|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Indiana's 5th district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2021
|Preceded by||Susan Brooks|
|Member of the Indiana Senate|
from the 20th district
October 1, 2017 – November 17, 2020
|Preceded by||Luke Kenley|
|Succeeded by||Scott Baldwin|
October 6, 1978
Nosivka, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union (now Ukraine)
|Education||Kyiv National Economic University (BS, MBA)|
Indiana University, Indianapolis (MAcc)
Victoria Spartz (née Kulheyko; Ukrainian: Вікторія Кульгейко, romanized: Viktoriya Kul'heyko; born October 6, 1978) is a Ukrainian-American politician and businesswoman who is the U.S. representative for Indiana's 5th congressional district. A member of the Republican Party, she previously represented the 20th district in the Indiana Senate.
Early life and education
Victoria Kulheyko was born in Nosivka, Chernihiv Oblast, Ukraine, which at the time was part of the Soviet Union. Before moving to the U.S., she earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Business Administration degree from Kyiv National Economic University.
Spartz immigrated to the United States in 2000 at the age of 22 and became a U.S. citizen in 2006. She earned a Master of Accountancy from the Kelley School of Business of Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis.
Spartz was a founding member of the Hamilton County, Indiana Tea Party. She served as CFO in the Indiana Attorney General's office before her appointment to the Indiana Senate. She was also an adjunct faculty member at the Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis and has owned real estate and farming businesses.
U.S. House of Representatives
After incumbent Republican Susan Brooks announced in June 2019 that she would not seek reelection, Spartz announced her candidacy for Indiana's 5th congressional district. She won the Republican primary on June 2, 2020. The Cook Political Report rated the race a toss-up.
Spartz won the November general election, defeating former state representative Christina Hale, the Democratic nominee, by four percent. This was the closest race in the district since it was reconfigured as a northern suburban district in 1983 (it had been numbered the 6th until 2003), and only the second time in that period that a Democrat had received at least 40% of the vote. Spartz prevailed by winning her home county of Hamilton, the most populous county entirely within the district, by 20,100 votes, more than her district-wide margin of just under 17,000 votes. She ran just behind Trump, who won the district with 50.1% of the vote.
The 2021 Indiana redistricting rendered the 5th significantly more Republican than its predecessor. Notably, the district lost its share of Indianapolis. To make up for the loss in population, the 5th was pushed to the east to take in Muncie and Anderson, previously in the 6th district.
After running unopposed in the primary, Spartz defeated Democratic nominee Jeanine Lee Lake in the general election.
|Republican||Victoria Spartz (incumbent)||146,575||61.1|
|Democratic||Jeanine Lee Lake||93,434||38.9|
Spartz is the first Ukrainian-born female member of Congress and the first member born in a former Soviet Republic. Members of Congress who were born in what later formed part of the Soviet Union include Meyer London, Samuel Dickstein, Herman Kopplemann, and Herman Toll.
In late 2020, Spartz was identified as a participant in the Freedom Force, a group of incoming Republican members of the House of Representatives who "say they're fighting against socialism in America".
Spartz's tenure has been marked by high staff turnover. Congressional watchdog Legistorm measured her turnover in 2021 at three and half times the average of offices of House members, the highest turnover for a non-retiring member. In May 2022, Politico reported on a toxic environment within her office, with Spartz's temper quickly jumping from tepid to boiling, and reported that "aides who have left after a couple of months did so because the work environment became untenable." Examples of the office environment included Spartz ordering staff to record her direction to staff and later denying the previously expressed instructions, despite the recordings. One former aide said, "the common theme: Staffers do their job, and then Victoria comes in saying that they have no idea what they’re doing, that they are 'morons,' calling them 'idiots.'" Spartz responded that her working style is "not for everyone" and that her critics "need to 'toughen up'".
In January 2023, during the 2023 Speaker of the United States House of Representatives election, Spartz declined to vote for party nominee Kevin McCarthy on ballots four through 11, instead voting "present". She voted for McCarthy on the first three ballots and on the 12th through 15th ballots.
There were rumors that Spartz might run in Indiana's U.S. Senate election in 2024 after Mike Braun decided not to seek reelection, but on February 3, 2023, she announced that she would not run for reelection or any other office in 2024.
