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Who is Steve Scalise, conservative congressman injured in Virginia shooting

Spencer Platt / Getty Images (WASHINGTON) --- The congressman who was shot during baseball practice Wednesday morning has had a role in the Republican Party for years.

Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, is currently the majority whip in the House of Representatives. He was elected to serve in the House during the 2008 election, announcing his run after former Congressman Bobby Jindal announced that he was running for governor of Louisiana.

Scalise, 51, is married and has two children.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, said that he took Scalise's phone while on the scene after the shooting and called Scalise's wife.

"I just didn't want her to wake up and hear the news and not know what's going on," Flake told a local affiliate from the scene of the shooting this morning.

Scalise is undergoing surgery. His injury is not believed to be life-threatening.

"Prior to entering surgery, the whip was in good spirits and spoke to his wife by phone," his office said. "He is grateful for the brave actions of U.S. Capitol Police, first responders, and colleagues. We ask that you keep the Whip and others harmed in this incident in your thoughts and prayers."

He was born in New Orleans and he attended Louisiana State University and served in the state's legislature before moving into national politics.

His biography on the Republican Party website describes Scalise as "a strong conservative leader who upholds the Constitution, advocating for the principles of fiscal discipline, lower taxes, an all-of-the-above national energy strategy, a robust national defense, and conservative values."

Scalise was named as Republican whip -- the third-highest ranking position in the party -- in June 2014.

Several months later, Scalise was criticized when it was revealed that back in 2002 he had delivered a speech to a group associated with David Duke, a former wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

When the 2002 speech to the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO) became public, he denied knowing its affiliations.

"I didn't know who all of these groups were and I detest any kind of hate group. For anyone to suggest that I was involved with a group like that is insulting and ludicrous," he told The Times-Picayune at the time.

Conservative stances and proud gun rights advocate

When it comes to policy issues, he touts his conservative record. Scalise received an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association and is a member of the Congressional Second Amendment Task Force, according to his congressional website. It states that he "will continue fighting to protect every citizen's Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms."

Scalise endorsed President Donald Trump in May 2016 and has been a supporter of a number of the president's policies, including the proposed travel ban. When the first iteration of the executive order banning people from seven countries from entering the United States was announced, Scalise said that it "makes a lot of sense" to "make sure that people who are coming into the United States aren't being infiltrated by terrorist organizations," he told WVUE Fox 8 on Jan. 29.

Scalise is currently a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the subcommittee on communications and technology. His Republican Party biography says that as a result of his role on the Energy and Commerce Committee, "Scalise has emerged as one of the leaders in Congress in pushing for a strong national energy strategy that increases the supply of American oil and natural gas to lower gas prices at the pump while reducing our dependence on Middle Eastern oil."

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