A sixth-generation Arkansan, Tom Cotton was born and raised in Dardanelle on his family’s cattle farm. Tom graduated from Dardanelle High School and went on to graduate with honors from Harvard College and Harvard Law School.After completing law school, Tom clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals and then entered private practice, where he concentrated in labor, employment, and constitutional law in cases at all levels of state and federal court.
Yet ever since the September 11 attacks, Tom had felt called to serve his country in uniform, and he ultimately left his law practice to join the Army. Tom declined offers for a direct commission as an Army JAG, volunteering instead to serve as an infantryman. Tom spent five years on active duty. He deployed to Baghdad in 2006 as a platoon leader with the 101st Airborne. In Baghdad, Tom was responsible for a 41-man air-assault infantry platoon and planned and led daily combat patrols.
Following his Iraq deployment, Tom was assigned as a platoon leader at The Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery, where he was responsible for conducting military honors funerals for veterans from World War II to today’s war. In 2008, Tom volunteered to return to the front lines and deployed to eastern Afghanistan as the operations officer of a provincial reconstruction team, where he planned and resourced daily counterinsurgency and reconstruction operations for an 83-member joint and interagency team. Tom’s military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and Iraq Campaign Medal.
The foremost responsibility of the federal government is to provide for the common defense. I am an Army Ranger and a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. I have fought on the front lines to protect our country, and I will fight in Congress to keep America safe through a strong national defense and leadership in the world.
I volunteered to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I believe those wars are just and necessary. As a veteran, I want to bring our troops home as much as anyone, but I want to bring them home victoriously. I don’t believe in exit strategies; I believe in victory strategies. In Congress, I will stand up to President Obama, whose short-sighted and politically motivated decisions threaten the lives and money that America has invested in these wars.
I strongly support the many critical fronts in our global war against Islamic terrorists. We must continue to track and monitor our enemies through terrorist-surveillance programs. We should target these terrorists aggressively through the use of drone technology wherever possible. We should employ our special-operations forces and intelligence professionals where feasible. When we capture terrorists, they should go to Guantanamo Bay for vigorous interrogation—not to a civilian court in America. And we must stop the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical technology, because the world’s most dangerous men cannot be allowed to obtain the world’s most dangerous weapons.
America has the world’s largest fossil-fuel reserves in the world. I view our fossil fuels as a valuable asset to be used, not an embarrassing liability to be restrained. In Congress, I will support policies that unleash our energy producers, put America on the path to energy independence, and reduce our dependence on unreliable and hostile countries.
We must open federal lands and the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to more exploration and production. The oil-and-gas reserves in the Gulf of Mexico, the Arctic Ocean, and federal public lands in the West and Alaska are a tremendous untapped source of economic growth. Greater exploration and production will increase the reliability of our supplies and reduce prices, create high-paying jobs that can’t be sent overseas, and reduce the deficit through higher lease and royalty payments. In Congress, I will work not only to open these lands and the OCS, but also to ensure that regulators act on drilling and production permits in a timely, responsible manner.
I strongly oppose all forms of a “cap and trade” schemes, which are nothing more than a massive new tax on energy. Cap and trade would handcuff our economy and make America less competitive in the world, because emerging markets like China and India will never adopt such a destructive tax. Manufacturers will move to those countries, which will also cost American jobs. I will fight tirelessly against cap and trade, both in Congress and against the EPA’s abusive use of the Clean Air Act to implement cap and trade unilaterally.