Gerald E. 'Gerry' Connolly (born March 30, 1950) is a member of the United States House of Representatives from Virginia's 11th congressional district. He was first elected in 2008. Connolly is a member of the Democratic Party.
Early life, education and career
Connolly graduated from Maryknoll College in Illinois with a B.A. in Literature in 1971, and completed a Master of Public Administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in 1979.
Connolly worked from 1979 through 1989 with the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, where he managed committee oversight of international economic issues, international narcotics control, and United Nations and Middle East policies, and published reports on U.S. policy in El Salvador, Central America, Israel and the Persian Gulf region.
From 1989 through 1997 he was Vice President of the Washington Office of SRI International. He was also Director of Community Relations for SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation).
In local politics, Gerry served on the Fairfax Government Reorganization Commission from 1992 through 1993. In 1995 he was elected Providence District Supervisor, serving for nine years.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
Connolly's career as a public official began on March 28, 1995 when he was elected Providence District Supervisor on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. He was reelected to a four-year term on the board in November of that same year. Connolly ran unopposed for re-election in November 1999.
In 2003, he was elected Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and was reelected in 2007.
As Chairman of the ten-member board, Connolly balanced a 4.5 billion budget and managed a county that, based on size, would make it the nation's thirteenth largest city, twelfth largest school district, and sixth largest office market. He served as Chairman of the County's Legislative Committee and Vice-Chair of the Economic Advisory Committee. Connolly also served as Chairman of the Board of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC), Chairman of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC), and was chairman of the Board of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG). He also chaired the region's Emergency Preparedness Taskforce and represented Fairfax County on the Board of the Virginia Association of Counties (VaCo), where he also served as president.
Connolly is Pro-Choice. He voted against the Stupak Amendment to the Affordable Care Act, which placed stringent limits on health insurance companies offering abortion services.
During the budget amendments process in 2011, he voted against an amendment that would have prevented taxpayer funds from going to Planned Parenthood.
Connolly has voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009, the supplemental appropriations bill that established Cash for Clunkers, and the Cash for Clunkers Extension. Additionally, he voted for all of the 2010 governmental appropriations bills, and he voted for the Continuing Appropriations Act for 2011. However, he has voted against some large spending bills, including opposing the release of $350 billion in bank bailout funds and a $154 billion spending bill because of concerns these would add to the federal deficit.
He was a cosponsor of pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) budget legislation that was signed into law in February 2010.
In May, 2011, Connolly voted to increase the debt ceiling, but the measure failed by a significant margin. It was his third such vote.
Connolly voted in favor of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, saying it would strengthen national security while spurring innovation in the energy industry. In 2010, he voted in favor of ending a moratorium on deepwater drilling rigs that met certain safety standards.
Connolly is one of the 35 congressmen who founded the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition.
Connolly supports gay rights, having campaigned against the Marshall-Newman Amendment to the Virginia Constitution, which banned all gay unions from being performed or recognized in Virginia. In Congress, he voted in favor of repealing the contentious "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law that prohibited gays from serving openly in the military, and has co-sponsored a few bills that would repeal portions of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.
While on the Board of Supervisors for Fairfax County, Connolly sponsored an ordinance that would have made it illegal to transport a loaded shotgun in the back of one's car. In Congress, Connolly signed onto a measure that would have closed the "Gun Show Loophole" by requiring that private sellers of firearms at gun shows engage in the same background check and reporting requirements as registered firearms dealers. Connolly opposes allowing concealed weapons in schools and on college campuses.
In November, 2011, Connolly voted against the National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act, which would have exempted non-residents of states that prohibit concealed weapons from those restrictions.
In 2009, Connolly was an early supporter of the Democratic health care plan, which ultimately became the America's Affordable Health Choices Act, as well as the public health insurance option; saying at a live chat with constituents in September to a woman from Washington, D.C. that "One of my principles for health care reform is that it increases the choices you have.
By setting up a health insurance exchange, we can give your family more insurance choices, hopefully including one that your daughter's doctor chooses to accept". Connolly voted against the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, and later for the America's Affordable Health Choices Act in March 2010.
Connolly cited deficit reduction in explaining his health care vote. However, the impact of the bill on the deficit continues to be a matter of debate.
Connolly was a cosponsor of the Helping Active Duty Deployed Act and the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act.
Connolly scored a 24 point victory over his closest opponent in the 2008 Democratic Primary. Connolly then defeated Republican nominee Keith Fimian by more than ten points for the open seat held by Republican incumbent Tom Davis. The Independent Green Party candidate on the ballot was Joseph P. Oddo.
Connolly was challenged by Republican nominee Keith Fimian, who lost to Connolly in 2008, Libertarian David L. Dotson, Independent Green David William Gillis, Jr., and Independent Christopher F. DeCarlo. Connolly was re-elected by less than a thousand votes.
Connolly and his wife Cathy have lived in Mantua since 1979. Their daughter is a student at a Virginia university. He serves on the Boards of Directors for Fairfax Partnership for Youth, the American Red Cross of the National Capital Area, the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Washington Initiative Board of Trustees, the Medical Care for Children Partnership, the Institute for Regional Excellence, and the University of Virginia – Virginia Institute of Government. He previously served as president of the Mantua Citizens Association (MCA) president and two terms as president of the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations.
Connolly is also a company member of The Providence Players of Fairfax, a community theatre in Fairfax County, having acted in several of their shows.
March 4, 2012