Rep. Todd Platts (R)
Elected: 2000, 5th term.
Born: March 5, 1962, York .
Education: Shippensburg U., B.S. 1984, Pepperdine U., J.D. 1991.
Family: Married (Leslie); 2 children.
Elected office: PA House of Reps., 1992-2000.
Professional Career: Practicing atty, 1991-93.
The congressman from the 19th District is Todd Platts, a Republican elected in 2000. Platts grew up in York, graduated from Shippensburg University and Pepperdine University School of Law. In 1992, at age 30, he was elected to the state House, where he served four terms. In 2000, he was the first to announce his candidacy after longtime Republican Rep. Bill Goodling, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said that he would retire. Platts’s chief primary opponents were state Rep. Al Masland, attorney Dick Stewart, who was endorsed by Goodling, and Charlie Gerow, head of the state Citizens Against Government Waste. The campaign motto for Platts, who refused contributions from political action committees and was outspent by his chief Republican rivals, was “Putting People First.” Platts won with 33% of the vote to 29% for Masland and 19% for Stewart, rolling up huge margins in his home base of York County. In the general election, Platts won 73%-26%. He has been re-elected with only minor opposition.
|Todd Platts (R)||218,862||(67%)||($192,495)|
|Philip Avillo (D)||109,533||(33%)||($66,030)|
|Todd Platts (R)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (64%), 2004 (91%), 2002 (91%), 2000 (73%)
In the House, Platts has a moderate voting record for a Republican. In January 2007, he was one of only three House Republicans who voted in favor of all six bills that new Democratic majority brought to the floor as part of their “first 100 hours” agenda. Also that year, he was the chief Republican co-sponsor of a successful bill to increase fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. In 2009, he allied with Democrats on their ambitious initiative to reduce global warming. However, Platts also supports increased oil drilling and additional nuclear facilities as part of an overall policy to increase energy supplies.
When his party was in the majority, he chaired the Government Management, Finance and Accountability Subcommittee on the Government Reform Committee and took a special interest in oversight of federal agencies. He pushed legislation to require review of all government programs at least once every five years to evaluate their performance, and he chaired hearings where he demanded that the Homeland Security Department improve its accounting practices. He sponsored legislation to overturn a federal court ruling that he said created loopholes in the Whistleblower Protection Act. In 2007, in response to adverse court rulings, the House passed a bill that he helped to write to expand protections for national security officials.
In the minority, he is the ranking member of the Healthy Families and Communities Subcommittee on the Education and Labor Committee. He bucked most Republicans by opposing tax-paid vouchers for private school tuition for parents of children in underperforming schools.
Platts has not been afraid to challenge sacred cows in Congress. He sponsored, with Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, a bill to repeal automatic annual pay raises for members of Congress. He supported “real lobbying reform,” including an outside Office of Public Integrity to police the behavior of members of Congress. But in 2009, he abandoned a pledge not to accept earmarked spending for his district because, he said, it would be an unfair disadvantage for his constituents. Earmarks have come under increasing criticism as a waste of taxpayer money.
Platts may hold the title for the longest daily commute to Congress. He drives the roughly 100 miles from his home in York to Washington nearly every day that the House is in session.