Spartz was critical of Kevin McCarthy during his speakership. She voted against tabling a resolution that would remove McCarthy from his position as Speaker, but ultimately voted against his removal on October 3, 2023. During the floor election Spartz again refused to vote for the party nominee, this time Jim Jordan, instead casting a vote for Thomas Massie.
2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine
Spartz called the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine "a genocide of the Ukrainian people by a crazy man." Spartz was one of the first US officials to call Russian actions "war crimes." At the time of the invasion, Spartz had family still living in Ukraine, including her grandmother, who was living in Chernihiv, which was under siege by Russia.
During the ongoing invasion, Spartz traveled to Ukraine twice in April 2022. The first time was an unannounced visit to Bucha with U.S. Senator Steve Daines. Spartz and Daines were the first two U.S officials to visit Ukraine since the war started. The second trip was to Lviv, Kyiv, and Odesa with Representative Tim Walberg. During the trip, Spartz met with Metropolitan Epifaniy. Spartz has been critical of the speed and effectiveness of international humanitarian aid efforts.
In July 2022, Spartz criticized Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, accusing him of "playing politics and theater" and not governing seriously. In an interview with Ukrainian press, she accused the country's leaders of not preparing for war and not understanding the war's importance. She asserted that there is insufficient monitoring of U.S.-provided weaponry, and that Congress needs to take control in this area.
Also in July, Spartz enumerated six allegations of against Andrii Yermak, a top official in Ukraine's government. Among the accusations were leaking important secret information to Belarus and Russia by Yermak, mismanaging peace negotiations he conducted with Dmitry Kozak just before the war, and then falsely "assuring Ukrainian leadership that no attack by Russia was going to happen" in February 2022, "contrary to western intelligence, to prevent Ukraine from properly preparing for the war", and through his deputy Oleh Tatarov delaying the appointment of an anti-corruption prosecutor. Spartz asked the White House to investigate the allegations and report to a Congressional oversight committee.
The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine responded that Spartz's allegations with regard to Andrii Yermak were "baseless speculation." Former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who has been working with Yermak on sanctions policy, said that “Yermak most certainly does not strike me as being pro-Russian. He is stridently anti-Putin and his barbaric regime”. Some Republican representatives and senators disagreed with Spartz's accusations and believed the accusations could hurt the war effort and damage U.S. relations with Ukraine, while boosting GOP elements who opposed aid to Ukraine.
In 2021, Spartz was chosen to serve on the House Republican Caucus's Affordability Subcommittee of Health Care Task Force. In 2022, she released "a slate of bills aimed at cracking down on health care costs" through curbing anti-competitive conduct in the healthcare industry.
Spartz has introduced legislation to empower the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to rein in hospital mergers. In December 2022, she and Representative Pramila Jayapal introduced the Stop Anticompetitive Healthcare Act. In an op-ed for The Hill, Spartz argued that hospital monopolies are harming healthcare.
Spartz, who was born in Ukraine during the Soviet period, has criticized the resurgence in popularity of socialism in the United States. According to The Indianapolis Star, her upbringing "at least in part formed her belief that government involvement is inherently bad and ineffective and should only be used as a tool to incentivize society's betterment."
United States Government Debt
Spartz was among the 71 Republicans who voted against final passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 in the House, ending the 2023 United States debt-ceiling crisis. The act, with support of both parties, imposed restrictions on growth of government spending and debt and simultaneously suspended the debt ceiling until January of 2025.
Spartz voted against the bipartisan compromise which avoided a government shutdown in September, 2023.
In October 2023 Spartz said that she would resign unless a commission to manage the national debt is created before the end of 2024. The end of 2024 is when the debt ceiling would come back into effect. The Fiscal Commission Act of 2023, a bill supported by Spartz, would create the commission.
Agricultural commodity checkoff programs
In 2023 Spartz introduced a bill to prohibit federal funds from the 2024 Agriculture bill from being used by Commodity Checkoff Programs. The checkoff program supports organizations tasked with research and promotion of specific agricultural commodities in the United States, paid for by an assessment on the producers. Several agricultural industry groups objected, calling the amendment "frivolous" because federal funds are not used for the checkoff programs. Spartz also indicated she would support the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act, which is intended to introduce more oversight to the checkoff programs and prohibit utilizing checkoff funds for lobbying.
- Committee on the Judiciary
- Republican Study Committee
- Congressional Ukrainian Caucus
- House Baltic Caucus
- Bulgaria Caucus
- French Caucus
- German-American Caucus
- Caucus on Hellenic Issues
- Slovak Caucus
- Caucus on Poland
- United Kingdom Caucus
While Spartz was in college, she met her future husband, Jason Spartz, on a train in Europe. They married in 2000. They have two daughters and live in Noblesville, Indiana. Jason is a Noblesville native whose father met his mother, a German citizen, while he was stationed in Germany after World War II. Spartz is Eastern Orthodox.
- Bozhok, Snizhana (November 12, 2020). "Вікторія Спартц: як українка потрапила в Конгрес і до чого тут потяг у Москву". BBC News Ukrainian (in Ukrainian).
- "List of All Offices and Office Holders". Capitolandwashington.com. March 5, 2015. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
- "FIRST TIME IN HISTORY A UKRAINE-BORN PERSON WILL SERVE IN THE U.S. CONGRESS - VICTORIA SPARTZ, INDIANA'S 5th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT". www.usubc.org.
- "The first Ukrainian-born member of Congress". The Ukrainian Weekly. November 13, 2020.
- "Американська сенаторка родом із Носівки". golos.com.ua. July 31, 2019. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
- Lange, Kaitlin (May 31, 2020). "Republicans try to stand out in crowded Indiana 5th District race". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
Bachelor's degree in international economics and master's degree in business administration from the National University of Economics in Ukraine, professional accountancy master's degree from Indiana University Indianapolis.
- "One on One with Senator Victoria Spartz". Hamiltoncountybusiness.com. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
- "Immigrant proud to be American on this day". The Times. Noblesville, Indiana. January 19, 2017. Archived from the original on November 26, 2018.
- "Victoria Spartz". Ballotpedia.org. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
- "MyLicense Verification". mylicense.in.gov. State of Indiana. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
- "Rep.-elect Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.-05)". The Hill. November 30, 2020. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
- "CFO for Indiana Attorney General's office takes over Sen. Luke Kenley's seat - Indiana Economic Digest". Indianaeconomicdigest.com. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
- "Ukrainian immigrant Spartz picked to replace Kenley in Senate". Ibj.com. September 7, 2017. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
- Wren, Adam (May 8, 2020). "The $750,000 Candidate Who Lives in a Trailer Park". IMPORTANTVILLE. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
- "Indiana Legislator Database". Legdb.iga.in.gov. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
- Sikich, Chris (September 7, 2017). "Republicans make surprise pick to replace Sen. Luke Kenley". Indystar.com. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
- "Indiana Primary Election Results: Fifth Congressional District". The New York Times. June 2, 2020. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
- Wasserman, David (October 8, 2020). "October House Overview: Democrats Poised to Expand Majority". The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter. Retrieved March 3, 2022.
- Stabile, Angelica (November 9, 2020). "13 GOP women join the House, dominating congressional elections, making history". FOX News. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
- Gibson, Kaitlin Lange and London. "Republican Victoria Spartz wins Indiana's 5th Congressional District race". The Indianapolis Star.
- "Republican Spartz wins hard-fought Indiana US House race". Associated Press. November 4, 2020.
- "Our Campaigns - Container Detail Page". www.ourcampaigns.com.
- "Our Campaigns - Container Detail Page". www.ourcampaigns.com.
- Election results from CNN
- Presidential election results by congressional district from Daily Kos
- Lange, Kaitlin. "Republicans release Indiana House and Congressional maps. Here's how they've changed". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved January 7, 2023.
- "Indiana Election Results, November 8, 2022". Indiana Election Division. Retrieved January 7, 2023.
- Schultz, Marisa (December 26, 2020). "Rep.-elect Victoria Spartz, raised in Soviet country, says it's 'crazy' for Americans to want socialism here". Fox News.
- Andrews, Eliza Collins and Natalie (March 5, 2022). "GOP's Victoria Spartz, Born in Ukraine, Aims to Step Up U.S. Response to Russia". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved April 19, 2022.
