John B. Larson

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John Larson
John B Larson, Official Portrait, circa 111 - 112th Congress.jpg
Chair of the House Democratic Caucus
In office
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2013
LeaderNancy Pelosi
Preceded byRahm Emanuel
Succeeded byXavier Becerra
Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus
In office
January 17, 2006 – January 3, 2009
LeaderNancy Pelosi
Preceded byJim Clyburn
Succeeded byXavier Becerra
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 1st district
Assumed office
January 3, 1999
Preceded byBarbara Kennelly
President pro tempore of the Connecticut Senate
In office
Preceded byPhilip Robertson
Succeeded byAdela Eads
Member of the Connecticut Senate
from the 3rd district
In office
Preceded byMarcella Fahey
Succeeded byKevin Rennie
Personal details
John Barry Larson

(1948-07-22) July 22, 1948 (age 70)
Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Leslie Best
RelativesTim Larson (brother)
EducationCentral Connecticut State University (BA)

John Barry Larson (born July 22, 1948) is the U.S. Representative for Connecticut's 1st congressional district, serving since 1999. The district is based in the state capital, Hartford. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Larson is the former chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

Early life, education, and teaching/business career[edit]

Larson was born in Hartford, but has spent most of his life in nearby East Hartford. He grew up in a public housing project. He was educated at East Hartford High School and Central Connecticut State University. He worked as a high school history teacher and an assistant athletics coach at George J. Penney High School (later Penney High merged with East Hartford High School).

Larson was also the co-owner of an insurance agency in East Hartford before entering public service. In 1971, he was selected as a Senior Fellow to the Yale University Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy by the Head Start Program founder, Edward Zigler.

Early political career[edit]

Larson began his political career in 1977, when he served one term on the East Hartford Board of Education. He then served two terms on the East Hartford Town Council.

In 1982, Larson was elected to the Connecticut Senate from the 3rd district, based in East Hartford. He served six terms in that body, the last four as President pro tempore of the Connecticut Senate.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]


In 1994, Larson left the state senate and sought the Democratic nomination for Governor of Connecticut but was defeated by Bill Curry in the primary. After being defeated for governor, Larson entered private business for several years but was able to maintain his political credentials.

Due in part to service in the Democratic Party and his local connections in the state, he narrowly defeated Secretary of State Miles Rappaport in the Democratic primary for the 1st District when 17-year incumbent Barbara Kennelly gave up the seat to run for governor in 1998. This was tantamount to election in this heavily Democratic district. He has been re-elected six times with no substantive opposition.

On February 1, 2006, Larson was elected Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. The previous vice chairman, Jim Clyburn, moved up to chairman when Bob Menendez was appointed to the United States Senate. After the Democrats won control of Congress in the 2006 elections, Larson opted not to run for caucus chairman—a post that went to former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Rahm Emanuel, instead running unopposed for re-election as vice chairman.

After being re-elected in 2008, Larson was elected chairman of the Caucus for the 111th Congress, after Emanuel was named White House Chief of Staff.[1]


Energy and the Environment[edit]

Larson has introduced various pieces of legislation in attempts to nationalize the US's energy and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to protect the environment. Larson cosponsored the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 "to move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, to increase the production of clean renewable fuels, to protect consumers, to increase the efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles, to promote research on and deploy greenhouse gas capture and storage options, and to improve the energy performance of the Federal Government, and for other purposes."[2] According to Larson, "I have become convinced of the need for comprehensive legislation to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we are emitting into the environment."[3] Larson's stances on environmental protection have earned him a rating of 100% with the League of Conservation Voters.[4]

Jobs and the Economy[edit]

In 2010 Larson introduced the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, authorizing the creation of the Small Business Lending Fund Program administered by the Treasury Department to make capital investments in eligible institutions, in order to increase the availability of credit for small businesses. Larson was a strong advocate for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which increased federal spending in infrastructure, education, health and energy while expanding some welfare and social security programs. Larson's liberal stance on government spending has earned him a rating of 9% with Citizens Against Government Waste, a conservative anti-government spending interest group.[4]

Larson received media attention for scolding members of Congress for shutting down the government on September 30, 2013.[5]

Abortion and Marriage Equality[edit]

Larson has voted consistently to both legalize same-sex marriage, and to expand options for legal abortion. Larson voted to repeal the military's "don't ask don't tell" policy, and voted in favor of the Sexual Orientation Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA).[6] The Human Rights Campaign gave Larson a rating of 94%. Larson voted not to end federal funding to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice American both gave Larson a rating of 100%.[4]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Larson married Leslie Best, one of his former students from his high school teaching days at George J. Penney High School (now East Hartford High School).[13] They now have three children and reside in East Hartford.[13]


  1. ^ Pelosi Announces New Majority Leadership Team,; accessed November 1, 2016.
  2. ^ "Cosponsors - H.R.6 - 110th Congress (2007-2008): Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 | | Library of Congress". Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  3. ^ "Congressman John Larson | Representing the 1st District of Connecticut". Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  4. ^ a b c [1] Archived 2013-09-08 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Democratic Congressman Scolds GOP On House Floor: 'Do You Stand With Your Country?'". Huffington Post. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  6. ^ "John Larson's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test) - The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. 1948-07-22. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  7. ^ "Members". House Baltic Caucus. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  8. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Members". Afterschool Alliance. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  10. ^ "Members". Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  11. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  12. ^ "90 Current Climate Solutions Caucus Members". Citizen´s Climate Lobby. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Meet John | Congressman John Larson". Retrieved 2016-11-01.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Barbara Kennelly
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 1st congressional district

Party political offices
Preceded by
Jim Clyburn
Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus
Succeeded by
Xavier Becerra
Preceded by
Rahm Emanuel
Chair of the House Democratic Caucus
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Joseph Crowley
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Grace Napolitano