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Democrat

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D)

Patrick Leahy Contact
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DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-224-4242

Address: 437 RSOB, DC 20510

State Office Contact Information

Phone: (802) 863-2525

Address: 199 Main Street, Burlington VT 05401-8309

Montpelier VT

Phone: (802) 229-0569

Address: 87 State Street, Montpelier VT 05602-9505

Patrick Leahy Staff
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Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
Saunders, Chris
Field Representative
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
Brackett, Lauren
Legislative Assistant
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
Saunders, Chris
Field Representative
Toomajian, Kathryn
Legislative Assistant
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
Saunders, Chris
Field Representative
Saunders, Chris
Field Representative
Toomajian, Kathryn
Legislative Assistant
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
McMahon, Jason
Legislative Correspondent
Patrick, Sherman
Military Legislative Assistant
Arenos, Frieda
Legislative Correspondent
Saunders, Chris
Field Representative
Toomajian, Kathryn
Legislative Assistant
Saunders, Chris
Field Representative
Toomajian, Kathryn
Legislative Assistant
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
Patrick, Sherman
Military Legislative Assistant
Saunders, Chris
Field Representative
Toomajian, Kathryn
Legislative Assistant
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
McMahon, Jason
Legislative Correspondent
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
McMahon, Jason
Legislative Correspondent
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
McMahon, Jason
Legislative Correspondent
Arenos, Frieda
Legislative Correspondent
Saunders, Chris
Field Representative
Toomajian, Kathryn
Legislative Assistant
Patrick, Sherman
Military Legislative Assistant
Brackett, Lauren
Legislative Assistant
Saunders, Chris
Field Representative
Toomajian, Kathryn
Legislative Assistant
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
Patrick, Sherman
Military Legislative Assistant
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
McMahon, Jason
Legislative Correspondent
Toomajian, Kathryn
Legislative Assistant
Toomajian, Kathryn
Legislative Assistant
Saunders, Chris
Field Representative
Toomajian, Kathryn
Legislative Assistant
Saunders, Chris
Field Representative
Toomajian, Kathryn
Legislative Assistant
Arenos, Frieda
Legislative Correspondent
Saunders, Chris
Field Representative
Toomajian, Kathryn
Legislative Assistant
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
McMahon, Jason
Legislative Correspondent
Patrick, Sherman
Military Legislative Assistant
Saunders, Chris
Field Representative
Toomajian, Kathryn
Legislative Assistant
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
Toomajian, Kathryn
Legislative Assistant
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
Arenos, Frieda
Legislative Correspondent
Saunders, Chris
Field Representative
Toomajian, Kathryn
Legislative Assistant
Arenos, Frieda
Legislative Correspondent
Saunders, Chris
Field Representative
Toomajian, Kathryn
Legislative Assistant
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
Patrick, Sherman
Military Legislative Assistant
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
Patrick, Sherman
Military Legislative Assistant
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
McMahon, Jason
Legislative Correspondent
Patrick, Sherman
Military Legislative Assistant
Arenos, Frieda
Legislative Correspondent
Ash, Kate
Field Representative
Berry, Ann
Deputy Chief of Staff; Office Manager
Berry, Tom
Field Representative
Brackett, Lauren
Legislative Assistant
Carle, David
Communications Director
Chabot, Erica
Legislative Director
Cope, Lindsey
Assistant Scheduler
Derby, Diane
Field Representative
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
Fyles, Adam
Staff Assistant
Giardina, Lane
Assistant to the State Director
Goodrow, John
Deputy State Director; Scheduler
Kulkarni, Vikram
Director of Information Technology
Mason, Colleen
Research Assistant
McDonald, Kevin
DC Scheduler; Senior Advisor
McMahon, Jason
Legislative Correspondent
Mingo, Tonie
Mailroom Staff Assistant
Patrick, Sherman
Military Legislative Assistant
Saunders, Chris
Field Representative
Tilton, Jay
Deputy Press Secretary
Toomajian, Kathryn
Legislative Assistant
Tracy, John
State Director
Zvarova, Zuzy
Assistant to the Chief of Staff
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
McDonald, Kevin
DC Scheduler; Senior Advisor
Cope, Lindsey
Assistant Scheduler
Giardina, Lane
Assistant to the State Director
Zvarova, Zuzy
Assistant to the Chief of Staff
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
Carle, David
Communications Director
Berry, Ann
Deputy Chief of Staff; Office Manager
Tilton, Jay
Deputy Press Secretary
Goodrow, John
Deputy State Director; Scheduler
Kulkarni, Vikram
Director of Information Technology
Tracy, John
State Director
Brackett, Lauren
Legislative Assistant
Patrick, Sherman
Military Legislative Assistant
Toomajian, Kathryn
Legislative Assistant
Arenos, Frieda
Legislative Correspondent
McMahon, Jason
Legislative Correspondent
Chabot, Erica
Legislative Director
Dowd, J.P.
Chief of Staff; Legislative Director; Senior Defense Advisor (Acting)
Berry, Ann
Deputy Chief of Staff; Office Manager
Ash, Kate
Field Representative
Berry, Tom
Field Representative
Derby, Diane
Field Representative
Saunders, Chris
Field Representative
Mason, Colleen
Research Assistant
Goodrow, John
Deputy State Director; Scheduler
McDonald, Kevin
DC Scheduler; Senior Advisor
Fyles, Adam
Staff Assistant
Mingo, Tonie
Mailroom Staff Assistant
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Patrick Leahy Committees
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Patrick Leahy Biography
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  • Elected: 1974, term expires 2016, 7th term.
  • State: Vermont
  • Born: Mar. 31, 1940, Montpelier
  • Home: Middlesex
  • Education:

