|Chair of the House Budget Committee|
January 3, 2019
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Kentucky's 3rd district
January 3, 2007
John Allan Yarmuth
November 4, 1947
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
|Political party||Democratic (1985-present)|
|Republican (before 1985)|
|Education||Yale University (BA)|
John Allan Yarmuth (born November 4, 1947) is an American politician and former newspaper editor serving as the U.S. Representative for Kentucky's 3rd congressional district since 2007. His district encompasses the vast majority of the Louisville Metro Area. Since 2013, he has been the only Democratic member of Kentucky's congressional delegation.
Yarmuth was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Edna E. (née Klein) and Stanley R. Yarmuth. He is descended from Jewish immigrants from Russia and Austria. He graduated from Atherton High School. He later graduated from Yale University, majoring in American Studies, and attended Georgetown University Law Center.
He worked for Republican U.S. Senator Marlow Cook from 1971 to 1975, then returned to Louisville and launched his publishing career by founding the Louisville Today magazine, which operated from 1976 to 1982. He later worked as a vice-president of University Relations at the University of Louisville.
In 1990, Yarmuth founded the Louisville Eccentric Observer (LEO), a weekly newspaper for which he wrote a generally progressive political column that was usually featured on the first page. In 2003, Yarmuth sold LEO to a company owned by Times Publishing Company of Pennsylvania, owner of the Erie Times-News. Yarmuth remained on board as a columnist and consultant until January 2006, when he put his column on hiatus to run for Congress.
Yarmuth took office on January 3, 2007. As of 2019, he is serving his seventh term as Congressman.
After his first year in Congress, Yarmuth donated his post-tax congressional salary of just over $120,000 to various charities in Louisville.
On September 29, 2008, Yarmuth voted against the TARP bailout plan, as negotiated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, President George W. Bush, House Minority Leader John Boehner, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. However, he did vote in favor of the second version of the bailout bill.
Yarmuth said he was so "nauseated" by a moment of silence for Michael Jackson on the House floor that he left the chamber. "I thought it was outrageous," he said. "In my two and a half years, we've not done this for anybody else. We've done it for former members and that's about it."
After winning a 2008 rematch with Anne Northup, his 2006 general election opponent, Yarmuth was rewarded by the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee with a spot on the influential Ways and Means Committee. On the committee, he worked on issues on which he campaigned before the 2008 general election: Social Security, pension, Medicare, and Medicaid issues.
At a September 2009 town hall meeting, constituents were unhappy with Yarmuth's decision to support the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. "Yarmuth stayed calm in the face of boos and catcalls from some in the audience" according to an Associated Press report. "He warned that the current health care system is an unsustainable drain on businesses and the nation's economy."
In 2011, Yarmuth introduced a bill alongside Republican Congressman Walter Jones that would seek to overturn key parts of the controversial court case Citizens United v. FEC. The legislation would also give Congress the power to enact mandatory public financing for Congressional candidates and create a national holiday for voting purposes.
In 2011, Yarmuth voted against the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 due to a controversial provision which allows the government and the military to indefinitely detain American citizens and others without trial.
In 2015, Yarmuth once again made an attempt at removing "dark money" from the political sphere by Proposing HR 2125, the Keeping our Campaigns Honest Act of 2015, however the bill realistically had no chance of passing in the 114th Congress in which it was proposed.
Yarmuth is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the only person to represent Kentucky in Congress to join. He is arguably the most progressive person to serve in Congress from Kentucky in either the House or Senate.
The following is a list of John Yarmuth's Congressional Caucus memberships:
Yarmuth filed candidacy papers on January 31, 2006, to represent Kentucky's 3rd congressional district. Having won the Democratic primary on May 16, defeating Andrew Horne, Burrell Charles Farnsley and James W. Moore, he defeated incumbent Anne Northup (R) in November of that year.
On August 7, 2006, The Courier-Journal reported that The Hill revealed a week before that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had earmarked $51.5 million for television advertising in 32 congressional districts across the nation, but none for Yarmuth's challenge in the Third Congressional District.
On October 20, a Courier-Journal article stated that a WHAS11/SurveyUSA poll revealed the race had tightened dramatically, with Yarmuth leading Northup 48 to 47 percent. Another poll a month earlier had Northup leading by 6 points. A WHAS11/SurveyUSA poll released on November 2 showed Yarmuth leading Northup 52 to 44 percent.
On October 26, Yarmuth told Courier-Journal reporter Kay Stewart that he would donate his congressional salary--which would be $168,500 in 2007--to local charity.
Because polls close early in Kentucky, many analysts saw this race as a key indicator and it immediately became one of the most watched House races in the nation.
In the general election, Yarmuth garnered 122,139 votes (51%) to Northup's 116,157 votes (48%). Independent candidates garnered 2,896 votes (1%).
Yarmuth won the 2008 election with 59% of the vote.
Yarmuth was challenged by Republican Todd Lally and Independent Michael D. Hansen. Yarmuth was re-elected successfully with 53% of the vote.
Yarmuth was challenged by Republican Brooks Wicker and Independent candidate Robert L. Devore Jr. Yarmuth received 206,385 votes (63.96%), Brooks Wicker received 111,452 votes (23.32%), and Robert L. Devore Jr. received 4,819 votes (1.49%).
In the 2014 General Election, Yarmuth was challenged by Republican Dr. Michael McFarlane and Independent Gregory Puccetti. On October 6, 2014, Kentucky Educational Television hosted a debate which was broadcast live on Louisville's KET, and was moderated by KET host Bill Goodman. Yarmuth went on to win reelection with 63.5% of the votes cast.
Yarmuth was challenged by Republican Harold Bratcher and Independent Everett Corley. Yarmuth won with 63% of the vote, receiving 212,388 votes. Harold Bratcher received 37% of the vote, totaling 122,085 ballots cast in his name. Everett Corley received no votes in the election.
On April 17, 2017, Yarmuth announced that he would run for a seventh term in the 2018 election. During the campaign, he lobbied for chairpersonship of the House Budget Committee and promised to hold hearings on Medicare for all. Yarmuth won re-election with over 62% of the vote against Vickie Yates Glisson, Kentucky's former Secretary of Health and Family Services.
In 2003, Yarmuth and former WHAS-AM radio talk show host John Ziegler debated political issues on the weekly WAVE program Yarmuth & Ziegler, with Yarmuth taking the liberal side and Ziegler, the conservative side. On a successor program, Hot Button, which ran from September 2004 to December 2005, he faced off with conservative Jim Milliman.
Yarmuth appeared on the March 8, 2007, episode of The Colbert Report in the show's "Better Know a District" series. In a parody of Yarmuth's former Yarmuth & Ziegler debate series, host Stephen Colbert prodded Yarmuth into a point/counterpoint style debate. After agreeing to the "debate," Colbert forced Yarmuth to defend the shredding of kittens in wood chippers, which Yarmuth gamely proceeded to do. Colbert referred to Yarmuth as a real-life Bruce Wayne, and presented him with a framed print of his congressional photo with a Batman mask photoshopped over his face.
Yarmuth has served on many boards including the Bingham Child Guidance Center and Kentucky Country Day School. He is Kentucky's first Jewish congressman. Yarmuth and his wife, Cathy Yarmuth, have one son, Aaron, who is a graduate of Kentucky Country Day. Aaron is currently the owner of the Louisville Eccentric Observer.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 3rd congressional district
| Chair of the House Budget Committee|
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority