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Tom Rooney

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 16th district
Assumed office 
January 3, 2009
Preceded by Tim Mahoney

Born November 21, 1970 (1970-11-21) (age 39)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Tara Rooney
Residence Tequesta, Florida
Alma mater Washington & Jefferson College
University of Florida
University of Miami
Profession attorney
Religion Roman Catholic

Thomas J. "Tom" Rooney (born November 21, 1970) is the Representative for the 16th Congressional District of Florida. He won the Republican primary election for the seat on August 26, 2008, and was elected over incumbent Tim Mahoney on November 4, 2008. He is related to Pittsburgh Steelers owner and ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney.


Early years

Tom Rooney was raised in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and graduated from the Benjamin School in North Palm Beach. He is a grandson of Art Rooney, Sr. [1] In college, Rooney played football for Syracuse University and Washington & Jefferson College outside of Pittsburgh where he earned his B.A in English Literature and was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.

After working for Sen. Connie Mack in Washington D.C., Rooney attended the University of Florida where he received his M.A. in Political Science. From there he went to the University of Miami School of Law where he received his J.D. and became a member of the Florida Bar in 1999.

Military service

Rooney spent over four years in the United States Army JAG Corps. Most notably, he served as Special Assistant U.S Attorney at Fort Hood, Texas, prosecuting all civilian crimes on post.

In 2002, Rooney began teaching Constitutional and Criminal Law at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He received two Army Commendation Medals for his service and due to his Congressional service, has opted to remain as a JAG Corps officer in the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR) of the U.S. Army Reserve.

During his active duty time in the JAG Corps, he served with fellow future Congressman Patrick J. Murphy, a Democrat from Pennsylvania who was the first Iraq War veteran elected to the U.S. Congress.

Service in Florida's government

Rooney returned to Florida, where he went to work as an Assistant Attorney General under Charlie Crist.[2] While working as a criminal prosecutor for the Office of Attorney General, he became involved with “The Children’s Place at Home Safe,” a local charity that helps abused, neglected, and abandoned children. Because of his work as director of Home Safe, Governor Jeb Bush appointed Rooney to the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County Board of Directors in January 2006. After his second year as director, Rooney returned to the Board of Directors of Children’s Place and resumed his practice of law in Stuart, Florida with the law firm of Kramer, Sopko & Levenstein, P.A. He is a graduate of Leadership Palm Beach County. In 2008, he ran for the US Congress in the 16th Congressional District against incumbent Tim Mahoney. Mahoney had narrowly won the Republican-leaning district in 2006, after former Congressman Mark Foley abruptly resigned under a cloud of scandal. Florida election law required Foley's name to remain on the general election ballot, with votes for him being transferred to his replacement, State Representative Joe Negron. It was widely believed that this significantly undermined Negron's chances, as many voters would be reluctant to cast a ballot in Foley's name. Given Mahoney's narrow margin of victory, coupled with the unusual circumstances surrounding the election, the 16th District was viewed as one of Republicans' best opportunities to take a congressional seat from the Democrats in 2008. In the Republican Party primary, Rooney was endorsed by Florida's popular Governor, Charlie Crist and defeated State Representative Gayle Harrell and investment banker Hal Valeche. Mahoney, aided by the power of incumbency and having burnished his image as a moderate Blue Dog Democrat, consistently led Rooney in polls throughout the 2008 election cycle until mid-October 2008, when it was revealed that Mahoney, who had promoted a family values image and campaigned against corruption in contrast to the disgraced Foley, had engaged in multiple extramarital affairs and secretly paid off his mistresses to conceal them. This revelation shifted the race decisively in Rooney's favor, even causing the Palm Beach Post to take the rare step of rescinding its previous endorsement of Mahoney and endorsing Rooney instead. [3]

Congressional career


Committee assignments


  1. ^ Rep. Tom Rooney: Are you ready for some smashmouth football?
  2. ^ Turner, Jim (August 16, 2008), Gov. Charlie Crist backs Tom Rooney in congressional primary, Fort Lauderdale, FL: South Florida Sun-Sentinel, p. 301  
  3. ^ Tribune, Tampa (July 30, 2008), Tom Rooney Is Best Choice For Republicans In Congressional Primary, Tampa, FL: Tampa Bay Online, p. 1  

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Tim Mahoney
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 16th congressional district

2009 – present


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