Joe Courtney

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Joe Courtney

Joe Courtney is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 2nd district of Connecticut.

Congressman Courtney is a 1975 graduate of Tufts University in Boston. He earned a law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1978. He lives in Vernon with his wife, Audrey Courtney, and their two children, Robert and Elizabeth.[1]


Congressman Joe Courtney was elected in 2006 to represent the Second Congressional District of Connecticut in the House of Representatives. He serves on the Armed Services and Agriculture Committees.

As a member of the Armed Services Committee, Congressman Courtney serves on the Seapower and Projection Forces and the Military Readiness Subcommittees. Along with Rep. Rob Wittman of Virginia, he co-chairs the bipartisan Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus. Courtney serves on two subcommittees of the House Agriculture Committee: the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management and the Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Subcommittees. Rep. Courtney is the first Connecticut Congressman to serve on the House Agriculture Committee since Henry Stevens served there in the 59th Congress more than 100 years ago.

As a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, Congressman Courtney has worked to strengthen our nation's defense by leading the call for increased submarine production. To date, Courtney has secured more than $500 million in funding for advanced procurement and production of a second submarine. When Courtney arrived in Congress, Electric Boat was facing significant workforce reductions, and, for the first time in 50 years, was not actively designing the next generation of submarine. Because of funding secured by Courtney, the men and women of Electric Boat will build two submarines annually beginning in 2011, marking the first time two subs will be built at the yard in a single year since the 1980s. Courtney has also fought to secure critical support for new design and engineering work on the replacement for the OHIO-class submarine, which has added hundreds of jobs in southeastern Connecticut. This design and engineering work prompted Electric Boat to expand into the former Pfizer building in New London to accommodate its growing workforce.[2]

Support for the Council on American Islamic Relations

Joe Courtney wrote a letter of support to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on the occasion of their 24th anniversary in September 2018.[3]

Labor Caucus

The Labor Caucus is an official caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2021 members included Joe Courtney .[4]

Planned Parenthood

Courtney received $2000 in lobbying funds from Planned Parenthood in 2008.

Connecticut Opposes the War

January rally

Some 300 people hissed and booed at the mention of Joe Lieberman's name during a Connecticut Opposes the War rally at the Legislative Office Building cafeteria January 2007, which featured Democratic Congressmen Chris Murphy, Joe Courtney and John B. Larson, along with a whole host of progressive Blues.

So great is the continuing disdain for our Junior Senator, New Haven activist Henry Lowendorf promised a protest in front of Lieberman's Constitution Plaza office in Hartford, Thursday, Jan. 18 at 12:30 pm.

Before the rally began, Lowendorf said a group was talking and made the decision to picket Lieberman's office. "There may be people who want to do CD and occupy his office," Lowendorf said.[5]

July rally

As New Haveners joined a patriotic anti-war protest at an out-of-town Independence Day “boombox” parade, a Connecticut Congressman joining the march said that summer hearings will keep the pressure on the White House to bring troops home from Iraq.

U.S. Rep Joe Courtney made the remarks at the Willimantic July 4th parade, which traditionallyl welcomes differing points of view. An anti-war contingent organized by Connecticut Opposes the War marched in the parade, to enthusiastic applause and the flashing of peace signs along the route. Marchers included New Haveners Susan Klein and Henry Lowendorf, speaking to a war supporter, on the right.

Courtney, who represents the Second Congressional District, told this reporter that Congress is not just waiting for another vote in the fall on funding for the war.

“It’s not enough to say we’re going to put this off until September,” he said. “That’s what the White House wants us to do, to sort of let this thing disappear in between, so that the pressure that’s out there doesn’t get hammered away at Republican members of Congress—which you need to sort of break through here. And we’re starting to see the cracks. With [Republicans Richard] Lugar and [George] Voinovich coming out now against the surge, the pressure politically [on] Republican members of Congress who’ve been voting with Bush is starting to have an impact. So we’re going to continue to have these votes over the summer, so that people’s feet are going to continue to be put to the fire.”

Courtney, who’s a member of the Armed Services Committee, said Congress will be holding two hearings a week on Iraq, starting next Tuesday. Lawmakers will take up a bill for no permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq and another bill setting a timeline for withdrawal, among others.[6]

Connolly connection

Joe Courtney, Communist Party member Tom Connolly, September 2009

Labor Endorsement

At the Connecticut AFL-CIO convention June 23, 2008, state AFL-CIO President John Olsen, calling on everyone to go out and organize. “We got the House and Senate back in 2006 and now we have to get the presidency back so we can win the Employee Free Choice Act, universal health care and an energy policy like the Apollo plan.”

Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd was warmly welcomed by the delegates. Decrying the disparities in America, he lauded the labor movement for hard fought battles for workers’ gains “not given benevolently by corporate America,” and passionately called for an all-out push to elect Barack Obama on Nov. 4.

Saying he hopes the Employee Free Choice Act will be the first bill on the new president’s desk, Dodd emphasized that “this election will determine what kind of country, what kind of world, we leave to our children and grandchildren … We can’t afford four more years of Bush.”

The convention unanimously adopted a resolution reaffirming opposition to the war by national and state labor bodies, and asserting that Obama “shares labor’s opposition … while John McCain supports the war and President Bush’s military policy.”

The resolution urges unions to inform their members “of McCain’s pro-war position and how it is directly related to his anti-union economic policies; and how the continuation of the war is fueling the current economic crisis.”

Bill Shortell, representing the Machinists Union and the Bristol Labor Council, recalled asking, when the war began, “Is this an issue for us?” to which his buddy replied, “Who’s going to speak for me if the union doesn’t speak for me?” Shortell called on the delegates to “take a strong position and back candidates committed to get us out of Iraq and end this bloodshed as soon as possible.”

A heated debate took place over the endorsement of Jim Himes, a pro-labor, antiwar Democrat challenging incumbent Republican Chris Shays (4th Congressional District), a leading proponent of Bush’s Iraq war policies. Shays was the only representative from Connecticut to vote for additional funding of the war last month. He had angered the endorsement committee during an interview in which he objected to a question on the war, saying, “Why are you asking me about that? That’s not a labor issue.”

AFSCME delegate Blair Bertaccini got a round of applause when he called on the convention to “support candidates who support us as a class, as workers, not just one particular sector. Otherwise we will keep losing numbers and become irrelevant.” Himes won the endorsement overwhelmingly.

The convention also committed to help Democratic Reps. Chris Murphy (5th CD) and Joe Courtney (2nd CD) return to Congress. They both defeated Republicans in 2006 and have been targeted by the Republican National Committee for smear attacks.

Speaking to delegates from the 3rd CD, which she represents, Rep. Rosa DeLauro thankedd the labor movement for enabling her to win by large majorities. “With big margins I can take on the strong fights, which those with small margins many not feel free to do,” she said, referring to the vote against further funds for the war.

Delegates signed up for the Labor 2008 program, including speaking to members in their workplace and at home. Signatures were collected on postcards for the Employee Free Choice Act which will be presented to the new president in January.

A moment of silence honored prominent union leaders who recently died, including Merrillee Milstein, former District 1199 vice president and then deputy regional director of the AFL-CIO, known for her dedication and commitment to organizing and building diversity within the labor movement.

The convention adopted a strategic plan for the elections and legislative and organizing goals. A Diversity Dialogue will be held Sept. 20 with the aim of developing new union leaders. AFL-CIO representative Barbara Nicole Holtz urged delegates to attend, projecting the conference as a model for other states.[7]

Labor support 2010

New Britain, Ct, Nov. 4, 2010 – A massive get-out-the-vote campaign targeted to Council 4 AFSCME members and their families made the difference in helping Dannel Malloy and other pro-worker candidates get elected in Connecticut, the union said today.

“Connecticut voters echoed what our union members were saying as they headed tothe polls: everyone deserves quality affordable health care, secure retirement and fair taxes,” Council 4 Executive Director Sal Luciano noted.

All of Council 4’s endorsed candidates prevailed in races for Governor (Malloy), Lt. Governor (Nancy Wyman), Attorney General (George Jepsen), Comptroller (Kevin Lembo), Treasurer (Denise Nappier and Secretary of State (Denise Merrill). Council 4- endorsed candidates also won their races for U.S. Senate (Richard Blumenthal) and Congress (John B. Larson, Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes and Chris Murphy).

“We used people power to counteract corporate and wealthy donors pushing their anti-union agenda,” Luciano said.

