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John J. LaFalce

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 36th, 32nd and 29th district
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Henry P. Smith III
Succeeded by Amo Houghton

Born October 6, 1939 (1939-10-06) (age 70)
Buffalo, New York
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Patricia Fisher LaFalce

John Joseph LaFalce (born October 6, 1939) is a former congressman from the state of New York; he served from 1975 to 2003.

LaFalce was first elected to the 94th United States Congress in 1974 and re-elected to each succeeding Congress through the 107th, serving his Western New York congressional district for 28 years, from 1975 to 2003. He served as Chairman of the House Small Business Committee from 1987 to 1995, and as Ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee from 1999 to 2003. He declined to seek re-election to the 108th Congress.


Personal background

LaFalce was born in Buffalo, New York, on October 6, 1939. He graduated from Public School 49 (1953), Canisius High School (1957), Canisius College (1961), and Villanova University School of Law in 1964. From 1965 to 1967, Rep. LaFalce served in the United States Army during the Vietnam era, leaving active duty with the rank of Captain. He returned from military service to practice law in Western New York with the law firm of Jaeckle, Fleischman and Mugel, and soon became active in public service. In 1970, he ran successfully for the New York State Senate, and in 1972 was elected to the New York State Assembly. He is often seen at the Memorial Day parade in Kenmore passing out free handshakes.

He is married to the former Patricia Fisher and they have one son, Martin, who is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and currently works as a public interest lawyer in New York City.

U.S. Representative

In 1974, at the age of 35, LaFalce became only the second Democrat, and the first since 1912, to win election to what was then the 36th congressional district of New York, which included most of northern Buffalo as well as Niagara Falls. LaFalce was elected as part of the large Democratic freshman class elected in the wake of Watergate. He was reelected 13 times, rarely facing substantive opposition.

During his career in the House of Representatives, he served on both the Committee on Small Business and the Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs (now the Committee on Financial Services). In January 1987, he was elected by the Democratic Caucus as Chairman of the Committee on Small Business, thus becoming the first member of his class to chair a full, standing committee of the House. Following the change in control of Congress in 1994, he served as the committee's ranking Democrat. In February 1998, he was elected the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee and served in that capacity through 2003.

LaFalce had numerous accomplishments as a legislator. For example, he is credited with initiating the Competitiveness Policy Council.

LaFalce was generally a liberal Democrat, but strongly opposed abortion. He currently serves on the National Advisory Board of Democrats for Life of America.[1]

After the 2000 census, New York lost two congressional districts. One plan called for the merger of LaFalce's territory with the neighboring 27th district of Republican Jack Quinn, a longtime friend who represented the other portion of Buffalo. The final map merged his district with the Rochester-based 28th District of fellow Democrat Louise Slaughter. The new district retained Slaughter's district number, but geographically was more LaFalce's district; indeed, only a narrow band of territory from Buffalo to Rochester connected the two areas. Nonetheless, LaFalce didn't seek reelection in 2002.


  1. ^ National Advisory Board. Democrats for Life of America. Accessed March 21, 2009.

External links

New York State Senate
Preceded by
William Adams
New York State Senate, 53rd District
Succeeded by
Gordon DeHond
New York Assembly
Preceded by
James McFarland
New York State Assembly, 140th District
Succeeded by
Harold Izard
Political offices
Preceded by
Parren Mitchell
Chairman of House Small Business Committee
Succeeded by
Jan Meyers
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Henry P. Smith III
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 36th congressional district

Succeeded by
District 36 eliminated after the 1980 Census
Preceded by
George C. Wortley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 32nd congressional district

Succeeded by
District 32 eliminated after the 1990 Census
Preceded by
Frank Horton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 29th congressional district

Succeeded by
Amo Houghton


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