Childhood & Early Life
Sean Patrick Duffy was born on October 3, 1971, in Hayward, Wisconsin, U.S., to Carol and Thomas Walter Duffy. His was a Roman Catholic family. He had been exposed to a strict Christian life since childhood. He attended local schools and grew up in a huge family with 10 siblings. He was the 10th of the 11 children in the family.
He grew up as an athletic young kid and played many sports. However, his favorites of them all were log rolling and speed climbing. He had started playing log rolling at the age of 5, and by the time he was 13 years old, he had begun participating in many speed-climbing tournaments, eventually winning a few titles. He was academically good, too, and did not pursue sports as a career option.
He later moved to California, where he attended the ‘Hayward High School.’ After graduating high school, he obtained an undergraduate degree in marketing from ‘St. Mary’s University,’ Winona, Minnesota. He then developed an interest in studying law and moved to the ‘William Mitchell College of Law,’ located in St. Paul, Minnesota. He attained a Juris Doctor degree from the institute.
He later moved to his hometown, Hayward, Wisconsin, and began practicing as a lawyer. He also worked as a special prosecutor in the Ashland County district attorney’s office.
He has been a staunch conservative and a ‘Republican Party’ supporter.
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Political & TV Career
He made his foray into the entertainment industry back in 1997, when he appeared as a contestant on the reality TV show ‘The Real World: Boston.’ The show invited people from different walks of life, to establish commonalities among them. Later that year, he appeared in the documentary film based on the same show, titled ‘The Real World You Never Saw.’
Owing to his appearance on national TV, he soon became a household name. In 2000, he appeared as himself in the TV film titled ‘The Real World Reunion.’
In 1998, he joined another reality show, ‘The Challenge.’ He eventually appeared in 17 episodes of the show.
He had been a ‘Republican,’ which helped him become the Ashland County district attorney in 2002. The then-governor of Wisconsin, Scott McCallum, a ‘Republican Party’ member, ensured Sean’s appointment. Sean was elected to the same position, unopposed, for three more terms, in the years 2004, 2006, and 2008.
Sean announced in 2009 that he would be entering politics full-time and would be running for the ‘House of Representative’ elections to be held in 2010. He was a candidate from Wisconsin’s 7th district. His chances of winning the election seemed bleak until his opponent, Dave Obey from the ‘Democratic Party,’ announced that he was not willing to run for a re-election. However, Julie Lassa then walked in as the ‘Democratic Party’ candidate.
In June 2010, Sean resigned from his position as the district attorney of Ashland County, to focus on his election campaign. The election results were announced in November 2010, in which Sean emerged as the winner. The victory had come despite his lack of experience. Back then, the ‘Democratic Party’ had lost many elections, owing to the deteriorating economy of the country. Sean had also had a head-start over his main competitor, Julie, who had joined the campaign late.
He was under the spotlight when he served in the lower house of the ‘Congress.’ In 2011, he faced criticism when he attended a meeting to discuss a new controversial act that would freeze the salaries of all state employees.
He was asked whether he would give up his salary of $174,000 if the law were passed. He earned thrice the salary of an average Wisconsin citizen. He responded that he would only do so in the general rounds of remuneration cuts. He further mentioned that what he earned was “just enough” money for him to sustain.
In September 2013, he introduced the controversial acts known as the ‘Consumer Financial Freedom’ and the ‘Washington Accountability Act.’ He also acted as a co-sponsor of many more acts, such as the ‘Financial Product Safety Commission Act 2015’ and the ‘Puerto Rico Financial Stability and Debt Restructuring Choice Act.’ The latter was proposed in order to address the grave crisis Puerto Rico was in back then.
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In 2017, he showed his full support to President Donald Trump’s ban on the entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries. He commented that it was a good decision and was needed to save Americans from possible terror attacks.
In January 2017, he co-presented the legislation that ended the protection of grey wolves under the ‘Endangered Species Act.’
In 2018, he criticized Europe, China, Canada, and Mexico, blaming them for the “financial terrorism” they had resorted to back then by imposing tariffs on the U.S.A. Those retaliatory tariffs were in response to the tariffs imposed by the Trump administration.
In addition, he has also served as a member of the ‘House Committee on Financial Services’ and the chairman of the ‘Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.’ He has also been part of many subcommittees on housing, insurance, consumer credits, and financial institutions.
In February 2017, he was all over the news due to his derogatory remarks against Muslims. His comments were made in the wake of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies that seemed to associate Muslims with terrorism. Sean commented on the difference between “white terrorism” and “Muslim terrorism” and said that they were completely different from each other. He also supported his statement by saying that Islamic terrorists have organization such as 'ISIS’ and ‘Al Qaeda’ and that there is no such white terrorism group. He received a lot of backlash for his comments.
In September 2019, he resigned from his position as the congressional representative of the 7th district of Wisconsin due to his newborn daughter’s heart ailment.
While he was still serving in the position, he had also made several TV appearances. He appeared on TV programs such as ‘The O’Reilly Factor,’ ‘The Story with Martha McCallum,’ ‘The Lead with Jake Tapper,’ and ‘The Ingraham Angle.’
In addition, he also appeared in several episodes of TV shows such as ‘Outnumbered,’ ‘Fox and Friends,’ ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight,’ and ‘New Day.’
Family & Personal Life
Sean Duffy met Rachel Campos while working together on the reality show ‘The Real World,’ and the two started dating soon. Rachel later worked with ‘Fox News,’ too. They got married in 1999 and went on to have nine children together.
In 2011, they moved to Weston, Wisconsin. They later shifted to Wausau, Wisconsin.
Sean and Rachel’s ninth child, a daughter named Valentina, was born with a heart condition. Following her diagnosis, Sean decided to devote all his time to his family and thus resigned from his job as a congressman.