Anna Montalvo, President of AFSCME Local 1522 in Bridgeport, said union members grasped the high stakes in the election:

“Right from the start of this campaign we had our boots on the ground, whether for Dan Malloy or Jim Himes or Chris Murphy. Connecticut staved off the anti-working family tide that swept the nation,” said Montalvo, who co-chairs Council 4’s political action committee.[8]

Labor support 2012

Powered by the grass-roots efforts of union members who made phone calls, knocked on doors, talked to their co-workers and attended Get Out The Vote events, labor-endorsed candidates swept to victory in the Nov. 6 election.

The list starts with President Barack Obama and Chris Murphy -- who withstood Linda McMahon's $47 million effort to buy the 2012 U.S. Senate seat -- and Elizabeth Esty, who defeated the well-funded campaign of Republican Andrew Roraback in the 5th Congressional District.

"This was a victory for the middle class," said Council 4 Executive Director Sal Luciano. "Our members refused to allow corporations and right-wing billionaires to buy the election and ram through their extremist, anti-worker agenda. I am proud and grateful for everyone's effort."

AFSCME-endorsed candidates John B. Larson (1st Congressional District), Joe Courtney (2nd), Rosa DeLauro (3rd) and Jim Himes (4th) also were reelected, winning by sizeable margins.

Council 4 members Blair Bertaccini (Local 269), Tom Lukowicz (Local 1183) and Esma Ajruli (background), Local 714 phone-banked on election eve.[9]

Populist Caucus

The Populist Caucus was founded on February 11, 2009 in the United States House of Representatives by Democrat Bruce Braley of Iowa. The caucus originally included 26 other Democrats in the House, including Joe Courtney.



May 31 2014 - Congressman Joe Courtney visits the Islamic Center of New London through CAIR-CT to address concerns in our state wide Muslim community. Topics ranged from the economy to the crisis in Syria.[10]

Muslim to SOTU

Connecticut U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) invited the president of the state’s chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community as his guest at the 2016 State of the Union address.

The invitation came following a CBS News report in mid-December that Democratic National Committee chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Muslim-American Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) urged Democrats to challenge Donald Trump’s recommendation that the United States temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States by inviting a Muslim-American as a guest to the State of the Union address.

“I am very happy that Dr. Mohammed Qureshi has agreed to be my guest at President Obama’s final State of the Union address,” said Courtney in a press release. “Dr. Qureshi is an important member of our local medical community, serving as a primary care physician at United Community & Family Services and Backus Hospital in Norwich. His lifetime of work and service should be an example to all.”

Wasserman Schultz and Ellison described GOP frontrunner Trump’s proposal of a temporary Muslim ban until lawmakers had secured the nation’s safety as “vile” and “un-American.”

“With that in mind, we are asking our colleagues that have not already determined a State of the Union guest to consider joining us in bringing a Muslim-American constituent as their guest to the President’s State of the Union Address on January 12, 2016,” their request said.[11]

Working Families Party

2008 WFP endorsement

Working Families Party endorsed Joe Courtney in 2008.[12]

The Working Families Party endorsed three candidates for US Congress: Jim Himes, Joe Courtney and John B. Larson in the 1st. Each of the candidates will be listed on the ballot in November twice: once on their party's line and once on the line of the Working Families Party.

"Working Families supports candidates who we know will fight for the bread and butter issues that really matter to most of Connecticut's hard working families: good jobs, affordable healthcare, fair taxes, and good schools,"

said Brian Petronella, co-chair of the Working Families Party and president of the United Food and Commercial Workers local 371.

"That's why we're endorsing Jim Himes, Joe Courtney and John Larson."

"Votes on the Working Families Party line still count for your candidate, but tell politicians something about your values: that you think Connecticut's working and middle class families deserve a fair deal on housing, jobs and schools,"

said Sal Luciano, executive director of AFSCME Coucil 4, and member of the Working Families Party State Committee. [13]

2010 endorsement

The Working Families Party, cross-endorsed all the Democratic incumbents running for Congress in 2010, John B. Larson, Jim Himes, and Joe Courtney.[14]

2014 endorsement

In 2014, Courtney was cross-endorsed by the Working Families Party. [15]

CARA connection

Friend of Win Heimer


Win Heimer with his friend Joe Courtney.

2008 endorsement

Alliance for Retired Americans endorsed Joe Courtney in 2008.[16]

CARA letter

Congressman Joe Courtney (D) from Connecticut's 2nd CD, announced October 8, 2009, that 156 House members have signed a letter he initiated urging Speak of the House Nancy Pelosi to reject any excise tax on high-cost health care benefit plans. The letter, signed by more than 60 percent of the House Democratic Caucus, was delivered to the Speaker on Wednesday.

