|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Nevada's 3rd district
January 3, 2011 - January 3, 2017
|Member of the Nevada Senate|
from the Clark 5th district
November 2, 2004 - November 4, 2008
Joseph John Heck
October 30, 1961
New York City, New York, U.S.
Lisa Mattiello (m. 1995)
|Education||Pennsylvania State University, University Park (BS)|
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)
United States Army War College (MS)
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||1991-present|
|Unit||325th Combat Support Hospital|
|Battles/wars||Operation Joint Endeavor|
Operation Noble Eagle
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Joseph John Heck (born October 30, 1961) is an American U.S. Army Brigadier General, physician, and politician who served as the U.S. Representative for Nevada's 3rd congressional district from 2011 to 2017. Heck, a Republican, is a board-certified physician and served as a Nevada State Senator from 2004 to 2008. He ran for the United States Senate in 2016.
Heck was born in Jamaica, Queens, a neighborhood of New York City, and was raised in Pennsylvania, where he graduated from Wallenpaupack Area High School in 1979. He graduated from the Pennsylvania State University in 1984 with a degree in Health Education. He is a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He received his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine in 1988 from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and obtained a residency in Emergency Medicine in 1992 at the Albert Einstein Medical Center. In 1992, he moved to Clark County, Nevada. He earned a Masters of Strategic Studies degree from the U.S. Army War College in 2006.
Heck served in the United States Army Reserve since 1991 and was promoted to brigadier general in 2014. He has commanded a Medical Readiness Support Group overseeing more than 2,000 soldiers in 6 western states, and continues to serve in this capacity while in Congress. He has served in Operation Joint Endeavor, Operation Noble Eagle, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His last deployment was in January 2008 when he commanded an emergency room in a combat hospital outside Baghdad.
Heck was the president, owner, and medical director of Specialized Medical Operations until 2011. The company provided medical training, consulting, and operational support to law enforcement agencies, EMS, and military special operations. Heck has lectured and is published on special operations medical support, the medical response to acts of terrorism, and emergency preparedness and response.
From 1998 to 2003, Heck served as the medical director of the Casualty Care Research Center of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, where he provided medical support for several federal law enforcement agencies and oversight for the medical response to acts of terrorism. Heck started his medical career as a volunteer firefighter and ambulance attendant in rural Pennsylvania. He volunteered as a Medical Team Manager with the Nevada Urban Search & Rescue Team - Task Force 1 and as a member of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Search & Rescue team. He served as a tactical physician with the LVMPD SWAT team.
Heck served as a member of the Nevada State Homeland Security Commission Sub-committee on Health, the American Osteopathic Association's Task Force on Bioterrorism, and as the medical director for the Nevada Hospital Association's Hospital Preparedness program. He also served as the medical director for the Southern Nevada Health District's Office of Public Health Preparedness.
Heck served one four-year term in the Nevada Senate, representing Clark County's 5th district.
Heck was first elected to the Nevada Senate to represent Clark County's 5th district in 2004, after defeating Senator Ann O'Connell in the Republican primary. Heck narrowly lost re-election in 2008 to Democrat Shirley Breeden by a margin of 47% to 46% and a plurality of 765 votes. Libertarian T. Rex Hagan received 4,754 votes (8%).
He served on the Natural Resources, Human Resources and Education, the Commerce and Labor Committees. He was also the vice-chair of the Transportation and Homeland Security Committee.
Although Heck had earlier announced he would challenge incumbent Republican Jim Gibbons for governor, he decided against it in favor of a run for Nevada's 3rd congressional district. He defeated incumbent Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Dina Titus, 48%-47%, a difference of 1,748 votes. Titus only held the position for one term after she defeated incumbent Republican Jon C. Porter in 2008.
After redistricting, Heck decided to run in the newly redrawn 3rd district, which Obama won in 2008 with 54% of the vote. On November 6, he defeated Speaker of the Nevada Assembly John Oceguera 50%-43%.
Heck won reelection easily, beating Democrat Erin Bilbray by a margin of 61 percent to 36 percent.
Heck was one of three freshmen named to the House Republican Steering Committee in the 112th Congress. He was re-elected to the Republican Steering Committee in both 2012 and 2014. Heck was ranked as the 74th most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the 114th United States Congress (and the most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Nevada) in the Bipartisan Index created by The Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy that ranks members of the United States Congress by their degree of bipartisanship (by measuring the frequency each member's bills attract co-sponsors from the opposite party and each member's co-sponsorship of bills by members of the opposite party).
In 2012, when asked about climate change and regulating carbon dioxide, he stated: "When you start looking at trying to regulate something like carbon dioxide, which is a natural, biological process, you start running into areas of confusion" and "I think certainly over the millennia, we've seen changes in our climate both ways, and I think throughout the future millennia we will continue to see climate change that goes both ways. But the issue for this election is not what's going to be happening in the next 200 years, it's going to be what's happening in the next 12 months."
In 2010, he signed the Americans for Prosperity's No Climate Tax pledge. He supports an "all of the above" energy policy which includes natural gas, domestic oil production, and alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal and nuclear.
