BioCongressman Joe Courtney was elected in 2006 to represent the Second Congressional District of Connecticut in the House of Representatives. He serves on the Armed Services and Agriculture Committees.
As a member of the Armed Services Committee, Congressman Courtney serves on the Seapower and Projection Forces and the Military Readiness Subcommittees. Along with Rep. Rob Wittman of Virginia, he co-chairs the bipartisan Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus. Courtney serves on two subcommittees of the House Agriculture Committee- the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management and the Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Subcommittees. Rep. Courtney is the first Connecticut Congressman to serve on the House Agriculture Committee since Henry Stevens served there in the 59th Congress more than 100 years ago.
As a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, Congressman Courtney has worked to strengthen our nation’s defense by leading the call for increased submarine production. To date, Courtney has secured more than $500 million in funding for advanced procurement and production of a second submarine. When Courtney arrived in Congress, Electric Boat was facing significant workforce reductions, and, for the first time in 50 years, was not actively designing the next generation of submarine. Because of funding secured by Courtney, the men and women of Electric Boat will build two submarines annually beginning in 2011, marking the first time two subs will be built at the yard in a single year since the 1980s. Courtney has also fought to secure critical support for new design and engineering work on the replacement for the OHIO-class submarine, which has added hundreds of jobs in southeastern Connecticut. This design and engineering work prompted Electric Boat to expand into the former Pfizer building in New London to accommodate its growing workforce.
Additionally, Congressman Courtney secured more federal funding outside the President's budget for SUBASE New London in his first two years in Congress than were secured during the entire previous decade. The over $80 million that Courtney has brought home to the base will ensure that New England’s largest military installation will thrive well into the 21st century.
Since his swearing-in, Congressman Courtney has distinguished himself as a tireless advocate for both our nation’s veterans and our men and women in uniform. He successfully fought to expand the Montgomery GI Bill for post-9/11 veterans and their families, and led the fight to extend TRICARE benefits to dependents under age 26. Congressman Courtney also fought and won support for an 18-unit supportive housing facility for homeless and at-risk veterans in Jewett City. In 2009, Courtney secured $200,000 towards the project which broke ground in the fall of 2010. He also partnered with Senator John McCain to introduce the Post-9/11 Troops to Teachers Enhancement Act to help members of the military transition into the teaching profession. In recognition of his efforts on behalf of veterans, Congressman Courtney has been awarded the Connecticut National Guard’s highest honor, the Meritorious Service Award. He has also earned recognition from veterans organizations, including the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, which named him Legislator of the Year in 2009.
As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, Congressman Courtney is a vocal proponent for nearly 2,500 farmers across eastern Connecticut. Courtney is the founding co-chairman of the Congressional Dairy Farmers Caucus, and has worked tirelessly to protect family farms from foreclosure and fix the flawed milk pricing system. Congressman Courtney also fought for lobsterman in the region when the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission proposed a five-year ban on lobstering. After Courtney raised the issue and its disastrous effects, the commission ultimately shelved the proposal. In addition, the Congressman worked with federal, state and local officials to ensure recreational and commercial access to waterways in Westbrook and Clinton by advocating for and scheduling work by a US Army Corps of Engineers dredging ship.
Dedicated to preserving our green space and protecting the environment, Courtney introduced and won passage of a law that designated the Eightmile River in Connecticut as a part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Thanks to his efforts, this pristine and scenic watershed will be preserved for generations to come.
Before serving in the House of Representatives, Joe Courtney represented the citizens of Vernon in the Connecticut General Assembly from 1987 to 1994. During this tenure, then state-Rep. Courtney served as House Chairman for both the Public Health and Human Services Committees and also chaired the Connecticut Blue Ribbon Commission on Universal Health Insurance.
Courtney was recognized in a legislative poll in 1994 by Connecticut Magazine for his bipartisan efforts, and named the "Most Conscientious” and the “Democrat Most Admired by Republicans.” Since he came to Congress, Courtney has received numerous awards from several national organizations including the National Patient Advocate Foundation’s 2010 Healthcare Hero award, The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers’ Legislator of the Year Award, and the American Farm Bureau’s Friend of the Farm Bureau award.
Congressman Courtney is a 1975 graduate of Tufts University in Boston. He earned a law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1978. He lives in Vernon with his wife, Audrey Courtney, and their two children, Robert and Elizabeth.