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Democrat

Rep. Peter Visclosky (D)

Peter Visclosky Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-2461

Address: 2256 RHOB, DC 20515

State Office Contact Information

Phone: (219) 795-1844

Address: 7895 Broadway, Merrillville IN 46410-5529

Peter Visclosky Staff
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Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
DeVooght, Joe
Deputy Chief of Staff
DeVooght, Joe
Deputy Chief of Staff
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Adamczewski, Megan
Legislative Correspondent
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Adamczewski, Megan
Legislative Correspondent
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
DeVooght, Joe
Deputy Chief of Staff
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Adamczewski, Megan
Legislative Correspondent
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
DeVooght, Joe
Deputy Chief of Staff
Adamczewski, Megan
Legislative Correspondent
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
DeVooght, Joe
Deputy Chief of Staff
Adamczewski, Megan
Legislative Correspondent
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Adamczewski, Megan
Legislative Correspondent
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Adamczewski, Megan
Legislative Correspondent
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Adamczewski, Megan
Legislative Correspondent
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Adamczewski, Megan
Legislative Correspondent
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Adamczewski, Megan
Legislative Correspondent
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
DeVooght, Joe
Deputy Chief of Staff
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Adamczewski, Megan
Legislative Correspondent
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Adamczewski, Megan
Legislative Correspondent
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
DeVooght, Joe
Deputy Chief of Staff
Adamczewski, Megan
Legislative Correspondent
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Adamczewski, Megan
Legislative Correspondent
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Adamczewski, Megan
Legislative Correspondent
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
DeVooght, Joe
Deputy Chief of Staff
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
DeVooght, Joe
Deputy Chief of Staff
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Adamczewski, Megan
Legislative Correspondent
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Adamczewski, Megan
Legislative Correspondent
Baack, Korry
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Belle, Isaac
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Blaker, Amy
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Engdahl, Seth
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Gurnak, Mary
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Deputy Chief of Staff
Gulvas, Gregory
Director of Constituent Services
Johnson, Elizabeth
Director of Projects
Baack, Korry
Executive Assistant; Scheduler
Belle, Isaac
Defense Fellow
Norvell, Emma
Senior Legislative Assistant
Adamczewski, Megan
Legislative Correspondent
Spicer, Kevin
Legislative Director
Reed, Dawn
Congressional Relations Manager
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Executive Assistant; Scheduler
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Peter Visclosky Committees
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Peter Visclosky Biography
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  • Elected: 1984, 15th term.
  • District: Indiana 1
  • Born: Aug. 13, 1949, Gary
  • Home: Merrillville
  • Education:

    IN U. Northwest, B.S. 1970, U. of Notre Dame, J.D. 1973, Georgetown U., LL.M. 1982

  • Professional Career:

    Practicing atty., 1973–76, 1983–84; Aide, U.S. Rep. Adam Benjamin, 1976–82.

  • Ethnicity: White/Caucasian
  • Religion:

    Catholic

  • Family: Married (Joanne Royce); 2 children

Peter Visclosky, a Democrat first elected in 1984, is a former congressional aide who has found his niche in the House. “I’m an appropriator,” he once said. “Money makes policy.” Read More

Peter Visclosky, a Democrat first elected in 1984, is a former congressional aide who has found his niche in the House. “I’m an appropriator,” he once said. “Money makes policy.”

Visclosky grew up in Lake County. His father was mayor of Gary in the early 1960s, and Visclosky went to college there and to law school at the University of Notre Dame. He practiced law and then worked for six years in Washington for 1st District Rep. Adam Benjamin, a Democrat. Benjamin died suddenly of a heart ailment in 1982, and Visclosky returned to Indiana.

In 1984, he ran for the House seat in the Democratic primary against Katie Hall, a black state senator who had been given the 1982 nomination—and thus the election, in this Democratic district—by Gary Mayor Richard Hatcher, who was also the district’s party chairman. In the 1984 contest, she faced a determined Visclosky, who pulled out all the stops to connect with voters since he couldn’t rely on the local Democratic establishment, which was backing Hall. He called himself the “Slovak Kid” to connect with the district’s many European ethnic groups, and he held hot dog dinners to attract young people and others not usually involved in local politics. Visclosky narrowly prevailed over Hall with 34% of the vote to her 33%. He easily won the general election with 71% of the vote.

With the recent departures of Sen. Richard Lugar and several other veteran Hoosier State veterans, Visclosky became the dean of Indiana’s congressional delegation in 2013. His voting record has trended moderate, though in recent years he has become more loyal to his party. He did break Democratic ranks in opposing the New Year’s Day 2013 budget deal aimed at averting the so-called fiscal cliff, saying that it left too many tax and spending issues unresolved. He also was one of 37 House Democrats in October 2011 voting to thwart tougher federal regulations of the waste left after burning coal for electricity. In 2008, he opposed creation of the Troubled Asset Relief Plan for the ailing financial services industry, although he did back a subsequent proposal to bail out major automakers.

