Tim Holden: Wikis


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Tim Holden

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 17th district
Assumed office 
January 3, 2003
Preceded by George Gekas

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 6th district
In office
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Gus Yatron
Succeeded by Jim Gerlach

Born March 5, 1957 (1957-03-05) (age 52)
St. Clair, Pennsylvania
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Gwen Holden
Residence St. Clair, Pennsylvania
Alma mater Bloomsburg University
Occupation real estate/insurance agent

Thomas Timothy "Tim" Holden (born March 5, 1957) is an American politician who has been a member of the United States House of Representatives since 1993. A Democrat, he has represented the 17th congressional district of Pennsylvania (map), having previously represented the 6th District from 1993 until 2003. He is a member of the Agriculture Committee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Resources Committee.

Holden is one of the most socially conservative Democrats in the House. A leader of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition,[1] he is Pro-life and is opposed to gun control, and was one of 73 Democrats who voted for the Bankruptcy Bill. However, he has strong ties to organized labor, and has been critical of the Bush Administration's fiscal policy.

In 1980, Holden earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania; he became a licensed real estate agent and later an insurance broker (1983). He has worked as a probation officer and as Sergeant-at-Arms for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and was the sheriff of Schuylkill County.


House of Representatives

In 1992, Holden was first elected to Congress from the 6th District, based in Reading and including Berks and Schuylkill counties. The district was comprised mostly of Reagan Democrats who were still willing to vote Republican in most elections (it voted for George H. W. Bush in 1992, Bob Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000), but Holden was reelected four times without serious opposition.

Pennsylvania lost two districts after the 2000 United States Census. The Republican-controlled General Assembly dismantled the 6th, splitting its territory among three other districts. The legislature considered placing Holden's home in Schuylkill County in the 11th District, a heavily Democratic area in northeastern Pennsylvania. This would have forced a primary matchup with Paul Kanjorski, an eight-term Democrat who was slightly more progressive than Holden. Eventually, it moved Holden's home to the Republican-leaning Harrisburg-based 17th District, represented by 10-term Republican George Gekas [1].

On paper, the redrawn 17th appeared to so heavily favor Gekas that it appeared unwinnable for a Democrat, even one as conservative as Holden. To some, it was a blatant gerrymander intended to force Holden into retirement. Gekas retained 60% of his former territory, and George W. Bush had carried the newly drawn district with 57% of the vote in 2000 [2].

The new 17th Congressional District, represented by Congressman Tim Holden

However, to the surprise of many observers, Holden did not retire, instead opting to run in a district that was 65% new to him (a small corner from the even more Republican 9th District was moved to the 17th). Gekas was forced into his first real campaign ever. Holden managed to gain endorsements from much of Gekas' old base, much to Gekas' surprise. Even Gekas' hometown paper, The Patriot-News, endorsed Holden, saying that the 17th was not the same district that elected Gekas in 1982. Gekas got another rude surprise when Holden visited African American neighborhoods such as Uptown and Allison Hill after finding out that Gekas had never set foot in these neighborhoods in his congressional career. He asked the residents of these neighborhoods not to vote for a congressman who didn't bother to visit them. In November 2002, in one of the biggest upsets in recent political history, Holden narrowly defeated Gekas.

In 2004, Holden ran for re-election against Republican lawyer Scott Paterno, son of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, [3]. Paterno was actively supported by influential Republicans, and President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney came to the district several times to support him. Nevertheless, Holden won re-election by a comfortable margin even as Bush easily carried the district.


Political Decisions

In November 2009, Holden voted with 38 other Democrats against the Affordable Health Care for America Act. [2]

Committee assignments

Congressman Tim Holden | Committee Information

Agriculture Committee

From 2003 through 2005, $14.7 billion in crop subsidies went to the congressional districts of members on the House Committee on Agriculture, an analysis by the non-partisan Environmental Working Group found. That was 42.4% of the total subsidies. Holden is reported to have brought $17 million to the 17th District.[3]

2006 re-election campaign

Holden faced Republican Matthew Wertz, an Afghanistan War veteran, in the November 2006 Midterm election. However, Wertz dropped out of the race before the general election citing personal reasons. Holden went on to easily win re-election in the 2006 Congressional election, taking 65% of the total vote.[4]

2008 re-election campaign

Holden successfully ran against Republican Toni Gilhooley, a retired PA State Trooper who served for 25 years.


External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Gus Yatron
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
Jim Gerlach
Preceded by
George Gekas
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 17th congressional district

Succeeded by


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