|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 17th district
January 3, 2013
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 16th district
January 3, 2009 - January 3, 2013
|Born||Thomas Joseph Rooney
November 21, 1970
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Relatives||Art Rooney (Grandfather)
Kate Mara (Cousin)
Rooney Mara (Cousin)
Washington and Jefferson College (BA)
University of Florida (MA)
University of Miami (JD)
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||2000-2004 (active)
|Unit||Judge Advocate General's Corps|
|Awards||Army Commendation Medal (2)|
Thomas Joseph Rooney (born November 21, 1970) is an American politician who is the U.S. Representative for Florida's 17th congressional district, a post he has held since 2013. He previously represented Florida's 16th congressional district from 2009 to 2013. He is a member of the Republican Party.
Rooney was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When Tom was 14 his father, Patrick J. Rooney Sr., moved to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida where the family owned a dog track and gambling business. He graduated from the Benjamin School in North Palm Beach, Florida in 1989. In college, Rooney played football for Syracuse University and Washington & Jefferson College outside of Pittsburgh where he earned his B.A. in English Literature. He was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.
Rooney attended the University of Florida where he received his M.A. in Political Science. After that he went to the University of Miami School of Law where he received his J.D. and met his wife Tara Lombardi. They became members of The Florida Bar Association in 1999.
He is not related to fellow Republican representative Francis Rooney.
After law school, both Rooney and his wife joined the U.S. Army JAG Corps. In 2001, Tom and Tara, along with their newborn son, were stationed at Fort Hood on 9/11. Rooney spent over four years on Active Duty in the United States Army JAG Corps. He served as Special Assistant U.S Attorney at Fort Hood in Texas, prosecuting all civilian crimes on post. Rooney also served in the 1st Cavalry Division.
In 2002, Rooney began teaching Constitutional and Criminal Law as an Asst. Prof. in the Dept. of Law at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He received two Army Commendation Medals for his service. Tom and Tara Rooney each completed active duty with the rank of Captain.
During his active duty time in the JAG Corps, he served with fellow future Congressman Patrick Murphy, a Democrat from Pennsylvania who was the first Iraq War veteran elected to the U.S. Congress.
As his first job out of college, Tom Rooney worked for U.S. Senator Connie Mack III, who had worked with Tom's father, Patrick J. Rooney Sr., at one time. Tom started in Senator Mack's mailroom: "We opened every letter and that's where I learned what people's issues were. It really helped shape a blank slate in my life." After getting his Masters, he returned to Florida, where he went to work as an Assistant Attorney General. While working as a criminal prosecutor for Attorney General Charlie Crist, he joined the Board of Directors with "The Children's Place at Home Safe," a Palm Beach County shelter that helps abused, neglected, and abandoned children. In 2005, Tom was named CEO of Home Safe and because of his work there, Governor Jeb Bush appointed Rooney to the Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County Board of Directors in January 2006. After his second year as director, Rooney returned to the Board of Directors of Children's Place and resumed his practice of law in Stuart, Florida with the law firm of Kramer, Sopko & Levenstein, P.A. He is a graduate of Leadership Palm Beach County.
Rooney challenged Democratic incumbent Tim Mahoney. Mahoney had narrowly won the Republican-leaning district in 2006, after five-term incumbent Mark Foley abruptly resigned under a cloud of scandal. Since Foley resigned a little more than a month before the election, Florida election law required Foley's name to remain on the general election ballot, with votes for him being transferred to his replacement, State Representative Joe Negron. It was widely believed that this significantly undermined Negron's chances, as many voters would be reluctant to cast a ballot in Foley's name.
Given Mahoney's narrow margin of victory, coupled with the unusual circumstances surrounding the 2006 election and this district's Republican bent, the 16th District was viewed as one of Republicans' best opportunities to take a congressional seat from the Democrats in 2008. In the Republican Party primary, Rooney was endorsed by Florida's Governor, Charlie Crist, and defeated State Representative Gayle Harrell and investment banker Hal Valeche. Mahoney, aided by incumbency and having burnished his image as a moderate Blue Dog Democrat, consistently led Rooney in polls throughout the 2008 election cycle until mid-October 2008, when it was revealed that Mahoney, who had promoted a family values image and campaigned against corruption in contrast to the disgraced Foley, had engaged in multiple extramarital affairs and secretly paid off his mistresses to conceal them. This revelation shifted the race decisively in Rooney's favor, even causing the Palm Beach Post to take the rare step of rescinding its previous endorsement of Mahoney and endorsing Rooney instead.
For his first two terms, Rooney represented a district stretching from the Treasure Coast through the Everglades to Port Charlotte on the other side of the state. Redistricting, however, saw the 16th renumbered as the 18th District and made significantly more compact. It lost most of its heavily Republican western portion to the new 17th District, which stretched from the Everglades to the outer suburbs of Tampa. Rooney opted to run for reelection in the 17th. He retained roughly one-third of his previous constituents. Most of them lived in the western portion of the old 16th. He sold his home in Tequesta, which remained in the 18th, and bought a home in Okeechobee as his official residence in the new 17th.
In the August 14 Republican primary--the real contest in this heavily Republican district--Rooney faced Joe Arnold, a Republican state committeeman for Okeechobee County and member of the school board. Rooney defeated Arnold in a landslide, getting 74% of vote. Rooney ran in the general election against a retired airline pilot, Democrat William Bronson (formerly an unsuccessful Republican candidate in Massachusetts and Georgia) as well as Socialist Workers Party write-in candidate Tom Baumann (who ran unsuccessful campaigns in Minnesota and in the Borough of Manhattan).
Rooney received endorsements in Florida from Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, U.S. Reps. Allen West and Dennis A. Ross as well as from the National Rifle Association. In their Saturday, October 13, edition the Tampa Bay Times recommended Tom Rooney for the District 17 seat, and on October 19, The Tampa Tribune endorsed him.The Bradenton Herald recommended Rooney on 26 October.
One of the first bills Rooney introduced in the House was to prevent any money being spent to bring prisoners to Florida from the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Another was a bill he co-sponsored to try to reduce the number of military veteran suicides by mandating mental health screenings for returning troops. Although that bill did not pass, the military eventually adopted the reforms Rooney asked for. Rooney has been recognized by the city of Stuart, Florida for his efforts to prevent veteran suicides.
Rooney sponsored a bill to name a federal courthouse under construction in Fort Pierce in honor of a St. Lucie County rancher, and former Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice, Alto Lee Adams Sr.; Rooney's bill was approved by the House in September 2009, but was not passed by the Senate until September 2012, when the new courthouse had been open for eight months.
In April 2011, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, traveled to Iraq with Rooney and four other members, who met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Ambassador James Franklin Jeffrey. Rooney said that they discussed with Maliki how the United States and Iraq might interact diplomatically after the U.S. troop withdrawal scheduled for December of that year.
On the evening of February 19, 2012, a man crashed his pickup truck into Rooney's Stuart, Florida office. No one was inside the building at the time. The man claimed he tried to park in front of the building, but instead of pressing the brake, accidentally pressed the accelerator. The driver was cited for careless driving by the Stuart Police Department.
Rooney, as Chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry, introduced The Defense of Environment and Property Act in March 2012. This act would make changes to federal water regulations and prevent some prosecutions of farmers and landowners by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Army Corps of Engineers. In response to an expansion of federal power to regulate wetlands in a 2011 EPA and Army Corps document that redefined "navigable waters," the Rooney bill defines navigable waters to exclude "wetlands without a continuous surface connection" to a body of water. The Rooney bill is a companion to a Senate bill introduced by Rand Paul.
A June 2011 bill to defund U.S. operations in Libya was written by Rooney, but defeated on the floor of the House because 89 Republicans voted against it. Rooney accepted responsibility for defeat of the bill, which was in competition with a non-binding resolution to deny President Barack Obama authority to wage war against Libya, saying "It was my bill. You can blame me. I think we tried to limit funds so our kids weren't in harm's way but not leave NATO on their own. People either wanted all or they wanted nothing."
On 13 September 2012, Rooney said that Obama should be blamed for attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East because the violence, and the deaths of four Americans in the U.S. Consulate attack in Benghazi, was foreseeable: "We supported the rebels without taking into account their individual values or motives, and without understanding their ability or plan to govern. We helped these individuals topple a dictator, but then stood on the sidelines as radical extremists assumed power. It should come as no surprise that these movements in the region have given way to violent, anti-American actions."
Although most of the voters in Rooney's old 16th District were in the new 18th District, in January 2012 Rooney announced that he would run for the neighboring 17th Congressional District seat, while Allen West declared in the new 18th. Redistricting had made West's old 22nd District, which already had a modest Democratic lean, even more Democratic, and West wanted to run in a friendlier district. As previously mentioned, Rooney's former district had been made somewhat friendlier to Democrats, and he opted to run in a more conservative district that included a large chunk of his old district's western portion.
In announcing his decision to run for reelection in Rooney's Congressional district, Allen West said:
"I have always believed the state of Florida would be best served by having both Congressman Tom Rooney and myself in the House of Representatives working to solve our nation's most pressing problems. I have never wavered from my vision; to work to create jobs, restrain federal government spending, reduce America's ever increasing national debt, and provide for a strong national defense to ensure a safer and more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren. Congressman Rooney is a statesman and has been an honorable public servant to the constituents of Florida's 16th Congressional district. It is my goal to continue the success Congressman Rooney has had in Florida's 16th Congressional district in the newly proposed 18th district."