Visclosky concentrates much of his effort on projects to help the local economy, especially the steel industry. He has a solidly pro-union voting record. He is a leader of the Congressional Steel Caucus and has been vigilant in monitoring surges in steel imports. He urged the International Trade Commission in January 2013 to maintain trade protections against corrosion-resistant steel from Germany and South Korea and has repeatedly introduced bills requiring that federal funded projects use only American-made steel. When George W. Bush was elected president in 2000 with critical help from steel-producing areas, Visclosky had greater leverage, and Bush did impose steel import quotas. But when the quotas were removed, Visclosky protested that Bush “stabbed the American steelworkers in the back.” He opposed the House-passed bill in 2009 establishing a cap-and-trade system to curb greenhouse gas emissions because it “leaves no margin of error as it relates to jobs in the domestic steel industry.”

The retirement of veteran appropriator Norm Dicks of Washington state enabled Visclosky to grab the coveted ranking Democrat slot on the Appropriations defense subcommittee in 2013. When Democrats were in the majority, he was the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, making him one of the powerful “cardinals” of the House. But he was forced to step aside, at least temporarily, in June 2009 after he was subpoenaed as part of a grand jury investigation into possible corruption. The next-in-line in seniority, Democrat Ed Pastor of Arizona, took over the subcommittee for the duration of the investigation. In 2007, The Indianapolis Star reported that Visclosky had steered more than $12 million to out-of-state defense companies that contributed to his campaign. Much of that federal money had been secured through the efforts of a lobbying firm, PMA Group, that hired a former top Visclosky aide, Richard Kaelin, the newspaper reported. Visclosky said, “I have always abided by the law and adhered to the rules and code of ethics of the House.” The House Ethics Committee formally cleared Visclosky and six other Appropriations members in February 2010.

Visclosky has been adept at securing federal funding for projects in his district and doling them out to other lawmakers. One of his efforts was passing an exemption to the federal Johnson Act that made Lake Michigan waters eligible for gambling, thus allowing riverboat casinos for Gary. In recent years, he has echoed President Obama’s call for increased federal spending on infrastructure, which he said would help revitalize his district’s economy. “I am very big on transformational projects,” he told the Northwest Indiana Times in November 2012. “This area was transformed 100 years ago when somebody came in and built that first rail mill and built that first refinery. … So we need to do some transformational things.”

At home, Visclosky appeared secure politically until he became a target in the corruption probe in early 2009. But Republicans had trouble finding a candidate who could compete in the costly Chicago media market, and the GOP nomination fell to Mark Leyva, a carpenter who had lost four previous races to Visclosky. All Leyva could do was narrow the margin of victory for Visclosky, who won with 59% of the vote in 2010. He elevated his winning total to 67% in 2012, an indication that the scandal was squarely behind him.

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Peter Visclosky Election Results
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2012 General
Peter Visclosky (D)
Votes: 187,743
Percent: 67.28%
Joel Phelps (R)
Votes: 91,291
Percent: 32.72%
2012 Primary
Peter Visclosky (D)
Votes: 42,219
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (59%), 2008 (71%), 2006 (70%), 2004 (68%), 2002 (67%), 2000 (72%), 1998 (73%), 1996 (69%), 1994 (56%), 1992 (69%), 1990 (66%), 1988 (77%), 1986 (73%), 1984 (71%)
Peter Visclosky 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 69 (L) : 31 (C) 66 (L) : 33 (C) 66 (L) : 33 (C)
Social 87 (L) : 7 (C) 78 (L) : 19 (C) 80 (L) : - (C)
Foreign 64 (L) : 36 (C) 67 (L) : 32 (C) 77 (L) : 23 (C)
Composite 74.3 (L) : 25.7 (C) 71.2 (L) : 28.8 (C) 77.8 (L) : 22.2 (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
LCV8989
CFG1412
ITIC-27
NTU1614
20112012
COC20-
ACLU-100
ACU120
ADA9080
AFSCME100-
Key House 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.

    • Pass GOP budget
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Extend payroll tax cut
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Find AG in contempt
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Stop student loan hike
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Repeal health care
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass cut, cap, balance
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Defund Planned Parenthood
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Repeal lightbulb ban
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Add endangered listings
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Speed troop withdrawal
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Regulate financial firms
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Pass tax cuts for some
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Stop detainee transfers
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Legalize immigrants' kids
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Repeal don't ask, tell
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Limit campaign funds
    • Vote:
    • Year: 2010
    • Overturn Ledbetter
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass $820 billion stimulus
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Let guns in national parks
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass cap-and-trade
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Bar federal abortion funds
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass health care bill
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Bail out financial markets
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Repeal D.C. gun law
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Overhaul FISA
    • Vote:
    • Year: 2008
    • Increase minimum wage
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Expand SCHIP
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Raise CAFE standards
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Share immigration data
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Foreign aid abortion ban
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Ban gay bias in workplace
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Withdraw troops 8/08
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • No operations in Iran
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Free trade with Peru
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
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