Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)
During more than 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives,
Democrat Steny Hoyer has gained ground as a moderate voice for compromise.
Quick to create coalitions on both sides of the aisle in Congress,
Hoyer has fought for a growing home district and, in November, was
selected to use his clout and political skills to serve his party
as minority whip.
retained his seat even after his 5th District was changed in 1990
from mostly suburban Prince George's County to include the rural
Calvert, St. Mary's and Charles Counties in southern Maryland.
of Hoyer's appeal to constituents stems from his work to attract
new government jobs to the 5th District and his efforts to keep
those already in the area. Hoyer "maintains scrupulous lists
of 19,000 federal jobs and billions in funds he has steered home
or defended in Maryland as a senior member of the Appropriations
Committee," The Washington Post reported in November. Among
those battles was a continued effort to save his district's military
bases from the budget axe.
expect to continue to vigorously focus on the welfare of our bases
and Southern Maryland generally," Hoyer told reporters after
his selection as whip. "I'm proud that I could bring this
back to Southern Maryland."
in New York City, Hoyer received a bachelor's degree from the
University of Maryland, and graduated from Georgetown University's
law school in 1966. He was elected that same year to the Maryland
state Senate, where he served for the next 12 years. In 1975,
at the age of 36, Hoyer was elected Senate president, becoming
the youngest person to fill that role in Maryland history.
incumbent Gladys Spellman fell into a coma while running for reelection
in 1981, Hoyer campaigned successfully to fill her post as Maryland's
5th District representative in the U.S. House - the first of 11
consecutive House terms.
his tenure, Hoyer has fought for local environmental issues such
as obtaining funding to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and increasing
the Patuxent Wildlife Reserve in addition to his work to bring
jobs to the area. Hoyer also worked to support 1990's Americans
with Disabilities Act by acting as the bill's chief House sponsor.
has become a favorite of federal employees after supporting salary
increases in 1999 and better benefits in 2001.
Hoyer ran for whip in November, the House Democratic Caucus unanimously
supported him for the position, making him the first Marylander
to be elected to such a high post in the House.
run in November wasn't his first bid for party whip, however.
Hoyer made two unsuccessful attempts for the post in 1991 against
Michigan's David Bonior and again in 2000 against Nancy Pelosi
of California. Pelosi left the position when she was elected minority
leader in November.
will now work closely with Pelosi, although the two have sparred
on several occasions - a rivalry that dates back to 1963, when
both worked as interns for Maryland Sen. Daniel Brewster, the
Baltimore Sun reports.
like Pelosi, Hoyer has maintained he will push for bipartisanship,
but said he's willing to fight to propel his party's policy ideas
believe in my party, and I believe in our policies," he told
the Sun in November. "There will come times when we will
have deep and significant differences of opinion [with Republicans],
and I intend to state those as forcefully and emphatically as
Hoyer has begun a process to overhaul how his office handles some
of the whip's responsibilities, including counting the party's
votes. He has added two new layers of personnel to his staff's
voting apparatus, formalizing what Hoyer has called a traditionally
"self-appointed enterprise." The new layers include
about forty senior whips and almost thirty assistant whips, with
each new members charged with keeping tabs on specific sectors
of the Caucus. It will be the office's first such reorganization
in more than a decade.
says reorganizing the office is intended to access the diversity
within Democratic party on key issues.
new Democratic leadership reflects America - not only the diversity
that is her strength, but also her principles, her values and
her aspirations," Hoyer said in a statement following his
wife, Judith, passed away in 1997. Hoyer has three daughters and
-- By Ellen Guettler, Online NewsHour