For the past two years, a lot of folks have been downright curious about West Tennessee’s freshman congressman from the small community of Frog Jump. And for a very good reason. He is one of a kind, and we mean that sincerely. There are 100 senators and 435 members of Congress in Washington – and that includes one cotton farmer. Stephen Fincher is proudly carrying that banner by himself.
I first heard about Fincher early in 2010 when he was battling to win the Republican nomination for a House seat in Tennessee’s Eighth Congressional District. The odds of his winning the nomination seemed like a longshot – but he won. Then, it seemed just as unlikely that he could win the general election, and all he did was win that race, too.
As you’ll see in our cover story on pages 8, 9, 10 and 12, this is no ordinary congressman. He is part of a seventh-generation farming operation that includes cotton, corn, wheat and soybeans. More importantly, he is an advocate for agriculture, has a wife and three children, sings in a family gospel singing group and commutes every weekend from Washington to Tennessee to be with his family.
Are you out of breath yet? That’s understandable.
Before he was persuaded by friends to run for the House seat, Fincher had never held elected public office. His life was full and complete with a growing family and a farming operation that he shares with his father Jackie and brother Austin.
Nearly a year and a half after that fateful election in the fall of 2010, he has no regrets about plunging into politics. There is no gray area for him when it comes to agriculture and other national issues such as energy, budget deficits and health care.
We walked the fields near his house at Frog Jump, talked about his teenaged sons’ love for football and baseball, discussed election year politics and Farm Bill options. Admittedly, one man can’t turn Congress upside down in a year and a half, but Fincher initially tried to do that. He has since learned his way around Washington and knows when to fight his battles on important issues.
You can see that this congressman-farmer marches to his own drumbeat. Did we mention that he initially slept in his office on Capitol Hill? After hearing some suggestions from colleagues, he now resides in a small apartment a few blocks from his office.
Nobody knows what lies ahead in Fincher’s political life. But, for the moment, he is turning heads in Washington for his enthusiasm and approach to the job. Good luck if you think you can keep up with him.
If you have comments, send them to: Editor, Cotton Farming Magazine, 1010 June Road, Suite 102, Memphis, Tenn., 38119. Or send e-mail to: