Joe Courtney (politician)

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Joe Courtney
Joe Courtney, official 110th Congress photo portrait.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 2nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2007
Preceded by Rob Simmons
Personal details
Born (1953-04-06) April 6, 1953 (age 65)
Hartford, Connecticut
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Audrey Courtney
Residence Vernon, Connecticut
Alma mater Tufts University, University of Connecticut
Occupation Attorney
Religion Roman Catholic[1]

Joseph "Joe" Courtney (born April 6, 1953) is the U.S. Representative for Connecticut's 2nd congressional district, serving since 2007. The district includes most of the eastern third of the state, including Norwich and New London. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Early life and education

Courtney grew up in suburban Hartford. In 1975 he graduated from Tufts University. He earned a law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1978.


Prior to Congress

After graduating from law school, Courtney worked as a public defender for three years. He became a partner in the law firm Courtney, Boyan & Foran, and also served as Town Attorney in Vernon, Connecticut, where he lives.

From 1987 to 1994, Courtney served in the Connecticut House of Representatives, representing Connecticut's 56th district. He was chairman of the Public Health and Human Service Committee and oversaw the Blue Ribbon Commission on Universal Health Insurance. In 1994, he was honored by Connecticut Magazine for his bipartisan efforts in the state house.

In 1998, after four years out of office, Courtney made an unsuccessful bid for Lieutenant Governor. In 2002, he ran for Congress against incumbent Republican Rob Simmons. Courtney did not announce his candidacy or raise money until September 2001; by that time, Simmons had more than $500,000 in campaign funding. Simmons defeated Courtney in the November election, 54% to 46%.[2]

Election to Congress

Courtney challenged Simmons again in 2006, in a race that political strategists projected would be very close. Courtney was declared the winner on Election Day; initial tallies showed him ahead by 167 votes, out of more than 242,000 votes. Under Connecticut law the race qualified for an automatic re-canvass because the winning margin was less than one half percent. The recount, finished on November 14, showed Courtney with 91 votes more than Simmons.[3]



Courtney's 2008 Republican challenger was the former commanding officer of the Naval Submarine Base New London, Sean Sullivan.[4] Courtney won the election by a two-to-one margin.[5][6][7]

On May 21, 2008, he announced his endorsement of then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama for president.


Courtney was challenged by Republican nominee Janet Peckinpaugh, Green Party nominee Scott Deshefy, and Libertarian write-in Dan Reale. Courtney was re-elected to another term.[8]


Courtney faced off against businesswoman Lori Hopkins-Cavanagh in November. Hopkins-Cavanagh is a business owner and radio show host from New London, Connecticut.

U.S. House of Representatives

Political issues

In 2010, Courtney was the leading voice in the House against the so-called "Cadillac tax" on high-dollar health plans, part of the funding proposed for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.Patricia Murphy (January 11, 2010). "'Cadillac' Tax' Puts Obama on Collision Course With House Democrats". Politics Daily.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Committee assignments

Prior to the 112th Congress, Courtney served on the Committee on Education and Labor with membership on the Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness and Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.


Courtney lives with his wife, a nurse practitioner, and two children in Vernon, a suburb of Hartford.


  1. "Joe Courtney (D-Conn.)". The Washington Post. 2012-06-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Michael Leahy (June 10, 2007). "House Rules". Washington Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Jennifer Medina (November 16, 2006). "Democrat Wins House Seat After Recount in Connecticut". New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Dankosky, John; Blanksteen, Melissa (2008-04-15). "2nd District Challenger Sean Sullivan". Where We Live. Connecticut Public Broadcasting. Retrieved 2008-10-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Mann, Ted (2008-11-05). "This Time, Courtney Cruises". The New London Day. Retrieved 2008-11-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Gannon, Michael (2008-11-04). "Decision 2008: No doubt this time — Courtney wins big". Norwich Bulletin. Retrieved 2008-11-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Mahony, Edmund H.; Funkhouser ,David; Marteka, Peter (2008-11-05). "Courtney Re-Elected To Congress By Wide Margin". The Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2008-11-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. AP Election Results -

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Rob Simmons
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 2nd congressional district

January 3, 2007 – present
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Steve Cohen
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Keith Ellison