Rush D. Holt, Jr.
|Rush D. Holt, Jr.|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 12th district
January 3, 1999
|Preceded by||Mike Pappas|
October 15, 1948 |
Weston, West Virginia
|Children||Michael, Dejan, and Rachel|
|Residence||Hopewell Township, NJ|
|Alma mater||Carleton College (B.A.)
New York University (M.A./Ph.D.)
|Committees||Committee on Education and Labor, Committee on Natural Resources, Select Intelligence Oversight Panel|
|Website||Representative Rush Holt|
Rush Dew Holt, Jr., PhD (born October 15, 1948) is the U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 12th congressional district, serving since 1999. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He is currently the only Quaker in Congress.
Early life and education 
Rush D. Holt was born to Rush D. Holt Sr., who served as a United States Senator from West Virginia (1935–1941), and his wife Helen Holt, the first woman to be appointed West Virginia Secretary of State (1957–1959). Holt Sr. was the youngest person ever to be popularly elected to the U.S. Senate, at age 29. He died of cancer when Rush was six years old.
Holt graduated from the Landon School in Bethesda, MD in 1966, then later graduated with a B.A. in physics from Carleton College in 1970, and later received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from New York University in 1981. The title of his doctoral dissertation was "Calcium absorption lines and solar activity: a systematic program of observations".
Academic career 
Holt was a faculty member at Swarthmore College from 1980 to 1988 where he taught physics, public policy, and religion courses. During that time, he also worked as a Congressional Science Fellow for U.S. Representative Bob Edgar of Pennsylvania. From 1987 until 1989, Holt headed the Nuclear and Scientific Division of the Office of Strategic Forces at the U.S. Department of State.
From 1989 until his successful congressional campaign in 1998, Holt was the Assistant Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton University, the University's largest research facility and the largest center for energy research in New Jersey.
Scientific journal articles 
- R. D. Holt, Rush D. (June 1995). "The interaction of researchers with teachers: What scientists can offer elementary and secondary schools". Physics of Plasmas 2 (6): 2605. Bibcode:1995PhPl....2.2605H. doi:10.1063/1.871223.
- R. D. Holt, DP (October 1990). "Magnetic Fusion". Science 250 (4979): 359. Bibcode:1990Sci...250..359H. doi:10.1126/science.250.4979.359-b. PMID 17793003.
- R. D. Holt, D. J. Mullan, Rush D.; Mullan, D. J. (1987). "Shifts of the CaII K line in HeI 10830 dark points". Solar Physics 107 (1): 63–72. Bibcode:1986SoPh..107...63H. doi:10.1007/BF00155342.
- 4,249,518 Method for maintaining a correct density gradient in a non-convecting solar pond
Congressional career 
Holt was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 1998, and has been re-elected seven times, the most recent in November 2012.
Holt was also only the second research physicist to be elected to Congress, and the first Democrat; he joined Vern Ehlers (R-MI) and was later joined by Bill Foster (D-IL). Holt and Foster are currently the only research physicists in the U.S. House of Representatives with the retirement of Ehlers, and Foster defeating Judy Biggert in 2012 to reenter the House. Holt's supporters have produced green bumper stickers reading "My Congressman IS a rocket scientist!", reflecting his scientific background.
Holt is one of two members of Congress to have participated on the American television game show Jeopardy!, the other being Senator John McCain of Arizona. Both appeared on the Fleming era of the television series with Holt winning five games. On February 28, 2011, Holt participated in a non-televised exhibition Jeopardy! match against the IBM computer Watson along with four other members of Congress (Jim Himes, Nan Hayworth, Jared Polis, and Bill Cassidy). Holt bested the computer $8,600 to $6,200 in a single-round match.
Holt's first race was in 1996, where he finished in third place in the June 4, 1996 Democratic party primary. Holt received 4,771 votes (23.5%), Carl J. Mayer came in second place with 6,373 votes (31.4%), and Lambertville Mayor David M. DelVecchio came in first place with 9,157 votes (45.1%).
