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Brian Mast
Brian Mast official 115th Congress photo (cropped).jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 18th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded byPatrick Murphy
Personal details
Born (1980-07-10) July 10, 1980 (age 40)
Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Brianna Mast
EducationPalm Beach Atlantic University
American Military University
Harvard University (ALB)
WebsiteHouse website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service2000–2011
RankStaff Sergeant
Unit28th Ordnance Company[1]
AwardsBronze Star
Purple Heart
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Army Commendation Medal

Brian Jeffery Mast (born July 10, 1980) is an American politician and veteran who serves as the U.S. representative for Florida's 18th congressional district. He is a Republican.

Early life and education

Mast was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan.[2] He is the son of James Mast and Tixomena Trujillo. His maternal grandparents were immigrants from Mexico.[3] Mast graduated from South Christian High School, in 1999.[4] In 2016, he obtained an A.L.B. from Harvard University where he studied economics, with minors in government and environmental studies.[5][6]

Military service

After graduating from South Christian High School in 1999,[7] Mast enlisted in the United States Army Reserve in May 2000 and went to become a combat engineer. In 2006, he transitioned to the active U.S. Army and became an explosive ordnance disposal technician. Mast later joined the 28th Ordnance Company.[8] He served in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. On September 19, 2010, while clearing a path for United States Army Rangers in Kandahar, Mast took a wrong step into an IED along the road. The explosion resulted in the amputation of both his legs and his left hand index finger.[9][10]

Mast and his family were the recipients of a custom ADA-compliant home awarded to them by the non-profit organization Helping a Hero.[11]

Civilian career

After being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army, Mast was hired as an explosives specialist for the United States Department of Homeland Security.[2] While recovering from his injuries at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Mast provided explosive and counter-terrorism expertise to the Office of Emergency Operations at the National Nuclear Security Administration from July 2011 to February 2012[12] and as an instructor of Home Made Explosives for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.[13][14]

U.S. House of Representatives

2016 campaign

Mast first considered running for office while recovering from his injuries at Walter Reed Medical Center.[2] It was reported in May 2015 that Mast was considering a run for Congress.[15]

On June 8, 2015, Mast announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination United States House of Representatives in Florida's 18th congressional district.[16] Mast faced five opponents in the August 30, 2016, primary; he won with 38% of the vote.[17] Mast faced Democratic businessman Randy Perkins in the November 2016 general election.[17]

During the 2015-2016 election campaign, Mast's largest donors were Duty Free Americas (owned by the pro-Israel Falic family), NextGen Management (a condo property firm), and Superior Foods (frozen foods).[18]

Mast won the November 8, 2016, general election with 53% of the vote.[19]

In 2016, Mast was briefly linked with World Patent Marketing, a company the Federal Trade Commission would shut down as an invention promotion scam. World Patent Marketing donated money to Mast's campaign fund and said in a press release that he sat on their advisory board. Mast claimed no knowledge of being given a position on the board and said he only had a couple encounters with members of the company.[20]

In 2018, Anthony Bustamante, a campaign consultant who had worked on Mast's 2016 campaign, told The Wall Street Journal that he had used data hacked from the Democratic National Committee by Guccifer 2.0, a front for Russia's GRU military intelligence service, to adjust Mast's campaign strategy.[21] The hacked data had been leaked by Guccifer 2.0 to the HelloFLA blog.[22]

2018 campaign

On April 25, 2018, physician Mark Freeman announced a primary challenge to Mast, focusing on his promise to "defend the Second Amendment" and be an "unwavering partner" to President Trump. Freeman called Mast an "establishment candidate" and complained about Mast's shift on gun control issues after the Parkland school shooting.[23]

Mast defeated Freeman in the Republican primary and moved onto a general election battle against Democratic nominee Lauren Baer, an attorney and foreign policy expert who served as an official in the Obama Administration. Mast received 54% of the vote in the general election, defeating Baer.[24]