Heck supports an audit of the Federal Reserve and a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Heck voted against increasing the debt limit in 2011, stating "Raising the debt ceiling without significant spending cuts will only prolong the uncertainty preventing an economic recovery".
In 2011, Heck called Social Security a "pyramid scheme". The remark aroused a political controversy in Nevada, and Heck clarified that he meant to refer to it as an "inverted pyramid". He has suggested that today's young people may need to retire later to keep the program fiscally viable.
In 2015, Heck voted to eliminate the estate tax. In 2010, he signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge by Americans for Tax Reform. He has been critical of Governor Brian Sandoval's Commerce Tax. He is opposed to raising the federal minimum wage in favor of leaving the decision to local governments.
Heck supports the use of education vouchers for use in private or public schools. He voted for a budget bill which called for a 10-year freeze to the maximum Pell Grant award to college students. He favors expanding refinancing options for student loans, enhancing income-based repayment plans, and providing loan forgiveness for civil service.
In 2011, Heck voted for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. In 2011, Heck voted not to withdraw American troops from the war in Afghanistan.
Heck opposed United States involvement in Libya, saying, "We are already engaged in military operations on two fronts, and Libya opened a third. We cannot afford the troops or taxpayer dollars--especially without a national security objective."
In 2015, Heck cosponsored a bill with Democrat Tulsi Gabbard that would award a Congressional Gold Medal to Filipinos who fought in World War II, who now live in the Philippines and the United States.
Heck authored the Vulnerable Veterans Housing Reform Act which prevents disabled veterans who receive in-home care from the VA from having their housing benefits reduced. The bill became law in 2016.
Following the Isla Vista massacre, Heck co-sponsored an amendment to increase funding for criminal background checks. He voted against restricting gun sales to those on terror watch lists. He voted to prevent Washington D.C. from implementing many provisions of gun control.
Heck was an original co-sponsor of the attempt to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. His stated priorities include protecting the patient-physician relationship, reducing health care costs, and working to protect Medicare for Nevada's seniors and preserving it for future generations; by training more physicians and increasing the use of health savings accounts.
Heck is opposed to the DISCLOSE Act, which would require funders of political ads to put their names on advertisements. He is a supporter of the Citizens United v. FEC U.S. Supreme Court decision.
The following is a partial list of legislation that was directly sponsored by Heck.
In July 2015, Heck announced that he would run for the U.S. Senate seat left open due to Harry Reid's retirement. The Republican and Democratic primaries, which were both contested, took place on June 14, 2016.
Heck easily defeated primary opponent Sharron Angle, who had narrowly lost to Harry Reid in 2010. Heck's campaign received millions of dollars of indirect support from the Koch brothers, according to the New York Times. The Kochs paid for ads on his behalf and for millions of dollars of ads against his rival, and whose organizations have 30 paid staff members working in Nevada. Heck was, in the 3rd quarter of 2016, the House member receiving the largest amount of political donations. His opponents, including organized labor and environmental groups, spent significant sums on advertising against him.
In a recording of Heck at a private event in October 2016, he said he believed Trump may hurt other Republicans' electoral bids. Prior to the election, he did not say whether or not he would vote for Trump.
Heck lost to Catherine Cortez Masto in the 2016 general election, held on November 8, 2016. He carried 16 of Nevada's 17 counties and county equivalents. However, he could not overcome an 82,000-vote deficit in Clark County.
Heck resides in Henderson, Nevada with his wife, Lisa Heck (née Mattiello). They have three children. Lisa is a registered nurse. Heck is a Roman Catholic. He believes that employers have the right to deny health coverage for contraception to female employees if they have moral objections to it. He is active with the American Legion Paradise Post 149, the Knights of Columbus Council 13456, and Catholic War Veterans Post 1947.
|Democratic||Dina Titus (incumbent)||127,168||47|
|Libertarian||Joseph P. Silvestri||4,026||2|
|Scott David Narter||1,291||<1|
|Republican gain from Democratic|
|Republican||Joe Heck (Incumbent)||137,244||50|
|Nevada United States Senate election, 2016|
|Republican||None of these candidates||3,902||3|
|Nevada United States Senate election, 2016|
|Democratic||Catherine Cortez Masto||520,658||47|
|Independent American||Tom Jones||17,104||2|
|Socialist||Jarrod M. Williams||6,864||0.7|
Heck has received the following awards:
|Defense Meritorious Service Medal|
|Army Commendation Medal with a bronze Oak leaf cluster|
|Joint Services Achievement Medal|
|Army Achievement Medal with one bronze Oak leaf clusters|
|Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with four bronze Oak leaf cluster|
|Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal|
|National Defense Service Medal with one Service star|
|Iraq Campaign Medal|
|Global War on Terrorism Service Medal|
|Armed Forces Service Medal|
|Armed Forces Reserve Medal|
|Army Service Ribbon|
|Army Flight Surgeon Badge|
|Joint Meritorious Unit Award|