Rooney favors agricultural subsidies, including crop insurance and sugar price supports, so that food production in this country can better compete with other countries that provide government subsidies to their farmers. Rooney explained that "I don't want our country to depend on Mexico for our food, and I don't want Florida to lose agriculture jobs that we really need."
Rooney fought to remove spending for an alternate engine program (built by GE Aviation and Rolls-Royce plc) for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Pentagon had already taken the position that having a single contractor (Pratt & Whitney) will save money. "The Pentagon has said repeatedly that they do not want it and do not need it, and the American taxpayers certainly cannot afford it," Rooney said.
Rooney sponsored an amendment to the 2012 House spending bill to end funding for the extra engine of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which passed with support from freshman members of the Tea Party Caucus. In December 2011 GE abandoned self-funding to continue development of its alternate engine, finally ending the project. Rooney said that the decision by GE "will finally remove any risk that taxpayers may be saddled with the costs of sustaining an extra engine in the future."
Rooney criticised Justin Amash in May 2012, accusing the Michigan Republican of wanting to "coddle foreign enemy combatants" because he proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to stop the military from indefinitely detaining suspected terrorists who were caught in the United States. Amash and Congressman Adam Smith said they worried about civil liberties and the constitutionality of allowing indefinite detention of U.S. residents suspected of being terrorists. A Rooney press release said that "the Amash amendment sacrifices our national security in order to coddle foreign enemy combatants. Never in our nation's history have we granted enemy combatants who attack our homeland during a time of war the same rights and privileges of American citizens, but that's exactly what the Amash amendment would do." Rooney's press release was criticised in turn by a statement from Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty which accused Rooney of being "disgracefully dishonest."
Finally, Rooney issued a statement of support for a competing amendment to the NDAA by congressmen Jeff Landry, Louie Gohmert and Scott Rigell: "The Landry/Gohmert/Rigell amendment explicitly re-affirms and protects the constitutional rights of American citizens, and states clearly that no citizens' constitutional rights can be denied under the provisions of the defense bill... While it's critical that we protect the rights of American citizens, we should absolutely not exploit legitimate concerns in a misguided effort to extend our rights and privileges to foreign terrorists who attack our homeland." The Amash/Smith amendment was defeated and the Landry/Gohmert/Rigell amendment was adopted, both by large margins.
On June 13, 2012, Rooney was one of five members of Congress (including Michele Bachmann, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert and Lynn Westmoreland) to send letters to the Inspectors General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the Department of State seeking investigations into what they claimed was the U.S. government's involvement with the Muslim Brotherhood.
One of the letters in particular to Ambassador Harold W. Geisel, the Deputy Inspector General of the United States Department of State, used the Department's Deputy Chief of Staff, Huma Abedin, as an example of the undue influence. The letter said that Abedin "has three family members-her late father, her mother and her brother-connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations," referring to a study by the Center for Security Policy.
Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Scott Brown, as well as Bachmann's former campaign chief Ed Rollins defended Abedin against these allegations. Speaker of the House John Boehner told reporters: "I don't know Huma. But from everything that I do know of her, she has a sterling character, and I think accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous." Congressman Mike Simpson condemned the letter as a revival of McCarthyism, telling the Idaho Statesman: "Unfortunately, it's not just Michele. The public says, 'There go those Republicans again.' It's a bad reflection on all Republicans. I can't believe the other four members she got to sign the letter with her. Amazing... That doesn't reflect the House Republican Caucus."
An editorial in Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers also brought up the ghost of McCarthyism, explicitly pronouncing disappointment in Rooney. On the other hand, Newt Gingrich argued in favor of investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood, characterizing Rooney and the rest as the "National Security Five." Columnist Cal Thomas shrugged off the specter of McCarthyism, and said that the real possibility of infiltration by Islamic extremists deserves to be investigated.
Responding to her critics, Bachmann said that "The concerns I have and my colleagues have are real," and "We cannot elevate political correctness over national security." Rooney expressed similar concerns: "As a member of the House Armed Services and Intelligence committees, my top priority is ensuring the security of our nation." And that "I regret that Mrs. Abedin has become the media focus of this story, because the intention of the letters was to bring greater attention to the legitimate national security risk." A couple of months later, Rooney admitted that it was an unfortunate mistake to include Mrs. Abedin: "What got lost was a legitimate question, for the sake of using Congressman (Anthony) Weiner's wife and Sec. Clinton's assistant's name specifically in a letter."