Holt ran again on June 2, 1998 and won the Democratic primary with 10,177 votes (63.6%) against challenger Carl J. Mayer who received 5,830 votes (36.4%). After winning the primary, Holt ran against incumbent conservative Congressman Mike Pappas in the general election. Pappas' campaign experienced a setback after he read a poem, set to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", praising Kenneth Starr on the floor of the House of Representatives. Holt won the election by 2.9 percentage points, 50.5%-47.6%, becoming the first Democrat to represent the district in two decades. Holt received 92,528 votes and Pappas received 87,221 votes.
Holt was challenged by former Republican Congressman Dick Zimmer in the 2000 election; Holt's prior win was thought by Republicans to be a fluke, and the race attracted considerable money and advertising. The election was hotly contested, with Zimmer ahead on election night, but Holt ahead the next day. Ten days after the election, Holt declared himself the winner by 481 votes. Zimmer challenged the results, but conceded after the count began to go against him. Holt ultimately won the election by a margin of 651 votes: 146,162 votes for Holt (48.730%) compared to Zimmer's 145,511 (48.513%), making it the only general election where Holt has not received a majority of the votes in the election.
Redistricting before the 2002 elections made Holt safer, in part by adding much of Trenton. While Holt faced a fairly well-funded challenge from New Jersey Secretary of State Buster Soaries, he defeated Soaries handily by 24.3 percentage points. Holt received 104,806 votes (61%) compared to the 62,938 votes (36.7%) Soaries received.
2004 through 2008 
Holt was re-elected again in 2004 over Bill Spadea, receiving 171,691 votes (59.2%) compared to Spadea's 115,014 votes (39.7%). He was re-elected in 2006 over former Helmetta, New Jersey Council President Joseph Sinagra, receiving 125,468 votes (65.7%) compared to Sinagra's 65,509 votes (34.3%). In 2008 Holt defeated Holmdel, New Jersey Deputy Mayor Alan Bateman; Holt received 193,732 votes (63.1%) compared to Bateman's 108,400 votes (35.3%).
In an election where House Democrats suffered great losses, Holt defeated Republican candidate Scott Sipprelle, with 53% of the vote compared to Sipprelle's 45.9%. Holt received 108,214 votes while Sipprelle received 93,634 votes. Independent Kenneth Cody received 1%.
Holt raised $2,229,432 in the 2010 election cycle and spent $1,891,463. 72% came from individual donations, and 26% from PAC donations. Holt’s former employer, Princeton University, was his single biggest donor, giving $56,863. Holt’s opponent, Scott Sipprelle, raised $1,541,776 and spent $1,327,946. 65% of Sipprelle’s funds came from self-financing. Independent Kenneth Cody refused to accept any donations.
After Congressional redistricting in 2011, the 12th District became considerably more Democratic. All of the Republican-leaning portions of Hunterdon County and Monmouth County were taken out of the 12th district while the Democratic-leaning towns of Plainfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Middlesex, Dunellen, Bound Brook, South Bound Brook, Manville, East Windsor Township, and Hightstown were added to the 12th district. Additionally, sections of Trenton, Franklin Township & Old Bridge Township which were formerly located in the 4th and 6th Congressional districts, respectively, were also added to the 12th district. Holt defeated businessman Eric Beck by a record 40 percentage points. Holt received 189,926 votes (69%) compared to Beck's 80,906 votes (29%). Independents Jack Freudenheim and Kenneth J. Cody received the remaining two percent.
Policy positions 
Holt maintains liberal viewpoints on several major issues, and consistently votes accordingly. For example, he is pro-choice, supports a public health care option, and opposes the privatization of social security. Several of his legislative priorities include tax credits for small businesses, increasing access to a college education for middle-class families, maintaining Medicare and Social Security, and preserving the environment.
In 2009, the National Journal rated him as one of the eight most liberal members of the House of Representatives. Holt’s rankings released by various interest groups reflect his liberal views. Since 2009, he has been rated 100 percent in accordance with the interests of the following interest groups, among others: American Public Health Association, Americans for Democratic America, and NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Holt is a member of the New Democrat Coalition and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. In the 113th Congress he serves as co-chair of the Energy Task Force in the New Democrat Coalition. He received a grade of 100% on the progressive Drum Major Institute's 2005 and 2007 Congressional Scorecards on middle-class issues, and he is consistently scored well by that organization.
