Boehner, John, 1949-

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John Andrew Boehner (born November 17, 1949) is an American politician who served as the 53rd speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015. A member of the Republican Party, he was the U.S. Representative for Ohio's 8th congressional district from 1991 to 2015. The district included several rural and suburban areas near Cincinnati and Dayton.

Boehner previously served as the House Minority Leader from 2007 until 2011, and House Majority Leader from 2006 until 2007. Boehner resigned from the House of Representatives in October 2015 due to opposition from within the Republican caucus.

Boehner was born in Reading, Ohio, the son of Mary Anne (née Hall; 1926–1998) and Earl Henry Boehner (1925–1990), the second of twelve children. His father was of German descent and his mother had German and Irish ancestry. He grew up in modest circumstances, having shared one bathroom with his eleven siblings in a two-bedroom house in Cincinnati. He started working at his family's bar at age 8, a business founded by their grandfather Andy Boehner in 1938. He has lived in Southwest Ohio his entire life.

Boehner attended Cincinnati's Moeller High School and was a linebacker on the school's football team, where he was coached by future Notre Dame coach Gerry Faust. Graduating from Moeller in 1968, when United States involvement in the Vietnam War was at its peak, Boehner enlisted in the United States Navy but was honorably discharged after eight weeks because of a bad back. He earned his B.A. in business administration from Xavier University in 1977, becoming the first person in his family to attend college, taking seven years as he held several jobs to pay for his education. Shortly after his graduation in 1977, Boehner accepted a position with Nucite Sales, a small sales business in the plastics industry. He was steadily promoted and eventually became president of the firm, resigning in 1990 when he was elected to Congress.

In 1990, Boehner ran against incumbent Congressman Buz Lukens, who was under fire for having a sexual relationship with a minor. In a three-way Republican primary that included Boehner, Lukens, and former Congressman Tom Kindness, Boehner won with 49 percent of the vote. He then handily beat his Democratic opponent, Greg Jolivette, in the November election. He was subsequently re-elected to Congress 12 times, each by a substantial margin.

From 1995 to 1999, Boehner served as House Republican Conference Chairman, making him fourth-ranking House Republican behind Gingrich, Majority Leader Dick Armey and Majority Whip Tom DeLay. During his time as Conference Chairman, Boehner championed the Freedom to Farm Act that, among other provisions, revised and simplified direct payment programs for crops and eliminated milk price supports through direct government purchases.

After the Republicans lost control of the House in the 2006 elections, the House Republican Conference chose Boehner as Minority Leader. While as Majority Leader he was second-in-command behind Speaker Dennis Hastert, as Minority Leader he was the leader of the House Republicans. As such, he was the Republican nominee for Speaker in 2006 and 2008, losing both times to Pelosi.

The Republicans won a majority in the House of Representatives during the 2010 midterm elections, with a net gain of 63 seats. During his solemn victory speech, Boehner broke into tears when talking about "economic freedom, individual liberty and personal responsibility...I hold these values dear because I've lived them...I've spent my whole life chasing the American Dream". On November 17, 2010, Boehner was unanimously chosen by the House Republicans as their nominee for Speaker, all but assuring his formal election to the post when the new Congress convened with a Republican majority in January 2011. He received the gavel from outgoing Speaker Pelosi on Wednesday, January 5, 2011. He was the first Speaker from Ohio since fellow Republicans Nicholas Longworth (1925 to 1931) and J. Warren Keifer (1881 to 1883). He was also the first Speaker who has served both as majority and minority floor leader for his party since Texas Democrat Sam Rayburn.

On September 25, 2015, Boehner announced that he would step down as Speaker and resign from Congress at the end of October 2015. Boehner's resignation took place after Pope Francis' address to Congress the day before, an event considered by Boehner personally as the highest point in his legislative career. Sources in his office indicated he was stepping aside in the face of increasing discord while trying to manage passage of a continuing resolution to fund the government. Conservative opposition to funding Planned Parenthood as part of the resolution, and stronger threats to Boehner's leadership on account of the controversy, prompted the abrupt announcement. After initially turning down requests from Republican leaders, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman and 2012 Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan of Wisconsin announced he would run for Speaker and had received Boehner's blessing. In his final act as Speaker, Boehner presided over the election to succeed him. After announcing that Ryan had garnered a majority of votes on the House floor, Boehner officially passed off the Speaker's gavel to Ryan on October 29, 2015. Boehner's resignation from Congress became official October 31, 2015, at 11:59 p.m.

Boehner joined the board of tobacco company Reynolds American on September 15, 2016. In 2018 Boehner joined the board of Acreage Holdings, a cannabis corporation, to promote the medical use of cannabis and advocate for federal de-scheduling of the drug (a shift from his previous stance while in Congress). In 2019 Boehner was named chair of the National Cannabis Roundtable, a cannabis lobbying organization.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
Cincinnati OH US
Subject
Advertising, political
Radio advertising
Occupation
Speakers of the House, U.S. Congress
State Representative
Businessmen
Representatives, U.S. Congress
Salesmen
Activity

Person

Birth 1949-11-17

Male

Americans

English

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