The 114th Congress could have as many as 63 freshmen House members, and of those 63 members – a dozen of them – or 1/5 of the freshmen class – have a strong connection to the chicken industry.  This week and next week will feature the biographies of those new members in the House, courtesy of Bloomberg News:

Gary Palmer – (R-AL #6): Gary Palmer’s commitment to small government helped him win Tea Party support as he campaigned as a Washington outsider. He told voters that if they chose him, he’d spend no more than five terms in Congress. “I won’t move to Washington, D.C. I will commute,” he said,  to ABC  news in Birmingham. “I will be in my church on Sundays. I will be in the community on the weekends and in the district.”

He spent about two decades as the chief development officer of the Alabama Policy Institute, that says it’s focused on preserving “free markets, limited government and strong families.”  The group has offered its research to the governor and state legislature on issues such as charter schools, changing state employee pensions and benefits, and the rewriting of the state constitution.

On immigration, Palmer said on his campaign page that he is “opposed to amnesty for illegal immigrants,” and signed a pledge to “oppose legislation that would grant any form of work authorization to illegal aliens.” He also suggested during the debates that Congress should cut off foreign aid “to any country that won’t take them back.” Palmer said he wants to see secure border and current laws enforced as the first steps to rewriting immigration laws.

He also drew a bead on the 2010 Affordable Care Act, saying that for the “first time in our nation’s history you are being forced to buy a government product — or pay a penalty.”

Palmer graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science degree in Operations Management and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Mobile. He served on Governor Robert Bentley’s Alabama Commission on Improving State Government. He was appointed by former Governor Bob Riley to the Task Force to Strengthen Alabama Families and served as an adviser to the Alabama Aerospace, Science and Industry Task Force. He’s a founding director of the State Policy Network, the professional service organization for America’s state-based, free-market think tanks and he served on the State Policy Network board of directors for six years, the final two as president.

French Hill – (R-AR #2): French Hill says Congress needs more people from the world of business. “More business people ought to get involved in the political process and lead at all levels,” the banking executive told a Little Rock television station during his 2014 campaign. “People stepping away from business or their profession and going into political life is the way our country was founded and that’s why I am doing it.”

Hill says the federal government is too big and spends too much. “We need a cultural change in which the federal government is a smaller, less significant, and much less expensive and intrusive part of everyone’s lives,” he wrote on his House campaign website. Hill would do away with what he regards as anti-business regulations, job-killing policies, and a “madly complex tax code.”

Hill describes himself as a “traditional guy” who believes marriage was meant to be between a man and a woman. “I wish the voters could decide these issues instead of the courts. That would be ideal to me. But we’ve got court rulings, and we got to deal with them,” he said in a TV appearance.

On immigration, he predicted that issue will continue to be out of reach for lawmakers because of a lack of consensus from the public. “They’d like to see a more robust free-enterprise approach to immigration, where we get people in this country that can add jobs and work and creativity and intellectual capacity,” he told KARK-TV, the Little Rock station.

His wait-for-consensus attitude about immigration applies to other issues. “I am a big believer in that you pick narrow things,” he said, citing as examples regulations that raise costs for consumers or prevent some people from getting mortgages.

Hill, who describes himself as a ninth generation Arkansan, says his first involvement in politics came in 1966, when he was in elementary school and rode his bike through the streets of Little Rock campaigning for Winthrop Rockefeller, who was running for governor. After college, he went to Dallas to begin his career in banking. He worked on Capitol Hill from 1982-84, as a Senate Banking Committee aide to Texas Republican John Tower. He left Capitol Hill for five years to work for a Texas-based private merchant bank, then returned to Washington for jobs at the Treasury Department and as a White House economic aide to President George H.W. Bush.

After Bush left office, French returned to Arkansas, where he was an executive in a bank holding company before founding his own private bank and money management firm, Delta Trust and Banking Corp., that he started in 1999 “as an idea sketched out on the back of a napkin.” He didn’t completely withdraw from Washington affairs, serving as a President George W. Bush-administration appointee to the Community Development Advisory Board.

His candidacy quickly earned the attention of national Republican Party leaders. He won “Young Gun” status from the National Republican Congressional Committee, the highest status given challengers by the political arm of the House Republican Conference.

Bruce Westerman – (R-AR #4): Before running for Congress, Bruce Westerman earned the distinction of becoming the first Republican majority leader of the Arkansas House in 138 years. In the state legislature, the Yale-educated forester backed legislation to cut taxes and establish an Arkansas sales tax holiday. He opposed fellow Republicans’ efforts to use federal Medicaid funds to help the working poor buy private health insurance.

Westerman voted to override Democratic Governor Mike Beebe’s veto of a measure that requires voters to show photo identification at poll stations as of 2015.  One of Westerman’s priorities failed to make it through the legislature: limiting annual growth in Arkansas government spending to the state’s average growth rate of disposable personal income.

Westerman is a vocal critic of Environmental Protection Agency regulations, the 2010 health-care law and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street regulatory overhaul. He was the Arkansas state president of the Future Farmers of America in 1989-90 and was a walk-on member of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks football team.

He obtained a master’s degree in forestry from Yale University and worked for more than two decades as an engineer and forester at Mid-South Engineering. Along the way, he was president of the state chapter of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineering.

