Peter deFazio

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Person.png Peter deFazio   History CommonsRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Peter DeFazio official photo.jpg
BornMay 27, 1947
Alma materTufts University, University of Oregon
PartyDemocratic Party (United States)
U.S. Representative for Oregon. Opposed Patriot Act.

Peter Anthony DeFazio is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Oregon, serving since 1987. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He chairs the House Transportation Committee and is a founder of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. A native of Massachusetts and a veteran of the United States Air Force Reserve, he previously served as a county commissioner in Lane County, Oregon. He is dean of Oregon's House delegation. On December 1, 2021, DeFazio announced he would not seek reelection in 2022.[1]

Early life, education, and pre-congressional career

DeFazio was born in 1947 in Needham, Massachusetts,[2] a suburb of Boston.[2] He credits his great-uncle with shaping his politics; that great-uncle almost never said "Republican" without adding "bastard" (or "bastud", as it sounded in a Boston accent).[3] He served in the United States Air Force Reserve from 1967 to 1971.[4] He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University in 1969[2] and a Master of Arts degree in gerontology from the University of Oregon in 1977.[2]

From 1977 to 1982, DeFazio worked as an aide to U.S. Representative Jim Weaver.[2] He was elected as a Lane County Commissioner in 1983 and served as chairman from 1985 to 1986.[2]


During the 1999 World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle, DeFazio marched with protesters who opposed the WTO's new economic globalization policies.[5]

DeFazio has voted against legislation that would increase U.S. military budgets. In 2000, he voted against legislation to create a national missile defense network, calling the system a "comic book fantasy".[6] He has consistently voted against the Patriot Act, including its inception after 9/11 and the recurring reauthorization bills, arguing that it infringes on Americans' civil rights.[7] He also voted against the USA Freedom Act,[8] which reauthorized certain provisions of the Patriot Act in modified form. He voted multiple times to set an itinerary for bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq.[9]

After urging from constituents, including many members of the 911truth movement, deFazio did attempt to see the Continuity of Government (COG) plans in the classified Appendices of NSPD-51 signed by George W. Bush in 2007. Both he, and eventually the entire House Committee on Homeland Security, were denied the opportunity to see these appendices, on the grounds that the Committee did not possess the requisite clearances.[10]