|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Pennsylvania's 6th district
January 3, 2019
Christina Marie Jampoler
June 5, 1967
Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, U.S.
|Education||Stanford University (BS)|
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MS)
|Branch/service||United States Air Force|
|Unit||United States Air Force Reserve|
Christina Marie Houlahan (née Jampoler; born June 5, 1967) is an American Democratic politician, engineer, entrepreneur, and former United States Air Force officer. She is the U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania's 6th congressional district. The district includes all of Chester County, a suburban county west of Philadelphia, as well as the southern portion of Berks County. Her opponent in the 2018 election was Greg McCauley, a Republican.
Houlahan spent her childhood on various U.S. naval bases across the country, including on Oahu. Her father, Andrew C.A. Jampoler, a naval aviator, was born in Poland, to a Jewish family, and left the country at age four to escape the Holocaust, He became an historian and author.
Houlahan, citing her idols as Indiana Jones and Sally Ride, earned her bachelor's degree in Engineering from Stanford University in 1989, on an AFROTC scholarship. She then earned a master's degree in Technology and Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994.
After graduating from Stanford University, Houlahan spent 3 years on U.S. Air Force active duty at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, MA. There she served as a project manager working on air and space defense technologies.
After leaving active duty for the Air Force Reserve, Houlahan went to work for the start-up sportswear company AND1 as Chief Operating Officer. As part of the employee benefits program the company offered 40 paid hours of community service at a location of the employee's choosing. Houlahan dedicated her hours to working with girls and women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Houlahan became Chief Operating Officer of B-Lab, a non-profit start-up, when AND1 was sold.
Citing a need to experience the problems in the U.S. educational system first-hand, Houlahan entered the lifelong learning program at University of Pennsylvania where she re-took courses in the hard sciences. She enrolled in the Teach for America program and began working as an 11th-grade science teacher at Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia. She withdrew from the Teach for America program after one year and joined Springboard Collaborative, a Philadelphia-based non-profit focusing on early childhood literacy in underserved populations nationwide. Houlahan served as both President and CFO/COO of Springboard Collaborative before leaving to focus on her political campaign.
Houlahan has said that one of the experiences that motivated her to run for Congress was her organization of a bus trip to the Women's March in Washington, D.C., on January 21, 2017. When asked why she chose to begin her political career by running for Congress and not a lower office, she said, "I don't have time for that. The stakes are too high, and I think I'm qualified."
Houlahan expected to face two-term Republican incumbent Ryan Costello. However, Costello pulled out of the race after the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania threw out Pennsylvania's congressional map as an unconstitutional partisan Republican gerrymander. While Costello was the only incumbent to retain his previous district number, it was made significantly more compact and bluer than its predecessor. It lost its heavily Republican western portion, around Lebanon. Instead, it now took in all of Chester County, along with the more Democratic portions of Berks County, including Reading. Had the district existed in 2016, Hillary Clinton would have won it with 52 percent of the vote to Donald Trump's 43 percent; Clinton carried the old 6th with 48 percent of the vote.
Houlahan took the Democratic nomination unopposed and faced first-time candidate Greg McCauley in the general election. On November 6, 2018, Houlahan easily defeated McCauley, garnering 58.8% of the vote over McCauley's 41.1%. Houlahan was one of seven Pennsylvania women running for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, and one of four Democratic women to win, along with Mary Gay Scanlon, Madeleine Dean and Susan Wild.
Upon taking office in January 2019, Houlahan became the first Democrat to represent a Chester County-based district in 166 years. The county had historically been very Republican, but has trended much more Democratic in recent years.
Houlahan ran on a platform that included healthcare, job creation, and campaign finance reform. Other campaign issues she identified included education, family issues, and veteran's issues. Houlahan had a strong record of campaign fundraising, with donations totaling almost $5 million so far. She was also endorsed by many organizations, including Emily's List,Human Rights Campaign,Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Project 100,Vote Vets, the Service Employees International Union-PA (SEIU PA) and several other local unions.
She supports the government negotiating drug prices with the pharmaceutical companies and a public option, but opposes a single payer healthcare system. She supports same-sex marriage, the Equality Act, and opposes President Trump's memorandum banning transgender individuals from the military. She has stated she is not an advocate of withdrawing US troops from Syria at this time.
|Democratic gain from Republican|
Houlahan lives in Devon, Pennsylvania with her spouse of 27 years, Bart, whom she met at Stanford. They put on hold their goal of running a foot race in every state before age 50 when she entered the race for U.S. Representative. The couple has two adult daughters.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 6th congressional district
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority