Leonard Lance

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Leonard Lance
Leonard Lance official congressional photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 7th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2009
Preceded by Mike Ferguson
Member of the New Jersey Senate
from the 23rd district
In office
January 8, 2002 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by William E. Schluter
Succeeded by Marcia Karrow[1]
Member of the New Jersey General Assembly
from the 23rd district
In office
February 21, 1991 – January 8, 2002
Preceded by William E. Schluter
Succeeded by Michael Doherty[2]
Personal details
Born (1952-06-25) June 25, 1952 (age 64)
Easton, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Heidi A. Rohrbach
Residence Clinton Township, New Jersey[3]
Alma mater Lehigh University (B.A.)
Vanderbilt University (J.D.)
Princeton University (M.P.A.)
Occupation Attorney
Website House website

Leonard J. Lance (born June 25, 1952) is the U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 7th congressional district, serving since 2009. He is a member of the Republican Party. He previously served in the New Jersey Senate and the New Jersey General Assembly where he had been lauded by legislative peers as a moderate Republican.[4] Since 2009, however, his positions have shifted to conservative Republican positions, such as against environmental regulation, and against Planned Parenthood.[4] He has been a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act[5] and against abortion rights; in 2017 he voted against federally funded insurance plans which provide coverage for abortion.[6][7]

Early life, education, and early political career[edit]

Lance was born in Easton, Pennsylvania, into a political family. His parents were Anne M. (née Anderson) and Wesley Leonard Lance, who was a State Senator.[8][9] His great-uncle, H. Kiefer Lance, was also active in New Jersey politics.

After attending North Hunterdon High School in Annandale, New Jersey, Lance received a B.A. from Lehigh University in 1974, a J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1977 and an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in New Jersey in 1982.[10]

Leonard Lance served as the law clerk to the Warren County Court in 1977 and 1978. He was assistant counsel for county and municipal matters to Governor of New Jersey Thomas Kean from 1983 to 1990. He was a member of the New Jersey Council on the Humanities during the Whitman Administration by appointment of the Governor.

New Jersey legislature[edit]

Lance served in the New Jersey General Assembly for 11 years (1991–2002) and served in the New Jersey Senate for 7 years (2002–2009). In 2002 he was elected to the New Jersey Senate and held the position of Minority Leader from 2004 to 2008.[10]


In 1987, he first ran for the General Assembly. He lost the Republican primary, ranking third with 17% in New Jersey's 23rd District.[11] Lance was appointed to the New Jersey General Assembly in February 1991 when then-Assemblyman William E. Schluter was appointed to the New Jersey Senate upon the ascension of Dick Zimmer from the New Jersey Senate to the United States House of Representatives in January 1991. After redistricting, Lance ran for the newly redrawn 23rd District in 1991, and won the Republican primary. In the general election, he ranked second with 30%, winning a seat. Incumbent Republican State Assemblyman Chuck Haytaian ranked first in the district with 33%.[12] In 1993, Lance won re-election to a second term with 40%.[13] In 1995, he won re-election to a third term with 34%.[14] In 1997, he won re-election to a fourth term with 30%.[15] In 1999, he won re-election to a fifth term with 36%.[2]

After redistricting, he ran for the New Jersey Senate in 2001 in the 23rd District. He defeated Democrat Frederick P. Cook 69%–31%.[16] In 2003, he won re-election to a second term with 68%.[17] In 2007, he won re-election to a third term with 67%.[1]

Committee assignments[edit]

In the general assembly, he served as the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee from 2000 to 2002 and the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, when it handled the state budget, from 1996 to 2000. While Appropriations Committee Chairman, the committee oversaw state finances, taxation and spending on individual legislation, while budget issues were passed to a separate Budget Committee.

He served on the Joint Budget Oversight Committee, the Legislative Services Commission and the Budget and Appropriations Committee. As Republican Budget Officer, he served as the Ranking Minority Member of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, along with serving as the Republican Senate Caucus' chief point person on budget and finance issues and in budget negotiations.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



In 1996, Leonard Lance sought the Republican nomination to replace Rep. Dick Zimmer, who was retiring from the House of Representatives to run for the United States Senate. Lance ran to represent New Jersey’s 12th congressional district, which at that time included his residence in Clinton Township. Lance finished third in the primary behind Franklin Township Mayor Michael Pappas and New Jersey Senator John O. Bennett III. Pappas went on to win the general election.[18]