    St. Michael's Col., B.A. 1961, Georgetown U., J.D. 1964

  • Professional Career:

    Practicing atty., 1964–74.

  • Political Career:

    VT st. atty., Chittenden Cnty., 1966–74.

  • Ethnicity: White/Caucasian
  • Religion:

    Catholic

  • Family: Married (Marcelle); 3 children

Patrick Leahy, Vermont’s senior senator, was first elected in 1974 and is now the chamber’s longest-serving member. As a stalwart progressive and the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Leahy is as much of an influential ally of President Barack Obama as he was a stubborn antagonist of President George W. Bush. Read More

Patrick Leahy, Vermont’s senior senator, was first elected in 1974 and is now the chamber’s longest-serving member. As a stalwart progressive and the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Leahy is as much of an influential ally of President Barack Obama as he was a stubborn antagonist of President George W. Bush.

Leahy grew up in Burlington, went to law school at Georgetown University, and then returned home to practice law. He was elected Chittenden County state’s attorney in 1966, at age 26, and still often invokes his years in that job during hearings and in interviews. After eight years as state’s attorney, he ran for the U.S. Senate at age 34. It was 1974, and Leahy had made a name for himself in the tiny state as the Burlington-area prosecutor who tried all major felony cases personally and who attacked the big oil companies during the 1970s energy crisis. He had a solid base in Democratic Burlington, together with the kind of quiet, thoughtful temperament that Vermonters like in their public officials. He outpolled Republican U.S. Rep. Richard Mallary by a narrow margin to win the Senate seat.

Over the years, Leahy made his mark as the chairman of Judiciary, which handles many of the cultural issues—such as abortion and gun control—that have polarized the two parties and their constituencies. In spite of his liberalism and periodic flashes of temper, Leahy wins positive marks from Republicans. “He’s a good listener who will take into account the views of others,” Maine Sen. Susan Collins told The Boston Globe. The more conservative Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran told The Associated Press: “I’m fond of him. I shouldn’t be, but I am.”

Leahy became the seventh longest-serving senator in history in 2015. With the death of Hawaii’s Daniel Inouye, he could have moved over to chair the powerful Appropriations panel, but chose to stay on Judiciary. One big reason was that it offered him the opportunity to handle two issues that could shape his legacy: the first attempt at comprehensive immigration reform in six years and the first major gun-control legislation in nearly two decades. He was an unlikely figure on the latter issue: An avid gun enthusiast, he was a member of his college shooting team and still enjoys the sport. But he has a mixed legislative record that earned him a “C” rating from the National Rifle Association.

Nevertheless, with Democrats demanding action in the wake of the December 2012 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Leahy took up the challenge. He moved a series of bills through his committee to bar the trafficking of guns and straw purchases and to strengthen other law enforcement tools to assist investigations of those crimes. His legislation also included a ban on assault weapons, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused go along with on the grounds that it lacked the votes for passage. Even so, the overall gun measure fell apart during floor debate in April 2013 over a controversial proposal from West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Pat Toomey to expand the background check process for would-be gun buyers. It could not draw the 60 votes necessary to end a GOP filibuster.