Rep. Courtney and the 156 cosigners express their opposition to the Senate Finance Committee's proposal to place a 40 percent excise tax on high-cost health care benefit plans, which the House members believe would be passed along by the insurers to working families and individuals. The letter was written in response to concerns voiced by labor and health care organizations in his district.

The letter was written in response to concerns voiced by labor and health participants in the annual luncheon of the Connecticut Alliance for Retired Americans.

According to Joelle Fishman, writing in the People's World;

(CT ARA) today cheered upon hearing that the letter had been submitted with 156 signatures gathered in a couple of days time.[17]

2009 presentation


Connecticut meeting, presentation to Congressman Joe Courtney, December 21, 2009.

2011 press conference

Joe Courtney, Kevin M. Lynch

Rep. Joe Courtney, and Senator Richard Blumenthal addressed a Connecticut Alliance for Retired Americans Press Conference 4.28.11., with Kevin M. Lynch.

ARA endorsement, 2012

Alliance for Retired Americans endorsed Joe Courtney in 2012.[18]

Chained CPI

July 2013, over 50 members of Connecticut Alliance for Retired Americans (CT ARA) along with our Labor and Community allies worked together to create a human chain across the street from the Federal Building in New Haven to protest the chained CPI. Bette Marafino, President of Connecticut Alliance for Retired Americans organized the group into a human chain.

Noted speakers included Lisa Perrone Chief of staff for Congressman John B. Larson, Marilyn Cheyne staff for Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Win Heimer CT ARA board member read a statement from Congressman Joe Courtney in opposition of the Chained CPI, Manny Gomez newly elected CT ARA board member representing the New Haven People's Center spoke about the importance of Social Security , Jade our youngest participant (12 years old!) explained that Social Security needs to be there for her when she is older, Connecticut AFL-CIO President John Olsen commented that Social Security provides retirement security for millions of Americans. Mark Henson District Director for Congressman Jim Himes greeted attendees. Our Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy were unable to attend. However, CT ARA President Bette Marafino assured our group that both Senators do oppose Chained CPI and both have signed on to Senator Harkins bill S567.[19]

October 2014

Win Heimer, Bette Marafino, Joe Courtney, Joelle Fishman, Edie Fishman, CARA meeting New Britain October 27, 2014
Joe Courtney, Bernie McKinnon CARA meeting New Britain October 27, 2014

Joe Courtney, attended a Connecticut Alliance for Retired Americans meeting October 27, 2014 , New Britain.

ARA endorsement

The Alliance for Retired Americans Political Action Fund endorsed Joe Courtney in 2014.[20]

PDA connection

In June 2013 Progressive Democrats of America assigned activists to deliver their material to almost every US Congressman and several Senators. Matthew Forsberg, was assigned as contact for Rep. Courtney.[21]

New Democrat Coalition, 113th Congress

In the 113th Congress, 50 members of the House of Representatives belonged to the New Democrat Coalition, including:[22]

Russia/Trump Forum

Russia's alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election and the resulting congressional investigations were key topics during a forum April 2017 at the Mark Twain House & Museum involving three of Connecticut's U.S. Representatives.

John B. Larson, D-1st District; Joe Courtney, D-2nd District; and Jim Himes, D-4th District, took part in the discussion of major foreign affairs issues.

Larson is one of the most senior members of the House, Himes is a member of the House Intelligence Committee, and Courtney is on the House Armed Services Committee.

President Donald Trump has consistently derided allegations that Russia actively sought to help his 2016 campaign as fake news. But questions surrounding Russia's involvement have continued to plague Trump's administration and Democratic and Republican congressional leaders have vowed to conduct thorough investigations into the potentially explosive issue.

Wednesday's forum was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and conclude at 9 p.m.[23]

Trump's Russia ties

Members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation joined demands for a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation of Russian influence on the 2016 election after President Donald Trump fired James Comey as FBI director Tuesday May 9, 2017.

“The need for a special prosecutor is now crystal clear,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who has called for a special prosecutor in the past. “President Trump has catastrophically compromised the FBI’s ongoing investigation of his own White House’s ties to Russia.”

In describing the gravity of Trump’s action, Blumenthal conjured memories of President Richard Nixon’s firing of Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox.

“Not since Watergate have our legal systems been so threatened, and our faith in the independence and integrity of those systems so shaken,” Blumenthal said.

Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, which is conducting its own investigation into possible ties with Russia, said , “The White House cited Director Comey’s handling of the investigation into Secretary Clinton’s emails as the reason for the firing, but many will be rightly skeptical of that explanation.”

“Whatever the merits of Director Comey’s decisions, the investigated has just fired the investigator,” Himes said. “That should never have occurred prior to the full and complete insulation of the FBI’s investigation through the appointment of an independent prosecutor and other measures.”

“I will do everything in my power to ensure that this irresponsible move doesn’t end the necessary work law enforcement is conducting to discover the truth about Russia, its interference in our democracy and any and all who might be complicit,” Himes said.

Sen. Chris Murphy joined Blumenthal in calling for a special prosecutor Wednesday morning.

“No matter the mistakes that Director Comey has made, the timing of his firing clearly suggests that President Trump is trying to influence or upend the FBI’s investigation into his campaign’s possible collusion with a foreign government,” Murphy said Wednesday morning.

“The president’s continued refusal to support the appointment of a special prosecutor would confirm America’s worst fears about the motivation for Comey’s firing,” Murphy added.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, said the firing of Comey while he was “spearheading” the Russia investigation “does not pass the smell test.”

“It is painfully clear that we need an immediate and independent investigation of all aspects relating to Russia’s meddling in our election. We need a review that the American people can have faith in,” Courtney said.

Courtney said the fact that Trump’s action was recommended by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom he called “a political appointee who barely survived confirmation in the Senate,” raised more doubt about the motives behind the firing.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, said the White House has shown a “corrosive pattern of disinformation and obstruction” over the last four months, which has “impeded the public’s ability to determine the full truth” about possible Russian interference.

“The only solution that will restore public trust is for Congress to appoint a special prosecutor to conduct an independent investigation,” Esty said Wednesday morning.

Rep. John B. Larson, D-1st District, said demanding an independent investigation should not be a partisan issue.

“The firing of FBI Director James Comey should renew every American and every member of Congress’s call for an independent investigation into Russian involvement,” Larson said.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, said the White House must provide “an urgent and thorough explanation” for its decision, given the ongoing FBI investigation into Russian interference.

“These events further underscore why I have continued to demand an independent commission with subpoena power in order to get to the bottom of the Russia investigation,” DeLauro said Wednesday morning.[24]

External links



  1. Courtney, official bio. accessed August 10, 2015
  2. Courtney, official bio. accessed August 10, 2015
  3. Letters of Support for CAIR accessed January 26 2020
  4. [1]
  5. The 40 year plan, January 13, 2007 CT Opposes Lieberman and the War in Iraq By Ken Krayeske
  6. New haven independent, July 4 Brings Anti-War Message From CT to DC BY Melinda Tuhus | JUL 5, 2007 10:06 AM
  7. [PW, Connecticut labor gears up for big election drive, July 11 2008]
  9. AFSCME, "A good day for the middle class"
  10. [
  11. Breitbart, Rep. Joe Courtney Heeds Call Of Dem Leaders, Invites Muslim Leader to State of the Union by DR. SUSAN BERRY12 Jan 2016
  12. Joe Courtney for Congress
  13. [ My Left Nutmeg, Working Families Endorses Himes, Courtney, Larson by: Jon Kantrowitz Wed Feb 13, 2008]
  14. [ CT NewsJunkie, Don’t Curb That Enthusiasm by Christine Stuart | Oct 28, 2010]
  15. Hartford Courant, Endorsement: Joe Courtney Is Bringing In Jobs October 20, 2014
  16. Joe Courtney for Congress
  17. PW, Rep. Courtney leads House members to oppose tax on health benefits by: JOELLE FISHMAN october 8 2009
  18. ARA endorsements 2012
  19. Chained CPI, CT AFL-CIO
  20. PAF
  21. PDA June 2013 Educate Congress Digest
  22. NDC Member List
  23. Larson, Courtney, Himes To Hold Forum On Russia Involvement In Presidential Election Gregory B. Hladky Gregory B. Hladky Contact Reporter April 11, 2017
  24. CT lawmakers call for special prosecutor after Comey firing By: CLAUDE ALBERT AND KYLE CONSTABLE | May 9, 2017