In 2008, Lance ran for Congress in the 7th congressional district, which now included his residence in Clinton Township. Republican Rep. Mike Ferguson was retiring after four terms in Congress. In the Republican primary, Lance faced seven candidates including former Summit Council President Kelly Hatfield, Scotch Plains Mayor Martin Marks and Kate Whitman, daughter of former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman.[19] On June 3, 2008, Lance won the Republican primary with 40% of the vote.[20]

In the general election, Lance faced New Jersey Assemblywoman Linda Stender of Scotch Plains as well as three independent and third party candidates. Stender had run against Rep. Ferguson in 2006 and lost narrowly.[21] The Cook Political Report rated the race as a "toss up."[22] Lance was endorsed by the New York Times.[23] On November 4, Lance defeated Stender by 51% to 41%. Lance was one of two Republicans elected for the first time in a district that President Barack Obama won.[24]

In the 2008 presidential primaries, Lance supported Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. He later endorsed John McCain.[25]


In 2010, Lance was challenged in the Republican primary by businessman David Larsen of Oldwick, IT consultant Alonzo Hosford of Milford, and real estate appraiser Bruce Baker of Westfield. Lance won the primary with 56% of the vote, ahead of Larsen with 31%, Hosford with 8% and Baker with 5%.[26][27] Unlike the 2008 election, the 2010 7th district general election race was not considered competitive.[28] Lance defeated educator Ed Potosnak 59% to 41%.[29]


Redistricting made Lance's district significantly more Republican than its predecessor.[30][31] The 7th was pushed to the north, shedding several Democratic-leaning portions of Middlesex County in exchange for more conservative territory in Morris and Warren Counties. It also absorbed all of Hunterdon County.[32] In the Republican congressional primary, Lance was challenged for a second time by David Larsen. Lance defeated Larsen 61% to 39%.[33] In the general election, Lance defeated New Jersey Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula 57% to 40%.[34]

In the Republican presidential primaries, Lance endorsed Mitt Romney.[35]


Lance was challenged for a third time for the Republican nomination by David Larsen. Lance defeated Larsen 54% to 46%.[36] In the general election, Lance defeated Town of Clinton Mayor Janice Kovachs 59% to 39%.[37]


In the 2016 Republican congressional primary, Lance was challenged by David Larsen for a fourth time. Businessman Craig Heard of Roxbury also ran in the primary. Lance won the primary with 54% of the vote, ahead of Larsen with 33% and Heard with 13%.[38][39] In the general election, Lance faced social worker Peter Jacob. Jacob was one of 27 congressional candidates endorsed by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.[40][41] Lance defeated Jacob 54% to 43%.[42]


Lance was sworn in as a Member of Congress on January 6, 2009 and was appointed to the House Financial Services Committee, where he worked on a wide range of issues relating to the financial services sector and the American economy. In 2011 Congressman Leonard Lance left the House Financial Services Committee and has been appointed to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.[43]

In 2017, Lance was named to the House Ethics Committee.[44]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus Memberships
  • Congressional Arts Caucus
  • Congressional Israel Allies Caucus
  • House Republican Israel Caucus
  • Rare Disease Caucus

Congressional Pediatric and Adult Hydrocephalus Caucus

  • Congressional Humanities Caucus
  • Congressional Caucus on the Deadliest Cancers

Lance is a co-chairman of the House Republican Israel Caucus. The caucus focuses on the relationship between the United States and Israel. It is one of the largest organizations of Members of Congress, in terms of membership numbers. Lance has served as a co-chairman since at least 2011. Additionally, Lance is a member the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus. The caucus is sponsored by the Israel Allies Foundation, a group that promotes communication between legislative members in different countries and supports the right of Israel to exist in peace.

Lance also serves as the Republican chairman of the Rare Disease Caucus. The goal of the caucus is to get Members of Congress to support passing bills that help people who suffer from rare diseases.[45] Seventy-six Members of Congress are caucus members.