On immigration, Leahy held a series of hearings to try to build support for reform while leaving much of the legislative work to a bipartisan group of eight senators. He showed his combativeness in April when he accused Republicans of politicizing the issue by tying their objections to the Boston Marathon bombings, which involved two suspects from Chechnya. No one, Leahy declared at a hearing, should “be so cruel as to try to use the heinous acts of two young men last week to derail the dreams and futures of millions.”

Leahy was an early supporter of Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential primaries, and has largely been in sync with his administration. He helped guide Obama’s first two Supreme Court nominees, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, to swift confirmation, even while working with a new ranking Republican, Alabama’s Jeff Sessions, who was considerably more partisan than his predecessor in that role, Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter. Leahy accused Republicans of seeking to play the race card against Sotomayor, the court’s first Latina justice, and of gender bias toward Kagan.

Leahy had mixed results on other issues during Obama’s first term. He got an overhaul of the nation’s patent system into law in September 2011, ending a seven-year stalemate. But he was unable to get through legislation aimed at cracking down on online piracy and counterfeiting. And Senate Republicans blocked numerous Obama nominees to federal district and appeals courts, causing him to lament in April 2013, “I have repeatedly asked Senate Republicans to abandon their destructive tactics.”

In the 1990s, when Republicans were in the majority, Leahy criticized them for holding up President Bill Clinton’s judicial appointments, and he stoutly defended Clinton during the impeachment proceedings in 1998 and 1999. When Leahy became chairman during the Democrats’ 19 months in the majority in 2001 and 2003, he, in turn, held up the Republicans’ judicial nominations. As ranking minority member of the committee from 2003 to 2007, Leahy led filibusters against 10 appeals court nominees, tactics that the Republicans bitterly attacked. Leahy noted that the committee had approved the vast majority of appellate nominees and almost every trial court nominee, and argued that he had been fairer to Bush’s appointees than Republicans had been to Clinton’s. Leahy’s brass-knuckle tactics irked some Republicans, including Vice President Dick Cheney, who infamously cursed at the Democrat on the Senate floor during a 2004 photo shoot.

In 2005, Leahy led the minority’s questioning of Bush’s Supreme Court nominees, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, both of whom were ultimately confirmed by the Senate. The liberal senator surprised many when he voted to approve the conservative Roberts. “I came here to do what I thought was right, and as a Vermonter I can do nothing different,” Leahy said. He also asked tough questions of Alito, and that time he voted no. He said, “This president is in the midst of a radical realignment of the powers of government and its intrusiveness into the private lives of Americans. This nomination is part of that plan.”

Another major chapter in Leahy’s tenure as chairman was handling legislation that grew out of the September 11 terrorist attacks. He and his staff worked with the Bush administration to hammer out the USA Patriot Act, the sweeping law that sparked a national debate over whether government investigators should be given broader powers at the expense of individual liberties. It was essentially the Senate version, not the House bill, that was enacted in October 2001. But Leahy fought the administration when it sought to expand police powers in the wake of the attacks. He opposed a proposal to allow the government to detain and deport immigrants suspected of terrorism without presenting evidence in court. In 2002, he said that the Justice Department should be required to disclose the number of U.S. citizens being spied on, the number of secret foreign intelligence wiretaps that had become part of criminal proceedings, and the total number of persons targeted by foreign-intelligence surveillance warrants.

In 2005, Leahy objected to the government’s surveillance of communications between suspected al-Qaida terrorists abroad and people in the United States. As chairman in 2007, he made life difficult for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales by requesting an internal investigation of whether Gonzales had told the truth about the warrantless wiretapping program. Leahy subsequently placed Gonzales’s successor, Michael Mukasey, on the spot with demands that he denounce the use of water boarding, an interrogation tactic that simulates drowning and that has been used on terrorism suspects.

Around the Capitol, Leahy is known for his hobbies. He is a gadgeteer and an amateur photographer, whose work has been published in The New York Times and elsewhere. He is also an avid student of popular culture, and a huge fan of the Batman movies. (He appeared briefly in three of the films, with a speaking part in 2008’s The Dark Knight. Leahy tells the Joker, “We’re not intimidated by thugs.”) He can recite verses from Shakespeare and lyrics from the Grateful Dead rock band, and is friends with the Vermont band Phish. In 2003, he was the first member of Congress with a blog. Leahy’s fascination with technology helps to explain his interest in patent issues.

