Andrew P. Harris (born January 25, 1957) is an American physician and politician who is the U.S. Representative for Maryland's 1st congressional district. He is a member of the Republican Party and formerly served in the Senate of the Maryland General Assembly.
Early life, education and career
Harris's father was Zoltán Harris, an anesthesiologist who was born in Miskolc, Hungary in 1911 and emigrated to the United States in 1950; his mother, Irene, was born in Poland.
Harris earned his B.S. in biology (1977) and his M.D. (1980) from the Johns Hopkins University.
The University's Bloomberg School of Hygiene and Public health conferred the M.H.S. in 1995 in Health Policy & Management and also Health Finance & Management.
Harris served in the Navy Medical Corps and the U.S. Naval Reserve as a Lt. Commander on active duty during Operation Desert Storm, and currently serves as a Commander. He has worked as an anesthesiologist, as an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, and as Chief of Obstetric Anesthesiology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Harris also served as Commanding officer for the Johns Hopkins Naval Reserve Medical Unit from 1989 to 1992.
Maryland General Assembly
Andrew Harris was first elected to the Maryland Senate in 1998 for District 9 for Baltimore County. He defeated his predecessor, F. Vernon Boozer, in the 1998 primary election. In the general election he defeated Democratic challenger Anthony O. Blades.
His district was later redrawn to be District 7, representing Baltimore County and Harford County.
He defeated Democratic challenger Diane DeCarlo in the general election in 2002, and from 2003 to 2006 served as the Minority Whip. In 2006 he won re-election, this time defeating Patricia A. Foerster.
U.S. Congressional campaigns
Harris defeated incumbent Republican Wayne Gilchrest and State Senator E.J. Pipkin in the Republican primary for Maryland's 1st congressional district.
Harris explained that he was upset with Gilchrest's decision to support a Democratic bill setting a time table for troop withdrawal from Iraq and suspected that many of his constituents also felt that way. Andy Harris was endorsed by the Club for Growth, which raised nearly $250,000 for him, and by former Governor Bob Ehrlich, seven of ten state senators who represent parts of the district, and House Minority leader Anthony J. O'Donnell. His general election opponent Frank Kratovil attacked the Club for Growth's policies, and Harris for having its support. Gilchrest endorsed Kratovil for the General election. The November election was as close as expected. On election night, Kratovil led Harris by 915 votes. After two rounds of counting absentee ballots, Kratovil's lead grew to 2,000 votes. Forecasting that it would be nearly impossible for Harris to close the gap, most media outlets declared Kratovil the winner on the night of November 7. Harris finally conceded on November 11. Harris won most of the suburban Baltimore portion of the district, but lost the Eastern Shore, home to half of the district's population. It is interesting to note that John McCain won this district by 19 points.
Harris ran again for Congress in Maryland's 1st congressional district. His challenger in the Republican primary was Rob Fisher, a conservative businessman.
Harris won the primary and went on to challenge Democratic incumbent Frank Kratovil. Libertarian Richard James Davis and Independent Jack Wilson also ran. Harris defeated Kratovil on November 2, 2010 by 14%.
The National Journal's Cook Political Report named Harris one of the top 10 Republicans most vulnerable to redistricting in 2012, noting that Maryland Democrats could redraw the First District away from Harris's home in Baltimore.
Health care controversy
Harris’ prominence as a medical doctor in opposition to government-run health care made him a lightning rod for attacks by supporters of the 2010 health care legislation. At a closed-door employee benefits briefing for new congressmen during the November 2010 freshman orientation, Harris was surprised to learn that the Federal employee health benefit plan would leave the new congressmen and their staffers without coverage until the following pay period, 28 days after inauguration. Concerned about this gap in coverage, he asked whether new government employees could purchase temporary coverage to fill this gap. "This is the only employer I've ever worked for where you don't get coverage the first day you are employed”, he said through his spokeswoman, Anna Nix. Through a spokesman, his defeated opponent, Frank Kratovil, seized upon this dialogue, characterizing the question as a “demand” for special treatment and for access to the benefits he opposed in the new law. Furthermore, "Harris then asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap," added an aide, who was struck by the similarity to Harris's request and the public option he denounced as a gateway to socialized medicine.
Harris and his wife Sylvia have five children and reside in Cockeysville, Maryland.
Andy Harris has been an active member in the community as a member of the Knights of Columbus, an officer in the Thornleigh Neighborhood Improvement Association (vice-president, 1984–85; president, 1985–86), a member of the Board of Directors of the Sherwood Community Association, 1987–91, and served as Vice President of St. Joseph's School Home-School Association from 1992 to 1994. Also, he has been on the Board of Directors of the Maryland Leadership Council, 1995–98, a member of the North Central Republican Club (treasurer, 1997–98; vice-president, 1998), and finally as a Delegate to the Republican Party National Convention, 2004. Harris has received the Laughlin Award for Distinguished Public Officer, Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland in 2001.
November 20th, 2011