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

Biography

Elected: 1988, 13th term.

Born: February 14, 1949, Worcester, MA

Home: Springfield, MA

Education: Amer. Intl. Col., B.A. 1972, U. of Hartford, M.A. 1976

Professional Career: Staff asst., Springfield Mayor William C. Sullivan, 1973–78; High schl. & col. teacher, 1978–83.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Roman Catholic

Family: Married (Maureen Conway) , 4 children

Democrat Richard Neal, first elected in 1988, has established himself as one of his party’s pro-business leaders on economic policy. He holds a senior position on the powerful Ways and Means Committee and has close ties to the insurance and investment industries, which are his leading sources of campaign funds.

Neal grew up in Springfield amid the acute racial tensions of the mid-1960s. His parents died when he was a teenager, and Neal and his younger sisters received monthly Social Security survivor benefits while being raised by their grandmother and aunt. He graduated from American International College and earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Hartford. In Springfield, he worked for the mayor; and in 1978, while teaching high school and college history, he was elected to the City Council. As mayor from 1984 to 1988, Neal worked to rehabilitate the downtown area and revitalize neighborhoods.

His congressional predecessor, 36-year incumbent Edward Boland, a longtime pal of former Democratic House Speaker Thomas (Tip) O’Neill, essentially bequeathed him the House seat. Boland announced his retirement just before the filing deadline, and after Neal had traveled the district for a year. Unopposed in the Democratic primary, Neal won the general election with 80% of the vote.

Neal has a generally liberal voting record, especially since Democrats were consigned to the minority in 2011, but has favored enough moderate initiatives to separate himself from more-liberal Massachusetts colleagues. He voted for the 1996 welfare overhaul and supported both the North American Free Trade Agreement and normalization of trade relations with China, although organized labor opposed the pacts. He is also active in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Business Council, which does outreach to industry.

Neal is the ranking Democrat on the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee of Ways and Means, which handles many tax and tariff bills and which he chaired when Democrats were in the majority. He crusaded for repeal of the alternative minimum tax, which was designed to ensure that the wealthy pay a fair share of taxes but which has been increasingly ensnaring middle-income taxpayers. After years of trying, he succeeded in early 2013 in passing a permanent “patch” on the tax to keep pace with inflation. Neal also has sought to reform the tax code, which he has said is “creaking under its own weight.” He proposed in mid-2010 that the expiration of President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy be used to finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He took the lead for House Democrats on a popular proposal to clamp down on companies that incorporate in Bermuda and other offshore havens to avoid U.S. taxes. Neal also worked with the Obama administration on a bill to require employers who do not sponsor retirement plans for their workers to automatically enroll them in Individual Retirement Accounts funded by payroll deductions, unless an employee opts out.

When Democrat Charles Rangel of New York was forced to step down as Ways and Means chairman in March 2010 while battling ethics problems, Neal was mentioned as a possible replacement, but the gavel went to the more senior Sander Levin of Michigan. Neal vigorously pushed for the job, arguing that the party needed to shelve its seniority tradition in favor of having a better spokesman in the role. He contended he would be a more business-friendly alternative to Levin, who is strongly pro-labor, and could work more closely with Republicans to get bills passed. Neal raised substantial sums for endangered Democratic incumbents in the 2010 election—always a good way to get the leadership to take notice. After the election, he won a 23-22 vote of the Democratic Steering Committee. But he lost to Levin on a vote of the full caucus, 109-78, with many Democrats indicating they were not ready to upend the seniority system.

On local issues, Neal has focused on the economic problems of Springfield. In 2007, he was instrumental in securing a $22 million grant for renovation of its Union Station, as well as $121 million in 2010 for high-speed rail service in the region. To help the growing number of craft-beer brewers in his district and elsewhere, he introduced a bipartisan bill in January 2013 to cut excise taxes on beer in half.

Neal had serious primary challenges in 1990 and 1992, but won reelection by healthy margins. He ran unopposed in four successive elections before facing a challenge in 2010 from Republican business executive Thomas Wesley. Neal campaigned aggressively, getting Education Secretary Arne Duncan to appear with him on opening day of school in Springfield, and he won with 57% of the vote.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5601

(202) 225-8112

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 341
Washington, DC 20515-2101

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5601

(202) 225-8112

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 341
Washington, DC 20515-2101

