About the Speaker

Congressman Van Hilleary received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from The University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 1981, along with a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. After active duty, Hilleary assisted with the start-up of SSM Industries, Inc., a textile manufacturing company owned by the Hilleary family, and later earned a law degree at Samford University.

Hilleary served two volunteer tours of duty in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, flew twenty-four missions as a navigator on C-130 aircraft, earned six medals, and remains in the Air Force Reserve with the rank of Major. Congressman Hilleary began representing Tennessee 's Fourth Congressional District in January 1995, and is currently serving his fourth term. He is considered a leader on issues such as national defense, easing the burden on America 's taxpayers, and reducing the size of the federal government. He was appointed to the House Budget Committee in the 105th Congress and serves on the Armed Services Committee.

Hilleary has taken several pro-taxpayer stands on tax issues that have led to awards and high praise from respected organizations such as the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and led the battle in the House to block a proposed $2.7 billion tax increase on airline tickets and other aviation products. He was the only member of the Tennessee House delegation to receive a perfect 100% rating from ATR for his votes during the second session of the 104th Congress. National Review magazine has named Hilleary one of the top 10 conservative newcomers to Congress.

Hilleary was the primary sponsor of a term limits proposal considered by the House of Representatives. This was the first time since 1897 that a first-term Congressman brought a proposed Constitutional amendment to the floor of the House.