John Yarmuth

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John Yarmuth
Official Congressional Photo of John Yarmuth.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 3rd district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2007
Preceded by Anne Northup
Personal details
Born John Allan Yarmuth[1]
(1947-11-04) November 4, 1947 (age 66)
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
Political party Democratic (1985–present)
Other political
affiliations
Republican (until 1985)
Spouse(s) Catherine Yarmuth
Children Aaron Yarmuth
Residence Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
Alma mater Yale University
Occupation Newspaper publisher
Religion Judaism

John Allan Yarmuth (born November 4, 1947) is the U.S. Representative for Kentucky's 3rd congressional district (which is effectively the city of Louisville) and has been since 2007. He is a member of the Democratic Party and a former member of the Republican Party.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Yarmuth was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Edna E. (née Klein) and Stanley R. Yarmuth. He is descended from Jewish immigrants from Russia and Austria.[2] He graduated from Atherton High School.[3] He then graduated from Yale University, majoring in American Studies.[3]

He worked for U.S. Senator Marlow Cook from 1971 to 1975, then returned to Louisville and launched his publishing career by founding the Louisville Today magazine, which operated from 1976 to 1982. He later worked as a vice-president of University Relations at the University of Louisville.[3]

In 1990, Yarmuth founded the Louisville Eccentric Observer (LEO), a weekly newspaper for which he wrote a generally progressive political column that was usually featured on the first page. In 2003, Yarmuth sold LEO to a company owned by Times Publishing Company of Pennsylvania, owner of the Erie Times-News, though Yarmuth remained on board as a columnist and consultant until January 2006, when he put his column on hiatus to run for Congress.[3]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Tenure[edit]

Yarmuth took office on January 3, 2007. As of 2014, he is serving his fourth term as Congressman.

After his first year in Congress, Yarmuth donated his post-tax congressional salary of just over $120,000 to various charities in Louisville.[4]

On February 8, 2008, Yarmuth endorsed Barack Obama in his bid for the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States.[5]

On September 29, 2008, Yarmuth voted against the TARP bailout plan, as negotiated by Democrats House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Republican President George W. Bush, House Minority Leader John Boehner, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.[6] However, he did vote in favor of the second version of the bailout bill.[7]

Yarmuth said he was so "nauseated" by a moment of silence for Michael Jackson on the House floor that he left the chamber. "I thought it was outrageous," he said. "In my two and a half years, we've not done this for anybody else. We've done it for former members and that's about it."[8]

After defeating Northup for the second time, Yarmuth was rewarded by the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee with a spot on the influential Ways and Means Committee. On the committee, Yarmuth worked on issues on which he campaigned before the 2008 general election: Social Security, pension, Medicare, and Medicaid issues.

At a September 2009 town hall meeting, constituents were unhappy with Yarmuth's decision to support the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. "Yarmuth stayed calm in the face of boos and catcalls from some in the audience" according to an Associated Press report. "He warned that the current health care system is an unsustainable drain on businesses and the nation's economy."[9]

In 2011, Yarmuth introduced a bill alongside Republican Congressman Walter Jones that would seek to overturn key parts of the controversial Citizens United court case. The legislation would also give Congress the power to enact mandatory public financing for Congressional candidates and create a national holiday for voting purposes.[10]

In 2011, Yarmuth voted against the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 due to a controversial provision which allows the government and the military to indefinitely detain American citizens and others without trial.[11][12]

Committee assignments[edit]

Party Leadership[edit]

  • Regional Whip

Political campaigns[edit]

2006[edit]

Yarmuth filed candidacy papers on January 31, 2006, to represent Kentucky's 3rd congressional district. Having won the Democratic primary on May 16, defeating Andrew Horne, Burrell Charles Farnsley and James W. Moore, he defeated incumbent Anne Northup (R) in November of that year.

On August 7, 2006, The Courier-Journal reported that The Hill revealed a week before that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had earmarked $51.5 million for television advertising in 32 congressional districts across the nation, but none for Yarmuth's challenge in the Third Congressional District.[13]

On October 20, a Courier-Journal article stated that a WHAS11/SurveyUSA poll revealed the race had tightened dramatically, with Yarmuth leading Northup 48 to 47 percent. Another poll a month earlier had Northup leading by 6 points.[14] A WHAS11/SurveyUSA poll released on November 2 showed Yarmuth leading Northup 52 to 44 percent.[15]

On October 26, Yarmuth told Courier-Journal reporter Kay Stewart that he would donate his congressional salary—which would be $168,500 in 2007—to local charity.[16]

Because polls close early in Kentucky, many analysts saw this race as a key indicator and it immediately became one of the most watched House races in the nation.

