Roger F. Wicker was appointed United States Senator by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour on December 31, 2007. He was officially sworn-in by Vice President Dick Cheney on January 22, 2008. Prior to that, he served Mississippi's First Congressional District beginning in 1995. He was re-elected to a seventh term in November 2006. Before going to Congress, he was elected to two terms in the Mississippi State Senate, serving from 1987-1994.
He serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
As a member of the House of Representatives, Roger served on the leadership team as deputy whip. In 2001, he was elected to the Republican Policy Committee. He was re-elected to that position in 2007.
He served on the powerful Appropriations Committee, a seat he landed as a freshman in 1995. He was a member of the Defense Subcommittee and in 2007 was named ranking minority member of the Military Construction/VA Subcommittee. As the top Republican on the panel, his responsibilities encompassed helping fund wide-ranging activities affecting veterans including health care, construction of VA health facilities, pensions, and benefits as well as military construction projects in the U.S. and around the world.
Roger has been a strong supporter of health care research activities. His efforts to fight heart disease were recognized by the American Heart Association which presented the congressman with its 1998 National Public Service Award. He was honored for developing an initiative to fund new, state-based disease prevention strategies and information activities. His work is helping educate more Americans about heart disease risk factors and how to reduce those risks.
Roger has also been active in support of cancer research programs at the National Cancer Institute, diabetes research, and he has been recognized twice as a "champion" of polio eradication for his work on efforts to wipe out polio worldwide. In 2003 he was one of three federal lawmakers to be presented the American Cancer Society's Capitol Dome Award for leadership in securing bipartisan support for programs "to address the devastating impact cancer has on individuals, families, and communities throughout the U.S." He has also been instrumental in bringing more research funding to Mississippi universities to conduct studies on a wide range of health-related projects to fight disease and improve the quality of life.
Roger has been involved in activities to spur economic development and bring jobs to Mississippi. His advocacy for programs such as the Appalachian Regional Commission and Economic Development Administration has led to hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment in predominately rural areas. He has been honored by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) for supporting policies which "recognize manufacturing's pivotal role in the U. S. economy." He received NAM's Award for Manufacturing Excellence in 2006 for support of pro-growth, pro-manufacturing initiatives in the Congress.
In 2005, Roger was one of four House members named by Speaker Dennis Hastert to serve on the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
A native of Pontotoc, Mississippi, Roger is 57 years old. The son of former Circuit Judge Fred Wicker and the late Mrs. Wordna Wicker, Roger was educated in the public schools of Pontotoc. He received his B.A. and law degrees from the University of Mississippi. While at the University, Roger served as the Associated Student Body President and was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
He served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force and then served in the Air Force Reserve. He retired from the Reserve in 2004 with the rank of lieutenant colonel. At the conclusion of his active duty, he became Counsel to then-Congressman Trent Lott on the House Rules Committee in 1980. In 1987, he became the first Republican elected to the state Senate from North Mississippi in the 20th century.
Active in the community, Roger is a member of the Community Development Foundation and the Lions Club, where he has served as vice president. He is a member of the Tupelo First Baptist Church, where he sings in the choir. Roger is a deacon and formerly served as chairman of the deacons at First Baptist Church.
He is married to the former Gayle Long of Tupelo. They have three children: Margaret and son-in-law Manning McPhillips; Caroline and son-in-law Kirk Sims; and McDaniel.