Another Leahy cause is the elimination of land mines. Since 1989, he has been crusading against the export and use of land mines, which are easy and cheap to implant yet difficult and expensive to remove. In 1994, Leahy persuaded the United Nations to unanimously call for the eventual elimination of land mines. He pushed Obama in 2010 to join an international treaty banning the mines, and in 2011 and 2013 introduced bills to restrict the use of cluster bombs. On other foreign policy and defense issues, Leahy tends to the left as well, and he was an outspoken critic of the Iraq war.

Leahy has been one of the few members of the Agriculture Committee who is not from a state with heavily subsidized crops such as wheat, corn, soybeans, and cotton. As the former ranking Democrat on the committee, he worked with Indiana Republican Richard Lugar in the 1990s to phase out the subsidy system. But after their success in passing the Freedom to Farm Act of 1996, crop prices fell, and lawmakers’ resolve dissipated. Congress took to supporting large annual subsidies in the form of emergency relief to farmers, and in 2002, Congress largely rolled back the 1996 act.

That is not to say that Leahy is not at times as parochial as the next senator. On Agriculture, he is a staunch defender of the interests of the roughly 1,000 dairy farms in Vermont. He got an extension of a safety-net program for dairy farmers into the January 2013 tax and spending bill, which was passed to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff.” In 2010, he secured more than $57 million in solo spending earmarks for his state—the 10th highest total among senators, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Leahy has had relatively easy reelection contests. His closest call was in 1980, when he narrowly survived that year’s Republican sweep. He defeated Republican Stewart Ledbetter just 50%-49%. Six years later, he was completely rehabilitated politically. He defeated popular Gov. Richard Snelling, 63%-35%.

Show Less
Patrick Leahy Election Results
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2010 General
Patrick Leahy (D)
Votes: 151,281
Percent: 64.33%
Spent: $4,869,504
Len Britton
Votes: 72,699
Percent: 30.91%
Spent: $232,549
2010 Primary
Patrick Leahy (D)
Votes: 64,515
Percent: 89.1%
Daniel Freilich
Votes: 7,892
Percent: 10.9%
Prior Winning Percentages
2004 (71%); 1998 (72%); 1992 (54%); 1986 (63%); 1980 (50%); 1974 (50%)
Patrick Leahy Votes and Bills
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National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 93 (L) : - (C) 75 (L) : 24 (C) 88 (L) : - (C)
Social 73 (L) : - (C) 64 (L) : - (C) 52 (L) : - (C)
Foreign 51 (L) : 47 (C) 68 (L) : 19 (C) 76 (L) : 17 (C)
Composite 78.3 (L) : 21.7 (C) 77.3 (L) : 22.7 (C) 83.2 (L) : 16.8 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

20112012
FRC00
LCV91100
CFG58
ITIC-88
NTU88
20112012
COC45-
ACLU-75
ACU54
ADA95100
AFSCME100-
Key Senate Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Block faith exemptions
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Approve gas pipeline
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Approve farm bill
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Let cyber bill proceed
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Block Gitmo transfers
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass balanced budget amendment
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Stop EPA climate regulations
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Proceed to Cordray vote
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Require talking filibuster
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Limit Fannie/Freddie
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Regulate financial firms
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Pass tax cuts for some
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Legalize immigrants' kids
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Ratify New START
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Confirm Elena Kagan
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Stop EPA climate regs
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Repeal don't ask, tell
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Overturn Ledbetter
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Block release of TARP funds
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass $787 billion stimulus
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Repeal DC gun laws
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Confirm Sonia Sotomayor
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass health care bill
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Bar budget rules for climate bill
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass 2010 budget resolution
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Let judges adjust mortgages
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Allow FDA to regulate tobacco
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Protect gays from hate crimes
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Cut F-22 funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Label North Korea terrorist state
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Build Guantanamo replacement
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Allow federal funds for abortion
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Cap greenhouse gases
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Bail out financial markets
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Increase missile defense $
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Overhaul FISA
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Raise CAFE standards
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Expand SCHIP
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Make English official language
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Path to citizenship
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Fetus is unborn child
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Prosecute hate crimes
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Withdraw troops 3/08
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Iran guard is terrorist group
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
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The Almanac is a members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics. Comprehensive online profiles include biographical and political summaries of elected officials, campaign expenditures, voting records, interest-group ratings, and congressional staff look-ups. In-depth overviews of each state and house district are included as well, along with demographic data, analysis of voting trends, and political histories.
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