Steny Hamilton Hoyer (born June 14, 1939) is the U.S. Representative for Maryland's 5th congressional district, serving since 1981. The district includes a large swath of rural and suburban territory southeast of Washington, D.C.. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He was first elected in 1980 and served as the House Majority Leader from 2007 to 2011. He had previously served as House Minority Whip from 2003 to 2007, and was reelected to that post in 2011. These positions make him the second-ranking figure in the House Democratic Leadership hierarchy.
Hoyer was born in New York City but grew up in Mitchellville, Maryland.
His mother, Jean Baldwin, was American, and his father, Steen Theilgaard Høyer, was Danish and a native of Copenhagen; "Steny" is a variant of his father's name, "Steen", and Hoyer is an anglicized form of the fairly common Danish surname "Høyer". He graduated from Suitland High School in Suitland, Maryland. In 1963, he graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maryland, College Park, where he also became a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. He earned his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. in 1966. In the 1960s, Hoyer interned for Senator Daniel Brewster (D-Maryland), along with current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Steny Hoyer also serves on the Board of Trustees for St. Mary's College of Maryland and is a member of the board of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems', a non profit that supports international elections.
In 1966, Hoyer won a seat in the Maryland State Senate, representing Prince George's County, Maryland. In 1975, Hoyer was elected President of the Maryland State Senate, the youngest in state history. In 1978, Hoyer sought the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Maryland but lost out to Samuel Bogley.
In the same year Hoyer was appointed to the Maryland Board of Higher Education, a position he served in until 1981.
U.S. House of Representatives
In June 2010, Hoyer brought up the idea that Congress would extend only temporarily middle-class tax cuts that were set to expire at the end of the year, suggesting that making them permanent would cost too much. President Obama wants to extend them permanently for individuals making less than $200,000 a year and families making less than $250,000.
Steny Hoyer is pro-choice. He voted against the Partial-Abortion ban bill in 2003. Hoyer supports affirmative action and gay rights.
Hoyer claimed to oppose providing immunity to telecom companies but has come under fire for negotiating a bill, described by Senators Patrick Leahy and Russ Feingold as a "capitulation", that would provide immunity to any telecom company that had been told by the Bush administration that their actions were legal. Hoyer supports civilian nuclear cooperation with India. Hoyer is a supporter of Israel, and has often been allied with American Israel Public Affairs Committee. In September 2007, he criticized Rep. Jim Moran for suggesting that AIPAC "has pushed (the Iraq) war from the beginning," calling the comment "factually inaccurate."
Steny Hoyer has three daughters: Susan, Stefany, and Anne from his marriage to his wife, Judy Pickett Hoyer, who died in 1997.
Hoyer also has two granddaughters, one grandson and a great-granddaughter (born on November 2, 2006). His wife was an advocate of early childhood education, and child development learning centers in Maryland have been named in her honor ("Judy Centers"). She also suffered from epilepsy, and the Epilepsy Foundation of America sponsors an annual public lecture in her name. Hoyer, too, has been an advocate for research in this area, and the Epilepsy Foundation presented him in 2002 with their Congressional Leadership Award. Hoyer serves on the Board of Trustees for St. Mary's College of Maryland and is a member of the board of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, a nonprofit that supports international elections.
February 18, 2010