John Olver: Wikis


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John Olver

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 1st district
Assumed office 
June 4, 1991
Preceded by Silvio Conte

Born September 3, 1936 (1936-09-03) (age 73)
Honesdale, Pennsylvania
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Rose Olver
Children Martha Olver
Residence Amherst, Massachusetts
Alma mater Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Tufts University, MIT
Occupation college professor

John Walter Olver (born September 3, 1936), American politician, has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1991, representing Massachusetts's 1st congressional district, a primarily rural district that makes up most of Western Massachusetts.


Education and family life

Olver was born in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. He earned a B.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at the age of 18, an M.S. from Tufts University, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He served as a chemistry professor at the Franklin Technical Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, at MIT and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

John Olver is married to Rose Olver, a Professor of Psychology and Women's and Gender Studies at Amherst College. They have one daughter, Martha. The family has lived in Amherst, Massachusetts since 1963.

Political career

He served two terms as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1969 to 1973, and then nine terms in the Massachusetts Senate from 1973 to 1991.

On February 18, 1991, 1st District Congressman Silvio Conte died just one month after taking office for his 17th term. That June, Olver, who had just been sworn in for his 10th term in the state senate, narrowly defeated Republican Steve Pierce in a special election for the seat, becoming the first Democrat to win the seat since it changed from being the 13th district in 1895. He won election to a full term by 8 points in 1992 and has only faced one truly serious challenge since, from future Acting Governor Jane Swift in 1996 (the same year Governor William Weld gave Senator John Kerry the closest race a Democratic senator has faced in Massachusetts in almost two decades). Olver defeated Swift by a 53% to 47% margin. The 1st District had long been considered the most Republican district in heavily Democratic Massachusetts, but rapidly swung into the Democratic column in the 1990s. For example, in 1994, a year in which district after district fell to the Republicans nationally, Olver ran unopposed.

In 2008, Olver beat both his primary and general election challengers.

In July 2009 Massachusetts Democrat and former state senator Andrea Nuciforo filed to run for Olver's seat in 2012. [1]

Committee Assignments

Party leadership

  • Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus


Olver has been critical of the United States lack of involvement with the genocide in Darfur. Olver was one of five members of Congress arrested April 28, 2006 after protesting outside the Sudanese Embassy.[2]

He was one of the 31 who objected in the House to the counting of the electoral votes from Ohio in the United States presidential election, 2004.[3]

Olver is one of the co-sponsors of H.R. 676, the US National Health Care Act, or Expanded & Improved Medicare for All, which introduces a universal health insurance program with single-payer financing. In addition to supporting different pieces of liberal healthcare reform legislation in the House, Olver has also strongly supported allowing federal funds related to health care programs to fund abortion operations. For example, Olver voted against a proposed amendment to House Resolution 3962 which prevented federal funds from being spent on abortion operations. [1]

In addition to supporting the inclusion of coverage for abortions in healthcare legislation, Olver has consistently supported pro-choice legislation in the house and has received very favorable ratings from pro-choice interest groups such as the NARAL Pro-Choice America, which gave Olver a rating of 100. [2][3]

With regards to United States involvement in Iraq, Olver has consistently opposed a United States military presence in Iraq, and voted against the 2002 authorization for the use of force in Iraq at the beginning of U.S. military engagement with the country. [4] Olver has since advocated for the quick removal of U.S. troops from the country, and has consistently voted no on proposals in the House to increase funding for U.S. military operations in Iraq and the deployment of more U.S. troops in Iraq.[5] In a position paper written on the subject of the United States presence in Iraq, Olver stated that he believes that the United States should seek out a political solution in cooperation with the States neighboring Iraq, such as Iran and Syria, rather than pursuing a strategy based primarily on military means in order to create a stable and democratic Iraq.[6]

With regards to immigration policy, Olver has stated that he supports efforts to reduce the number of immigrants entering the United States illegally, but that he believes that rather than simply increasing punishments for those who enter the country illegally and for those who employ illegal immigrants, the U.S. Government needs to reform immigration so as to allow qualified foreigners to easily acquire guest worker status in the U.S.[7] Olver has consistently voted against legislation that would cut off public benefits to illegal and legal immigrants, has voted against legislation aimed at erecting physical barriers to stop illegal immigration, and has voted against legislation aimed at making English the official language of the U.S.[8] Olver also believes that illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States need to be provided with a pathway to citizenship, and that these immigrants should not have to return to their countries of origin before obtaining citizenship.[9]

Convention delegation

Olver was a superdelegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He announced his commitment to Senator Barack Obama on June 3rd, 2008.

Ideological ratings


External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Silvio O. Conte
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 1st congressional district

June 4, 1991 – present
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Ed Pastor
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Sam Johnson

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