Bob Brady

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For other uses, see Bob Brady (disambiguation).
Bob Brady
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 1st district
Assumed office
May 19, 1998
Preceded by Thomas M. Foglietta
Chairman of the House Administration Committee
In office
May 3, 2007 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Juanita Millender-McDonald
Succeeded by Dan Lungren
Chairman of the Democratic Party of Philadelphia
Assumed office
June 16, 1986
Preceded by Joseph F. Smith
Personal details
Born (1945-04-07) April 7, 1945 (age 71)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Debra Brady
Residence Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Religion Roman Catholic
Website Congressman Robert Brady

Robert A. "Bob" Brady (born April 7, 1945) is the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 1st congressional district, serving since 1998, and the ranking Democrat on the United States House Committee on House Administration since 2007. He has been the Chairman of the Philadelphia Democratic Party since 1986, and is one of the few members of Congress who is also a county chairman (Philadelphia Democratic City Committee).

Early life, education, and pre-congressional career[edit]

Brady was born in Philadelphia, the son of Enez (née Caterini) and Robert G. Brady, a police officer. His father was of Irish descent, and his maternal grandparents were immigrants from Italy.[1][2] He graduated from St. Thomas More High School, but did not attend college, instead going to work as a carpenter. He became a part of the leadership of the union, and remains a member of several unions.[3]

He was elected a precinct committeeman for the Democratic Party in 1968. When ward leader and then-City Council President George X. Schwartz was convicted and imprisoned in the Abscam scandal, Brady was elected to succeed him as Democratic Leader of the 34th Ward, a position that he still holds today.[4] Since June 1986, Brady has been the Chairman of the Philadelphia Democratic Party. He served as a staff aide in the Philadelphia City Council and a staff aide in the Pennsylvania State Senate. Brady has been an instructor at the University of Pennsylvania. He was also a member of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission from 1991 until his election as a Congressman.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]


When 17-year U.S. Congressman Tom Foglietta resigned from the House of Representatives upon being named U.S. Ambassador to Italy by Bill Clinton, Brady was unopposed in the primary and won the general election with 74% of the vote. Brady was sworn in on May 19, 1998. He has won re-election since, with at least 81% of the vote. An 18-year veteran in Congress in 2016, Brady was elected to his 10th full term over Republican challenger Deborah Williams in the general election on November 8, 2016, with his 81% of the vote record intact.[5] Brady represents a heavily Democratic area and is the head of the Philadelphia Democratic Party, thus, he is granted the Democratic nomination in each election unopposed.[6] Deborah Williams also ran against Brady in the 2004 race, and in that race she received the second highest amount of votes a Republican candidate has ever achieved against the incumbent, which she topped in the 2016 election.[7] The 2016 election marks the most votes any challenger has ever received against him.



Brady is pro-choice and voted against President Bush's restrictions on funding to family planning groups in 2001. Over the years, he has supported minors’ abortion rights, voting in 2005 for the right for those under 18 years of age to obtain abortions across state lines without parental consent.[8] He voted against the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which prohibits health insurance companies from offering abortion coverage in a plan to any citizen. He opposed a proposal to prohibit federally funded abortion services.[9] Over the past fifteen years, organizations such as the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL), the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, and Planned Parenthood rated him 100%.[10]

Budget and Spending

Brady voted in favor of the Small Business Lending Fund and Tax Law Amendment. The September 2010 amendment provides loans to small business through financial institutions.[11] He supported the Small Business Jobs Bill in October 2010.


Brady voted against the Secure Fence Act (2006), which authorized the construction of additional fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as the Immigration Law Enforcement Act of 2006.[12] He supports Homeland Security Appropriations for border protection and The U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Technology project, which works towards improving the capability of the government to keep track of immigrants and control their entry and exit.[13] Groups such as the National Latino Congreso/William C. Velásquez Institute, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform have rated Brady between 50% and 100% for his pro-immigration political stances.[10]

Attention to constituents

Brady claims to have once refused to receive a phone call from President Bill Clinton because he was busy helping a woman who had called seeking someone to come over and fix her toilet.[14]

Brady with President Clinton

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

  • Congressional Arts Caucus

2007 Mayoral campaign[edit]

On January 25, 2007 Brady announced that he would seek the Democratic Party nomination for mayor of Philadelphia. He was the second sitting U.S. Congressman after Chaka Fattah to announce his candidacy for mayor.[15] On March 6, Brady failed to list his city pension on the financial-interests statement he filed with his nominating petitions. Within a week Milton Street filed a petition challenge to remove Brady from the ballot for failing to disclose his pension income. Another challenge was brought by a group of voters, and supported by mayoral candidates Tom Knox and Dwight Evans. On April 13, 2007, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled that Brady's failure to not list part of his income would not keep him off the primary ballot.[16] On May 15, 2007, Brady lost the Democratic mayoral primary to Michael Nutter.