Political positions[edit]

As of 1 April 2017, Lance has voted with his party in 95.2% of votes so far in the current session of Congress and voted in line with President Trump's position in 96% of votes.[46][47]


In 2011 Lance voted for the Balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution.[48] He also opposed President Obama’s Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 and argued that it contained too much wasteful government spending.[49]


Lance’s pro-environmental record has been praised by advocates such as Jeff Tittel of the New Jersey Sierra Club.[50] In 2009 he was one of only eight Republicans in the House who voted in favor of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, a historic bill to create clean energy jobs and cut carbon pollution.[51] Lance also opposes the PennEast Pipeline, an energy project in New Jersey, saying that the project will be harmful to farmland preservations along the Delaware River Watershed.[52]

In February 2017, he voted to repeal a rule that required coal companies to restore streams and mined areas to their pre-development conditions.[46][53] In February 2017, he voted in favor of repealing a rule that required energy companies to disclose payments to foreign governments.[46]

Foreign Policy[edit]

In 2015 Lance voted against the Iran Nuclear Deal in what he described as ‘one of the most consequential votes’ he has taken in Congress.[54] He claims that the agreement does not prevent the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism from attaining nuclear weapons.[54] Since President Obama signed the Iran Nuclear Deal, Lance has sponsored legislation that would add additional sanctions on Iran.[55]

Lance believes that Israel is entitled to its independence and that any Middle East peace pact must involve the recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a free, Jewish State.[56]


Lance has been a staunch critic of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) since its inception, voting against it in 2009 and voting to repeal it on multiple occasions. Lance voted in support of the American Health Care Act, the GOP's replacement plan for Obamacare, in March 2017 when the legislation was in his committee.[57]

Lance is also the Republican chairman of the Rare Disease Caucus, a group whose goal is to get Members of Congress to support passing bills that help people who suffer from rare diseases.[58] As part of his work for the Rare Disease Caucus Lance in 2013 re-introduced the Modernizing Our Drug and Diagnostic Evaluation and Regulatory Network Cures (MODDERN) Act, a bipartisan bill intended to encourage new innovative treatments for a variety of diseases and ailments.[58] vThe MODDERN Drug Act proposes to reevaluate and reintroduce drugs that were once in the development phase, back into production and testing. This bill would benefit patients suffering from a variety of ailments including but not limited to: degenerative conditions, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.[58]


Lance opposes amnesty and supports requiring employers to use the e-verify background check system.[59]

LGBT rights[edit]

Lance opposes same-sex marriage.[60] Lance voted against repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell[61]

In 2009, he co-sponsored Barney Frank’s Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would have prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity by employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, or joint labor-management committees.[62] He was also one of only 18 Republicans to vote for the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.[63] Additionally, Lance publicly supported executive orders by President Obama and President Trump to protect the gay community and the transgender community.[64]


In March 2017, Lance voted to reverse a Federal Communications Commission privacy rule that prevented internet service providers from to selling their customers' browsing data.[65][46] Explaining his vote, Lance said that the regulation created a "false sense of privacy" by treating internet service providers differently.[66][67]

Donald Trump[edit]

In the 2016 presidential primaries, Lance endorsed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, but endorsed Donald Trump for the general election.[68]

Although Lance supported Donald Trump during the 2016 election he has criticized some of the President’s early policies. Lance condemned President Trump’s 2017 executive order that curtailed the immigration of people from seven countries in the Middle East, calling it ‘rushed and poorly implemented.’[69] Lance was supportive, however, of Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court[70] and his Mexico City Policy.[64]


Lance was one of nine lawmakers investigated by the House Ethics Committee for taking a trip in May 2013 to Turkey and Azerbaijan paid for by the Azerbaijan state-owned oil company;[71] Lance was later cleared of wrongdoing by the committee.[72] In January 2017, several thousand protesters, mostly women, marched to Lance's office in Westfield, New Jersey as part of the 2017 Women's March to protest GOP policies and advocate for women’s rights, human rights, LGBTQ, climate change, gun control, and other issues.[73][74] In Watchung in 2017, citizens groups opposed to the policies of Donald Trump vowed to hold representatives accountable, and specifically targeted Lance and senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez accountable to the wishes of voters, not the president.[75]

Personal life[edit]

Lance married his wife, Heidi A. Rohrbach, who is a VP at JPMorgan Chase, in August 1996. They have a son, named Peter Frank.[76] He is a former trustee of the Newark Museum, of Centenary College in Hackettstown and of McCarter Theatre in Princeton.


