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Chrissy Houlahan
Member of the United States House of Representatives

Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Preceded by Ryan Costello
Personal details
Born Christina Marie Jampoler
June 5, 1967(1967-06-05) (age 55)
Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Bart Houlahan (m. 1991)
Children 2
Website House website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch  United States Air Force
Rank US Air Force O3 shoulderboard rotated.svg Captain
Unit United States Air Force Reserve

Christina Marie "Chrissy" Houlahan (/ˈhləhæn/ hoo--hann; née Jampoler; born June 5, 1967)[1] is an American politician, engineer, and former United States Air Force officer. A member of the Democratic Party, she is the U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania's 6th congressional district. The district includes almost all of Chester County, a suburban county west of Philadelphia, as well as the southern portion of Berks County including the city of Reading. She was first elected in 2018, defeating Republican Greg McCauley in the midterms.

Early life and education

Houlahan spent her childhood on various U.S. naval bases across the country, including on Oahu.[2][3] 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,[4][5][6] He became a historian and author.[7][8][9][10]

Houlahan, citing her idols as Indiana Jones and Sally Ride,[11] earned her bachelor's degree[12][13][14] in Engineering from Stanford University in 1989, on an AFROTC scholarship.[3] She then earned a master's degree in Technology and Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994.[3][15]

Earlier career

Military service

After graduating from Stanford University, Houlahan spent three years on United States Air Force active duty at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Massachusetts. There, she served as a project manager working on air and space defense technologies.[3] She left active duty in 1991 for the Air Force Reserve, retiring in 2004 as a captain.[citation needed]

Private sector

After leaving active duty, 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).[3] Houlahan became Chief Operating Officer of B-Lab, a non-profit start-up, when AND1 was sold.[5]

Education career

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.[16] 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.[5]

U.S. House of Representatives



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.[5] 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."[17]

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.[18][19] 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, which had only been connected to the rest of the district by way of a tendril through Berks County. Instead, it now took in almost all of Chester County (except for a sliver around Birmingham Township that was drawn into the neighboring 5th district), along with the more Democratic southern portion of Berks County, including Reading.[20]

Houlahan took the Democratic nomination unopposed and faced first-time candidate Greg McCauley in the general election.[21] On November 6, 2018, Houlahan easily defeated McCauley, garnering 58.8% of the vote over McCauley's 41.1%.[22] Houlahan was one of seven Pennsylvania women running for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018,[23] and one of four Democratic women to win, along with Mary Gay Scanlon, Madeleine Dean and Susan Wild. She also joined two other female veterans in the House freshman class, former naval officers Elaine Luria and Mikie Sherrill.[citation needed]

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.[24]

Houlahan ran on a platform that included healthcare, job creation, and campaign finance reform.[25] Other campaign issues she identified included education, family issues, and veteran's issues.[26] Houlahan had a strong record of campaign fundraising,[27] with donations totaling almost $5 million so far.[3][28] She was also endorsed by many organizations, including Emily's List,[29] Human Rights Campaign,[30] Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence,[31] Project 100,[32] Vote Vets,[33] the Service Employees International Union-PA (SEIU PA)[34] and several other local unions.[33]


Houlahan ran for re-election in 2020 against Republican John Emmons.[35] She was reelected with over 56% of the vote.[36]


Houlahan had publicly expressed interest in a 2022 campaign for the United States Senate, but on June 8, she announced she would run for reelection to the House.[37]


Houlahan supports the government negotiating drug prices with the pharmaceutical companies and a public option, but opposes a single payer healthcare system.[38] She supports same-sex marriage, the Equality Act, and opposes President Trump's memorandum banning transgender individuals from the military.[39][40] In January 2019, she said she opposed withdrawing US troops from Syria.[41]

Caucus memberships

  • Servicewomen and Female Veterans Caucus (Co-Chair)
  • Women in STEM Caucus
  • For Country Caucus
  • New Democrat Coalition
  • Honor and Civility Caucus
  • Congressional National Service Caucus
  • Veterans' Education Caucus
  • Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus
  • Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition
  • Problem Solvers Caucus[42]

