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

Biography

Elected: Oct. 2001, 6th full term.

Born: March 31, 1955, Boston

Home: South Boston

Education: Wentworth Inst., B.S. 1988, Boston Col. Schl. of Law, J.D. 1991, Harvard U. JFK Schl. of Gov., M.A. 1998

Professional Career: Structural ironworker, 1973-91; Practicing atty., 1991-2001.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Catholic

Family: married (Margaret) , 2 children

Democrat Stephen Lynch, who won a special election in 2001 to succeed the late Joe Moakley, is an ironworker-turned-lawyer who is popular with both blue-collar and white-collar constituents. He is less liberal than his Massachusetts Democratic colleagues, but no less ambitious—he jumped into a 2013 special election for the Senate seat vacated by John Kerry’s confirmation as secretary of State.

Lynch grew up in Boston’s housing projects and took pride in making good by following the old ethnic precepts of hard work, family loyalty, and personal determination. After graduating from South Boston High School, he joined his father as a full-time ironworker while attending the Wentworth Institute. Eventually, he became the youngest president in the history of the 2,000-member Local 7 of the Ironworkers union. After a fall on the job cut short his ironworking career, he graduated from Boston College Law School and opened a legal practice representing working people. In 1994, he was elected to the state House. Fourteen months later, he won a special election for a seat in the state Senate.

Lynch built a political base in South Boston and had strong union ties, advantages that led him to pursue the seat when Moakley announced in February 2001 that he would not seek reelection. The ailing Moakley, who was beloved by many House Democrats as a link between the party’s old and new generations, died in May of that year. Lynch was one of several Democrats who had expressed interest in the race. The most prominent was Max Kennedy, son of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, but his campaign never gained traction. Lynch became the front-runner. He stumbled after The Boston Globe revealed his student loan defaults years earlier, plus a tax lien that was resolved in 1998. He had also been arrested twice two decades earlier, for striking an anti-American student demonstrator and for smoking marijuana at a concert.

Three other state senators opposed Lynch, and the strongest among them was Cheryl Jacques, who is openly gay and had support from EMILY’s List and other national feminist groups that criticized Lynch’s anti-abortion rights views. But her switch in opposition to capital punishment stirred controversy. Moakley’s two brothers, who wielded much influence, endorsed Lynch. Primary Election Day was September 11, 2001, but Republican Gov. Jane Swift decided not to postpone the vote despite the terrorist attacks. Lynch bested Jacques, 39% to 29%. In the anti-climactic general election five weeks later, he defeated another state senator, Jo Ann Sprague, 66%-33%.

In the House, Lynch falls roughly in the middle of the Democratic Caucus, and he has had the most conservative voting record in the Massachusetts delegation, especially on cultural issues. “That’s like being called the slowest of the Kenyans in the marathon,” he once quipped to the Boston Herald. He backed building a fence on the U.S.-Mexico border and was one of three Massachusetts House members to vote for the Iraq war resolution. When some Democrats in February 2012 called for releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to try to reduce gasoline prices, Lynch called the idea “premature.” He moderated his stance on abortion in February 2013, saying he believes it is a constitutionally protected right and that as a senator he would oppose anti-abortion Supreme Court nominees. He showed unexpected support for gay rights causes, developing a political alliance with home-state colleague Barney Frank, an openly gay Democrat.

Lynch’s mother was a postal clerk, and he has taken an interest in helping the financially strapped Postal Service. To address its overpaying tens of billions of dollars into the Civil Service Retirement System, he sponsored a measure in 2010 and 2011 to recalculate the retirement system obligations under a new formula. He praised a wide-ranging Postal Service overhaul that passed the Senate in 2012 but that House Republicans condemned as too costly.

Lynch also was much engaged in the congressional investigations into steroid use in professional baseball. When former Red Sox star pitcher Roger Clemens testified in February 2008 that he had not used steroids, Lynch said he doubted that Clemens was telling the truth and called for prosecuting players who use steroids. After questioning the extent of the FBI’s involvement with infamous South Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, Lynch introduced a bill in 2011 to increase congressional oversight of law enforcement agencies’ use of confidential informants.

His occasional departures from the party line were tolerated by the leadership, but Lynch went too far when he voted against the final health care overhaul bill in 2010. He was one of five Democrats to switch their votes after having backed the initial House version, and not even a last-minute appeal from Sen. Edward Kennedy’s widow, Victoria Kennedy, changed his mind. He cited the Senate’s decision to strip out an antitrust exemption for insurance companies and the elimination of the government-run public option to compete with insurers. “In the end, we allowed the insurance companies to prevail,” he said. He did side with his party against House Republicans’ legislation to repeal the law in January 2011.

Lynch has been reelected without great difficulty. His opposition to the health care bill prompted a primary challenge from the left in 2010 from Mac D’Alessandro, a former regional political director for the Service Employees International Union. D’Alessandro drew support from MoveOn.org and other progressive groups. But Lynch stressed his independence to voters, out-raised his opponent by more than 2-to-1, and won handily, 66%-34%. From there, he had an effortless ride to reelection, winning with 68%.