- Jankowicz, Mia (November 30, 2020). "A group of incoming GOP House members, calling themselves the 'Freedom Force,' are trying to counter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's 'Squad'". Business Insider. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
- Parrott, Jeff (December 29, 2020). "GOP's 'Freedom Force' members say they are ready to take on the 'socialist Squad'". Deseret News. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
- Parke, Caleb (December 1, 2020). "GOP Congresswoman-elect on forming 'Freedom Force': Left is 'totally out of line' with mainstream". Fox News. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
- Noor, Poppy (November 30, 2020). "The 'Freedom Force': Republican group takes on the Squad and 'evil' socialism". the Guardian. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
- "Worst bosses? - LegiStorm". www.legistorm.com. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
- "Last year's staff turnover was the House's worst in decades, data shows ! LegiStorm". www.legistorm.com. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
- Beavers, Olivia (May 6, 2022). "Amid an uproar over Capitol staff mistreatment, meet the House's 'worst boss'". Politico.
- Hakim-Shabazz, Abdul (May 11, 2022). "Speaking with Spartz". Indy Politics.
- Schaul, Kevin; Mourtoupalas, Nick; Perry, Kati; Dormido, Hannah (January 7, 2023). "How each House member voted for speaker in 15 ballots". Washington Post. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
- Gold, Michael (January 4, 2023). "Live Updates: McCarthy on Track to Lose 5th Vote for Speaker". The New York Times. Retrieved January 4, 2023.
Victoria Spartz of Indiana again votes present rather than choosing a speaker candidate.
- "Hoosier free-for-all? Spartz eyes Senate run in 2024 as Braun pursues gov race". POLITICO. September 23, 2022. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
- Fowler, Ashley (February 3, 2023). "US Rep. Victoria Spartz will not run for office in 2024". WISH-TV. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
- Adragna, Anthony (February 3, 2023). "Spartz won't seek elected office in 2024". POLITICO. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
- Christy, Matt (October 3, 2023). "How Indiana U.S. Reps voted on historic ousting of Speaker McCarthy". Fox 59. Retrieved October 4, 2023.
- Carloni, Brittany (October 17, 2023). "Indiana Republican Victoria Spartz goes against the majority in House speaker vote". Indianpolis Star. Retrieved October 18, 2023.
- Griffiths, Brent D. (March 1, 2022). "Ukrainian-American Rep. Victoria Spartz makes an emotional plea for stronger US action: 'This is a genocide of the Ukrainian people by a crazy man'". Business Insider. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
- Zengerle, Patricia (March 2, 2022). "U.S. lawmakers join calls for war crimes probe of Russia". Reuters. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
- Carney, Jordain (March 2, 2022). "Graham offers Senate measure urging Putin to be investigated for war crimes". The Hill. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
- Rafford, Claire (March 2, 2022). "Rep. Victoria Spartz delivers emotional speech as Russia wages war on Ukraine". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
- Kramer, Andrew E. (April 14, 2022). "As two U.S. lawmakers visit Kyiv, the trip's organizer says he hopes more officials, and weapons, will follow". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
- Burke, Melissa Nann. "After visit to Ukraine, Walberg says it can win war if West provides more resources". The Detroit News. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
- "Metropolitan Epifaniy meets with the US Congress members - RISU". Religious Information Service of Ukraine. Retrieved August 6, 2022.
- "Juggling Trump and War, Congress's Only Ukrainian-Born Member Has Some Demands". Vanity Fair. May 6, 2022. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
- "Presidents Biden and Zelensky need to stop playing politics with people's lives and Congress has to implement proper oversight in Ukraine" (Press release). Representative Victoria Spartz. July 6, 2022. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
- Desiderio, Andrew (July 11, 2022). "Victoria Spartz is accusing the Ukrainian government of not taking its war with Russia seriously enough". Politico. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
- Sydorenko, Sergiy (July 13, 2022). "Not Only SAPO: Kyiv Should Pay Attention to Spartz's Demands Despite Conflict with Her". Eurointegration. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
- Сидоренко, Сергій; Мусаєва, Севгіль (July 11, 2022). "Інтерв'ю Вікторії Спартц: звинувачення до Єрмака, контроль за зброєю та закиди до України" [Interview with Victoria Spartz: Accusations against Yermak, Arms Control and Criticism of Ukraine]. Eurointegration (in Ukrainian). Retrieved July 18, 2022.