During the 2017-2018 election campaign, Mast's largest donors were Duty Free Americas (as in the 2016 campaign) and Amway/Alticor (run by the DeVos family).[25] Between March and June 2018,[26] Mast's campaign received thousands of dollars from Soviet-born Igor Fruman, one of two business associates of Rudy Giuliani who would later face charges of violating federal campaign finance laws. After this allegedly illegal contribution was discovered and reported on by the press, Mast's spokesman said he would disgorge the funds to the Treasury Department,[27] but less than two weeks later Mast would say, "I think we donated it to charity."[28]


Mast participating in an overflight assessment with the Coast Guard during Hurricane Irma
Mast participating in an overflight assessment with the Coast Guard during Hurricane Irma

Mast was sworn in on January 3, 2017. He is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership[29] and the Climate Solutions Caucus.[30]

After voting in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, his constituents rated him at a 40 percent approval rating and 45 percent said they were disappointed with his work in Congress.[31]

In May 2018, the Associated Press reported that Mast was under consideration by the Trump administration to become the next secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.[32]

Committee assignments

Political positions

Voting record

As of January 2018, Mast had voted with his party in 89.9% of votes in the 115th United States Congress and voted in line with Trump's position in 94.9% of the votes.[33][34] In the first session of the 115th United States Congress, Mast was ranked the 32nd most bipartisan member of the House by the Bipartisan Index, a metric published by The Lugar Center and Georgetown's McCourt School of Public Policy to assess congressional bipartisanship.[35][36]

Military and veterans affairs

Mast, who sits on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, was the first Member of Congress to open an office inside a federal agency. The office in question, which was opened in 2018, was inside the West Palm Beach Veterans Affairs facility. In 2018 he introduced a House bill that would make it easier for other House members to do the same.[37] But in 2019, the Department of Veterans Affairs would evict Representative Mast from the West Palm Beach office.[38] Mast sent the VA Secretary Robert Wilkie a letter of complaint regarding the eviction.[39]


In June 2018, commenting on the Trump administration family separation policy, Mast said: "It is our duty as an American government to deal compassionately with any child from any nation just as it is the responsibility of foreign families seeking asylum in the U.S. to choose only legal means to enter our nation so they can avoid family disruption. I am confident this process will be improved." Citing his own Mexican grandparents, he said, "The way that they got to work, the way that they assimilated to the American way of life and became a part of our system is not what we're seeing across the board."[40]

In June 2018, a volunteer for the Democratic Party of Martin County who was angry about the Trump administration's immigration policy, was arrested after threatening to kill Mast's children.[41] The first trial in the case ended in a mistrial in April 2019.[42]

Gun policy

Mast wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times in support of the Second Amendment right to bear arms, but "it does not guarantee that every civilian can bear any and all arms."[43][44]

Mast supports a ban on assault weapons in the United States, citing his military background—"I cannot support the primary weapon I used to defend our people being used to kill the children I swore to defend."[43][44][45][46]

Mast rejects the idea that the Second Amendment protects the rights of civilians to bear "any and all" arms. Following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Mast announced his support for the following policies: prohibiting the sale of assault and tactical firearms without confiscating such weapons that are already owned, ensuring that all firearm purchasers undergo a background check, improving background checks, banning the sale of gun accessories that enhance the firing rate of weapons, such as bump stocks, preventing those who have been detained for mental illnesses from purchasing firearms, ensuring that those on the Terror Watch List cannot purchase firearms, and placing anyone who makes threats of violence against schools on an FBI watch list for "a long time".[43][44][45][46] Mast also supports conducting further research on gun violence, which is currently prohibited in some ways by federal law.[43]

Mast has blamed violent video games and violent movies as at least partly responsible for school shootings.[47] In March 2017, Mast voted in favor of the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act.[48] The measure passed the House of Representatives, but ultimately stalled in the Senate.[citation needed]

During 2015–2016, Mast accepted $4,950 USD in campaign donations from the NRA's Political Victory Fund.[49]

Donald Trump

In June 2016, Mast said he supported Donald Trump "unanimously and wholeheartedly" in the 2016 presidential election. After the Billy Bush tape became public, he called Donald Trump's remarks "inexcusable and disgusting".[50] In February 2017, he voted against a resolution that would have directed the House to request ten years of Trump's tax returns, which would then have been reviewed by the House Ways and Means Committee in a closed session.[51]

On December 18, 2019, Mast voted against both articles of impeachment against Trump. Of the 195 Republicans who voted, all voted against both impeachment articles.


