Jason Altmire

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Jason Altmire
Jason Altmire Official Headshot.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 4th district
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2013
Preceded byMelissa Hart
Succeeded byConstituency abolished (Districts redrawn)
Personal details
Born (1968-03-07) March 7, 1968 (age 52)
Kittanning, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Kelly Altmire
Children2
Alma materFlorida State University (BS)
George Washington University (MHA)
University of Florida (DBA)
Websitewww.jasonaltmire.com

Jason Altmire (born March 7, 1968) is an American businessman, author, lobbyist and politician. He is the former U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 4th congressional district, serving from 2007 until 2013 as a member of the Democratic Party.

Prior to entering Congress, Altmire worked as a health care industry lobbyist. Notably for a Democrat, he voted against President Barack Obama's landmark legislation, the Affordable Care Act, in 2010. After leaving Congress in 2013, he has worked for health insurance companies and health care business consulting firms.

Early life and education[edit]

Altmire was born in western Pennsylvania, where he was raised an only child in a single parent home. A record-breaking high school athlete, he set a school record in track and field and was recognized as an all-star wide receiver in football before a serious knee injury kept him off the athletic field as a senior. In 1986, he matriculated at Florida State University, in Tallahassee. Following a lengthy rehabilitation of his knee injury, he tried out for and made the Seminole football team as a walk on, frequently working in practice against legendary defensive back Deion Sanders.[1][2] He graduated in 1990 with a B.S. in Political Science and worked in the Tallahassee campaign office of Pete Peterson, then a candidate for Congress in Florida's Second Congressional District.[3] He later earned a Master's in Health Administration from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. In 2020, he completed a Doctorate in Business Administration from the University of Florida[4]

Early career[edit]

Politics[edit]

After Pete Peterson won the 1990 congressional race against incumbent Republican Congressman Bill Grant, he hired Altmire to work in his Capitol Hill office. Altmire worked as a legislative assistant during Peterson's three terms in office (1991–1996), specializing in domestic policy issues.[3] In 1993, Altmire was appointed to a working group for President Bill Clinton’s Task Force on National Health Care Reform.

Health care industry lobbyist[edit]

In 1996, when Peterson was named U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, Altmire continued his work in health care policy by taking a job as a lobbyist for the Federation of American Hospitals.[5]

In 1998, Altmire returned to Western Pennsylvania to work as a lobbyist for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).[6][7] By 2005, he was the acting Vice President for Government Relations and Community Health Services.[8]

In 2003 he was named by Pittsburgh Magazine as one of Pittsburgh's "40 under 40",[9] and in 2005 he was awarded the Arcadia Award by Northern Allegheny Chamber of Commerce.[10]

Political career[edit]

Elections[edit]

Altmire left UPMC in June 2005 to run against three-term incumbent Republican U.S. Congresswoman Melissa Hart of Pennsylvania's 4th congressional district, who was considered by most observers to be invulnerable. In May 2006, Altmire won the Democratic primary, defeating millionaire businesswoman Georgia Berner, 55%–45%. In the 2006 general election, Altmire campaigned relentlessly and raised over $1 million to help fund his race against Hart.[11] After polling well behind Hart early in the race, he eventually closed the gap heading into the final weeks before the election. Altmire defeated Hart, 52%–48%. In 2008, Hart ran again in a rematch but was defeated by Altmire 56%–44%, even as John McCain carried the district by almost 11 points.

In the historic 2010 wave election that saw Democrats lose 63 seats in the U.S. House, including five in Pennsylvania, Altmire survived. He was re-elected to a third term, defeating attorney Keith Rothfus, 51%–49%. Following the 2010 census, Pennsylvania lost one congressional seat. The Republican-controlled state legislature dismantled Altmire's district, and most of its territory was merged with the neighboring 12th District, represented by fellow Democratic congressman Mark Critz, who defeated Altmire 51% to 49% in the primary election. Critz went on to lose the 2012 general election to Rothfus, Altmire's 2010 opponent.[12]

Tenure[edit]

Altmire was a moderate Democrat.[13][14] He did not miss a single vote during his first two terms and continued the unbroken voting streak into his sixth year in office, which was the longest House voting streak during that time. The streak finally ended at 4734 consecutive votes when Altmire attended a White House ceremony for Leslie H. Sabo, Jr. a former resident of Altmire’s district who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama.[15] Over the course of his six years in office, Altmire returned more than $1 million in unspent office funds, citing a desire to lead by example and be a steward of taxpayer money.[16]

Altmire successfully fought to guarantee the enlistment bonuses of combat-wounded veterans,[17][18] and he forced a 2007 policy change allowing Vietnam-era Gold Star families access to White House tours after a constituent was denied.[19] He made several trips to the Middle East during his time in office, visiting U.S. troops and meeting with foreign leaders in Yemen,[20] Iraq,[21] and Israel,[22] among other countries.