Westerman was first elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 2010 and he credited himself as the architect of the Republican legislative agenda that resulted in the electoral victories that put his party in control of the state House.

Buddy Carter -(R-GA #1):  The owner of a chain of three drugstores that bear his name, long-time pharmacist Buddy Carter is no stranger to politics. He served on the planning and zoning commission in the small city of Pooler, just west of Savannah, and then on the city council before becoming Pooler’s mayor in 1996. As a state senator, he backed legislation that authorizes certain individuals to carry a weapon within a school safety zone, at a school function, or on a transportation service furnished by the school.

A Washington fight with local implications for Georgia’s 1st Congressional District involves defense spending, particularly for the A-10 aircraft. Moody Air Force Base is host to an Air Force A-10 close-air support fighter group. Hunter Army Airfield, Fort Stewart and Kings Bay Naval Base are nearby. Looking out for the local bases had been a focus for veteran appropriator Jack Kingston, who unsuccessfully ran for the Senate instead of standing for re-election to the House. Kingston also pushed for dredging and deepening the Savannah harbor, an effort Carter says he wants to continue.

Carter backs a tax law rewrite, including the option for a flat tax, and would like to see the repeal of the 2010 health-care law. He favors allowing families to deduct the cost of health-care premiums on their taxes, just as businesses do. On immigration, Carter opposes “amnesty or anything that resembles amnesty for those who are here illegally,” according to his campaign website. “We need more enforcement of our laws and borders.”

He married his college sweetheart and the couple has three grown sons.

Jody Hice – (R-GA #10): Hice is a Southern Baptist minister and radio talk show host. He warns that the federal government is too powerful and the U.S. is in danger of collapse for lack of Christian morality. He touched on many social issues in his 2012 book, titled “It’s Now or Never: A Call to Reclaim America.”

Hice is a member of the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, Georgia Sports Shooting Association, Georgia Gun Owners, and Georgia Carry. Born in Atlanta, Hice grew up in nearby Tucker, where he ran track and played football in high school. After graduating from Asbury College and earning two divinity degrees, Hice preached at Baptist churches in the eastern Atlanta exurbs.

His initial foray into the national political scene came in 2003 when he started an organization to defend the right of the Barrow County Board of Commissioners to display the Ten Commandments at the courthouse. The county eventually lost the suit against the American Civil Liberties Union, and Hice became a local conservative favorite. His local broadcast media appearances during the Ten Commandments fight propelled him to a position as a radio talk show host.

In 2010, he ran unsuccessfully for Congress, losing to Rob Woodall in a Republican primary runoff election. In 2013, when the 10th District’s Republican representative, Paul Broun, decided to run for the Senate instead of re-election to the House, Hice jumped into the race for the congressional seat. “America has taken the wrong road and it is time to change direction,” Hice said.  “Georgians know that we cannot afford unrestrained spending, higher taxes, spiraling deficits and astronomical national debt.”

Barry Loudermilk – (R-GA #11): An Air Force veteran and small businessman who owns an aviation flight-training school and a computer data network company, Loudermilk turned back former Representative Bob Barr’s comeback bid in the Republican primary for the nomination to represent Georgia’s 11th congressional district. Democrats didn’t field a candidate in the November general election in the race to succeed Phil Gingrey, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.

During the campaign, Loudermilk compared his lack of congressional experience to Thomas Jefferson, whom he said “was the youngest, newest freshman in the Second Continental Congress, so I think it’s a good idea to bring in someone new.” Barr took issue with the comparison and accused Loudermilk of  “butchering our American history for personal political gain.” Loudermilk was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2004 and the state Senate in 2010.

He has also said he would abolish the Internal Revenue Service and implement a flat or “fair” tax system.

Rick Allen – (R-GA #12): Rick Allen wants to use his three decades of experience as a Georgia businessman to help foster job creation, eliminate regulatory overreach and update antiquated tax laws. One key area the construction company founder wants to work on is the impact federal actions can have on small businesses and their ability to create jobs. Small businesses are being taxed and regulated to death.

On healthcare, Allen supports provisions dealing with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to remain on their parents’ policies through college — two areas which the health-care law also addresses — according to the Statesboro Herald. On immigration, he calls for a secure border and opposes any change that includes amnesty for undocumented immigrants. He supports a Balanced Budget Amendment, gun rights, a comprehensive energy plan that includes substantial increases in domestic drilling and leaving education decisions to local school officials.

Allen grew up on a farm in Columbia County, Georgia. His parents got into education “to subsidize their farming habit,” he told the Metro Spirit publication. He spent several summers working at his cousin’s service station and at a steel mill as well as doing construction work during college. He graduated from Auburn University’s School of Architecture and Fine Arts with a bachelor’s in building construction in 1973 and three years later founded R.W. Allen & Associates, which has offices in Augusta and Athens.

He married his college sweetheart, Robin, with whom he has four children.

Allen challenged incumbent John Barrow, telling voters that if they sent him to Washington he would serve only eight years and would fight for term limits. “Washington is creating problems faster than we can find a solution to them,” he said. “If I can’t change the direction of the country in eight years, I’m coming home.”