John Barry Larson (born July 22, 1948) is the U.S. Representative for Connecticut's 1st congressional district, serving since 1999. He is a member of the a Democratic Party. The district is based in the state capital, Hartford. Larson is the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
Early life, education and career
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. 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.
U.S. House of Representatives
Larson is a member of the New Democrat Coalition. On February 1, 2006 he 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, 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. On March 5, 2009, Larson introduced a bill entitled "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the United States domestic energy supply" in an effort to begin a national tax on carbon dioxide emissions.
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 reelected six times with no substantive opposition.
Larson was challenged by Republican nominee Ann Brickley, Green Party nominee Kenneth J. Krayeske, and Socialist Action nominee Christopher J. Hutchinson.
Larson was re-elected to another term.
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). They now have three children and reside in East Hartford.
October 5th, 2011