A member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Holt supports legislation to clean up the environment and cap greenhouse gas emissions, and promotes the development and use of alternative energy sources. Some of his accomplishments include reintroducing the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act in 2011, co-sponsoring the No New Drilling Act in 2012 to prevent new oil drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf, co-sponsoring the Oceans Conservation, Education, and National Strategy for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 21), founding the Children's Environmental Health Caucus to raise awareness about environmental issues pertaining to children's health, and securing funding to preserve open space and recreation areas.
On September 21, 2012, Holt voted against the Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012 (H.R. 3409), a bill passed in the House (233 - 175). On July 30, 2010, he voted for the Offshore Drilling Regulations and Other Energy Law Amendments Bill (H.R. 3534), which passed in the House. On June 26, 2009, Holt voted for the Energy and Environmental Law Amendments ("Cap and Trade") Bill (H.R. 2454), which passed in the House by a narrow margin of 219 to 212. He also voted for the Renewable Energy Credits and Other Business and Individual Credits Bill (H.R. 7060) to extend energy efficiency tax credits, as well as various individual and business tax credits.
Holt has maintained a 100 percent lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters since 1999, in addition to a 100 percent rating by Environment America in 2008, 2009, and 2011, and a 100 percent rating by Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund from 2003 to 2008. On November 12, 2012, the New Jersey Sierra Club awarded Holt the Outstanding Achievement Award for his environmental conservation efforts.
A September 2012 Nature article features Holt and his rare background as a research scientist: "[Holt] thinks what is equally important is having more scientific thinking, even among the non-scientists in government...[Holt states], 'I'm more interested in the way that scientists are trained to deal with uncertainty, to deal with evidence and statistical reasoning, things that are lacking in the political debate.' When it comes to global warming, for instance, Representative Holt says we don't need people in Congress who understand atmospheric pressure, or glaciation. We simply need them to be open to the idea that evidence might disprove what they think they know. And that, he says, is thinking like a scientist."
Co-Chair of the Research and Development Caucus, a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, and serving on the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century, Holt has worked on crafting several comprehensive education policies. He helped write the College Cost Reduction Act - the largest college aid expansion bill since the GI bill - which drastically reduces student loan interest rates and includes Holt's provision to provide upfront tuition assistance for math, science, and foreign language teachers. He also helped establish the "American Opportunity" tax credit to alleviate the burden of college tuition for low- and moderate-income students. Furthermore, Holt helped enact the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act, which provides states with funding to reduce budget shortfalls and keep teachers in their classrooms.
On May 28, 2010, Holt voted in support of the Science and Technology Funding Bill (H.R. 5116), a bill passed in the House that provided funding for science and technology research and development purposes.
Formerly the Assistant Director at Princeton University's Plasma Physics Research Department, Holt has worked to promote involvement in programs of STEM fields. He successfully defended funding for the Department of Education’s Mathematics and Science Partnerships programs. As a result of Holt's efforts, he has been given an "A" rating by the National Education Association since 2007, along with a 100 percent approval rating by the National Association for College Admission Counseling in 2006, 2009-2010, and 2011.
On January 22, 2013, Rush D. Holt, Jr., a Quaker Christian and nuclear physicist, introduced a resolution to the United States Congress designating February 12, 2013 (Charles Darwin's 204th birthday) as "Darwin Day" in order to recognize "the importance of sciences in the betterment of humanity".
Women's Issues 
Holt states on his representative page, "Since coming to Congress, I have fought for fairness in health care coverage, worked to protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, supported equal pay for equal work, and sought gender equity in schools." He strongly believes in women's right to make decisions about their health care, without interference by the government, and upholds Roe v. Wade.
Holt successfully opposed legislation that would have prevented access to birth control, eliminated funding for Title X (the national family planning program), and denied federal funding to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood and the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association have consistently issued an approval rating of 100 percent for Holt since 1995, while the NARAL Pro-Choice America has rated Holt 100 percent since 1999.
Other Issues 
Holt also sponsored the Helping Seniors Choose their Medicare Drug Plan Act (H.R. 3152), which increased the access that low-income healthcare recipients have to prescription drugs under Medicare and Medicaid. With the Protection Against Wrongful Voter Purges Act (H.R. 3835), Holt attempted to regulate the removal of voters’ names from eligibility lists to ensure the validity of those lists. With the Judicious Use of Surveillance Tools in Counterterrorism Efforts (JUSTICE) Act of 2009 (H.R. 4005), Holt increased limits on governmental power with respect to counterterrorism efforts.