Mast is in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). On May 4, 2017, he voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and pass the American Health Care Act.[52][53]

Drug policy

Mast supports the right of states to set their own marijuana laws, including the right to medical marijuana, without federal interference.[54]

Agricultural subsidies

In April 2018, Mast said he would probably vote for legislation to reduce support for sugar farmers, who under the then current Farm Bill were protected by fixed minimum prices, by limits on imports and on domestic production, and by government loans to sugar growers. "I expect I'll be supporting it when it comes up for a vote next week," Mast said of the Sugar Policy Modernization Act, "because it's important to the community I represent, and our waterways". The proposed act, reported TCPalm, "would make sugar import quotas more flexible and protect taxpayers from government-funded buyouts of surplus sugar". Mast said he would "probably be the only representative in the history of this district to vote against the sugar industry".[55] That said, Mast also accepted over $15,000 in campaign donations from the executives at Florida Crystals (sugar company) and the Fanjul family that owns the company.[56]

Taxes and budget

In October 2017, Mast voted against the original version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 due to "out of control" federal spending, fear of the national debt growing, and a desire to see lower tax rates with loopholes closed.[57][58] In December 2017, he voted in favor of the final version of the bill.[59] He says the bill "provides a lot of confidence to a lot of people" and is "a great moment for our country and our community".[60][31]

International diplomacy

Mast said he would support a Republican proposal to cut U.S. funding to the United Nations.[5]

Mast was not an admirer of Obama's Middle East policy. "ISIS is as strong as it is because of a lack of US leadership," he said in 2016 "ISIS could have been defeated at the time of the Arab Spring if we had sent in special operations forces. What's being done now is too little too late. It's going to require an all-out military effort. The only way to guarantee peace is to make the enemy surrender."[14]


Mast is "a vocal supporter of Israel and Israelis", reported The Times of Israel during his 2016 campaign. "If anyone was lobbing rockets into the US, guys like me would be sent to kill them, and Americans would applaud us," he said.[14]

Gay rights

Mast opposed the US Supreme Court decision that ruled that prohibitions on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional.[14]


Mast believes abortion should be illegal except in cases where the mother's life is at risk or in cases of rape or incest.[14]

Iran nuclear deal

Mast views Obama's Iran nuclear deal as a betrayal by the US of its own national security as well as that of Israel, Jordan, and other regional allies. "The deal has aligned us with a Shia regime, which is just enabling extremism. This is going to make it very hard to get Sunni regimes to align with us, and Putin is now the go-to player in Syria with his alliance with Assad," he said in 2016.[14]


During his twelve years of service in the U.S. Army, he received the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and Army Commendation Medal with "V" for valor device.

He was invited by President Barack Obama as a guest to his 2011 State of the Union Address and was seated with First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden.[61] Mast was named one of 10 House freshmen to watch by the Washington, D.C. newspaper The Hill, out of 55 new members of the House elected in 2016.[5]

Personal life

Mast lives in Palm City, Florida, with his wife Brianna and their four children, Madalyn, Maverick, Magnum, and Major.[62] As of a 2016 news story, he attended the evangelical Calvary Chapel.[14]

In January 2015, Mast volunteered with the Israel Defense Forces, working at a base outside Tel Aviv, packing medical kits and moving supplies.[14]

See also


  1. ^ Michelle Tan (October 26, 2015). "EOD tech, double amputee runs for Congress". Army Times.
  2. ^ a b c "Former Grand Rapids man wounded in Afghanistan considers bid for Congress". Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  3. ^ Manjarres, Javier (September 15, 2015). "Brian Mast: Illegal Immigration Is A National Security Issue". Hispolitica.
  4. ^ "Meet Brian". Archived from the original on October 29, 2016. Retrieved November 14, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c "Treasure Coast's Brian Mast gets celebrity reception in Congress". TCPalm. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  6. ^ Brian Mast Ballotpedia. 2017. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
  7. ^ "". Archived from the original on October 29, 2016. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  8. ^ "UXO News Wire Service (UXO Blog): Retired EOD Seeks to Continue Service as Congressman". November 11, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  9. ^ "A Combat Veteran Runs for Congress, and the Scrutiny Intensifies". The New York Times. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  10. ^ "Rangers receive awards for recent deployments". Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  11. ^ "Wounded U.S. Army Veteran Receives Keys to New Home". October 14, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2016.Vets group says Brian Mast didn’t violate contract with new home purchase, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Florida Politics, 15 Oct 2016.
  12. ^ "Combat Veterans For Congress - Electing Fiscal Conservatives".
  13. ^ "Brian Mast at Abacoa on September 14". Palm Beach County Tea Party. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h Renee Ghert-Zand (March 2, 2016). "Pro-Israel US Army vet runs for Congress — on prosthetic legs". The Times of Israel. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  15. ^ "Double-amputee vet might enter CD-18; Grayson's Twitter trouble; the Rubio blueprint revealed; more Cuba moves in Miami; FL bear-hunt controversy". Politico. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  16. ^ Bennett, George (June 8, 2015). "Two more Republicans announce run for Patrick Murphy seat". Palm Beach Post.
  17. ^ a b Bennett, George (October 31, 2016). "First time candidates Brian Mast, Randy Perkins to vie for U.S. House". Palm Beach Post.
  18. ^ Brian Mast, Top 20 Contributors.
  19. ^ "Analysis: Brian Mast's military story wins Patrick Murphy's U.S. House seat". TC publisherPalm. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  20. ^ Caygle, Heather (March 16, 2017). "Freshman lawmaker linked to company accused of million-dollar marketing scam". Politico. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  21. ^ "Mueller's Indictment of 12 Russian Spies is Very Bad for Trump". Mother Jones. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  22. ^ Alexandra Berzon; Rob Barry (May 25, 2017). "How Alleged Russian Hacker Teamed Up With Florida GOP Operative". The Wall Street Journal.
  23. ^ Connolly, Griffin (April 26, 2018). "GOP Rep. Brian Mast Gets Pro-Gun Primary Challenger". Roll Call.
  24. ^ "Florida Election Results: 18th House District". New York Times. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  25. ^ Brian Mast, Top 20 Contributors.
  26. ^ Federal Election Commission, Mast campaign donations from "Igor Furman".
  27. ^ Mast to return campaign donations linked to indicted Giuliani associate, Lindsey Leake, Treasure Coast Newspapers; 11 Oct 2019.
  28. ^ GOP Rep. Brian Mast is keeping an 'open mind' on impeachment but frustrated by the process, Eve Samples, Treasure Coast Newspapers; 23 Oct 2019.
  29. ^ "Members". Republican Mains Street Partnership. Archived from the original on August 26, 2018. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  30. ^ "90 Current Climate Solutions Caucus Members". Citizen's Climate Lobby. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  31. ^ a b Schmitz, Ali. "Treasure Coast voters don't support GOP tax plan, according to new poll". TCPalm. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
  32. ^ "AP Source: Trump considering Army veteran for VA secretary". AP News. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  33. ^ Willis, Derek. "Represent". ProPublica. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
  34. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron (January 30, 2017). "Tracking Brian J. Mast In The Age Of Trump". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
  35. ^ "The Lugar Center – McCourt School Bipartisan Index" (PDF). Washington, D.C.: The Lugar Center. April 24, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  36. ^ "Delegation for 5.1.18 — Insights from the Beltway to the Sunshine State". St. Petersburg, Florida: Florida Politics. May 1, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  37. ^ "Florida Rep. Brian Mast opens office inside VA, thinks other lawmakers should too". Federal News Radio. May 3, 2018.
