John Larson was born in Hartford, Conn., and raised in East Hartford, where he still lives. He earned a bachelor's degree from Central Connecticut State University, and has taken graduate courses in education and in government.
He was an elementary and high school teacher in East Hartford and Farmington, from 1971 to 1977, and then opened the insurance firm Larson & Lysik.
He was elected to the Connecticut Senate in 1982 and served six terms, four of them as the chamber's president pro tem. After winning the party's endorsement for governor in 1994, he lost a primary to eventual runner-up Bill Curry.
He was first elected to the U.S. House in 1998.
Larson and his wife, Leslie, have three children.
John Larson says his top priorities are rebuilding the economy and creating jobs as he runs for his 8th term in the U.S. House in 2012.
But also high on the Democrat's to-do list are cutting taxes for the middle class and fighting Republican plans that he says will dismantle Medicare while giving tax breaks to the rich.
Larson, who represents Hartford and its suburbs in central Connecticut, appeared at a Torrington fuel cell energy company in August with Sen. Richard Blumenthal. They announced they would introduce legislation to improve infrastructure for fuel cell and hydrogen technology and increase federal incentives for using fuel cell energy, which they said would create jobs and reduce dependence on foreign oil.
"Our economic recovery depends on smart, forward thinking investments that will help us build a stronger future for everyone," said Larson, who faces Republican John Henry Decker in the 2012 general election in the heavily Democratic 1st District.
Larson, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House, also bashed Republican policies during speeches throughout summer 2012. He criticized a GOP plan he said would weaken Medicare with a voucher system and repeated his support of the 2010 health care reform law backed by President Barack Obama.
"How is it that initiatives that protect the people are under siege," Larson told a group of senior citizens. "We need to make sure that our people understand that we will fight for the safety net that exists there for them."
Larson urged fellow House members in July 2012 to approve a middle-class tax cut and reject what he called unnecessary tax breaks for the rich.
During his tenure, Larson has been an advocate for Connecticut's defense industry workers, especially those at East Hartford-based jet-engine maker Pratt & Whitney. The company's parent is Hartford-based United Technologies Corp., which also owns aerospace and fuel cell companies in the state.
Larson said he fought in 2012 to have Air Force refueling tankers run on Pratt & Whitney engines and to have Pratt be the only engine provider for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.
"These two projects guarantee hundreds of billions of dollars of work for Connecticut over the next 30 years," Larson said.
Larson said he is also working to reduce the influence of money in politics, in response to the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that loosened restrictions on political donations. In 2011, he helped reintroduce legislation that would provide more than $1 million in public campaign funds to a House or Senate candidate who raises a certain amount in small contributions.
Committee Assignments: Ways and Means
American Conservative Union Rating: 4
Americans for Democratic Action Rating: 90
John Larson won his August 2014 primary, he will face Matthew Corey in November.
(Last updated by The Associated Press on August 13, 2014.)