Committee assignments 
- Committee on Education and Labor
- Committee on Natural Resources
Caucus memberships 
- Alzheimer’s Caucus
- Children’s Environmental Health Caucus
- Diabetes Caucus
- International Conservation Caucus
- Renewable Energy Caucus
- Research and Development Caucus (Co-Chair)
- Sustainable Development Caucus
- Congressional Arts Caucus
- Hamm, Thomas D. The Quakers in America. Columbia University Press, 2003, p. 160 
- "Mrs. Holt Takes Secretary Post: Resigns College Office". Charleston Gazette. 1957-12-05
- Holt's doctoral dissertation is available from University Microfilms International as document number 8127915
- Cornelia Dean (2008-07-10). "Physicists in Congress Calculate Their Influence". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-02-11.
- Krugman, Paul (2008-06-10). "My Congressman IS a rocket scientist". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- rschmac12 (2005-12-07). "What Being a 5x'er Can Do For Your Career". Sony Pictures Television. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- Symons, Michael (2011-02-28). "Rep. Rush Holt beats IBM’s Watson in ‘Jeopardy!’". Asbury Park Press. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- Cohn, Alicia M. (2011-02-28). "Congressman to face off against "Jeopardy!" supercomputer". The Hill. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- McCarthy, Caroline (2011-03-01). "N.J. Congressman: I beat Watson". cnet News. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- Davis, Lia (2011-03-01). "Watson shows Congress technology is more than just fun and games". A Smarter Planet Blog. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- Friedman, Matt (2011-03-01). "Rep. Rush Holt takes down IBM supercomputer 'Watson' in round of Jeopardy!". Retrieved 2011-03-05. "In a battle of wits between man and machine at a Capitol Hill hotel Monday night, Holt (D-12th Dist.) triumphed over 'Watson' in one round of an exhibition match sponsored by IBM. Holt finished the round with 8,600 points to the computer's 6,200."
- "Twinkle, twinkle Kenneth Starr: how physicist Rush Holt used the Clinton scandal to oust a Republican congressman", Campaigns & Elections, May 1999
- CNN.com — Zimmer concedes congressional race in N.J. after 22 days, November 29, 2000
- The Daily Princetonian — Page 3, September 25, 2002
- opensecrets.org, Campaign finance data on Rush Holt and Scott Sipprelle, retrieved 11/23/10.
- National Journal's Vote Rankings: The Top 10 - Hotline On Call. Hotlineoncall.nationaljournal.com. Retrieved on 2010-07-12.
- votesmart.org, Data on interest group ratings, voting record, and issue positions, retrieved 11/23/10.
- "Rush Holt (D - NJ)". Congress at the Midterm: Their 2005 Middle-Class Record. The Drum Major Institute for Public Policy. 2005. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
- "Rush Holt (D-NJ)". The Middle Class.org. The Drum Major Institute for Public Policy. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
- 21: "Bill Summary and Status for H.R.21". The Library of Congress. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- "Legislative Tracking System". Municipal Association of South Carolina. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
- "Key Votes". Vote Smart. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- "Sierra Club Celebrates Enviro Leaders and Volunteers". Sierra Club: New Jersey Chapter. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- Holt, Rush. "Thinking Like a Scientist: Solution to Politics?". Congressman Rush Holt. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
- Holt, Rush. "Biography". Representative Rush Holt. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- Oppenheimer, Mark (1 February 2013). "Seeing Darwin Through Christian Eyes? It All Depends on the Christian". New York Times. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- Holt, Rush. "Issues - Women's Issues". Retrieved 17 November 2012.
- "Representative Rush Holt". U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- Representative Rush Holt official U.S. House site
- Congressman Rush Holt official campaign site
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
- Congressional profile at GovTrack
- Congressional profile at OpenCongress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Financial information (federal office) at OpenSecrets.org
- Staff salaries, trips and personal finance (federal office) at LegiStorm.com
- Issue positions and quotes at On the Issues
- Voting record at The Washington Post
- Appearances on C-SPAN programs
- Collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- Profile at SourceWatch
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 12th congressional district
|United States order of precedence|
|United States Representatives by seniority