  38. ^ Rep. Mast, a retired Army Ranger, to be evicted from office at VA after grilling officials, Joshua Nelson, Fox News, 12 Sep 2019.
  39. ^ Mast letter to Secretary Wilkie, Document Cloud, 17 Sep 2019.
  40. ^ Schmitz, Ali (June 19, 2018). "U.S. Rep. Brian Mast's stance unclear on Trump's child-separation immigration policy". TCPalm.
  41. ^ Schmitz, Ali (June 19, 2018). "Rep. Brian Mast's children threatened over Trump immigration policy; man arrested". USA Today.
  42. ^ Griffin Connolly (April 5, 2019). "Mistrial for man who allegedly threatened Rep. Brian Mast's kids over immigration policy: Miami jury hung in case of 68-year-old Laurence Key". Roll Call. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  43. ^ a b c d Mast, Brian (February 23, 2018). "I Appreciate Assault Weapons. And I Support a Ban". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  44. ^ a b c Leary, Alex (February 24, 2018). "Republican, veteran and gun rights supporter Brian Mast says assault weapons should be banned". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved July 9, 2018. Congressman Brian Mast, R-Palm City, has as much authority on guns as anyone, having served in the Army and losing both legs in Afghanistan. He says assault weapons such as the AR-15 should be banned. "I cannot support the primary weapon I used to defend our people being used to kill children I swore to defend," Mast, who represents a swing district and faces a tough re-election, writes in an op/ed for the New York Times.
  45. ^ a b Chivers, 1C. J.; Buchanan, Larry; Lu, Denise; Yourish, Karen (February 28, 2018). "With AR-15s, Mass Shooters Attack With the Rifle Firepower Typically Used by Infantry Troops". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2018. Representative Brian Mast of Florida, a Republican and an Army combat veteran, has called for a ban on the sale of AR-15-style rifles. "The exact definition of assault weapon will need to be determined," Mr. Mast said. "But we should all be able to agree that the civilian version of the very deadly weapon that the Army issued to me should certainly qualify."
  46. ^ a b Gay Stolberg, Sheryl; Martin, Jonathan; Kaplan, Thomas (February 25, 2018). "Is This the Moment for Gun Control? A Gridlocked Congress Is Under Pressure". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  47. ^ Schmitz, Ali (February 16, 2018). "Florida school shooting: Rep. Brian Mast blames movies, video games for violence". Treasure Coast, Florida: TCPalm. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  48. ^ "Brian Mast's Voting Records on Issue:". Vote Smart. ISPY. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  49. ^ Grinberg, Emanuella (February 21, 2018). "These Florida lawmakers accepted money from the National Rifle Association". Atlanta: CNN. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  50. ^ Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster (October 8, 2016). "Brian Mast calls Donald Trump's comments 'inexcusable and disgusting'". Florida Politics. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
  51. ^ "These are all the Republicans who don't want you to see Donald Trump's tax returns". indy100. February 28, 2017. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  52. ^ "How the House voted to pass the GOP health-care bill". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  53. ^ "Health care vote puts pressure on dozens of vulnerable GOP reps". USA Today. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  54. ^ Angell, Tom (May 10, 2018). "Rep. Brian Mast On Medical Marijuana". C-Span.
  55. ^ Treadway, Tyler (April 30, 2018). "Sugar policy: Brian Mast expected to cast historic vote to reduce sugar farmers' support". TCPalm.
  56. ^ "Sugar sweetens campaigns of Brian Mast, Rick Roth in race to replace Patrick Murphy". TCPalm. April 22, 2016.
  57. ^ Schmitz, Ali. "U.S. Rep. Brian Mast among 18 GOP representatives to vote against budget bill". TCPalm. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
  58. ^ "GOP Starts the Tax Reform Process on Budget Vote in the House". Sunshine State News. October 5, 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  59. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (December 19, 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
  60. ^ Bennett, George. "Trump in Palm Beach: President arriving on heels of tax bill victory". The Shiny Sheet. Palm Beach Daily News. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
  61. ^ "Sgt. Brian Mast, wounded in Afghanistan, touched by president's thanks to military". Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  62. ^ "Another baby 'M' for Rep. Brian Mast". Retrieved October 21, 2019.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Patrick Murphy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 18th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Roger Marshall
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Donald McEachin
This page was last edited on 7 August 2020, at 17:43
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