Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.)

U.S. Representative (since January 1993)

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Why He Matters

A staunch fiscal conservative with a bipartisan streak, Bartlett is the U.S. representative for Maryland's 6th district. He calls himself "a citizen-legislator, not a politician" and longs for a the small federal government "envisioned and established in the Constitution."

An accomplished Renaissance man - he's a former scientist with 20 patents to his name and still lives on a functioning 145-acre dairy farm - Bartlett has been prominent on energy and military issues, pushing alternative-power sources and beefing up the U.S. Navy fleet. He's also has tried to find middle ground in the debate on embryonic stem-cell research.

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Rep. Roscoe Bartlett ad calls him ‘different,’ ‘independent’

The Republican’s spot appears aimed at Democrats and independents in Montgomery County.

Bartlett targeted by Democrats over views on abortion, rape

The Maryland lawmaker is one of 20 Republicans being hit with automated phone calls.


Roscoe Bartlett fights uphill battle to keep his seat


Running in a redrawn district, the incumbent looks like an underdog against Democrat John Delaney.

Republicans add Roscoe Bartlett to incumbent protection program

It’s a signal that the party believes the veteran Maryland lawmaker is among the most endangered Republicans in the country.


Rep. Roscoe Bartlett is defeated, but other Maryland incumbents are reelected to Congress

(Katherine Frey / The Washington Post)

Democrat John K. Delaney defeated Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R) in a redrawn district, but incumbents triumphed elsewhere in the state.

Roscoe Bartlett, facing tough Democratic challenge, spars over role of government in debate

In question after question in the debate, the GOP lawmaker argued that less is more, saying he joined the tea party’s ranks because the nation must return to the basic principles of constitutional government.


At a Glance

  • Career History: President, Roscoe Bartlett & Associates (1974-1986); Research Manager, IBM (1967-1974); Research scientist, Johns Hopkins University (1962-1967)
  • Birthday: June 3, 1926
  • Hometown: Moreland, Ky.
  • Alma Mater: University of Maryland, M.S. (1949); Ph.D. (1952); Columbia Union College, B.A. (1947)
  • Spouse: Ellen
  • Religion: Seventh Day Adventist
  • Committees: Armed Services ; Science, Space and Technology ; Small Business
  • DC Office: 2412 Rayburn House Office Building, 202-225-2721
  • District Offices: Frederick, 301-694-6674; Cumberland, 301-724-3105; Westminster, 410-857-1115; Hagerstown, 301-797-6043
  • Web site
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Path to Power

Bartlett was born in Kentucky in 1926. He was raised in poverty, with a tenant-farmer father who kept loaded shotguns for security and who refused to accept government handouts during the New Deal. Bartlett's politics were shaped by his father's independence and his strict upbringing in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Early Career

A descendant of Declaration of Independence signer and New Hampshire Gov. Josiah Bartlett, Roscoe Bartlett attended church-affiliated Columbia Union College near Washington, D.C., before pursuing a doctorate in physiology, which he received from the University of Maryland in 1952. Bartlett made a fortune as a research scientist and is credited with 20 patents. Nineteen of those patents, mostly involving life-support equipment, belong to the federal government.

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The Issues

Bartlett aligns closely with most of the classic GOP platform. He's against gun control, abortion rights, affirmative action and big government. When the House took up the "Contract With America" after Republicans recaptured the majority in 1994, Bartlett was the only Republican to vote for all 10 bills associated with it. He has become more independent in recent years, voting with his party 93 percent of the time during the 111th Congress.

Bartlett's independent streak often appears when considering Republican-backed bills expanding the federal government's reach, including during the Bush years when he rejected the No Child Left Behind Act, which set federal standards in public schools.

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The Network

Bartlett has a few close Democratic allies on energy issues including Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), who co-founded the Peak Oil Caucus with Bartlett, and Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), who has called Bartlett a leader on energy.

In 2010, Bartlett lended campaign help to Andy Harris, who would join Bartlett as the sole GOP members of the state's delegation. The support came despite Harris' campaign goal of instituting a 12-year limit on House and Senate tenures.

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Additional Resources

  1. Beyers, Dan and Richard Tapscott "A New Game for Hattery" The Washington Post, March 12, 1992
  2. West, Paul "Republican Bartlett gets vote of no confidence" The Baltimore Sun, June 9, 2009
  3. Tully, Meg, "Bartlett sees flaws in bailout" Frederick News-Post, Oct. 3, 2008
  4. Almanac of American Politics
  5. Rep. Bartlett's website.
  6. National Journal, Almanac of American Politics 2008
  7. Eckstein, Megan, "Report casts doubt on FBI's investigation of anthrax attacks" The Frederick News Post, Feb. 16, 2011
  8. West, Paul "Md.'s Bartlett is passed over for key House post" The Baltimore Sun, June 10, 2009
  9. Pershing, Ben, "Increasingly powerful GOP congressman from Maryland still cutting his own path" The Washington Post, Jan. 21, 2011
  10. Bartlett, Roscoe "Congressman Roscoe Bartlett Supports Embryonic Stem Cell Research without Destroying Embryos" March 9, 2009
  11. "Washington Post Votes Database"
  12. "House fails to override Bush stem cell bill veto" The Annapolis Capital, July 22, 2006
  13. "Rep. Roscoe Bartlett Says Democrat Health Care Legislation Threatens Coverage for 9.2 Million Military Personnel, Retirees & Families" March 19, 2010
  14. Maryland Politics, The Balitmore Sun, Jan. 25, 2011
  15. Jenkins Jr., Kent "New House Delegation Reflects Shift of Power" The Washington Post, Nov. 5, 1992
  16. West, Paul, "Andy Harris Gets Bartlett Help Despite Term Limit 'Insult'" The Baltimore Sun, March 8, 2010
  17. "Judiciary"
  18. Langfitt, Frank "On the opposite ends of a congressional divide; Bartlett, Cummings represent polarization" The Baltimore Sun, Feb. 9, 1997
  19. Bazelon, Emily "Bartlett and Harby Talk Taxes, Schools; Fiscal Restraint, Education on Agendas" The Washington Post, Sept. 12, 1998
  20. West, Paul "Kratovil Changes Sides, Supports Stimulus Package; Bartlett Only "No" Vote" The Baltimore Sun, Feb. 13, 2009
  21. Tully, Meg, "Bartlett reaffirms Gitmo should close" The Frederick News-Post, April 7, 2010
  22. Babington, Charles and Alan Cooperman "The Rev. Moon Honored at Hill Reception" The Washington Post, June 23, 2004
  23. Williamson, Elizabeth "Maryland's Mr. Right" Washington Post Magazine, Oct. 10, 2004
  24. "Md.'s Rep. Bartlett Says He'll Run For 11th Term" The Associated Press, March 18, 2011
  25. Flatow, Ira, "Rep. Roscoe Bartlett On Securing The Grid" NPR, Aug. 14, 2009
  26. "Biography"
  27. West, Paul, "Maryland congressmen break along party lines on cap-and-trade" The Baltimore Sun, June 26, 2009
  28. Tully, Meg, "Cardin: Energy independence will boost the economy" Frederick News-Post, Sept. 16, 2008