Power and influence[edit]

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer described him as "the longtime boss of the Democratic City Committee, one of the few old-fashioned big-city political machines left. Running against him could equal career suicide."[17]
  • In 2001, the political website PoliticsPA described him as a "consummate 'backroom politician' (and we say that with respect!)" and said that he might be the best county party chair in Pennsylvania.[18] In 2003, the Pennsylvania Report said that Brady has "managed effectively to balance his multiracial district and city Democratic party."[19][20]
  • In 2009, the Pennsylvania Report noted that "[w]hile he still would like to be Mayor, Brady's influence and power in Philadelphia remains strong."[21]
  • Pennsylvania State Senator Anthony Williams said he is "probably one of the most politically astute politicians in the last 20 years, and that's rarefied air." J. Whyatt Mondesire, head of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, said no one can match "Brady's relationships with politicians across the Democratic landscape."[22]
  • In 2015, during Pope Francis' visit to the United States, he stole the glass that the Pope drank from and then drank from it himself, had his wife & two others drink from it, had Sen. Casey, his wife & Mother as well as Rep. Joe Crowley stick their fingers in the glass. He's also planning to have the Philadelphia police lift the Pope's fingerprints. Brady said, "I'm sure it's blessed if the Pope drank out of it. Why not?" and "If not, I'm saying it is."[23] Additionally, in 2009, Brady stole the glass used by current President Barack Obama after his inauguration.[24]

Electoral history[edit]

  • 2014 Election to the US House[25]
    • Bob Brady (D) (inc.), 83%
    • Megan Ann Rath (R), 17%
  • 2012 Election to the US House[26]
    • Bob Brady (D) (inc.), 85%
    • John Featherman (R), 15.1%
  • 2010 Election to the US House[27]
    • Bob Brady (D) (inc.), unopposed
  • 2008 Election to US House[27]
    • Bob Brady (D) (inc.), 91%
    • Mike Muhammad (R), 9%
  • 2006 Election to the US House[27]
    • Bob Brady (D) (inc.), unopposed
  • 2004 Election to the US House[27]
  • 2002 Election to the US House[27]
    • Bob Brady (D) (inc.), 86%
    • Marie Delaney (R), 12%
  • 2000 Election to US House[27]
    • Bob Brady (D) (inc.), 88%
    • Steve Kush (R), 12%
  • 1998 Election to US House[27]
    • Bob Brady (D) (inc.), 81%
    • William Harrison (R), 17%
  • 1998 Special Election to US House[27]
    • Bob Brady (D), 74%
    • William Harrison (R), 13%
    • Juanita Norwood (Reform), 11%


  1. ^ Robert Brady profile
  2. ^ Freepages profile at
  3. ^ Robert Brady House of Representatives website
  4. ^ Committee of Seventy (2009-12-21). "2009 Citizen's Guide" (PDF). 2009 Citizen's Guide. The Committee of Seventy, Philadelphia, PA 19103. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  5. ^ "What's at stake as Delco voters cast ballots on Election Day". Retrieved 2016-11-11. 
  6. ^ "Meehan, Fitzpatrick win tough U.S. House races in Pennsylvania". PhillyVoice. 2016-11-09. Retrieved 2016-11-11. 
  7. ^ "Philly's toughest Congressional candidate? Female, black and Republican". PhillyVoice. 2016-11-02. Retrieved 2016-11-11. 
  8. ^ [1], Robert Brady on Abortion. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  9. ^ [2], Representative Robert Brady. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  10. ^ a b [3], Interest Group Ratings. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  11. ^ [4], Key Vote: Small Business Lending Fund and Tax Law Amendments. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  12. ^ [5], Key Vote: Secure Fence Act of 2006. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  13. ^ [6], U.S. VISIT. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
  14. ^ McCutcheon, Michael; Barone, Chuck (2013). 2014 Almanac of American Politics. The University of Chicago Press. 
  15. ^ Lucey, Catherine (January 25, 2007). "Starting Today, he's in the race". Philadelphia Daily News. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  16. ^ "Court Ruling Keeps Brady On Mayoral Primary Ballot". Associated Press. April 13, 2007. Archived from the original on February 9, 2008. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  17. ^ Brady profile, Philadelphia Inquirer
  18. ^ "PA's Best and Worst County Chairs". PoliticsPA. The Publius Group. 2001. Archived from the original on 2003-02-12. 
  19. ^ "The PA Report "Power 75" List" (PDF). Pennsylvania Report. Capital Growth, Inc. January 31, 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-20. 
  20. ^ Roarty, Alex; Sean Coit (January 2010). "Pennsylvania Influencers" (PDF). Politics Magazine. pp. 44–49. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-02-08. 
  21. ^ "PA Report 100" (PDF). Pennsylvania Report. Capital Growth, Inc. January 23, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-08-14. 
  22. ^ Anthony Williams quote re Brady
  23. ^ [7]
  24. ^
  25. ^ "2014 General Election Unofficial Returns". November 4, 2014. Retrieved November 9, 2014. 
  26. ^ "2012 General Election Official Returns". November 6, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2012. 
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h "Pennsylvania House District 1". Chicago Sun-Times. Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Bob Brady at Wikimedia Commons

Party political offices
Preceded by
Joseph Smith
Chair of the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Thomas M. Foglietta
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 1st congressional district

Preceded by
Juanita Millender-McDonald
Chair of the House Administration Committee
Succeeded by
Dan Lungren
Preceded by
Dianne Feinstein
Chair of the Joint Library Committee
Succeeded by
Chuck Schumer
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Barbara Lee
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Steve Chabot