You may best remember Newt Gingrich as the former House Speaker from 1995-1999, but there’s probably a lot about the GOP presidential candidate you might not know. For instance, why is he called Newt? Well, The Fiscal Times has you covered, in an article discussing some facts about the current GOP frontrunner you might not know.
1. Before being elected to Congress, he was a professor
Specifically, he taught history and environmental studies at West Georgia College for eight years. His educational background, not surprisingly, is in history. He has a bachelor’s in history from Emory University, and earned his master’s and doctorate from Tulane.
2. He once co-sponsored a medical marijuana bill
With former Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., of all people, in 1981. The bill was defeated, and Gingrich now opposes medical marijuana.
3. He was once a member of the Sierra Club
From 1984-1990, Gingrich belonged to the environmental advocacy group. At the time, he also opposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He later changed his mind, detailing his pro-ANWR drilling beliefs in the 2008 book Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less.
4. He was the first House Speaker to be reprimanded for ethics violations
Two years after he was selected as House Speaker, Gingrich was fined $300,000 by the House Ethics committee after they determined he had used tax-exempt charitable organizations improperly to pursue his political goals. He had accepted $25,000 from a restaurant advocacy group to teach ideas they preferred in a college class he taught.
5. He says he would have supported the bank bailout
When interviewed on ABC’s “This Week” in 2008, he expressed hesitant support for the bailout. ““I suspect were I still in Congress … I probably would end up voting reluctantly yes, because I think you are given no choice.”
For more Gingrich facts, check out this article by The Fiscal Times. And by the way, Newt stands for Newton, as in his full first name (Newton Leroy Gingrich), and not the amphibian.
– Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor
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