|Tim Penny holding his granddaughter while giving a speech in July 2006.|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 1st district
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1995
|Preceded by||Arlen Erdahl|
|Succeeded by||Gil Gutknecht|
November 19, 1951 |
Albert Lea, Minnesota
|Political party||DFL (1976–2002)
|Alma mater||Winona State University|
Timothy Joe "Tim" Penny (born November 19, 1951), is an American politician from Minnesota. Penny was a Democratic-Farmer-Labor member of the United States House of Representatives, 1983–1995, representing Minnesota's 1st congressional district in the 98th, 99th, 100th, 101st, 102nd and 103rd congresses.
Penny was born in Albert Lea, Minnesota, and was educated at Winona State University, receiving a bachelor's degree in political science in 1974. He was a member of the Minnesota State Senate, 1976–1982.
In 1982, Penny won the DFL nomination for the 1st District and upset four-term 2nd District Republican Tom Hagedorn, becoming only the third Democrat to ever represent this district. (Leading up to the election, Republicans were divided after conservative 2nd District incumbent Rep. Tom Hagedorn narrowly defeated two-term 1st District moderate incumbent Rep. Arlen Erdahl in a contentious Republican Convention endorsement contest after redistricting.) Penny was reelected in 1984 with 56 percent of the vote, becoming the first non-Republican to win reelection in the 1st since statehood. This was all the more surprising considering that 1984 was a very bad year for Democrats nationally. He never faced another contest nearly that close, winning four more times by an average of 70 percent of the vote.
Penny was a somewhat conservative Democrat. He opposed abortion (though he has since stated support for a woman's right to choose) and gun control, stances not surprising given that he represented a mostly rural district in southern Minnesota. He was best known, however, for his work on fiscal policy. Although he had built a nearly unbreakable hold on his district, he announced in 1994 that he wouldn't run for a seventh term.
In 2000, Penny briefly considered running against Rod Grams for the Senate. Governor Jesse Ventura unsuccessfully tried to recruit him to run on the Reform Party ticket. Ventura later left the Reform Party for the Independence Party, and recruited Penny to run as his replacement.
Penny's unsuccessful 2002 run for governor of Minnesota as the Independence Party candidate received 16% of the vote, despite polls indicating a dead heat between him, DFL candidate Roger Moe, and Republican candidate Tim Pawlenty less than a month before the election. His running mate for the election was state senator Martha Robertson of Minnetonka, a moderate Republican. In 2008, he endorsed Republican John McCain for the President  and Independence Party candidate former Sen. Dean Barkley for U.S. Senate.
- 2002 Race for Governor
Penny is currently the President of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. He is also a Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute. He served for a time as the institute's co-director alongside one of his former congressional colleagues, Republican Vin Weber.
He serves on the Advisory Board  of the Institute for Law and Politics at the University of Minnesota Law School and is on the Board of Directors for the Energy Literacy Advocates. Penny also serves as vice chairman of the board of directors of ACDI/VOCA, a nonprofit U.S. international development organization.
Penny lives in Owatonna, Minnesota and has four children.
Penny is the co-author of three books, Payment Due (1996), Common Cents: A Retiring Six-Term Congressman Reveals How Congress Really Works — And What We Must Do to Fix It (1995), and The 15 Biggest Lies in Politics (1998). He is the lead author of "The Rod to Generational Equity", a manifesto that political analyst John Avlon characterizess as radical centrist.
- Gillespie, Scott (2009-08026)"Tim Penny on backing McCain", StarTribune.com
- Institute for Law and Politics:Advisory Board
- Penny, Tim; Lamm, Richard; Tsongas, Paul (18 December 1995). The Road to Generational Equity". Reproduced on Earthlink website. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
- Avlon, John (2004). Independent Nation: How the Vital Center Is Changing American Politics. Harmony Books / Random House, p. 282. ISBN 978-1-4000-5023-9.
- Faculty bio page — University of Minnesota
- Minnesota Public Radio campaign stories, 2002
- Minnesota Public Radio profile, 2002
- Minnesota Legislators Past and Present
- The Tim Penny Papers are available for research use at the Minnesota Historical Society.
- Booknotes interview with Tim Penny and Major Garrett on Common Cents, May 14, 1995.
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 1st congressional district
|Party political offices|
|Independence Party of Minnesota nominee for Governor of Minnesota