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Frank Wolf

Frank Wolf photo redFMR Congressman Frank Wolf
Jerry and Susie Wilson Chair in Religious Freedom

As the Wilson Chair, Wolf will lead Baylor’s efforts on Capitol Hill and throughout the world to address the significant issues of freedom of conscience and worship and, in particular, Christianity’s enduring role in promoting human freedom.

“I am looking forward to working with colleagues at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion to advance the case for religious freedom,” Wolf said. “I have been involved in promoting religious liberty for many years in Congress, and now I look forward to collaborating with scholars, religious leaders and the laity in what I believe is one of the most important struggles of our time.”

Congressman Frank R. Wolf served 17 terms in Congress (1981 to 2015), representing Virginia’s 10th District, which stretches from McLean to Winchester.

Congressman Wolf sat on the House Appropriations Committee, where he was the chairman of the Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee.  He also served on the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development and State and Foreign Operations subcommittees.  In addition, he was the co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a bipartisan organization that works to raise awareness about international human rights issues.

His committee assignments provided him with an ideal position to address the varying needs of the 10th District, which is home to some of the world’s leading defense, aerospace, cybersecurity and high-tech companies, thousands of federal employees and other professionals. Agriculture and manufacturing also are an important part of the 10th District’s economy.

From 2001- 2006 and again from 2011 to 2013, Congressman Wolf served as the chairman of the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations subcommittee, which funds the Commerce Department, Justice Department — including FBI, DEA, ATF and U.S. Marshals Service — NASA, National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).  From 2001-2006, the subcommittee also had jurisdiction over the State Department, until the new State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee was created in 2007.  Congressman Wolf served as ranking member of that new subcommittee from 2007-2009.
Over the last decade, Congressman Wolf worked to raise awareness of the growing threat from cyberattacks from countries like China, which steal critical information from both the government and the private sector. As subcommittee chairman, Congressman Wolf provided funding and policy direction to bolster civilian federal agency cybersecurity and support the FBI’s role in addressing cyberattacks.  Additionally, he led efforts to raise awareness of the threat of cyberespionage and cyberattacks from state-owned and state-directed Chinese telecom equipment manufacturers.
Congressman Wolf has long recognized the need to get our nation’s spending under control. His legislation ultimately became the model for the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, commonly referred to as the Simpson-Bowles Commission. In 2012, he was one 38 bipartisan members of the House to vote for the bipartisan Cooper-LaTourette substitute amendment to the budget, which was based on the recommendations of the Simpson- Bowles Commission, for which the Concord Coalition and USA Today recognized his efforts.
From 1995-2000, Congressman Wolf served as chairman of the Transportation Appropriations subcommittee. Congressman Wolf has long been recognized for his efforts to improve transportation in northern Virginia over the last 32 years. On the national level, when Congressman Wolf chaired the Transportation Appropriations subcommittee, he made the issue of truck safety a priority.

Congressman Wolf has worked to ensure that Virginia’s natural resources and hallowed grounds are protected and preserved, from challenging the placement of power lines to protecting natural resources that can be enjoyed by hikers, fishers, and hunters.

A longtime advocate for federal employees, Congressman Wolf believes that our nation’s civil servants should be treated with dignity and respect.  From pay parity to leave sharing to protecting the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to encouraging telework to allowing the presentation of the U.S. flag at their funeral if killed in the line of duty, Congressman Wolf is keenly aware of how hard federal employees work and the invaluable contributions they make to our country.

Congressman Wolf has also been a leader on fighting hunger in the U.S. and abroad.  He sponsored legislation — the School Food Recovery Act — allowing schools to donate unused food to local food pantries under the federal Good Samaritan Act, which was signed into law in 2011. Congressman Wolf also helped create the Feds Feed Families food drive, which has generated more than 20 million pounds of donated food from federal employees in the Washington metropolitan region since it was launched in 2009.

Congressman Wolf was one of the House’s leading advocates for human rights. Congressman Wolf believes members of Congress have an obligation to speak out for those who are persecuted around the world. He has traveled to Ethiopia, Sudan, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and other countries in Africa to see firsthand the tremendous suffering due to corrupt governments, war, AIDS and famine. He led the first congressional delegation to Darfur in western Sudan to bring attention to the crisis there, which the U.S. later declared as genocide. He also has worked to call attention to the human rights abuses and religious persecution in the People’s Republic of China, Tibet, Romania, Nagorno-Karabakh, Chechnya, Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor, and the Middle East.
Congressman Wolf served as co-chair of the Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus.  Over successive administrations, long before the “Arab Spring,” he has sounded the alarm about the worsening plight of religious minorities–notably the ancient Christian communities in both Iraq and Egypt.
Congressman Wolf’s international travels have allowed him to see the destruction caused by terrorists. He has visited Lebanon, where in 1983 car bombs were used to destroy a U.S. Marine barracks, killing 241 Marines. He has been to Algeria, where more than 70,000 people have been killed by terrorists, and has traveled to Sudan — which gave safe haven to Osama bin Laden for several years in the early 1990s — six times, most recently in February 2012. He also has traveled to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Israel.

In 1998, he authored the bill creating the National Commission on Terrorism. Chaired by L. Paul Bremer, President Ronald Reagan’s counterterrorism czar, the commission closely examined the problem of terrorism, studying its origins and its key players. The commission also developed a policy response and made a number of wide-ranging recommendations when it released its report in June 2000. Click here for the report.

Following his September 2005 trip to Iraq (click here for Trip Report), Congressman Wolf called for the creation of an independent, bipartisan panel to bring what he called “fresh eyes” to U.S. efforts in Iraq. The result was the establishment of the Iraq Study Group headed by James Baker and Lee Hamilton. The 10-member panel spent eight months developing a series of recommendations that were released in December 2006.  In 2011, Congressman Wolf succeeded in providing the resources for the Afghanistan/Pakistan Study Group, a similar bipartisan commission to review and provide recommendations for U.S. policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Domestically, Congressman Wolf has been a leader in warning of the dangers of domestic radicalization and terrorist attacks inside the United States.  He offered a successful amendment to the 2012 Intelligence authorization bill creating a “Team B” of outside experts to examine domestic radicalization and to ensure that the government was doing everything possible to anticipate and prevent terror attacks.  In his capacity as chairman of the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations subcommittee, Congressman Wolf fully funded the FBI’s counterterrorism programs and provided exhaustive oversight to ensure the government remains prepared to prevent potential attacks against Americans.

Congressman Wolf also was one of Congress’s leading opponents of gambling, citing its destructive force on society and on children in particular. In 1997, he pushed for the creation of the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, which uncovered myriad destructive effects caused by gambling.
Congressman Wolf was born in 1939 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received his B.A. degree from Penn State University in 1961 and his law degree from Georgetown University in 1965.
Congressman Wolf entered politics in 1968, at the age of 29, when he became a legislative assistant to Edward Biester, the Republican congressman from Pennsylvania’s 8th congressional district. From 1971 to 1975, Congressman Wolf served as an assistant to Secretary of the Interior Rogers Morton.

He lives in Vienna with his wife, Carolyn. They have five adult children and 16 grandchildren.