Committee assignments

Electoral history

Pennsylvania's 6th congressional district, 2018[43]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Chrissy Houlahan 177,704 58.9
Republican Greg McCauley 124,124 41.1
Total votes 301,828 100.0
Democratic gain from Republican
Pennsylvania's 6th congressional district, 2020[44]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Chrissy Houlahan (incumbent) 226,440 56.05
Republican John Emmons 177,526 43.95
Total votes Template:Sum 100.0
Democratic hold

Personal life

Houlahan lives in Devon, Pennsylvania, with her husband Bart, whom she met at Stanford and married in 1991. 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.[26] The couple has two adult daughters.[16]


  1. "Chrissy Houlahan For U.S. Congress" (in en-US). 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Mervis (May 8, 2018). "How a Pennsylvania industrial engineer became the odds-on favorite to win a seat in Congress". 
  4. "Inspired by Trump, These Jewish Women Have Decided to Run for Office". 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Latimer. "Air Force vet challenges Rep. Ryan Costello". 
  6. "Twitter". 
  7. "2012 Board of Director Candidates – U.S. Naval Institute". 
  8. "Jampoler, Andrew C.A. 1942- –". 
  9. "Leadership – Naval Historical Foundation". September 27, 2011. 
  10. "Untitled". 
  12. "Alumni US – Stanford University (1989)". 
  14. "Google Scholar". 
  16. 16.0 16.1 Searles & Richmond (January 17, 2018). "Angered by Trump's election, this Pennsylvania business leader and U.S. Navy veteran challenged an incumbent Republican for a seat in the U.S. House. Then he dropped out.". 
  17. Mervis, Jeffrey (May 8, 2018). "How a Pennsylvania industrial engineer became the odds-on favorite to win a seat in Congress". 
  18. "In Pa.'s new congressional map, this Republican's 'bad dream' turns into 'a nightmare' – Philly". 
  19. Stracqualursi, Veronica; Bradner, Eric (March 25, 2018). "Rep. Ryan Costello will drop bid for reelection in Pennsylvania". Cable News Network. 
  20. Cohn, Nate (February 19, 2018). "The New Pennsylvania Congressional Map, District by District" (in en-US). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. 
  21. Prokop (May 16, 2018). "These 6 Pennsylvania Democratic nominees are key to the battle for House control". 
  22. "Chrissy Houlahan". Ballotpedia. 
  23. Gabriel (May 16, 2018). "Pennsylvania Primaries Deliver Strong Wins for Democratic Women". 
  24. Rellahan, Michael P.. "Democrat Chrissy Houlahan wins historic Congressional race" (in en). Daily Local News. 
  25. Sasko. "The No-B.S. Guide to Philadelphia-Area Women Running for Congress". 
  26. 26.0 26.1 Rettew. "2 candidates announce bid for 6th District seat in Democratic primary". 
  27. Cole. "Houlahan Raises $840K in Q2". 
  30. Metzger. "Human Rights Campaign Endorses Chrissy Houlahan for Congress". 
  32. "Chrissy Houlahan". 
  33. 33.0 33.1 Rellahan. "Casey endorses Houlahan in 6th Congressional Dist., Costello challenges map". 
  34. "SEIU PA State Council Announces Endorsed Candidates for 2018 Primary Election". 
  35. Rellahan, Michael (2020-11-03). "Houlahan in run for re-election against Emmons" (in en). 
  36. "Pennsylvania Election Results: Sixth Congressional District" (in en-US). The New York Times. 2020-11-03. ISSN 0362-4331. 
  37. Tamari, Jonathan (2021-06-08). "Democratic Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan won't run for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania" (in en). 
  38. Vargas, Claudia. "Chrissy Houlahan and Greg McCauley, two political novices, running for open U.S. House seat in Chester, Berks". 
  39. "Human Rights Campaign Endorses Chrissy Houlahan for Congress". 
  40. "Cosponsors – H.Res.124 – 116th Congress (2019-2020): Expressing opposition to banning service in the Armed Forces by openly transgender individuals.". March 28, 2019. 
  41. "Rep. Houlahan on U.S. Troops Withdrawal from Syria" (in en). The Wall Street Journal. January 19, 2019. 
  42. "Featured Members" (in en). 
  43. "2018 General Election: Representative in Congress". Pennsylvania Secretary of State. November 6, 2018. 
  44. "2020 Pennsylvania Elections - Official Results". 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ryan Costello
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania's 6th congressional district
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jahana Hayes
United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Dusty Johnson

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