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Bill Delahunt

Assumed office 
January 3, 1997
Preceded by Gerry Studds

Born July 18, 1941 (1941-07-18) (age 68)
Quincy, Massachusetts
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) divorced
Children Kristin Delahunt
Kara Mai Delahunt
Residence Quincy, Massachusetts
Alma mater Middlebury College, Boston College Law School
Occupation attorney
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Service/branch United States Coast Guard
Years of service 1963-1971
Unit Reserves

William D. Delahunt (born July 18, 1941) has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1997, representing the 10th District of Massachusetts.

Born in Quincy, Massachusetts, Delahunt was educated at Thayer Academy, Middlebury College and Boston College Law School and later served in the United States Coast Guard Reserve. He served a term in the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1973–75) before serving as a district attorney of Norfolk County for more than 20 years.

In February 2010, Delahunt announced that was considering retirement from Congress at the end of his present term. [1] His retirement was confirmed on March 4th, 2010, by the Boston Globe.[2]


1996 Congressional election

Delahunt was first elected after a primary battle against Phil Johnston of Marshfield and Ian Bowles of Woods Hole. Johnston was initially declared the winner. A recount conducted in a handful of contested towns preserved Johnston's victory though by a narrower margin. Following the recount, Delahunt sought judicial review in the Massachusetts Superior Court and Judge Elizabeth Donvan conducted a de novo review of the contested ballots and declared Delahunt the victor by a 108-vote margin. The case appealed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which upheld the lower court ruling. The case is also noteworthy for the issue of "hanging chads" in punch-card voting machines.[citation needed]

Congressional career

Delahunt is a member of the United States House Foreign Affairs Committee; Judiciary Committee; and also serves as co-chair of the bipartisan Coast Guard Caucus, House Older Americans Caucus, and the Congressional Working Group on Cuba.

As one of his first initiatives in Congress, he created the bipartisan caucus on the United States Coast Guard, which he now co-chairs with two other Coast Guard veterans, Reps. Howard Coble (R-NC) and Gene Taylor (D-MS). This has benefited his district through getting the problems of outpaced resources and security recognized at the ports of Massachusetts.

In November 2005, he met with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and engineered a deal in which Venezuela would supply winter home heating oil at a 40 percent price reduction to thousands of low-income Massachusetts residents. The deal was carried out via the Venezuelan owned Citgo, and brought accusations that Delahunt was assisting an anti-American leader. Delahunt, however, has sometimes criticized Chavez, such as in a September 2006 letter expressing "profound disgust" at a speech given by Chavez to the United Nations, in which he personally attacked President George W. Bush. In the letter he urged that Chavez express disagreements "in a more constructive manner," and work with the US to solve problems such as drug trafficking.

Delahunt also participates occasionally in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's working group "30 Something," which aims to engage the next generation of Americans further in government and the political process.

In the 110th Congress, Delahunt serves as Chairman of the United States House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight.

He has been a consistent opponent of the war in Iraq.[3] However, on March 10, 2010 he voted against a measure to bring troops home from Afghanistan.[4]


Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

  • Co-chair of the bipartisan Coast Guard Caucus
  • Co-chair of the House Older Americans Caucus
  • Co-chair of the Congressional Working Group on Cuba


During a June 26, 2008 hearing, Delahunt pressed David Addington, Chief of Staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, regarding interrogation techniques including waterboarding. Addington commented that he could not give specifics, speculating that Al Qaeda might watch C-SPAN. Delahunt sparked outrage when he said, "Well, I'm sure they are watching, and I'm glad they finally have the chance to see you, Mr. Addington," to which Addington replied "Yeah, I'm sure you're pleased." The remarks were quickly condemned by Cheney's office as well as Representative Steve King as inappropriate and as an incitement of violence by al Qaeda against Addington. A spokesperson for Delahunt conceded that his comments "could have been better phrased," but maintains that he was making a statement about transparency in government.[5]

In February 2010, questions were raised about how Delahunt and the Norfolk County D.A.'s office had handled the case of Amy Bishop. Bishop was arrested in Huntsville, Alabama, after shooting six co-workers at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. Reports linked Bishop to the shooting death of her brother in Braintree in 1986. At the time no criminal charges were brought against Ms. Bishop. [6]

Personal life

While Congress is in session, Delahunt lives in a rented house with fellow Democratic politicians George Miller, Chuck Schumer, and Richard Durbin.[7] Delahunt and his wife, Katharina E. Delahunt, divorced in 1986. They have one daughter, Kristin, and adopted another, Kara Mai (née Nguyen Mai Tai Trang), from Vietnam in 1975.


External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Gerry Studds
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 10th congressional district

1997 – present


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