  1. ^ a b "NJ State Senate 23 Race – Nov 06, 2007". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  2. ^ a b "NJ General Assembly 23 Race – Nov 04, 1999". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  3. ^ "Congressman Leonard Lance : Biography". Lance.house.gov. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  4. ^ a b Tom Moran, May 22, 2011, Star-Ledger, The curious transformation of N.J. Congressman Leonard Lance, Retrieved January 29, 2017, "......"
  5. ^ Sue Epstein, January 6, 2016, NJ.com, 650K N.J. residents could lose health coverage under Obamacare vote by GOP, Retrieved January 28, 2019
  6. ^ Katie Kausch, January 26, 2017, Patch, Rep. Lance Votes In Favor Of Anti-Abortion Bill, Retrieved January 26, 2017
  7. ^ GovTrack, January 13, 2017, On Motion to Recommit with Instructions: H.R. 7: No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017, Accessed January 29, 2017
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  12. ^ "NJ General Assembly 23 Race – Nov 05, 1991". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  13. ^ "NJ General Assembly 23 Race – Nov 02, 1993". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  14. ^ "NJ General Assembly 23 Race – Nov 07, 1995". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
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  19. ^ "Some things readers should know about NJ's June 3 primary election". The Star-Ledger. May 17, 2008. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  20. ^ "Official List: Candidate Returns for House of Representatives For June 2008 Primary Election" (PDF). njelections.org. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Incumbent Menendez Maintains Seat, Kean Loses Senate Race" (PDF). Westfield Leader. November 6, 2005. 
  22. ^ http://cookpolitical.com/archive/chart/house/race-ratings/2008-11-04_13-32-49
  23. ^ "For the House". New York Times. 
  24. ^ http://frontloading.blogspot.com/2009/03/2008-electoral-college-by-congressional.html
  25. ^ Local Republicans to hold John McCain, Sarah Palin 'All-American Rally' in Somerville, Retrieved March 12, 2017
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  29. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=496869
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  31. ^ Amick, George. "The effects of congressional redistricting in Mercer". NJ.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  32. ^ http://www.politico.com/story/2011/12/nj-remap-a-setback-for-democrats-070817
  33. ^ http://www.nj.com/hunterdon-county-democrat/index.ssf/2012/06/lance_defeats_larsen_in_7th_di.html
  34. ^ http://www.politico.com/2012-election/results/house/new-jersey/
  35. ^ http://blogs.app.com/capitolquickies/2011/10/26/u-s-rep-leonard-lance-endorses-romney/
  36. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/elections/2014/results/primaries/new-jersey
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  38. ^ http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/06/nj_primary_election_results_2016_us_congress.html
  39. ^ https://www.tapinto.net/towns/roxbury/articles/roxburys-craig-heard-aims-to-oust-lance-in-gop-p
  40. ^ http://observer.com/2016/08/new-bernie-sanders-org-endorses-cd7-challenger-jacob/
  41. ^ https://ourrevolution.com/election-2016/
  42. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/new-jersey-house-district-7-lance-jacob
  43. ^ Hughes, Karen. "Congressman Leonard Lance Endorses Bourke and Mount for Re-Election to Millburn Township Committee". TapintoMilburn. Milburn Patch. 
  44. ^ Jackson, Herb. "N.J.'s Lance tapped for ethics panel". NorthJersey.com. Gannett. Retrieved 12 March 2017. 
  45. ^ "Congressman Leonard Lance will continue as Republican Chair of Congressional Rare Disease Caucus". 
  46. ^ a b c d Bycoffe, Aaron (2017-01-30). "Tracking Leonard Lance In The Age Of Trump". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2017-04-01. 
  47. ^ Willis, Derek. "Represent". ProPublica. Retrieved 2017-04-01. 
  48. ^ Bell, Deborah. "Lance Supports a Balanced Budget Amendment in the Face of a $15 Trillion Deficit". patch.com. Woodbridge Patch. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  49. ^ Coomes, Jessica. "Democratic group targets Leonard Lance's vote against stimulus". LehighValleyLive. Lehigh Valley Live. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  50. ^ "Environmentalists defend Lance". APP.com. Gannett. 
  51. ^ Witherspoon, Roger. "The Evolution of Rep. Leonard Lance: Environmentalist to Climate Change Denier". Huffingtonpost.com. Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  52. ^ Wright, Terry. "PennEast pipeline opposed by almost everybody speaking at FERC meeting". Nj.com. Hunterdon Democrat. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  53. ^ "These N.J. congressmen voted to loosen gun laws, deceive workers | Editorial". NJ.com. Retrieved 2017-04-01. 
