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Profile of Rep. Steny Hoyer, House Minority Whip


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Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, House Minority Whip:

In 1981, Steny Hoyer was elected to Congress from Maryland's 5th district by special election. Rep. Hoyer has been reelected to 15 House terms. He also served in the Maryland State Senate from 1966 to 1979.

Ebullient and energetic, Steny Hoyer has been a key leader of House Democrats since 1987. In 2002, Hoyer lost to Rep. Nancy Pelosi in a bid to become House Minority Leader. Hoyer has since been #2 House Democrat for five terms, with Pelosi as leader.

Hoyer is decidedly more pro-business and more hawkish on wars than Nancy Pelosi, often causing tension between them on House issues and votes.

Steny Hoyer, House of Representatives Leader:

A talented legislator, consensus-builder and politician, Steny Hoyer evinces natural leadership skills. He's held House Democratic leadership positions since 1987, as:
    House Deputy Majority Whip - 1987 to 1989
  • Chair, House Democratic Caucus - 1989 to 1995
  • Recruited Democratic candidates for the House - 1995 to 2000
  • House Minority Whip (#2 Democrat) - 2003 to 2007
  • House Majority Leader (#2 Democrat) - 2007 to 2011
  • House Minority Whip (#2 Democrat) - 2011 to present

Steny Hoyer on the Issues:

Rep. Hoyer holds solidly liberal stances on social issues. He's rated:
  • 100% pro-choice by NARAL;
  • 87% pro-civil rights by ACLU;
  • 100% pro-public education by tNEA;
  • 85% pro-environment by League of Conservation Voters;
  • "F" for pro-gun control record by NRA;
  • 87% pro-union record by AFL-CIO.
Like President Obama, though, Hoyer leans centrist on economic, trade, and financial reform issues, and is more hawkish on war conflicts and national security issues than much of the Democratic party. On many occasions, Hoyer has drawn flack from Democrats for negotiating away liberal principles for the sake of bipartisan agreement.

Steny Hoyer before Congress:

From 1962 to 1966, during his undergraduate and law school years, Steny Hoyer served on the staff of U.S. Sen. Daniel Brewster of Maryland. Hoyer served alongside another fledgling political leader, Nancy Pelosi.

After law school, Steny Hoyer was elected at age 27 to the Maryland State Senate, where he served until 1979. Hoyer was President of the Maryland State Senate from 1975 to 1979. In 1978, Hoyer lost his race be elected Maryland Lieutenant Governor.

Hoyer was a delegate to Democratic National Conventions in 1968, 1974, 1976 and 1984, and served on the Maryland Higher Education Board from 1978 to 1981.

Personal Data:

  • Birth - June 14, 1939 in New York City to Steen Theilgaard Hoyer, a Denmark native, and his American wife Jean. Steny was raised in Maryland, which remains his residence.

  • Education - Suitland High School in Suitland, Maryland. B.A., magna cum laude, 1963, University of Maryland at College Park, where he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. J.D., 1966, Georgetown University Law School.

  • Family - Widowed since 1997. Three adult daughters, three grandchildren, one great-grandchild.

  • Faith - Baptist
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