Congressman Peter DeFazio was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 1986. He is the dean of the Oregon House delegation, and has developed a reputation as an independent, passionate and effective lawmaker.
DeFazio is a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee where he serves as ranking member of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee. He currently also serves on the Aviation Subcommittee and Railroad, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee. In 2005, DeFazio served as the ranking Democrat on the Highways Subcommittee where he helped negotiate a five-year federal highway and transit spending bill called SAFETEA-LU. Under the bill DeFazio secured $2.7 billion for Oregon’s roads, bridges, highways and transit systems. As a ranking member of the subcommittee, DeFazio will be a key architect this congress of the highway authorization, a six-year federal highway and transit spending bill and will work to bring needed infrastructure investment to Oregon to help create jobs and improve our long-term economic viability.
DeFazio also serves on the House Natural Resources Committee, where he sits on the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee and the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee.
DeFazio counts Senator Wayne Morse as one of his political heroes because of his indomitable independence and steadfast commitment to serve in the best interests of all Oregonians.
DeFazio has mirrored his political philosophy after Morse’s pledge which reads, “I will exercise an independence of judgment on the basis of facts and evidence as I find them on each issue. I will weigh the views of my constituents and my party, but cast my vote free of political pressure and unmoved by threats of loss of political support if I do not do the bidding of some pressure groups.”
This pledge hangs on the wall of his Washington,D.C. office.
DeFazio and his wife, Myrnie Daut, live in Springfield, Oregon. He has logged over three million miles traveling between Oregon and Washington, DC. DeFazio has refused to accept congressional pay raises while the government is deficit spending, and has linked his pay to Social Security cost-of-living adjustments. Instead, he has used his pay raises to reduce the national debt and to fund scholarships at five southwestern Oregon community colleges; by the end of 2013, DeFazio will have contributed $363,000 of after-tax salary toward 227 scholarships and debt reduction. He counts these scholarships among of his proudest accomplishments.