Altmire opposed the use of Chinese-made steel in the construction of the U.S.- Mexico border fence.[23] Following the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Altmire helped in the rescue of two constituents and the 54 orphans under their care.[24] He also authored the legislation that ended the late enrollment penalty for low-income seniors participating in the Medicare Part D program.[25]

During the 2008 presidential primary election, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton sought Altmire's support as a superdelegate.[26][27][28] Altmire did not endorse a candidate in the race and remained neutral throughout the primary. According to the book HRC: State Secrets by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, this could be a reason why Bill Clinton campaigned against Altmire four years later, when the congressman was involved in a contested primary election of his own.[28]

Altmire voted against the Affordable Care Act on March 21, 2010; he had also voted against earlier versions of the bill.[29][30] His vote on final passage of the bill was highly sought after by President Obama and Democratic congressional leaders.[31][32] According to Washington Post health care policy writer CeCi Connolly, "Altmire, more than most in Congress, understood the intricacies of health-care policy. As a congressional aide in the 1990s, he had worked on Clinton's failed effort and later became a hospital executive."[33] Days before the vote on final passage of the bill, President Obama had personally tried to persuade Altmire, telling him "I want to give you something to think about before the vote. Picture yourself on Monday morning. You wake up and look at the paper. It's the greatest thing Congress has done in 50 years. And you were on the wrong team."[34][35][29] After leaving Congress in 2013, Altmire became the executive of a Florida health insurance company and expressed support for the Affordable Care Act.[36]

From 2007 to 2010, he served as chairman of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation,[37] during which time he took the lead in passing through the House his legislation to help small businesses acquire private capital investment.[38][39] As chairman, he introduced legislation to assist small businesses affected by deployments of employees serving in the United States National Guard. The bill garnered widespread bipartisan support and was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008.[40][41][42]

Committee Assignments[edit]

Later career[edit]

In January 2013, Altmire began work as a lobbyist and public relations executive for the health insurance company Florida Blue.[43][44][7] During his time there, he worked to implement of the Affordable Care Act in Florida.[5] In 2015, he was appointed chairman of the Florida Blue Foundation, the philanthropy associated with Florida's Blue Cross Blue Shield Company.[45] In August 2017, he left the company in order to promote his book, Dead Center: How Political Polarization Divided America And What We Can Do About It.[46][47] In February 2019, Altmire was named a senior advisor to the health care consulting firm Avalere Health.[48]

Since leaving office, Altmire has remained active in civic and national affairs, serving on several boards, including the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition,[49] college football’s Outback Bowl,[50] and the Board of Trustees at Jacksonville University.[51] In 2014, he was appointed by Florida Governor Rick Scott to serve on the state’s business and economic development board.[52]

In 2019, he helped to author a report published by the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, recommending reforms to the American political system.[53][54] He also co-chairs the Advisory Board for the political reform group Unite America, and is a member of the Issue One ReFormers Caucus, a group of former members of Congress dedicated to civility in politics.[55]

He and his wife, Kelly, have endowed a permanent scholarship at Florida State University, awarded annually to a health policy student “who demonstrates ambition and maturity through campus involvement and leadership, internships, employment, community service, faculty recommendations and/or overcoming significant challenges.“[56]

Book[edit]

Altmire, Jason (2017) “How Political Polarization Divided America and What We Can Do About It,” Sunbury Press, ISBN 978-1620067543

Archive[edit]

