John Olver

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John Olver

John W. Olver was, until 2013, a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 1st district of Massachusetts.

Congressman John W. Olver has represented the Congressional District spanning Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester and Middlesex Counties—since June 1991.

Congressman Olver is currently the only member from the Massachusetts delegation serving on the House Appropriations Committee.


Olver was born on September 3, 1936, in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, where he grew up on a farm with his brother and sister. Olver and his wife Rose Olver, a psychology and women's and gender studies professor at Amherst College, have lived in Amherst since 1963. They have one daughter, Martha.[1]


In 2007, his colleagues named him the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and related agencies. This panel has jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation, including the Federal Aviation, Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Railroad Administration and Amtrak. The Subcommittee also is responsible for the annual budgets of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In 2003, he was named to the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. This panel has jurisdiction over the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and all land conservation, habitat restoration and water management activities conducted by the Department of Interior. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the research programs promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy and alternative fuels and the Department of Energy, plus the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities, are also funded annually by the Interior Environment Subcommittee.

In 2007, John Olver was named to the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee. This panel has jurisdiction over the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, among other agencies.[2]


Olver earned his B.A. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, his M.A. from Tufts University, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[3]


Olver's public service career began in 1969 in the Massachusetts State House representing a section of Hampshire County. Beginning in 1973, he served 18 years in the Massachusetts State Senate representing portions of Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden, and Berkshire Counties. On June 25, 1991, Olver was sworn in to the U.S. House of Representatives to complete the term of the late Rep. Silvio O. Conte.

Prior to his tenure in the Massachusetts State House, Olver was a chemistry professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.[4]

Hearing on Economic Insecurity

Democratic Left, May/June 1996, page 15

Boston Democratic Socialists of America was involved in the January 1996 Boston Hearing on Economic Insecurity. Participants included Joe Faherty, DSA member Elaine Bernard, John Kerry, Joe Moakley, Barney Frank, Joe Kennedy, John Olver, Marty Meehan.[5]

Boston DSA and its allies have formed the Committee on Economic Insecurity and are gearing up for Boston's public hearing on economic insecurity. The hearing will be held January 28 from 1-3 PM at historic Faneuil Hall, and Congress members Barney Frank and John Olver will participate. [6]

DSA endorsement

In July 1996, the Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee endorsed John Olver, Massachusetts 1 in that year's Congressional elections.[7]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

In 1998 John Olver Democrat was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[8]

As of February 20 2009 John Olver was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[9]

Supported by Council for a Livable World

The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported John Olver in his successful House of Representatives run as candidate for Massachusetts.[10]

Health Care Access resolution

John Conyers promoted House Concurrent Resolution 99 (H. Con Res. 99) Directing Congress to enact legislation by October 2004 that provides access to comprehensive health care for all Americans. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES April 4, 2001.

Sponsors:John Conyers (for himself), Jan Schakowsky, John Tierney, Barbara Lee, Donna Christensen, David Bonior, Dennis Kucinich, Earl Hilliard, Maurice Hinchey, Jerry Nadler, Donald Payne Chaka Fattah, Peter DeFazio, John Lewis Tammy Baldwin, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Barney Frank, Henry Waxman, Cynthia McKinney, Jim Langevin, George Miller Alcee Hastings, Patsy Mink, John Olver , Bennie Thompson, Pete Stark, Julia Carson, and Mike Capuano submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce;[11]

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), that the Congress shall enact legislation by October 2004 to guarantee that every person in the United States, regardless of income, age, or employment or health status, has access to health care..

Supporting HR 676

According to Boston Democratic Socialists of America member Rand Wilson, On Sept. 1 2005 Congressmen John Tierney and Maurice Hinchey heard testimony in Boston, in support of a “Medicare for All” solution to the health care crisis. Lobbyists at the meeting included members of Democratic Socialists of America and Sandy Eaton of Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.

The growing severity of this crisis brought together over 40 grassroots organizations for an impressive—and unusual—showing of political unity for health care reform based on extending Medicare to everyone.

According to Wilson Reps Barney Frank, Jim McGovern, John Olver and John Tierney were sponsoring legislation in the House, John Conyers' —HR 676—that would implement this approach.

“When we started organizing the hearing, only one member of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation had signed on. Now we have four out of the ten,” said Paul Cannon, President of Teamsters Local 122 and co-chair of Jobs with Justice’s Health Care Action Committee. “We’ve got our work cut out for us. It’s time to step-up the pressure on our policymakers for comprehensive reforms that cover everyone.”[12]

Reception Honoring Martha Coakley

On Jan. 12, 2010 a reception honoring Martha Coakley was held at the Sonoma Restaurant, 223 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington D.C. Among those present were Senator John Kerry and Representatives, Ed Markey, Richard Neal, William Delahunt, John Tierney, Stephen Lynch, Barney Frank, John Olver, Jim McGovern, Michael Capuano and Niki Tsongas.

Hosts of the reception donated $10,000 and included Nick Allard, Thomas Hale Boggs Jr., the Boston Scientific Political Action Committee, Chuck Brain, Susan Brophy, Mary Beth Cahill, Steve Champlin, Licy Do Canto, Gerald S. J. Cassidy, David Castagnetti, Steve Elmendorf, Candy Ergen, Cahrlie Ergen, Shannon Finley, Larry Harris, Tom Hogan, Carol Kenner, Stephanie Markiewicz, Andy Miller, Heather Podesta, Tony Podesta, Robert Raben, Linda Singer and Bill Titelman.

Co-hosts of the reception donated $5,000 and included Marty Bienenstock, Sheryl Cohen, Chad Dale, Joe Eyer, Jamie Gorelick, Robin Leeds, Fred Liowther, Bernie Nash, Frank Purcell of the CRNA (Nurse Anesthetists) Political Action Committee and Melissa Schulman.

The administration for the reception was organized by Julia Hoffman.[13]

Calling on Israeli Govt. to lift Gaza Travel Ban

On Dec. 22, 2009, thirty-three U.S. Representatives wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling on her to request that the Israeli Government end the ban on student travel from Gaza to the West Bank. John Olver was one of the signatories of the letter.[14] The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.

Supported Lifting the Gaza Blockade

On Jan. 27, 2010, U.S. Representatives Keith Ellison and Jim McDermott led 52 other members of Congress in signing a letter addressed to President Barack Obama, calling for him to use diplomatic pressure to resolve the blockade affecting Gaza. John Olver was one of the signatories of the letter. [15] The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.

External links