John Olver

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John Olver
John Olver.jpg
U.S. House, Massachusetts, District 1
Retired Representative
In office
June 18, 1991-2013
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Massachusetts State Senate
Massachusetts House of Representatives
Bachelor'sRensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Master'sTufts University
Date of birthSeptember 3, 1936
Place of birthHonesdale, Pennsylvania
ProfessionCollege Professor
Net worth(2012) $3,367,514
Office website
John Walter Olver (b. September 3, 1936) was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Olver served the 1st Congressional District of Massachusetts from 1991-2013.

On October 26, 2011, Olver announced he would not seek re-election in 2012.[1]

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Olver was a "moderate Democratic follower."[2]


The information about this individual is current as of when his or her last campaign ended. See anything that needs updating? Send a correction to our editors

Olver was born in Honesdale, PA, where he grew up on a farm. He earned his B.A. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an M.A. from Tufts University, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[3]


Prior to becoming an elected official, Olver was a professor of chemistry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.[4]

Committee assignments

U.S. House


Olver served on the following committees and subcommittees:[5]

  • Appropriations Committee
    • Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development
    • Subcommittee on Energy and Water
    • Subcommittee on Homeland Security



A Washington Post investigation in February 2012 revealed that 33 members of Congress helped direct more than $300 million in earmarks to public projects in close proximity to commercial and residential real estate owned by the lawmakers or their family members.[6] According to the report, Olver secured $5.1 million in earmarks for a road project and intersection near Hampshire College. The project begins 209 feet from the congressman's 15-acre home and several adjoining parcels he owns with his wife.[7]

Specific votes

Fiscal Cliff

Yea3.png Olver voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. He was one of 172 Democrats who voted in favor of the bill. The bill was passed in the House by a 257 - 167 vote on January 1, 2013.[8]



See also: Redistricting in Massachusetts and United States House of Representatives elections in Massachusetts, 2012

With Massachusetts losing a U.S. House seat due to the updated 2010 census, two of the 10 incumbents were drawn into the same district. Olver did not run for re-election in 2012.[9]


On November 2, 2010, John Olver won re-election to the United States House. He defeated William L. Gunn, Jr. (R) and Michael Engel (I) in the general election.[10]

U.S. House, Massachusetts District 1 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Olver incumbent 60% 128,011
     Republican William L. Gunn, Jr. 34.9% 74,418
     Independent Michael Engel 5.1% 10,880
     N/A All Others 0% 55
Total Votes 213,364


On November 4, 2008, John Olver won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Nathan A. Bech (R) in the general election.[11]

U.S. House, Massachusetts District 1 General Election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Olver incumbent 69.7% 215,696
     Republican Nathan A. Bech 25.9% 80,067
     N/A Blank/Scattering 0.1% 336
     N/A All Others 4.4% 13,518
Total Votes 309,617

Campaign donors


Breakdown of the source of Olver's campaign funds before the 2010 election.

Olver won re-election to the U.S. House in 2010. During that election cycle, Olver's campaign committee raised a total of $863,992 and spent $908,334.[12]

Personal Gain Index

Congressional Personal Gain Index graphic.png
See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)

The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a two-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have prospered during their tenure as public servants.
It consists of two different metrics:

PGI: Change in net worth

See also: Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index) and Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives
Net Worth Metric graphic.png

Between 2004 and 2012, Olver's calculated net worth[13] increased by an average of 40 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.[14]

John Olver Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
Growth from 2004 to 2012:317%
Average annual growth:40%[15]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[16]
The data used to calculate changes in net worth may include changes resulting from assets gained through marriage, inheritance, changes in family estates and/or trusts, changes in family business ownership and many other variables unrelated to a member's behavior in Congress.


Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Olver paid his congressional staff a total of $1,083,458 in 2011. He ranked 63rd on the list of the highest paid Democratic representative staff salaries and ranked 82nd overall of the highest paid representative staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Massachusetts ranked 2nd in average salary for representative staff. The average U.S. House of Representatives congressional staff was paid $954,912.20 in fiscal year 2011.[17]

Net worth

See also: Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index) and Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Olver's net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $2,035,029 and $4,700,000 . This averages to $3,367,514 , which is a 2.008 % increase since 2010. This is lower than the 5,107,874.16 average net worth for Republican representatives in 2011.[18]


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Olver's net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $604,018 and $1,635,000. That averages to $1,119,509, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic representatives in 2010 of $4,465,875.[19]

Political positions

National Journal vote ratings

Each year, National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted, as compared to other members, in the previous year. More information about the analysis process can be found on the vote ratings page.


According to the data released in 2013, Olver was ranked one of the in the liberal rankings in 2012. There are thirteen other representatives who share this ranking, making this the highest ranking held by a representative of Massachusetts in 2012.[20]


According to the data released in 2012, John Olver ranked most liberal representative during 2011, both in Massachusetts and America. This is a position that he shares with 18 others.[21]

Voting with party

November 2011

Olver voted with the Democratic Party 93.9 percent of the time, which ranked 47th among the 192 House Democratic members as of November 2011.[22]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term John + Olver + Massachusetts + House

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

John Olver News Feed

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Olver is married to Rose. They have one child. He has lived in Amherst, Massachusetts, since 1963.[23]

External links

Citizens for John Olver for Congress


  1. Politico, "Olver's exit averts intraparty fight," October 26, 2011
  2. GovTrack, "Olver" accessed May 22, 2012
  3. John Olver U.S. House website, "About John," accessed November 18, 2011
  4. Project Vote Smart, "Biography of John Olver," accessed November 18, 2011
  5. Official Olver House Website, "Committees and Caucuses," accessed on August 31, 2011
  6. Washington Post, "Congressional earmarks sometimes used to fund projects near lawmakers' properties," February 6, 2012
  7. Washington Post, "Mapping the earmarks," February 6, 2012
  8. U.S. House, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
  9. Berkshire Eagle, "Berkshires may lose rural voice with Olver's retirement," October 28, 2011
  10. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  11. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013
  12. Open Secrets, "John Olver 2010 Election Cycle," accessed October 30, 2011
  13. This figure represents the total percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below).
  14. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
  15. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  16. This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
  17. LegiStorm, "John Olver"
  18. OpenSecrets, "Olver, (D-Massachusetts), 2010"
  19. OpenSecrets, "Olver, (D-Massachusetts), 2010"
  20. National Journal, "TABLE: House Liberal Scores by Issue Area," February 26, 2013
  21. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," accessed February 23, 2012
  22. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  23. John Olver Campaign Website, "About," accessed November 18, 2011
Political offices
Preceded by
Silvio Conte
U.S. House of Representatives - Massachusetts, District 1
Succeeded by
Richard Neal
Preceded by
Massachusetts State Senate
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Massachusetts House of Representatives
Succeeded by