John's Connecticut Roots

John grew up in Mayberry Village — a public housing project in East Hartford — in a five-room house ironically nicknamed “the compound” after the Kennedy’s famous family home. He lived there with his parents, Raymond and Pauline, and his seven brothers and sisters. His Dad, a World War II veteran, worked full-time for Pratt & Whitney and part-time at two jobs to help support his family. His Mom served on the town council and Democratic town committee, in addition to taking care of the eight Larson children. His Dad’s military service, and his Mom’s activism and public service, motivate and inspire John every day.

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.

John started his career as a high school history teacher and athletic coach in East Hartford. Later he was an owner of a small local insurance agency. Both reflect key values he fights for – quality public education and support for small business owners – because he knows the challenges teachers, students and small business owners face as they work towards the American Dream.

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.

John sponsored an annual family-focused agenda during his time in the legislature. He pioneered family resource centers in Connecticut’s schools and even authored and passed 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.

Being the Representative for the people of the first district means, for John, working to solve both big issues and small problems. Whether it is making sure the Social Security system is here for decades to come or helping a constituent whose Social Security application has gotten lost in the bureaucracy, John fights for the people of the 1st district, and America.

He does this, by first listening. He holds more town halls and small group meetings than other members of Congress. Town halls on healthcare reform, global terrorism, police reform, and Covid-19 – to name a few. Then, he leads by taking bold action – taking what he has learned in these town halls, meetings, and even protests, and fighting to create effective policies and solutions.

Over and over, John has fought for Connecticut’s jobs. As a leader in Congress following the 2008 financial crisis, he spearheaded our nation’s economic recovery, ensuring that key employers, including Connecticut insurers, survived. This helped bring about the longest period of economic recovery in American history.

He has also helped changed the shape of Connecticut manufacturing. By teaming up with the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology and his good friend the late Elliot Ginsburg, John has ensured that the hundreds of small manufacturers in Connecticut thrive. He also won the battle to massively increase production of Pratt & Whitney engines – bringing good jobs to Connecticut. He has and always will, focus on growing these critical jobs. As John always says, “manufacturing is an essential part of Connecticut’s DNA.”

Alongside manufacturing, John has long championed green energy. During the very beginnings of the Climate movement, he led the push for important fuel cell tax credits, which helped grow and expand Connecticut’s renewable energy sector – bringing good jobs in the process. He has also proposed a comprehensive carbon tax plan that would slash emissions rates while paying for a reduction in payroll taxes. John will continue to lead the way on renewable technology as co-chair and founder of the bipartisan House Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Coalition, where he works to end our dependence on fossil fuels and advance US-produced renewable energy technology.

At a time when there are very few things we can count on, Americans must be able to count on the Social Security they paid for. As the Chairman of the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee, John is leading the fight in Washington to defend and expand Social Security. He is the author of Congress’s premier Social Security legislation, the Social Security 2100 Act. This legislation would ensure that Social Security is fiscally solvent into the future, while increasing benefits, improving COLA, and cutting taxes for Seniors.

John also continues to promote important community projects throughout the 1st District. He led the effort to authorize the creation of the Coltsville National Historical Park in Hartford, and is now coordinating it’s finalization. Another 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.

For John, it is a privilege to serve the First Congressional District. As we work to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and pursue economic recovery, 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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