Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2006, 4th term.

Born: April 6, 1953, Hartford

Home: Vernon

Education: Tufts U., B.A. 1975, U. of CT, J.D. 1978

Professional Career: Practicing atty., 1978-2006; CT coordinator, John Edwards pres. campaign, 2004.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Catholic

Family: married (Audrey) , 2 children

Democrat Joe Courtney, elected in 2006, is known for tirelessly promoting issues that are important to him, including education and defense. He uses his Armed Services Committee seat to be a vigilant guardian of his region’s military bases and factories, including General Dynamics’ Electric Boat plant and the New London Naval Submarine Base.

Courtney was raised in West Hartford, the youngest of five boys. He studied at Tufts University, graduated from the University of Connecticut law school and went into private practice. In 1986, he won the first of four terms in the state House, where he served as chairman of the public health and human services committees. He ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 1998, and then unsuccessfully against Republican Rep. Rob Simmons in 2002. Courtney ran on the Democratic themes of Social Security protection, better prescription drug coverage for seniors and opposition to President George W. Bush’s tax cuts, but Simmons won 54%-46%. Courtney stepped aside for Democrat Jim Sullivan to take on Simmons in 2004, but Sullivan lost by the same 54%-46% total.

Courtney came back for a rematch with Simmons in 2006, getting his campaign under way early in 2005. Democrats worked diligently to nationalize the race by exploiting voter anger over the Iraq war and GOP ethics scandals in Congress. Simmons was attacked for donating $1,000 to the legal defense fund for Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who was caught up in dual ethics and fundraising investigations. After DeLay left Congress in disgrace, Democrats sought to tether Simmons to the increasingly unpopular Bush. Simmons touted his independence by pointing to votes he took on partial-birth abortion and same-sex marriage in opposition to the administration’s positions. He also touted his successful lobbying to keep the district’s submarine base off the 2005 base-closing list.

On Election Night, Courtney held only a slim 167-vote lead, triggering an automatic recount. A week later, Courtney’s lead was cut in half, but official results gave him a winning margin of 83 votes out of the more than 242,000 cast. He was the survivor of the closest House race of the 2006 elections.

In the House, Courtney’s new colleagues gave him a nickname, “Landslide Joe.” But he also got a seat on Armed Services, where he could more effectively lobby for the Navy’s shipbuilding program at Groton. During negotiations on so-called “fiscal cliff” tax and spending legislation in late 2012, he told the Hartford Courant that he faithfully studied Electric Boat employment listings like baseball box scores, looking for signs of anxiety because of the threat of massive defense cuts. Earlier, he worked with other Connecticut and Rhode Island lawmakers in 2007 to successfully secure an extra $588 million in the defense appropriations bill for submarines, paving the way for the Navy to double its submarine production from one to two a year. That led to another nickname from colleagues: “Two Sub Joe.”

Courtney took over as co-chair of the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus and worked to prevent a one-year cut in submarine production in 2014 while protecting the appropriation for a “stretched” version of a Virginia-class sub with cruise-missile tubes, which was designed at Electric Boat’s offices in New London. He also successfully lobbied the Pentagon to include in its Quadrennial Defense Review the need for a future fleet of as many as 55 submarines, up from the 48 called for in 2006.

In 2008, Courtney was the only member of the Connecticut delegation who voted against the $700 billion Wall Street rescue, which he said focused too much on “a square mile of New York City.” But he has generally been a faithful Democrat. Representing a district that includes the University of Connecticut, he was the leading champion of keeping interest rates low on federally backed college loans, and he got a provision in a House-passed highway bill in June 2012 to prevent the rates from doubling after making more than two dozen floor speeches and numerous news media appearances. During the 2009 health care debate, Courtney led House Democratic opposition to a proposed “Cadillac tax” on high-cost health insurance plans, which he said would harm millions of middle-class people. He helped change it to a 3.8% tax on unearned income.

On an important local issue in 2008, Courtney won enactment of a bill giving environmental protection to 25 miles of the Eightmile River, bringing it under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. His attention to local and state issues can’t be overstated: In early 2013, Courtney noticed a historical inaccuracy in Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed movie Lincoln. The film wrongly depicted two Connecticut congressmen voting against the 13th amendment abolishing slavery. The congressman asked Spielberg in a letter to correct the mistake for the DVD release of the film, a development covered by national news outlets.

