John's Connecticut Roots

John was born on July 22, 1948 in Hartford, Connecticut to Raymond and Pauline Larson.  Raymond and Pauline raised John and his seven siblings in Mayberry Village, a public housing project in East Hartford.  Raymond worked full-time for Pratt & Whitney and part-time at two jobs to help support his family who lived in a five-room Mayberry Village house nicknamed “the compound” after the Kennedy’s famous family home.  In addition to taking care of the eight Larson children, Pauline served on the town council and Democratic town committee.

History and Experience

John graduated from East Hartford High School in 1967 and from Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) in 1971. He was later selected by Dr. Edward Zigler, the creator of Head Start, to be a Senior Fellow at the Yale Bush Center for Child Development.

Before entering Congress, John was a high school history teacher and athletic coach and then owner of a small local insurance company. He served on the East Hartford Board of Education and the East Hartford Town Council. In 1982, he was elected to the Connecticut State Senate, beginning a 12-year tenure representing East Hartford, South Windsor, East Windsor, and Ellington. In addition, he served as Senate President Pro Tempore for eight years from 1987 to 1995.  As a state legislator, John was known as a unifier who could end gridlock by bringing together his colleagues. This culminated in the nation’s first family medical leave act which would later serve as a model for the federal law.

John and his wife Leslie have three children (Carolyn, Laura, and Raymond), who are all proud to be life-long residents of East Hartford.

Service To The Community

For John, it is a privilege to serve the First Congressional District.

Since entering Congress, John has always taken pride in his record of constituent service.  Working on behalf of his constituents starts with listening to them, which is why John holds many public forums throughout the district to get feedback and ideas.

John has worked to keep jobs in Connecticut, improve our education system, promote energy independence, and protect Medicare for our seniors.

He consistently hears from constituents that their number one priority is job creation.  According to John, “manufacturing is an essential part of Connecticut’s DNA.” From Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford to Arcor Manufacturing in Windsor, Connecticut manufacturers are producing complex, quality products that are used around the world. As the Congressman of the First Congressional District, John will continue to work tirelessly to retain and grow these manufacturing jobs for our community.  Recently, John worked to bring academia, local manufacturers, government and machinists together to develop a new manufacturing education program at Goodwin College in East Hartford. The program, already graduating students, will both help residents looking to get into the growing field of manufacturing and help those already working further their careers.


In addition to manufacturing, John has championed effort to end U.S. dependence on foreign oil by advancing fuel cell and other renewable energy technology. Use of these technologies, which are produced in the United States, will stimulate manufacturing and the economy while improving our environment. To further this goal, he founded and now co-chairs the bipartisan House Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Coalition.

John also continues to promote development projects in Hartford. One such project, the iQuilt is a sustainable urban plan that integrates the arts communities into a greenway that will ultimately connect Bushnell Park with the Connecticut River. He secured federal funding to supplement the private support of this project. Among other projects, he helped lead an effort that resulted in the Coltsville historic district being named a National Historic Landmark in 2008. Currently he is fighting to make Coltsville a Historic National Park. According to a recent study, each federal dollar spent on a national park results in four dollars being spent in the local economy.

For John, it is a privilege to serve the First Congressional District. As we continue to climb out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, he will continue to work hard on behalf of constituents so that we emerge stronger than before.

Your voice matters, and John fights hard to make sure Washington hears you loud and clear.

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