Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
John Patrick "Jack" Murtha, Jr. (born June 17, 1932) is an American politician. He has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1974, representing the Twelth Congressional District of Pennsylvania (map). He was the first Vietnam War veteran elected to Congress.
He was born in New Martinsville, West Virginia, and grew up in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. He left college to join the Marines during the Korean War. After his service, he ran a small business, Johnstown Minute Car Wash, attended the University of Pittsburgh on the GI Bill, and also attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, receiving a degree in economics.
He was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1968 and served there until 1974 when he was elected to Congress in a 1974 special election, a seat that had been held by Republicans for 24 years.
He has only faced serious competition twice, in a 1990 Democratic primary and then in the 2002 primary when he faced former Congressman Frank Mascara after their districts were combined during redistricting.
He is the ranking member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, a Vietnam veteran (serving from 1966 to 1967) and a retired Marine Corps Reserve colonel. Murtha and his wife Joyce, who have three children, live in Johnstown, PA.
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