- Wiles, Griffin (July 10, 2022). "Ukraine-born Indiana lawmaker questions allegiance of a top Ukrainian official". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
- Sukhov, Oleg (July 12, 2022). "Explainer: Is there any merit to Congresswoman Spartz' accusations against Zelensky's chief of staff?". The Kyiv Independent. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
- "President Zelensky Must Address the Yermak Issue" (Press release). Representative Victoria Spartz. July 9, 2022. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
- "Spartz requests President Biden to brief Congress on Andriy Yermak, President Zelensky's Chief of Staff" (Press release). Representative Victoria Spartz. July 8, 2022. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
- Vakil, Caroline (July 9, 2022). "Ukrainian Foreign Ministry hits Rep. Spartz over 'baseless speculation' on Zelensky chief of staff". The Hill. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
- Desiderio, Andrew; Beavers, Olivia (July 15, 2022). "Republicans wince as their Ukrainian-born colleague thrashes Zelenskyy". Politico. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
- Dorman, John L. (July 17, 2022). "Republicans are concerned over Ukrainian-born GOP Rep. Victoria Spartz's vocal criticism of Volodymyr Zelenskyy: 'Her naiveness is hurting our own people'". Business Insider. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
- "Spartz appointed to Affordability Subcommittee of Health Care Task Force". Chronicle-Tribune. July 23, 2021. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
- Goldman, Maya (December 13, 2022). "Bill of the Week: Stop Anticompetitive Health Act". Axios. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
- Sullivan, Peter (November 3, 2022). "Hospitals have a target on their backs". Axios. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
- Condon, Alan (December 14, 2022). "Congresswomen float bill to curb anticompetitive hospital behavior". Beckers Hospital Review. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
- Spartz, Victoria (December 19, 2022). "Hospital monopolies are destroying health care value". The Hill. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
- Moore, Mark (December 28, 2020). "Victoria Spartz says she led fight against socialism in US". New York Post. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
- Lange, Kaitlin (August 27, 2020). "How Victoria Spartz's Ukrainian roots influence her conservative values". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
- Gans, Jared (May 31, 2023). "Republicans and Democrats who bucked party leaders by voting no". The Hill. Retrieved June 6, 2023.
- Gregorian, Dareh (June 3, 2023). "Biden signs bipartisan debt ceiling bill to avert government default". NBC News. Retrieved October 30, 2023.
- Oshin, Olafimihan (October 2, 2023). "Spartz says she'll consider resigning from Congress". The Hill. Retrieved October 4, 2023.
- "Peters Introduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Fiscal Commission Legislation" (Press release). Congressperson Scott Peters. September 29, 2023. Retrieved October 30, 2023.
- "Spartz Issues Statement on Checkoff Amendment: I Will Stand with American Farmers, Not Big-Ag Corporate Cartels" (Press release). Representative Victoria Spartz. July 27, 2023. Retrieved July 28, 2023.
- "Checkoff Overview". National Agricultural Law Center. Retrieved July 28, 2023.
- Halvorson, Sabrina (July 26, 2023). "Congresswoman Spartz Fires Back Over Criticism from Checkoff Amendment". Hoosier Ag Today. Retrieved July 28, 2023.
- Goldstein, Luke (April 4, 2023). "Farmers Pay Big Ag to Lobby Against Them". The American Prospect. Retrieved July 28, 2023.
- "Victoria Spartz". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved June 14, 2023.
- "Membership". Republican Study Committee. December 6, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
- Schultz, Marisa. Rep.-elect Victoria Spartz, raised in Soviet country, says it's 'crazy' for Americans to want socialism here, FOX News, December 28, 2020.
- Lange, Kaitlin (August 27, 2020). "How Victoria Spartz's Ukrainian roots influence her conservative values". Indianapolis Star. Indianapolis, Indiana. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
- "Religious Affiliation of Members of 117th Congress" (PDF). 2021.
- Representative Victoria Spartz official U.S. House website
- Campaign website
- Indiana Senate page
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Appearances on C-SPAN