Coffman told a town hall crowd he would support legislation that requires the President, Vice President, members of Congress, and all those seeking federal office to publicly release their tax returns prior to an election.
Coffman called for the firing of White House National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn over interactions Flynn had with Russian officials. After Flynn was fired, Coffman said "I want to see that transcript to see if there are other conversations that he had is worthwhile finding out, but I also think it's important to move on."
Coffman voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was a stimulus package intended to save and create jobs, and provide temporary relief programs as a response to the Great Recession. Coffman cited a nonexistent Congressional Budget Office study to justify his vote against the stimulus package. Coffman later claimed that "the Congressional Budget Office estimates have been changed or suppressed".
He voted in support of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Regarding his "yay" vote, Coffman says "I think the economy is going to perform a lot better." He believes that individuals will benefit greatly from the change in tax brackets and that corporate tax cuts are "essential to making them globally competitive."
Coffman is in favor of a "full repeal" of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). In January 2017, he voted in support of legislation that began the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In May 2017, Coffman voted against the American Health Care Act of 2017, a Republican bill which would have partially repealed the ACA.
In 2011, Coffman proposed a half billion dollars in cuts to military programs such as education reimbursements, the Selective Service and the military's health plan, TRICARE, saying that the programs "have been neglected for a long time. Every dollar wasted is a dollar not going to our war fighters. What they do is important to this country, and we should focus on them."
Coffman introduced the Veterans Paralympic Act of 2013, which funds disabled veterans who want to compete in the Paralympic Games. The bill was signed into law by President Obama in 2013. In response to a 2013 Gazette report about veterans with mental health conditions, such as Post-traumatic stress disorder, being stripped of medical benefits, Coffman sponsored a 2014 amendment that would allow servicemen with mental health issues who were discharged because of misconduct to appeal for medical discharge instead.
Coffman introduced the Gulf War Health Research Reform Act of 2014, a bill that would alter the relationship between the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses (RAC) and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Coffman was the first congressman to call for Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki to resign after misconduct at multiple VA facilities was revealed. On May 30, 2014, Shinseki resigned as Secretary. In 2016, Coffman co-sponsored a bill to abolish the Selective Service System.
In August 2014, Coffman broke ranks with the Republican Party and voted against a bill that would have dismantled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. In October 2015, Coffman and Democrat Tammy Duckworth co-sponsored the Military Enlistment Opportunity Act, which would provide undocumented immigrant children an opportunity to serve in the U.S. military and gain a path to citizenship.
Coffman opposed President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to impose a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, stating: "While I've supported heightened vetting procedures, I have never, nor will I ever support a blanket travel ban, for people solely based on ethnic or religious grounds."
During the general election of 2008, when Coffman was Secretary of State of Colorado, several groups accused the secretary of state's office of improperly marking 6,400 voter registration forms as incomplete, because they failed to check a box on the form, required by legislation sponsored by then Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon, a Democrat, in 2006. Incomplete registrations require voters to either re-register or provide extra identification when they go to vote. Soon after the accusations were made, Common Cause filed suit against Coffman, in his official capacity as secretary of state. The secretary of state's office denied wrongdoing, and Coffman said he believes his office was correctly applying the law. On October 30, 2008, the court approved a preliminary injunction allowing purged voters to participate in the 2008 election. Bernie Buescher, Coffman's successor as secretary of state, replaced Coffman as defendant in the case in January 2009. The bulk of the litigation was settled in January 2010 after changes to Colorado's election regulations, and the remaining portions were decided in January 2011.
In September 2016, Coffman became co-sponsor of the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2015, legislation that would restore some protections in the 1965 Voting Rights Act that have been stripped by the United States Supreme Court.
|Treasurer of Colorado
|Treasurer of Colorado
|Secretary of State of Colorado
|U.S. House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's 6th congressional district
|Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Representatives by seniority