Where and when
Speaker John Boehner was elected to represent the Eighth Congressional District of Ohio for an 11th term in November 2010. John is a proven leader in the drive for a smaller, less costly, and more accountable federal government.
The second oldest of 12 brothers and sisters, John has lived in southwest Ohio his entire life. He grew up mopping floors and waiting tables at his family tavern, and played football for legendary coach Gerry Faust at Cincinnati’s Moeller High School. After graduating in 1968, he worked several jobs to pay his way through Xavier University. While working as a night janitor he met Debbie—now his wife of 37 years—and in 1977 earned his bachelor’s degree in business.
John and Debbie raised two daughters, Lindsay and Tricia, in the northern Cincinnati suburb of West Chester where they still live today.
Before he ever made his first run for elected office—a spot on his neighborhood homeowners’ association—John ran a small business in the plastics and packaging industry. His experience in the private sector—meeting a payroll, paying taxes, dealing with government red tape—prepared him well to be a reformer in the public sector.
Elected to Congress in 1990, John and fellow members of the “Gang of Seven” took on the House establishment—Democrats and Republicans. They successfully closed the scandal-riddled House Bank, uncovered “dine-and-dash” practices at the House Restaurant, and exposed drug sales and cozy cash-for-stamps deals at the House Post Office.
In 1994, he helped secured passage of legislation allowing school districts to use their Title I funds for public school choice programs, under which parents could choose which public school their children would attend.
John was also instrumental in crafting the Contract with America. One of the Contract’s cornerstones—the Congressional Accountability Act, which required Congress to live under the same rules and regulations as the rest of the nation—bears the unmistakable print of his drive to reform the House.
After Republicans won their first Congressional majority in several decades, his colleagues elected him to serve as House GOP Conference Chairman in the 104th and 105th Congress where he was a powerful voice in the fight to force Washington to stick to the strict spending limits in the Balanced Budget Act.
In 1999, as Vice-Chairman of the House Administration Committee, John joined House leaders to announce the first-ever “clean” independent audit of the House, a reform he first called for as a member of the Gang of Seven in 1992.
As chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce from 2001 to 2006, he co-wrote the bill establishing the first private school choice program in the District of Columbia, and worked with other reformers to ensure parental choice provisions were included in the bipartisan No Child Left Behind Act to reinforce its goal of bringing greater accountability to taxpayer-funded education programs.
In 2006, Boehner’s Pension Protection Act—the most sweeping reform of America’s pension laws in more than 30 years—was signed into law, helping to ensure workers can count on their benefits when they retire.
In his role as House Republican Leader in the 110th Congress, Boehner united Republicans against job-killing bills like ObamaCare and “cap and trade” that were passed over the objections of the American people. And under his leadership, Republicans launched several efforts designed to develop better, principled solutions to the challenges facing families and small businesses. Among them: the innovative America Speaking Out project which gave Americans a platform to discuss and share their priorities with national leaders—a platform that led to the Pledge to America, Republicans’ new governing agenda for the country. Boehner also launched the GOP State Solutions project, an initiative aimed at bringing reform-minded Republicans at the state and federal levels together to promote common-sense solutions from outside the Beltway.
On November 17, 2010—his 61st birthday—Boehner was elected by his colleagues to serve as Speaker-designate. Since that time he has fought to make the legislative process more open and to ensure the priorities of Americans are reflected in the priorities of lawmakers. He led the drive for an aggressive set of reforms that require bills to be posted online at least three days before a vote, make it easier to cut spending, require legislation to cite its authority in the Constitution, and more. He also led House Republicans in adopting the first-ever ban on “earmarks”—the secretive, pork-barrel spending he has opposed since his first days in Congress.
Today, Speaker Boehner is focused on removing government barriers to private-sector job creation and economic growth, cutting government spending, reforming Congress, and rebuilding the bonds of trust between the American people and their representatives in Washington.