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Mike Fitzpatrick


Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 8th district
In office
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Jim Greenwood
Succeeded by Patrick Murphy

Born June 28, 1963 (1963-06-28) (age 46)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kathleen Fitzpatrick
Residence Levittown, Pennsylvania
Alma mater St. Thomas University, Dickinson College
Occupation attorney
Religion Roman Catholic

Michael G. "Mike" Fitzpatrick (born June 28, 1963, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a Republican U.S. politician from the state of Pennsylvania. He represented the state's 8th Congressional district in the U.S. House for a single term, and lost his bid for re-election in 2006 to Democrat Patrick Murphy. He will run for his old seat in 2010.[1]

Contents

Education and early career

Fitzpatrick was born in Philadelphia to James and Mary Fitzpatrick. He is the fifth of eight siblings. He grew up in Lower Bucks County. A graduate of Bishop Egan High School in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania, Fitzpatrick was awarded an Honors Degree (B.A. 1985) from St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida, and a Law Degree (Juris Doctor 1988) from the Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University. He is admitted to the practice of law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and is a member of the Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and American Bar Associations. He served as Special Counsel at the Philadelphia law firm of Saul Ewing LLP.

After two unsuccessful campaigns for State Representative in the heavily Democratic 141st Legislative District, he was appointed to the Bucks County Board of Commissioners in January 1995, replacing Mark Schweiker, who had just been elected lieutenant governor. He served as chairman of the Board in 1995, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2003. During that time, the county made improvements to the emergency management system, including the enhancement of the 9-1-1 system, the construction of a new state-of-the-art emergency operating center, and took a leadership role in the five-county anti-terrorism task force.

Congressional career

In July 2004, popular moderate Republican James C. Greenwood unexpectedly withdrew from his re-election campaign. In the party convention held to select Greenwood's replacement on the ballot, the more conservative Fitzpatrick won the nomination over Greenwood's choice, state Senator Joe Conti, thanks to the backing of Bucks County Republican Party boss Harry Fawkes. Fitzpatrick went on to face liberal activist Virginia "Ginny" Schrader (something of a "sacrificial lamb candidate," chosen before Greenwood withdrew) in the general election. [2] [3] Fitzpatrick won the general election against Schrader 55.3%-44.3%, with the remaining vote split between two minor candidates [4]. His district, the Pennsylvania 8th, includes all of Bucks County, a sliver of Montgomery County, and parts of two wards in Northeast Philadelphia [5].

He served on the United States House Committee on Financial Services and the United States House Committee on Small Business.

In May 2006, Fitzpatrick introduced the Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006, which requires most schools and libraries to actively restrict minors from access to "Commercial Social Networking Websites" and "Chat Rooms."

In late July, the DOPA Act overwhelmingly passed the House. Speaking before the vote was taken, Fitzpatrick said, "The social networking sites have become, in a sense, a happy hunting ground for child predators" [6].

2006 re-election campaign

Fitzpatrick faced Democrat Patrick Murphy in the November general election of 2006.

In January 2006, Fitzpatrick said he had donated to charity the $21,500 he received from political action committees headed by U.S. Representatives Bob Ney (R-OH), Tom DeLay, (R-TX), and Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) (all of whom, coincidentally, left the Congress in disgrace; Cunningham and Ney both sentenced to jail time; [1]).

Fitzpatrick was endorsed by several environmental groups including the Sierra Club. He was the only incumbent Republican congressman in Pennsylvania who had the support of the environmentalist lobby during this election.

The Cook Political Report rated this race as "Leans Republican". However, Congressional Quarterly rated this race as "Toss-up" (see Notable U.S. House elections, 2006 — Pennsylvania). An October 30, 2006 poll by Constituent Dynamics showed Fitzpatrick trailing Murphy 47% to 50% ([2]).

On Election night, the votes between the two candidates were within 1%, with Fitzpatrick trailing by just over 1,500 votes out of nearly 250,000 cast.

On November 8, with all precincts reporting, Murphy led by 1,521 votes. Philadelphia television station NBC 10 later reported that Fitzpatrick had conceded the election to Murphy.[7] He along with Mike Sodrel (R-IN) and Joe Schwarz (R-MI) were the only freshman Republicans to be defeated in 2006 (the latter albeit in a primary).

Post-congressional career

After the loss to Murphy, Fitzpatrick re-entered the practice of law, taking a position with Middletown Township law firm Begley, Carlin, and Mandio. [8],[9] In the fall of 2007, the Bucks County Commissioners asked Fitzpatrick, along with former Commissioner Andy Warren and former Common Pleas Judge William Hart Rufe to co-chair an effort to pass a ballot initiative authorizing the county to borrow $87 million for open space preservation.[10] The initiative, which was also endorsed by Congressman Murphy, passed by a large margin.

Throughout 2007, there was much speculation that Fitzpatrick would seek to reclaim the seat in Congress that he lost to Murphy. [11] Fitzpatrick laid the rumors to rest in January, 2008 by announcing that he would not be running for Congress, but instead would challenge freshman state Representative Chris King in the 142nd District. Despite charges by some Democrats that he was "afraid to run against Murphy because he knows he would lose," Fitzpatrick claimed that he was interested in the job because of his "passion ... in solving local problems and serving the local community," as well as a desire to "change the way business is done in Harrisburg." [12]

However, family health problems forced Fitzpatrick to end his bid for state representative in early February. Fitzpatrick yielded his spot on the ballot to Republican activist Frank Farry (who went on to win the seat), and supported Doylestown pharmaceutical company executive, Thomas Manion, for the congressional seat he once held.

Personal life

Fitzpatrick is involved with the Boy Scouts of America and is a member of the Temple Lower Bucks Hospital Board of Directors, the Conwell-Egan Catholic Board of Advisors, the Knights of Columbus, the Levittown Bristol Kiwanis Club, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Brehon Law Society. He is also an Eagle Scout from the Bucks County Council and former president of that council. He was honored with the Silver Beaver Award for his service. [13][14]

Fitzpatrick was diagnosed with colon cancer in June 2008. He reported in November 2008 that the cancer went into remission after chemotherapy.[15]

He, his wife Kathleen, and their six children reside in Levittown in Middletown Township.

References

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jim Greenwood
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district

2005–2007
Succeeded by
Patrick Murphy
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