Unlike most of the Democrats elected in 2006, Courtney has had an easy time winning reelection, never receiving less than 60% of the vote.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2076

(202) 225-4977

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2348
Washington, DC 20515-0702

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2076

(202) 225-4977

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2348
Washington, DC 20515-0702

DISTRICT OFFICE

(860) 886-0139

(860) 886-2974

55 Main Street Suite 250
Norwich, CT 06360-5760

DISTRICT OFFICE

(860) 886-0139

(860) 886-2974

55 Main Street Suite 250
Norwich, CT 06360-5760

DISTRICT OFFICE

(860) 741-6011

(860) 741-6036

77 Hazard Avenue Unit J
Enfield, CT 06082-3890

DISTRICT OFFICE

(860) 741-6011

(860) 741-6036

77 Hazard Avenue Unit J
Enfield, CT 06082-3890

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

9 Tobias Court
Vernon, CT 06066

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(860) 885-4600

9 Tobias Court
Vernon, CT 06066

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Michelle Greenhalgh
Health Legislative Assistant

Acquisitions

Neil McKiernan
Chief of Staff

Stephen Clement
Legislative Correspondent (on military leave)

Aerospace

Tim Brown
Communications Director

tim.brown2@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2076

Alexa Combelic
Legislative Assistant

Agriculture

Alexa Combelic
Legislative Assistant

Animal Rights

Stephen Clement
Legislative Correspondent (on military leave)

Appropriations

Neil McKiernan
Chief of Staff

Arts

Stephen Clement
Legislative Correspondent (on military leave)

Banking

Beata Fogarasi
Legislative Correspondent

Budget

Neil McKiernan
Chief of Staff

Campaign

Tim Brown
Communications Director

tim.brown2@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2076

Stephen Clement
Legislative Correspondent (on military leave)

Census

Stephen Clement
Legislative Correspondent (on military leave)

Commerce

Beata Fogarasi
Legislative Correspondent

Congress

Stephen Clement
Legislative Correspondent (on military leave)

Education

Tim Brown
Communications Director

tim.brown2@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2076

Beata Fogarasi
Legislative Correspondent

Matthew Reutter
Field Representative

Energy

Alexa Combelic
Legislative Assistant

Matthew Reutter
Field Representative

Environment

Matthew Reutter
Field Representative

Family

Michelle Greenhalgh
Health Legislative Assistant

Finance

Beata Fogarasi
Legislative Correspondent

Foreign

Neil McKiernan
Chief of Staff

Govt Ops

Alexa Combelic
Legislative Assistant

Stephen Clement
Legislative Correspondent (on military leave)

Grants

Matthew Reutter
Field Representative

Gun Issues

Michelle Greenhalgh
Health Legislative Assistant

Beata Fogarasi
Legislative Correspondent

Health

Michelle Greenhalgh
Health Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

Tim Brown
Communications Director

tim.brown2@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2076

Neil McKiernan
Chief of Staff

Housing

Beata Fogarasi
Legislative Correspondent

Matthew Reutter
Field Representative

Human Rights

Tim Brown
Communications Director

tim.brown2@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2076

Immigration

Tim Brown
Communications Director

tim.brown2@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2076

Alexa Combelic
Legislative Assistant

Beata Fogarasi
Legislative Correspondent

Intelligence

Neil McKiernan
Chief of Staff

Intergovernmental

Stephen Clement
Legislative Correspondent (on military leave)

Internet

Alexa Combelic
Legislative Assistant

Stephen Clement
Legislative Correspondent (on military leave)

Judiciary

Tim Brown
Communications Director

tim.brown2@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2076

Alexa Combelic
Legislative Assistant

Beata Fogarasi
Legislative Correspondent

Labor

Tim Brown
Communications Director

tim.brown2@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2076

Lobbying Politics

Stephen Clement
Legislative Correspondent (on military leave)

Medicare

Michelle Greenhalgh
Health Legislative Assistant

Military

Neil McKiernan
Chief of Staff

Native Americans

Alexa Combelic
Legislative Assistant

Regulation

Stephen Clement
Legislative Correspondent (on military leave)

Rules

Neil McKiernan
Chief of Staff

Stephen Clement
Legislative Correspondent (on military leave)

Science

Alexa Combelic
Legislative Assistant

Stephen Clement
Legislative Correspondent (on military leave)

Small Business

Beata Fogarasi
Legislative Correspondent

Social Security

Michelle Greenhalgh
Health Legislative Assistant

Tax

Beata Fogarasi
Legislative Correspondent

Technology

Alexa Combelic
Legislative Assistant

Stephen Clement
Legislative Correspondent (on military leave)

Telecommunications

Jonathan Cebik
Defense Legislative Fellow

Stephen Clement
Legislative Correspondent (on military leave)

Transportation

Alexa Combelic
Legislative Assistant

Veterans

Tim Brown
Communications Director

tim.brown2@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2076

Neil McKiernan
Chief of Staff

Welfare

Michelle Greenhalgh
Health Legislative Assistant

Women

Michelle Greenhalgh
Health Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Joe Courtney
Votes: 204,708
Percent: 68.25%
Paul Formica
Votes: 88,103
Percent: 29.37%
2012 PRIMARY
Joe Courtney
Unopposed
2010 GENERAL
Joe Courtney
Votes: 147,748
Percent: 59.87%
Janet Peckinpaugh
Votes: 95,671
Percent: 38.77%
2010 PRIMARY
Joe Courtney
Unopposed
2008 GENERAL
Joe Courtney
Votes: 212,148
Percent: 65.67%
Sean Sullivan
Votes: 104,574
Percent: 32.37%
2008 PRIMARY
Joe Courtney
Unopposed
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (60%), 2008 (66%), 2006 (50%)

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