Gene Taylor (born September 17, 1953) is an American politician of the Democratic Party and a U.S. Representative from the 4th District of Mississippi (map).
Taylor was born in New Orleans. He is a graduate of Tulane University and also earned additional post-graduate work at University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Park Campus. From 1971 through 1984, he was a member of the United States Coast Guard, commanding a search and rescue boat and earning several commendations. Taylor is a devout Roman Catholic, one of the few who has been elected in the predominantly Southern Baptist state of Mississippi.
Shortly after leaving the Coast Guard, Taylor was elected to the Mississippi State Senate. After only one term, he ran as the Democratic candidate to succeed Trent Lott in Mississippi's 5th District when Lott made an ultimately successful run for the Senate. He lost to Harrison County sheriff Larkin I. Smith by almost 10 points. However, Smith died in a plane crash eight months later. Taylor came in first in an all-party primary to fill the vacancy and handily won the runoff two weeks later, taking office on October 18, 1989. He won a full term in 1990 with 81f the vote and has had little trouble being reelected despite representing a district that has not supported the official Democratic presidential candidate since 1956. His district was renumbered the 4th after the 2000 census, when Mississippi's sluggish population growth cost it a congressional seat.
Taylor is one of the most conservative Democrats in the House. He voted for all four articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton, making him the only Democrat to do so, and has frequently skipped Democratic conventions. He is pro-life and a firm supporter of the right to bear arms. He strongly supports the death penalty and is more conservative on issues of immigration, crime, and drugs than many Republicans. Taylor also opposes affirmative action, and is a cosponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment. He has voted in favor of lawsuit reform and tightening rules on personal bankruptcy. He also supported amending the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced budget and another amendment requiring a two-thirds majority to raise taxes.
However, he has been a severe critic of the Bush Administration's fiscal policy. Taylor voted against the tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003, claiming that the cuts contained in those bills would only increase the national debt. He derided the prescription drug plan passed in 2003 as a give away to companies that donate to the Republican Party. He opposes free trade and was strongly opposed to the Bush Administration's proposals for reforming Social Security. He has also denounced Vice President Dick Cheney's ties to Halliburton.
In the 2004 primary elections, Taylor endorsed fellow Southern Democrat, General Wesley Clark.