At a Glance
- Career History: Practicing physician (1983 to 2004); U.S. House (1994 to 2000); Manager, Coburn Optical Industries (1970 to 1978)
- Birthday: March 14, 1948
- Hometown: Muskogee, Okla.
- Alma Mater: Oklahoma State University, B.S. 1970; Oklahoma University, M.D. 1983
- Spouse: Carolyn
- Religion: Southern Baptist
- Committees: Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs ; Judiciary ; Finance
- DC Office: 172 Russell Senate Office Bldg., 202-224-5754
Path to Power
Coburn is a true Okie from Muskogee. Born and raised in the small Oklahoma town, Coburn was the third child of O.W. and Joy Coburn. He grew up in a religious family and was always known as a good, if rambunctious, kid. His penchant to get in mischief led his uncle to nickname him "Stinkweed."
Coburn attended Oklahoma State University and graduated in 1970 with a degree in accounting. He returned home with his wife Carolyn, 1967's Miss Oklahoma, and went to work for his father's company, Coburn Optical Services.
Coburn initially focused on health-care issues when elected to the House in 1994. He was also a consistent opponent of wasteful government spending and a reliable ally to the anti-abortion rights community.
The senator is a staunch social conservative, but hasn't sided with the Republican Party nearly as often as some of his GOP colleagues. In the 110th Congress, Coburn voted with his party only 79.7% of the time.
Coburn's network reads like a who's who of far-right heroes, starting with a Senate endorsement he received from Dr. James Dobson, the evangelical founder of Focus on the Family. Dobson called Coburn "the single best leader I ever worked with on the critical moral and family issues that have been at the heart of my own work."
Coburn endorsed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) during the primaries of the 2008 presidential election. "It's not about being aligned with him 100 percent of the time. It's about whether he's going to act on the courage of his convictions," Coburn said at the time, alluding to differences the senators have on immigration and climate change. They have been strong allies on cutting earmarks.