Yarmuth defeated Northup in the general election. He garnered 122,139 votes (51%) to Northup's 116,157 votes (48%). Independent candidates garnered 2,896 votes (1%).

2008[edit]

Yarmuth ran unopposed in the primary, and faced Anne Northup in a rematch of the 2006 general election.[17][18][19]

Yarmuth won the 2008 election with 59% of the vote.[20]

2010[edit]

Yarmuth was challenged by Republican Todd Lally and Independent Michael D. Hansen. Yarmuth was re-elected successfully.[21]

2012[edit]

Yarmuth was challenged by Republican Brooks Wicker and was re-elected successfully.

Television[edit]

In 2003, Yarmuth and former WHAS-AM radio talk show host John Ziegler debated political issues on the weekly WAVE program Yarmuth & Ziegler, with Yarmuth taking the liberal side and Ziegler, the conservative side. On a successor program, Hot Button, which ran from September 2004 to December 2005, he faced off with conservative Jim Milliman.

Yarmuth appeared on the March 8, 2007, episode of The Colbert Report in the show's "Better Know a District" series. In a parody of Yarmuth's former Yarmuth & Ziegler debate series, host Stephen Colbert prodded Yarmuth into a point/counterpoint style debate. After agreeing to the "debate," Colbert forced Yarmuth to defend the shredding of kittens in wood chippers, which Yarmuth gamely proceeded to do. Colbert referred to Yarmuth as a real life Bruce Wayne, and presented him with a framed print of his congressional photo with a Batman mask photoshopped over his face.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Yarmuth has served on many boards including the Bingham Child Guidance Center and Kentucky Country Day School. He is Kentucky's first Jewish congressman. Yarmuth and his wife, Cathy Yarmuth, have one son, Aaron, who is a graduate of Kentucky Country Day.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "John Allan Yarmuth (D)". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  2. ^ "yarmuth". Freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d Official House Biography Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  4. ^ Yarmuth For Congress » Campaign Blog » Yarmuth Donates 2007 Congressional Salary to Louisville Non-Profit Organizations at the Wayback Machine (archived April 12, 2008)
  5. ^ Carroll, James (2008-02-08). "Yarmuth endorses Obama". The Courier-Journal. [dead link]
  6. ^ Abdullah, Halimah (2008-09-29). "Four Congressmen vote No". Lexington Herald Leader. 
  7. ^ "Yarmuth Thinks Bailout Bill Stinks, Votes For It Anyway". WHAS-TV. 2008-10-03. 
  8. ^ Petchenik, Mike. "Yarmuth 'Nauseated' By Jackson Tribute". WLKY.com. Retrieved 11 April 2012. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Yarmuth faces boisterous town hall meeting". WBKO. 
  10. ^ Phillip M. Bailey (2011-12-20). "Yarmuth Introduces Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United Case". Archives.wfpl.org. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 
  11. ^ 1:12 (December 16, 2011). "NDAA Bill: How Did Your Congress Member Vote?". Ibtimes.com. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  12. ^ "House Vote 291 - Passes the the [sic] National Defense Authorization Act". Inside Congress. New York Times. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  13. ^ Stewart, Kay (2006-08-07). "National Democratic campaign doesn't plan ads for Yarmuth". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved 2006-09-01. 
  14. ^ Stewart, Kay (2006-10-20). "Poll: Northup, Yarmuth race in dead heat". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved 2006-11-09. 
  15. ^ Hebert, Mark (2006-11-02). "Yarmuth ahead in new poll". whas11.com. Archived from the original on 2007-02-11. Retrieved 2006-11-09. 
  16. ^ Stewart, Kay (2006-10-26). "Northup attacks Yarmuth's Wealth -- Hypocrisy?". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  17. ^ Gerth, Joe (2008-01-16). "Roberts probably out, Northup considers return". The Courier-Journal. [dead link]
  18. ^ Schreiner, Bruce (2008-01-28). "Northup to run to regain former congressional seat, adviser says". Associated Press. 
  19. ^ "Northup Files To Run For Old Congressional Seat". WLKY.com (Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc.). 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2009-04-20. 
  20. ^ "2008 General Election Results". CNN. 2008-11-05. 
  21. ^ "John Yarmuth wins Kentucky 3rd District". WDRB. November 2, 2010. Retrieved November 2, 2010. 
  22. ^ Carroll, James R. (2007-03-09). "Yarmuth jokes on the 'Colbert Report'". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved 2007-03-09. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Anne Northup
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 3rd congressional district

January 3, 2007 –
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Tony Miller
Democratic nominee for Kentucky's 3rd congressional district
2006, 2008, 2010
Succeeded by
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Peter Welch
D-Vermont
United States Representatives by seniority
219th
Succeeded by
Paul Broun
R-Georgia