In early 2013, Lynch entered the primary contest for Kerry’s seat, a race that also drew his more-senior Massachusetts Democratic colleague, Ed Markey. Lynch said, “I think what the Senate could use—it’s such an elite club—is someone to bring the concerns of the average American people to the U.S. Senate, so they’re not so insulated.” But Markey easily defeated Lynch in the primary.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-8273

(202) 225-3984

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2369
Washington, DC 20515-2108

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-8273

(202) 225-3984

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2369
Washington, DC 20515-2108

DISTRICT OFFICE

(617) 428-2000

(617) 428-2011

One Harbor Street Suite 304
Boston, MA 02210-2433

DISTRICT OFFICE

(617) 428-2000

(617) 428-2011

One Harbor Street Suite 304
Boston, MA 02210-2433

DISTRICT OFFICE

(508) 586-5555

(508) 580-4692

Brockton Federal Building Suite 200
Brockton, MA 02301-4326

DISTRICT OFFICE

(508) 586-5555

(508) 580-4692

Brockton Federal Building Suite 200
Brockton, MA 02301-4326

DISTRICT OFFICE

(617) 657-6305

(617) 773-0995

1245 Hancock Street Suite 16
Quincy, MA 02169-4320

DISTRICT OFFICE

(617) 657-6305

(617) 773-0995

1245 Hancock Street Suite 16
Quincy, MA 02169-4320

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

105 Farragut Road
South Boston, MA 02127

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(617) 453-8683

105 Farragut Road
South Boston, MA 02127

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Acquisitions

Greta Gordon
Office Manager

Agriculture

Jim Gordon
Senior Policy Advisor

jim.gordon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-8273

Appropriations

Kevin Ryan
Chief of Staff

kevin.ryan@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-8273

Banking

Jaclyn Cahan
Legislative Counsel

Budget

Jaclyn Cahan
Legislative Counsel

Campaign

Jaclyn Cahan
Legislative Counsel

Census

Bruce Fernandez
Legislative Director

Commerce

Jaclyn Cahan
Legislative Counsel

Education

Mariana Osorio
Legislative Assistant

Energy

Jim Gordon
Senior Policy Advisor

jim.gordon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-8273

Environment

Jim Gordon
Senior Policy Advisor

jim.gordon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-8273

Finance

Jaclyn Cahan
Legislative Counsel

Foreign

Mariana Osorio
Legislative Assistant

Govt Ops

Bruce Fernandez
Legislative Director

Health

Jim Gordon
Senior Policy Advisor

jim.gordon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-8273

Dan Lynch
Senior District Representative

dan.lynch@mail.house.gov
(617) 428-2000

Homeland Security

Mariana Osorio
Legislative Assistant

Housing

Jaclyn Cahan
Legislative Counsel

Nick Zaferakis
Senior District Representative

Immigration

Mariana Osorio
Legislative Assistant

Internet

Jim Gordon
Senior Policy Advisor

jim.gordon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-8273

Judiciary

Jaclyn Cahan
Legislative Counsel

Labor

Jim Gordon
Senior Policy Advisor

jim.gordon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-8273

Dan Lynch
Senior District Representative

dan.lynch@mail.house.gov
(617) 428-2000

Medicare

Jim Gordon
Senior Policy Advisor

jim.gordon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-8273

Military

Mariana Osorio
Legislative Assistant

Science

Mariana Osorio
Legislative Assistant

Seniors

Nick Zaferakis
Senior District Representative

Small Business

Jaclyn Cahan
Legislative Counsel

Social Security

Jaclyn Cahan
Legislative Counsel

Nick Zaferakis
Senior District Representative

Tax

Jaclyn Cahan
Legislative Counsel

Nick Zaferakis
Senior District Representative

Technology

Mariana Osorio
Legislative Assistant

Telecommunications

Jim Gordon
Senior Policy Advisor

jim.gordon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-8273

Trade

Jaclyn Cahan
Legislative Counsel

Transportation

Jim Gordon
Senior Policy Advisor

jim.gordon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-8273

Dan Lynch
Senior District Representative

dan.lynch@mail.house.gov
(617) 428-2000

Veterans

Mariana Osorio
Legislative Assistant

Dan Lynch
Senior District Representative

dan.lynch@mail.house.gov
(617) 428-2000

Women

Jim Gordon
Senior Policy Advisor

jim.gordon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-8273

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Stephen Lynch
Votes: 263,999
Percent: 76.25%
Joe Selvaggi
Votes: 82,242
Percent: 23.75%
2012 PRIMARY
Stephen Lynch
Unopposed
2010 GENERAL
Stephen Lynch
Votes: 157,071
Percent: 68.3%
Vernon Harrison
Votes: 59,965
Percent: 26.08%
Philip Dunkelbarger
Votes: 12,572
Percent: 5.47%
2010 PRIMARY
Stephen Lynch
Votes: 42,527
Percent: 64.79%
MacDonald D'Alessandro
Votes: 23,109
Percent: 35.21%
2008 GENERAL
Stephen Lynch
Votes: 242,166
Percent: 98.72%
2008 PRIMARY
Stephen Lynch
Votes: 40,332
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (68%), 2008 (99%), 2006 (78%), 2004 (100%), 2002 (100%), 2001 special (66%)

To order a print copy of the 2016 edition of the Almanac of American Politics, click here. For questions about print orders, call Columbia Books at 1-888-265-0600 ext 0266 or email customer service.

For questions about the digital Almanac, please contact your Dedicated Advisor or Membership@NationalJournal.com.

×