  54. ^ a b "7TH DISTRICT: Congressman Lance votes against Iran nuclear deal". Centraljersey.com. centraljersey.com. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  55. ^ Dickson, Ellen. "Lance Statement on Iran Sanctions". TapintoSpringfield.com. Springfield Patch. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  56. ^ "Trump issues new sanctions against Iran". Msnbc.com. NBC. 
  57. ^ "Democrats target N.J.'s Lance over an Obamacare repeal vote". NJ.com. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  58. ^ a b c "Congressman Leonard Lance will continue as Republican Chair of Congressional Rare Disease Caucus". nj.com. Hunterdon County Democrat. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  59. ^ Jennings, Rob. "LANCE, SEEKING FIFTH TERM, FACES TWO CHALLENGERS IN GOP PRIMARY IN 7TH". njspotlight.com. NJ Spotlight. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  60. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  61. ^ https://projects.propublica.org/represent/votes/111/house/2/638
  62. ^ "H.R.3017 - Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009". Congress.gov. Congress.gov. 
  63. ^ "H.R.1913 - Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009". Congress.gov. Congress.gov. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  64. ^ a b "Immigration Ban: The Republican Response, the Christian Response, and the Complexities of Digital Security". The Takeaway. WNYC. 
  65. ^ "The 265 members of Congress who sold you out to ISPs, and how much it cost to buy them". The Verge. 2017-03-29. Retrieved 2017-04-01. 
  66. ^ "Congress dismantles Internet privacy rules, allowing ISPs to sell your web history". PCWorld. Retrieved 2017-04-01. 
  67. ^ "house-votes-to-let-internet-providers-sell-user-browsing-data-without-consent". 
  68. ^ http://www.newjerseyhills.com/mt_olive_chronicle/news/reluctantly-lance-still-backing-trump-for-president/article_5c3b2155-74f3-5c8c-ac83-588d1f195710.html
  69. ^ Herb, Jackson. "NJ delegation reacts to Trump action on refugees, Muslims". northjersey.com. Gannett. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  70. ^ Dickson, Ellen. "Lance Statement on Judge Gorsuch's Nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court". tapinto.net. Springfield Patch. 
  71. ^ Jonathan D. Salant, June 22, 2015, NJ.com, House ethics panel continues probe of Lance trip, Retrieved January 26, 2017, "...questions arose about whether the trips complied with the requirements for such travel...."
  72. ^ Jonathan D. Salant, August 1, 2015, NJ.com, N.J. Rep. Lance cleared in House ethics probe, Retrieved January 26, 2017, "...Because the House travelers acted in good faith, and the evidence was inconclusive as to the true source of funds for the travel, the committee concluded that the trips did not constitute an impermissible gift of travel, ..."
  73. ^ Jackie Lieberman, TAPinto, Women’s March in Westfield Attracts Thousands, Retrieved January 26, 2017, "... the crowd walked along North Avenue through Downtown Westfield to Congressman Leonard Lance’s office at 425 North Ave. East..."
  74. ^ Kelly Heyboer, January 18, 2017, NJ.com, Women's March to include 6 'sister marches' in N.J. on Saturday, Retrieved January 26, 2017, "..Marchers are scheduled to gather in front of the Lord & Taylor on North Avenue in Westfield and march about a half mile to the office of Rep. Leonard Lance (R- 7th Dist.)...."
  75. ^ ALEX PARKER-MAGYAR, Echoes Sentinel, January 25, 2017, Watchung Hills residents 'VOW' to hold representatives accountable under Trump, Retrieved January 26, 2017, "...citizens group, ... aims to hold politicians - namely Rep. Leonard Lance, R-7, ... accountable to the voters, not the wishes of the new president...."
  76. ^ Heidi Rohrbach, Leonard Lance, NY Times, August 11, 1996, retrieved July 17, 2011 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mike Ferguson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 7th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Lynn Jenkins
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Blaine Luetkemeyer
New Jersey General Assembly
Preceded by
William Schluter
New Jersey State Assemblyman – District 23
January 1991 – January 2002
Succeeded by
Michael J. Doherty
New Jersey Senate
Preceded by
William Schluter
New Jersey State Senator – District 23
January 2002 – January 2009
Succeeded by
Marcia A. Karrow
Political offices
Preceded by
Office Vacant During Two Year Equally Divided Senate
Minority Leader of the New Jersey Senate
January 13, 2004 – January 8, 2008
Succeeded by
Thomas Kean Jr.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Robert Littell
Republican Budget Officer of the New Jersey Senate
January 8, 2008 – January 3, 2009
Succeeded by
Anthony Bucco