Altmire’s papers and records from his time in public service are housed at the University of Pittsburgh. The collection includes nearly 36,000 files, consisting of official government publications, administrative files, travel files, constituent communications, correspondence, daily schedules, speeches, invitations, photographs, video, copies of legislation, memorabilia, talking points, congressional communications, committee hearing testimony, campaign materials, and press clippings.[57][58] Altmire’s congressional and campaign websites were selected by the Library of Congress to be included in its permanent historical collection on the U.S. Congress, and the websites’ contents from various points during Altmire’s four congressional campaigns and tenure in office are archived there.[59][60]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Perks, Ashley (2009-12-17). "Glory days: Altmire recalls his season with FSU football coach Bobby Bowden". TheHill. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  2. ^ Elmore, Charles. "Top insurer turns to ex-congressman, FSU player for health care's prime time". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  3. ^ a b "PETERSON, Douglas Brian (Pete) - Biographical Information". bioguide.congress.gov.
  4. ^ "DBA central to former congressman's next chapter". UF News.
  5. ^ a b Haberkorn, Jennifer (5 June 2013). "ACA foe now a supporter". Politico.
  6. ^ "Enmeshed in the opioid epidemic, AmerisourceBergen seeks goodwill through its foundation". Philadelphia Inquirer.
  7. ^ a b Dunkelberger, Rosanne (2018-04-11). "Former congressman Jason Altmire says, today, it's hard to be a centrist". Florida Politics - Campaigns & Elections. Lobbying & Government. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  8. ^ "Volunteer an important role for parent, hospital official says". old.post-gazette.com. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  9. ^ 2003 Pittsburgh Magazine "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-01-17. Retrieved 2008-03-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Pgh Tribune-Review, May 1, 2005."[1][permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Congressional Races Archived 2008-03-12 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Armas, Genaro. "GOP's Rothfus beats incumbent Critz in W. Pa. race". Associated Press.
  13. ^ "A Former Congressman Explains Our Divided Country - Political Wire". 3 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-07-04. Retrieved 2008-08-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ Prose, J.D. "Altmire's voting streak ends for a good reason". Beaver County Times. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  16. ^ Prose, J.D. (5 November 2012). "Big returns: Altmire gives back $1 million". Beaver County Times. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  17. ^ "Jason Altmire". YouTube. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  18. ^ "The military signing bonus squabble".
  19. ^ Meli, Maryalice (July 3, 2007). "Lawmaker comes to aid of gold star mother". New Castle News. Retrieved July 3, 2007.
  20. ^ Prose, J. D. "Altmire goes overseas, spends July 4 with troops". The Times. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  21. ^ "Local congressman makes trip to Iraq". New Castle News. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  22. ^ "Study abroad". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  23. ^ "Altmire to inspect border fence parts". Pittsburgh Tribune Review. 2007-07-11. Archived from the original on 2008-01-18.
  24. ^ Maher, Kris (January 19, 2010). "Pennsylvania Allies Help Dozens of Orphans Make It to America". The Wall Street Journal.
  25. ^ Sherman, Jerome (2007-03-25). "Altmire targets Part D penalties". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-03-25.
  26. ^ Sheehy, Gail. "Hillaryland at War".
  27. ^ Baker, Peter; Rutenberg, Jim (8 June 2008). "The Long Road to a Clinton Exit" – via NYTimes.com.
  28. ^ a b Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, "HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton," Crown Publishers, New York, 2014.
  29. ^ a b Helfrich, Jesse (2016-02-10). "The chaotic fight for ObamaCare". TheHill. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  30. ^ McManus, Doyle (March 14, 2010). "Will the 'Blue Dogs' hunt for Obama?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  31. ^ Strassel, Kimberley A. (19 March 2010). "Will Altmire Walk the Plank?" – via www.wsj.com.
  32. ^ Kane, Sandhya Somashekhar and Paul (18 March 2010). "Democrats yet to decide on health-care bill bear the weight of Washington" – via www.washingtonpost.com.
  33. ^ Connolly, CeCi, Landmark: The Inside Story of America's New Health-Care law--The Affordable Care Act--and What It Means for Us All," PublicAffairs, New York, 2010, page 57.
  34. ^ "How Obama revived his health-care bill". ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  35. ^ Zimmermann, Eric (2010-03-23). "Obama's hard sell". TheHill. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  36. ^ "ACA foe now a supporter". POLITICO. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  37. ^ Staff, NCNews. "Altmire to chair subcommittee".
  38. ^ Olson, Elizabeth (25 October 2007). "Venture capital at crux of U.S. bill" – via NYTimes.com.
  39. ^ "- ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING". www.gpo.gov.
  40. ^ "Public Law 110-186".
  41. ^ "Veteran, Reservist Small Business Bill Signed into Law". U.S. Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  42. ^ Altmire, Jason (2008-02-14). "H.R.4253 - 110th Congress (2007-2008): Military Reservist and Veteran Small Business Reauthorization and Opportunity Act of 2008". www.congress.gov. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  43. ^ Jameson, Marni (March 23, 2014). "Jason Altmire: Ex-congressman discusses politics of Obamacare". Orlando Sentinel.
  44. ^ Brino, Anthony (December 26, 2012). "Outgoing Congressman Altmire joining Florida Blue". Healthcare Payer News. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  45. ^ "Press Release: The Florida Blue Foundation Elects Board of Directors". Florida Blue Foundation. March 3, 2015.
  46. ^ Schorsch, Peter (31 July 2017). "Jason Altmire to depart Florida Blue in advance of new book". Florida Politics.
  47. ^ Evans, Garrett (4 October 2017). "Former House Dem tackles polarized politics in new book". The Hill.
  48. ^ Diamond, Dan. "What Trump said about health care in the State of the Union". POLITICO. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  49. ^ "Florida Advisory Committee" (PDF). U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. March 9, 2020. Retrieved June 11, 2020.
  50. ^ "Jason Altmire - Board Member at Outback Bowl Board of Directors". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  51. ^ "Former U.S. Rep. Altmire, education consultant Chomiak elected to Board of Trustees". Wave Magazine Online. 2014-11-19. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  52. ^ "EnterpriseFloridaBoardofDirectorsMeeting" (PDF). Enterprise Florida. September 30, 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  53. ^ "Commission on Civility & Effective Governance". Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  54. ^ "POLITICAL REFORM: FIXING A DEADLOCKED SYSTEM" (PDF). The Presidency. January 31, 2019. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  55. ^ "Issue One – ReFormers Caucus". Retrieved 2019-11-07.
  56. ^ "Congressman Jason and Kelly Altmire Endowment Fund - FS4U". fsu.academicworks.com. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  57. ^ "Guide to the Jason Altmire Congressional Papers, 2006-2012 AIS.2013.01 | Historic Pittsburgh". historicpittsburgh.org. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  58. ^ [2]Archived March 12, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  59. ^ "Member of Congress Official Web Site - Jason Altmire". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  60. ^ "Official Campaign Web Site - Jason Altmire". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Retrieved 2020-06-12.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Melissa Hart
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 4th congressional district

2007–2013
Succeeded by
Scott Perry