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

Biography

Elected: Nov. 1988, 14th full term.

Born: October 30, 1951, Long Branch, NJ

Home: Long Branch, NJ

Education: Middlebury Col., B.A. 1973, Fletcher Schl. of Law & Diplomacy, M.A. 1974, Rutgers U., J.D. 1978

Professional Career: Asst. prof., Rutgers U., 1979–80; Practicing atty., 1981–83; Instructor, Monmouth Col., 1984–86.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Roman Catholic

Family: Married (Sarah Hospodor) , 3 children

Democrat Frank Pallone, elected in 1988, is one of his party’s chief messengers on health care and environmental issues as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. He became the panel's ranking Democrat in 2015 after edging out Anna Eshoo, who is a favorite of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Pallone is the son of a disabled Long Branch policeman. He has been an environmentalist since 1969, when as a Middlebury College freshman in Vermont he worked for that state’s first-in-the-nation bottle deposit law. After getting a master’s degree in international relations from Tufts University and a law degree from Rutgers, he was elected to the Long Branch City Council in 1982, at age 31, and to the New Jersey Senate a year later.

After the death of Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Howard, Pallone ran for the House. The district leaned Republican, but residents were angry about untreated sludge, plastic containers, and medical waste washing up on the beach. Pallone’s bumper sticker, which didn’t mention party affiliation, said, “Stop Ocean Dumping.” That, combined with his conservative stands on taxes and crime, helped him to win 52% in both the special and general elections.

Pallone started as a political maverick, but has become more loyal to the Democratic Party as he has risen in the party hierarchy. He was among those tied in National Journal rankings for most-liberal House member in 2011 (he was 38th in 2012 and 20th in 2013). His environmental focus has been on protecting the New Jersey shoreline. In 2006, he won passage of a bill to reduce and prevent debris in the marine environment. And two years later, he was the lead sponsor of a bipartisan bill to rebuild American fisheries, in part by requiring a review of factors that lead to over-fishing.

After the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, Pallone was among several New Jersey Democrats who implored President Barack Obama to reverse his decision to open up waters for drilling off the East Coast. He was critical of the administration’s response to Hurricane Sandy, which damaged many of his district’s coastal communities in 2012. He repeatedly demanded that the Federal Emergency Management Agency provide mobile homes for thousands of stranded residents, and then criticized the agency when it came through with just 50 trailers.

As chairman of Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health in 2009, Pallone helped steer to passage the Democrats’ expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which he called “a down payment to ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable health care.” When the Obama administration’s economic stimulus bill came up for debate, he backed an increase in the federal matching rate for Medicaid as a step to reduce the program’s financial burden on states. During the health care overhaul debate, he shuttled among the various factions of Blue Dogs and progressives to try to get them to be flexible. After the bill passed in 2010, and Republicans tried to repeal it, Pallone was among its most outspoken defenders. “The fact of the matter is, that if we pass these defunding amendments in the guise of budget austerity, (Republicans) are one step towards repealing the largest deficit-cutter passed in the last decade, and that’s the Affordable Care Act,” he said in February 2011.

On other health-related issues, Pallone got a bill through the subcommittee that set guidelines for the time period student athletes must be benched after suffering concussions. Before the 2010 World Series, he called on baseball teams to stop using chewing tobacco, saying it set a bad example for children.

On district issues, he worked with other Garden State lawmakers to prevent a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research lab in his district from closing. In a bow to the many people of Armenian descent in the district, Pallone helped push congressional approval of normalizing trade relations for Armenia. And he sponsored the resolution that labeled the 1915 killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide, which wasn’t passed. He also has been active on issues involving India and introduced a resolution in 2011 condemning violence against the upper-caste Hindus known as Kashmiri Pandits.

Since 1994, Pallone has usually been reelected with at least 60% of the vote. In 1998, he faced a tough challenge from 28-year-old Republican Mike Ferguson, an ally of former GOP Gov. Thomas Kean. An insurance group unhappy with Pallone’s support of President Bill Clinton’s plan to regulate health maintenance organizations spent nearly $2 million on Ferguson’s campaign. But Pallone won 57%-40%.

In 2010, he drew another formidable opponent in Republican Anna Little, the mayor of Highlands. With strong tea party backing, Little took strong socially conservative positions and blasted Pallone’s efforts to pass the health care bill. Pallone was bolstered by a series of newspaper endorsements and kept his seat, 55%-44%.

He has long wanted to make a run for the Senate. When Democratic Sen. Jon Corzine ran for governor in 2005, Pallone endorsed him. But after Corzine became governor, he disappointed Pallone by appointing U.S. Rep. Robert Menendez to his Senate seat. During Corzine’s reelection bid against Republican Chris Christie, Pallone became an attack dog for the governor, raising questions about Christie’s work as U.S. attorney for New Jersey and burnishing his own reputation among state party leaders. When Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg announced his retirement in February 2013, Pallone considered entering the primary but deferred to Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a rising star in the party who won the seat.

Eshoo had been Pelosi's choice to succeed retiring Rep. Henry Waxman as ranking Democrat on Energy and Commerce, but in November she was edged out by Pallone 100-90 in secret balloting by the entire Democratic Caucus. The Pelosi-controlled Democratic Steering and Policy Committee had endorsed Eshoo for the postion, 30-19. Pallone downplayed any lingering effects. "There's always going to be squabbles. It's a campaign," he said, describing the committee as a stage where Democrats can demonstrate that "we really are out there to try to protect the average person's interests."

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-4671

(202) 225-9665

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 237
Washington, DC 20515-3006

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-4671

(202) 225-9665

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 237
Washington, DC 20515-3006

DISTRICT OFFICE

(732) 571-1140

(732) 870-3890

504 Broadway
Long Branch, NJ 07740-5951

DISTRICT OFFICE

(732) 571-1140

(732) 870-3890

504 Broadway
Long Branch, NJ 07740-5951

DISTRICT OFFICE

(732) 249-8892

(732) 249-1335

Kilmer Square
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1242

DISTRICT OFFICE

(732) 249-8892

(732) 249-1335

Kilmer Square
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1242

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(732) 571-4141

PO Box 3176
Long Branch, NJ 07740

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

PO Box 3176
Long Branch, NJ 07740

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Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Frank Pallone
Votes: 151,782
Percent: 63.34%
Anna Little
Votes: 84,360
Percent: 35.2%
2012 PRIMARY
Frank Pallone
Unopposed
2010 GENERAL
Frank Pallone
Votes: 81,933
Percent: 54.75%
Anna Little
Votes: 65,413
Percent: 43.71%
2010 PRIMARY
Frank Pallone
Votes: 11,667
Percent: 100.0%
2008 GENERAL
Frank Pallone
Votes: 164,077
Percent: 66.95%
Robert McLeod
Votes: 77,469
Percent: 31.61%
2008 PRIMARY
Frank Pallone
Votes: 18,609
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (55%), 2008 (67%), 2006 (69%), 2004 (67%), 2002 (66%), 2000 (68%), 1998 (57%), 1996 (61%), 1994 (60%), 1992 (52%), 1990 (49%), 1988 (52%), 1988 special (52%)

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