John A. Boehner (bay-ner) serves as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Elected to represent the Eighth Congressional District of Ohio for a 12th term in November 2012, John is a national leader in the drive for a smaller, less costly, and more accountable federal government.
A SMALL BUSINESSMAN FROM SOUTHWEST OHIO
The second oldest of 12 brothers and sisters, John has lived in southwest Ohio his entire life. He grew up mopping floors and waiting tables at his family tavern, Andy’s Cafe, and played football for legendary coach Gerry Faust at Cincinnati’s Moeller High School where he graduated in 1968.
After high school, John worked several jobs to pay his way through Xavier University. While working as a night janitor he met Debbie – now his wife of 40 years – and in 1977 earned his bachelor’s degree in business. John and Debbie raised two daughters, Lindsay and Tricia, in the northern Cincinnati suburb of West Chester where they still live today.
John went on to run a small business in the plastics and packaging industry. His experience in the private sector – meeting a payroll, paying taxes, dealing with government red tape – prepared him well to be a reformer in the public sector.
John’s first run for public office was for a spot on his neighborhood homeowners association, followed by a seat on his township board of trustees. He was elected to the Ohio General Assembly in 1984 where he served until the voters of southwest Ohio sent him to Congress.
A REFORMER WHO TOOK ON THE ESTABLISHMENT
Elected to Congress in 1990, John quickly became a voice for reform. First, he adopted a “no earmarks” policy that he carries with him to this day. And as part of the “Gang of Seven,” he and fellow lawmakers took on the House establishment – Democrats and Republicans. Together, they successfully closed the scandal-riddled House Bank, uncovered “dine-and-dash” practices at the House Restaurant, and exposed drug sales and cozy cash-for-stamps deals at the House Post Office.
In 1994, John was instrumental in crafting the landmark Contract with America. One of the Contract’s cornerstones – the Congressional Accountability Act, which required lawmakers to live under the same rules and regulations as the rest of the nation – bears the unmistakable print of his drive to change the way Congress works.
After Republicans won their first Congressional majority in several decades, John’s colleagues elected him to serve as House GOP Conference Chairman in the 104th and 105th Congress. In that role, John was a powerful voice in the fight to force Washington to stick to the strict spending limits in the Balanced Budget Act that let the economy grow and led to the first budget surplus in a generation.
As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, John authored the Freedom to Farm Act, legislation reforming the Soviet-style farm subsidy programs that punish farmers and taxpayers alike. And in 1999, as Vice-Chairman of the House Administration Committee, John joined House leaders to announce the first-ever “clean” independent audit of the House, a reform he first called for as a member of the Gang of Seven in 1992.
A LEGISLATOR WHO DELIVERED REAL SOLUTIONS
From 2001 to 2006, John served as chairman of the House Committee on Education & the Workforce. There he co-wrote the bill establishing the first private school choice program in the District of Columbia, and worked with other reformers to ensure parental choice provisions were included in the bipartisan No Child Left Behind Act to reinforce its goal of bringing greater accountability to taxpayer-funded education programs.
Boehner’s reputation as a serious legislator focused on real solutions continued with enactment of the Pension Protection Act – the most sweeping reform of America’s pension laws in more than 30 years – which helped to ensure workers can count on their benefits when they retire.
In 2006, John was elected by his colleagues to serve as House Majority Leader. On his watch, the House passed the first budget that held the line on spending in several years and adopted the first-ever reforms making the earmark process open and accountable. In 2007, John began his tenure as House Republican Leader. In that role, he united Republicans against job-destroying bills like ObamaCare and the Democrats’ “cap and trade” national energy tax that were passed over the objections of the American people. And he helped ensure that our troops in harm’s way continued to receive the funding and resources they needed to succeed.
Under John’s leadership, Republicans launched several efforts to develop better, principled solutions to the challenges facing families and small businesses. Among them: the GOP State Solutions project, an initiative aimed at bringing reform-minded Republicans at the state and federal levels together to promote common-sense solutions from outside the Beltway. Also: the innovative America Speaking Out project which gave Americans a platform to discuss and share their priorities with national leaders – a platform that led to the Pledge to America, Republicans’ new governing agenda for the country.
A LEADER FOCUSED ON LISTENING TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
On November 17, 2010 – his 61st birthday – Boehner was elected by his colleagues to serve as Speaker-designate, and on January 5, 2011 he swore in the 112th Congress as the 53rd Speaker of the House. John was re-elected by the House on January 3, 2013 to serve a second term as Speaker for the 113th Congress.
Under his leadership, the House majority has worked to make the legislative process more open and to ensure the priorities of the American people are reflected in the priorities of lawmakers. John led the drive for an aggressive set of reforms that require bills to be posted online at least three days before a vote, make it easier to cut spending, require legislation to cite its authority in the Constitution, and more.
John also led House Republicans in adopting the first ban on “earmarks” — the secretive, pork-barrel spending he has opposed since his first days in Congress. Today, Speaker Boehner is focused on removing government barriers to private-sector job creation and economic growth, cutting government spending, reforming Congress, and rebuilding the bonds of trust between the American people and their representatives in Washington.