Leonard 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.
Early life, education, and early political career
Leonard Lance was born in Easton, Pennsylvania, into a political family. His father, Wesley L. Lance, was a State Senator.
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, a J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School and an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
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
Lance served in the New Jersey General Assembly for 11 years (1991–2002), where 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.
In 2002 he was elected to the New Jersey Senate and held the position of Minority Leader from 2004 to 2008. 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
On June 3, 2008, Lance won the Republican primary to replace retiring Congressman Mike Ferguson in the New Jersey's 7th congressional district with 40% of the vote, defeating six opponents: Kate Whitman, the daughter of former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, former Summit Common Council President P. Kelly Hatfield, Scotch Plains Mayor Martin Marks, veteran Tom Roughneen, activist Darren Young, and professor A.D. Amir. The primary left his campaign's funds depleted, leading him to hold several fundraisers, including one with President George W.
Bush. Touring his district, he ran on a platform of fiscal conservatism, moderate social values, and environmentalism. He vowed to be "an independent voice" in Congress if elected.
His Democratic opponent was Linda Stender, a New Jersey Assemblywoman who unsuccessfully challenged Republican incumbent Ferguson in 2006.
During the campaign, Lance took strong positions against the Alternative Minimum Tax, the estate tax, Governor Jon Corzine's controversial toll hike plan, and the partisan nature of the United States Congress. He came under fire from Stender's campaign for his 2006 vote in the New Jersey Senate against a bill which prevented pharmacists from refusing to dispense medication such as birth control pills due to religious concerns. Lance was one of only a few Senators to vote against the bill.
However, both Lance and Stender are pro-choice. Lance was firmly opposed to negotiations with Iran on the presidential level, saying that he only favors holding such talks on a ministerial level. He also made energy independence one of his signature issues, along with fiscal accountability and debt reduction. On foreign policy, both candidates supported withdrawal from Iraq, a two-state solution in the Israel-Palestine conflict, and increased attention to the genocide in Darfur.
Lance and Stender debated each other twice during the campaign. In September, they met in Scotch Plains for a debate hosted at the Jewish Community Campus of Central New Jersey. It was moderated by Westfield Rabbi Douglas Segal. The candidates met in October in Edison for a second debate, which was televised on News 12 New Jersey and moderated by Walt Kane.
On October 21, The Star-Ledger editorial board endorsed Lance in the 2008 election. On October 25, The New York Times followed suit. Eight other newspapers also endorsed Lance over Stender.
On Election Day, November 4, 2008, Lance won the seat, defeating Linda Stender. Results of the election were Lance 142,004 51% to Stender 116,171 41%.
On June 8, 2010, Lance defeated three other candidates in the 7th District Republican primary, two of whom claimed to be tea party activists. He received 56% of the vote with the rest of the vote split among: businessman David Larsen (31%), IT consultant Alonzo "Lon" Hosford (8%), and real estate appraiser Bruce Baker (5%) - the lowest percentage of any of the state's winning incumbents.
Lance defeated the Democratic nominee, science teacher Ed Potosnak, in the November general election by a vote of 104,642 to 71,486.
Lance is conservative on fiscal issues. He is moderate on social issues, as he is pro-choice but voted against continued funding to Planned Parenthood, a national women's reproductive health care provider that also performs abortions. He also joined his party in opposing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, and 2009 "war supplemental", while breaking with it in voting for the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, and the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. During President Bush's tenure and while he was still in the state senate, Lance openly voiced support for the Iraq War.
In June 2009 Lance was one of only eight Republicans in the House of Representatives to break with their party and vote for the American Clean Energy and Security Act. Lance had campaigned as a strong advocate for environmental protection and reduction of American dependence on foreign oil. In supporting the bill, Lance cited the bill's economic benefits for New Jersey, the fact that it would not enlarge the national debt, estimates by the Energy Information Administration and Congressional Budget Office suggesting that costs to consumers would be minimal, and its goal of reducing American dependence on foreign oil.
Lance voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and has been at the forefront of action to encourage the Supreme Court to review the legislation. Lance is a member of the centrist Republican Main Street Partnership.
He married his wife, Heidi A. Rohrbach, a vice president at JPMorgan Chase, in 1996. They have no children. He is currently a trustee of the Newark Museum, of Centenary College in Hackettstown and of McCarter Theatre in Princeton.
December 15th, 2011