After earning a B.S. in Operations Management, he worked in the private sector for 12 years, including nine with two major engineering construction companies, before involvement with Focus on the Family lead him to start the Alabama Family Alliance which later became the Alabama Policy Institute.
Palmer served as President of the Alabama Policy Institute for 24 years. During his tenure, the Alabama Policy Institute became a full-spectrum public policy organization that engaged in virtually all policy issues that affected Alabamians. It is considered the premier conservative think-tank in Alabama.
Palmer also was a founding member of the board of directors of the State Policy Network, an umbrella organization for various state-based think-tanks. He served on the State Policy Network board for six years, the last two as chairman. Leading this broad coalition of policy thinkers gave Palmer exposure and knowledge of policy problems that confront all 50 states. When State Policy Network was founded in 1992, there were fewer than 20 state think-tanks in their network. Today, State Policy Network has 65 member organizations.
Palmer served on four different state commissions on behalf of three different Governors. He was appointed to the Welfare Reform Commission by Governor Fob James. He also served as an advisor to Governor James’ Aerospace, Science and Technology Task Force. He was appointed to the Task Force to Strengthen Alabama Families and the Alabama Commission on Improving State Government by former Governor Robert Bentley.
In 2014, he was elected to the 114th Congress, having never served in office before. In 2016, the people of the Sixth District voted to give Palmer the opportunity to serve a second term. He won with 75% of the vote, more than any other federal candidate running in Alabama. Palmer is focused on paying down the national debt by cutting spending; regulatory reform by reducing the number and expense of federal regulations; lowering energy costs and spurring economic growth and job creation by accessing America’s vast energy resources; and replacing Obamacare with a health care plan that puts people back in charge of their health care decisions which will truly make health care affordable and available; and protecting life in all its forms. Palmer serves on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee (where he is a member of the subcommittee on interior and is the Chair of the subcommittee of intergovernmental affairs) and also serves on the Budget Committee as well as the Space, Science and Technology Committee (where he is on the subcommittee on oversight and subcommittee on environment) and is the representative for Alabama and Tennessee on the Republican Policy Committee. He is also on the Republican Study Committee.
Palmer has been a member of The Rotary Club of Birmingham since 1993, and he is a Paul Harris Fellow. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Mobile. He and his wife Ann live in Hoover, Alabama where they attend Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama. They have three children – Claire, Kathleen and Rob.
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