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
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, Pennsylvania, where he grew up on a farm. He earned his BA 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

Voted "Yes" 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 that 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, Olver won re-election to the United States House of Representatives. He defeated Bill Gunn (R) in the general election.[10]

U.S. House of Representatives, Massachusetts Congressional District 1 Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Olver Incumbent 63.3% 127,857
     Republican Bill Gunn 36.7% 74,145
Total Votes 202,002


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

U.S. House of Representatives, Massachusetts Congressional District 1 Election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Olver Incumbent 73.2% 216,199
     Republican Nate Bech 26.8% 79,314
Total Votes 295,513

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]


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 he 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.[13]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by - The Center for Responsive Politics, 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.[14]

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 2012, John Olver was ranked the most liberal representative during 2011, both in Massachusetts and America. This is a position that he shares with 18 others.[15]

Percentage voting with party

November 2011

Olver voted with the Democratic Party 93.9% of the time, which ranked 47th among the 192 House Democratic members as of November 2011.[16]

Recent news

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

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Olver is married to Rose. They have one child. He has lived in Amherst, Massachusetts, since 1963.[17]

External links

Citizens for John Olver for Congress


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