DISTRICT OFFICE

(413) 785-0325

(413) 747-0604

300 State Street Suite 200
Springfield, MA 01105-1711

DISTRICT OFFICE

(413) 785-0325

(413) 747-0604

300 State Street Suite 200
Springfield, MA 01105-1711

DISTRICT OFFICE

(413) 442-0946

(413) 443-2792

78 Center Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201

DISTRICT OFFICE

(413) 442-0946

(413) 443-2792

78 Center St.
Pittsfield, MA 01201

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

36 Atwater Terrace
Springfield, MA 01107

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

36 Atwater Terrace
Springfield, MA 01107

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Staff

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Abortion

Ann Jablon
Chief of Staff

ann.jablon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5601

Acquisitions

Ann Jablon
Chief of Staff

ann.jablon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5601

Agriculture

Patrick O'Connor
Legislative Assistant

Appropriations

Ann Jablon
Chief of Staff

ann.jablon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5601

Arts

Ann Jablon
Chief of Staff

ann.jablon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5601

Timothy Ranstrom
Legislative Assistant; Scheduler

Jeanne Ahern
Staff Assistant

Budget

Ann Jablon
Chief of Staff

ann.jablon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5601

Campaign

Ann Jablon
Chief of Staff

ann.jablon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5601

Crime

William Tranghese
Press Secretary

Education

Ann Jablon
Chief of Staff

ann.jablon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5601

Timothy Ranstrom
Legislative Assistant; Scheduler

Energy

Patrick O'Connor
Legislative Assistant

Entertainment

Timothy Ranstrom
Legislative Assistant; Scheduler

Environment

Patrick O'Connor
Legislative Assistant

Family

Ann Jablon
Chief of Staff

ann.jablon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5601

Finance

Brandon Casey
Legislative Director; Tax Counsel

Jeanne Ahern
Staff Assistant

Foreign

William Tranghese
Press Secretary

Govt Ops

Ann Jablon
Chief of Staff

ann.jablon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5601

Grants

Timothy Ranstrom
Legislative Assistant; Scheduler

Gun Issues

William Tranghese
Press Secretary

Health

Ann Jablon
Chief of Staff

ann.jablon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5601

Jeanne Ahern
Staff Assistant

Homeland Security

William Tranghese
Press Secretary

Housing

Ann Jablon
Chief of Staff

ann.jablon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5601

Patrick O'Connor
Legislative Assistant

Immigration

William Tranghese
Press Secretary

Insurance

Brandon Casey
Legislative Director; Tax Counsel

Intelligence

William Tranghese
Press Secretary

Internet

Ann Jablon
Chief of Staff

ann.jablon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5601

Judiciary

Timothy Ranstrom
Legislative Assistant; Scheduler

Labor

Brandon Casey
Legislative Director; Tax Counsel

Patrick O'Connor
Legislative Assistant

Medicare

Ann Jablon
Chief of Staff

ann.jablon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5601

Military

William Tranghese
Press Secretary

Jeanne Ahern
Staff Assistant

Ronald Chapdelaine
Staff Assistant

Minorities

William Tranghese
Press Secretary

Privacy

Ann Jablon
Chief of Staff

ann.jablon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5601

Recreation

Ann Jablon
Chief of Staff

ann.jablon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5601

William Tranghese
Press Secretary

Science

Patrick O'Connor
Legislative Assistant

Social Security

Ann Jablon
Chief of Staff

ann.jablon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5601

Jeanne Ahern
Staff Assistant

Tax

Brandon Casey
Legislative Director; Tax Counsel

Technology

Patrick O'Connor
Legislative Assistant

Telecommunications

Patrick O'Connor
Legislative Assistant

Trade

Brandon Casey
Legislative Director; Tax Counsel

Transportation

Patrick O'Connor
Legislative Assistant

Veterans

Timothy Ranstrom
Legislative Assistant; Scheduler

Ronald Chapdelaine
Staff Assistant

Welfare

Ann Jablon
Chief of Staff

ann.jablon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5601

Brandon Casey
Legislative Director; Tax Counsel

Women

Ann Jablon
Chief of Staff

ann.jablon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5601

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Richard Neal
Unopposed
2012 PRIMARY
Richard Neal
Votes: 40,295
Percent: 65.51%
Andrea Nuciforo
Votes: 15,159
Percent: 24.64%
Bill Shein
Votes: 6,059
Percent: 9.85%
2010 GENERAL
Richard Neal
Votes: 122,751
Percent: 57.33%
Thomas Wesley
Votes: 91,209
Percent: 42.6%
2010 PRIMARY
Richard Neal
Votes: 31,053
Percent: 100.0%
2008 GENERAL
Richard Neal
Votes: 234,369
Percent: 98.47%
2008 PRIMARY
Richard Neal
Votes: 30,017
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (57%), 2008 (98%), 2006 (100%), 2004 (100%), 2002 (100%), 2000 (100%), 1998 (100%), 1996 (72%), 1994 (59%), 1992 (53%), 1990 (100%), 1988 (80%)

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