Man Behind the Gavel: Who is the New House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy?
© AP Photo / J. Scott ApplewhiteSpeaker-elect Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
© AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite
Republican Kevin McCarthy finally clinched US House speakership after the 15th ballot was held on Friday. McCarthy (Calif.) became the nation’s 55th speaker, wrapping a contentious few days of heated debates and concessions which had left the chamber leaderless for the longest time in a century.
The 57-year-old lawmaker had remained confident throughout the tense debates with GOP holdouts and concession-trading that finally landed him the gavel. Incidentally, it was Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) who handed Speaker-elect Kevin McCarthy the gavel, calling to mind a joke made by the Californian back in August, 2021.
Then-House Minority Leader McCarthy had said that it “will be hard not to hit” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the speaker’s gavel if Republicans claimed control of the chamber in the 2022 midterms, and he became speaker.
“I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel. It will be hard not to hit her with it,” McCarthy said in audio posted on Twitter.
Hakeem Jeffries on Friday described McCarthy as “a son of Bakersfield, a former small business owner, a proud product of a firefighter’s household, the gentleman from the great state of California and the next speaker of the 118th Congress.”
Let's take a closer look at America's 55th Speaker.
Where Was Kevin McCarthy Born?
Kevin Owen McCarthy was born on January 26, 1965, in Bakersfield, California, the youngest of three children. His mother was a housewife, while his father worked as an assistant fire chief. The McCarthy family hailed back to four generations who resided in America’s leading oil and agriculture-producing Kern county.
© AP Photo / Gary KazanjianThe entry sign off Buck Owens Boulevard shown in Bakersfield, Calif., where US House Speaker-elect Kevin McCarthy is a 4th generation resident for the 23rd district.
The entry sign off Buck Owens Boulevard shown in Bakersfield, Calif., where US House Speaker-elect Kevin McCarthy is a 4th generation resident for the 23rd district.
© AP Photo / Gary Kazanjian
What is Kevin McCarthy's Education?
After graduating from high school, McCarthy did a stint at community college, while also finding time to earn pocket money by revamping cars bought at auctions in Los Angeles and then selling them. It was a lottery ticket that propelled him onto the business path. Winning $5,000 in 1984, when he was 20, the young man invested in the stock market, according to the story recounted by the politician himself. The profits were used by McCarthy to acquire Kevin O’s Deli, which, in turn, he sold to go back to college in 1987.
In 1989, Kevin Owen McCarthy earned an undergraduate business degree, following that with a master’s degree in business administration from California State University, Bakersfield, in 1994. It was at that time that McCarthy struck up his association with Republican Congressman Bill Thomas – first as an intern, and then as member of his staff.
© AP Photo / RIC FRANCISRepublican Congressman Bill Thomas, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, delivers remarks during a town hall meeting on March 21, 2005, in Bakersfield, Calif.
Republican Congressman Bill Thomas, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, delivers remarks during a town hall meeting on March 21, 2005, in Bakersfield, Calif.
© AP Photo / RIC FRANCIS
After being elected as a member of the Kern County Community College District Board of Trustees in 2000, McCarthy’s career swiftly took off. He served on the California State Assembly from 2002 to 2006, with focus on issues linked with education and public safety. McCarthy chaired the Young Republican National Federation from 1999 until 2006, and was elected to the US House of Representatives in 2006. From 2009 to 2011, McCarthy was elected to the post of Republican Chief Deputy Whip. He became the majority whip from 2011 until August 2014, after the GOP seized control of the House in 2011.
In January 2019, Kevin McCarthy became the first California Republican elected to hold the post of minority leader in the wake of speaker Paul Ryan's retirement. At the time, the Republicans had lost the majority in the 2018 midterm elections. Currently, Kevin McCarthy is in his ninth House term. He served as US representative for California's 22nd congressional district from 2007 to 2013, the 23rd district from 2013 to 2023 and the 20th district since 2023.
© AP Photo / Alex BrandonHouse Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., with his wife Judy McCarthy, on April 24, 2018.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., with his wife Judy McCarthy, on April 24, 2018.
© AP Photo / Alex Brandon
Who is Kevin McCarthy Married to?
It was at high school that Kevin McCarthy met Judy Wages. He went on to marry his school sweetheart in 1992. McCarthy's spouse has been a trustee of Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC, while also engaging in fund-raising efforts for the Republican Party.The couple have a son, Connor, 27, and a daughter, Meghan, 25, who is a songwriter, executive creative director, screenwriter, film, and television producer.
What is Kevin McCarthy's Net Worth?
With a net worth of $95 million, Kevin McCarthy is believed to rank among the wealthiest politicians in the country, according to website CAKnowledge.com. Other sources suggest he is worth around $81,000. McCarthy ostensibly owns California real estate worth $21 million. With an annual salary of $193,400 as a congressional representative and Republican House leader, McCarthy, now elected speaker of the House, will reportedly see his earnings surge to $223,500.
23 September 2022, 17:30 GMT