Senior Advisor, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
A member of Congress from 1989 to 1999, Bill Paxon played a key role as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee in electing and re-electing the first House Republican majorities since the 1920s.
More recently, Mr. Paxon chaired the 2000-2001 Bush-Cheney Transition Advisory Team after having served as a key adviser to the George W. Bush Presidential Campaign. In 2006 he was selected by President Bush to co-chair the U.S. presidential delegation to Nicaragua to observe the national elections in that Central American nation.
While in Congress, Mr. Paxon also served as chair of the House Leadership during the 105th Congress; for five years participated in the joint House-Senate Leadership meetings; and served on the influential House Steering Committee, which selected Republican members for their committee assignments.
Mr. Paxon was a member of the oldest and most powerful standing committee in Congress, the Commerce Committee, where he also served on subcommittees dealing with telecommunications, finance, health, the environment, insurance, trade, hazardous materials, energy and power. Previously, he served on the House Standing Committees on Banking, Budget, Small Business and Veterans Affairs; on the Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control; and was founder of the House Republican Israel Caucus.
As a member of the House GOP Leadership for five years, Mr. Paxon was intimately involved in crafting and executing a wide variety of legislative initiatives, including the historic Contract with America.
In 1992, after just two terms in Congress, House Republicans unanimously elected Mr. Paxon as the first new chairman in 16 years at the NRCC, the campaign organization responsible for electing Republicans to the U.S. House of Representatives. In that role, Mr. Paxon won acclaim for his efforts to revitalize this organization that had failed to capture the majority since 1954.
As NRCC chairman, Mr. Paxon installed aggressive vice-chairs and dramatically increased participation in NRCC activities by all House GOP members; downsized the staff by 75 percent; applied private-sector quality-management principles to reorganize its business practices; aggressively recruited candidates coast-to-coast; networked with local, state and national Republican officeholders and organizations; and raised more than $150 million nationwide.
After achieving the historic 1994 election results, House Republicans re-elected Mr. Paxon NRCC chair for the 1996 election cycle, and he again led the House GOP to a stunning victory in retaining the first House Republican majority in 68 years.
Since leaving Congress, Mr. Paxon has remained active in national Republican politics, and in addition to his efforts on behalf of President Bush serves as an advisor to senior GOP congressional leaders and as co-chairman of the Finance Committee of the Republican National Committee.
Following his 21-year public service career, Mr. Paxon joined Akin Gump, where since January 1999 he has advised a wide range of public- and private-sector clients on policy issues.
Originally from Akron, near Buffalo, New York, Mr. Paxon began his political career at the age of 23, when he was elected to the first of three terms in the Erie County Legislature and subsequently served three terms in the New York State Assembly.
On July 3, 1994, Mr. Paxon married U.S. Rep. Susan Molinari of Staten Island, who also served as an elected member of the House Republican Leadership. She is chairman of the Washington Group, a lobbying firm, and president of Ketchum Public Affairs. They have two young daughters and reside in Alexandria, Virginia.
Mr. Paxon received his B.A. from Canisius College in 1977 and honorary doctorates from Daeman College, Roberts Wesleyan College and Canisius College.