During an October campaign stop in Florida to support Mitt Romney, John McCain acknowledged that Rooney and Bachmann had realized that including Abedin's name in the letter to the State Department was a mistake. McCain then softened his earlier criticism from the Senate floor, saying "I'm concerned, and they're concerned and I agree with them, about the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood. I'm not saying all members of the Muslim Brotherhood are extremists, but I am saying there are some extremists that are members of the Muslim Brotherhood. ... There is definitely a threat of radical Muslim extremism, some of whom are Muslim Brotherhood--not all, by far."
Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution provide nutrients that can cause algae blooms, which in turn produce toxins harmful to humans and animals across the state of Florida. Approximately 1,900 miles of rivers and streams in the state were impaired for nutrients in 2010, up from approximately 1,000 miles in 2008. Impaired acres of lakes in Florida were 378,000 in 2010, up from 350,000 acres in 2008.
In 2008 the public interest law firm Earthjustice sued the EPA on behalf of five environmental groups, claiming that delays by both state and federal governments in establishing quantitaive (rather than qualitative) limits for nutrient pollution of Florida's waters were unacceptable. In August 2009 the Obama administration settled the lawsuit by agreeing to begin the process of imposing enforceable EPA standards for nutrient levels in the public waters of Florida.
Numerical nutrient level standards announced in November 2010 provoked the State of Florida to fight back by suing the EPA (enraging Earthjustice and environmentalists). Florida's outgoing (Bill McCollum) and incoming (Pam Bondi) Attorneys General, as well as the outgoing (Charles H. Bronson) and incoming (Adam Putnam) Agriculture Commissioners said that the EPA standards "are not based on scientifically sound methodology, and were adopted in an arbitrary and capricious manner just to settle a lawsuit." The EPA said that the regulations would not be implemented for 15 months.
One year later, Earthjustice counterattacked by filing suit against the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) claiming that the state agency had failed to protect Floridians and tourists from toxic algae outbreaks. Judge Bram Canter of the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings ruled against the Earthjustice lawsuit in June, 2012. The Obama administration then announced that EPA enforcement would be delayed until 2013, and that the EPA may defer to FDEP regulations.
After the EPA said that it would establish numeric nutrient levels for waters in the state of Florida, as part of the 2009 consent decree with Earthjustice, Rooney led the state's congressional delegation by writing a letter asking the EPA to work with the state as it formulated rules for Florida. Rooney explained:
"Florida has spent over $19 million and several years collecting the necessary data, sound science and community input to develop standards that are realistic and attainable for Florida. As the EPA begins to establish nutrient levels for Florida waters, it is important for the state to be a part of the decision process and to use the invaluable information that has been collected. This bipartisan letter signed by twenty-five members of our delegation simply asks EPA to work with Florida and utilize its data."
Following the January 2010 publication of proposed EPA rules for Florida, Rooney said: "There are still too many questions that must be answered regarding the science used by the EPA." Rooney and other members of Florida's Congressional delegation met with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in March, concerning the proposed Numeric Nutrient rules. At that meeting the agency agreed to extend the public comment period and to hold three more public meetings in Florida. Rooney also told Jackson that he was concerned, inasmuch as she had failed to meet personally with Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Sole. Rooney said: "While there was progress in some areas the EPA proposal will have massive repercussions throughout our state. Therefore, this is something we cannot rush head-first into without knowing all the facts and science." Rooney pointed to studies concluding that the proposed rule would take $2 billion out of Florida's economy, and urged the EPA to do an economic analysis of the rule. He also called for the EPA to allow an independent, scientific review of the rule, which the EPA refused to do.
An April, 2010 report by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in conjunction with professors at the University of Florida Food and Resource Economics Department, and with Soil and Water Engineering Technology, Inc. concluded that compliance with the proposed numeric nutrient rule would subject 13.6 million acres of agriculture to direct costs of from $902 million to $1.605 billion annually, and indirect economic impacts of $1.148 billion per year to the state of Florida. "This report confirms what we have all feared. The economic ramifications of this proposed rule would be devastating to our state," Rooney said. In August, Rooney again called for delay of final federal rulemaking, pending the results of a third-party analysis, in a bipartisan letter from Florida's Congressional delegation to Lisa Jackson.
In September, a federal judge temporarily stopped the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from imposing federal water quality standards on former croplands in the Everglades, ruling that the Corps had changed its rules about water quality standards on former croplands without proper public notice and hearing. In December, 2010, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and Attorney General-elect Pam Bondi decided to file a lawsuit against the EPA regarding its proposed numeric nutrient rule. Rooney endorsed that decision, saying that "this lawsuit will put a stop to the EPA's misguided assaults on Florida's families and industries." Senator George LeMieux also endorsed the legal challenge to the EPA rule for Florida.
After Lisa Jackson appeared before the House Agriculture Committee in March 2011, Rooney said: "In all the hearings I've attended as a member of Congress, I've never been to one like Lisa Jackson's appearance before the House Agriculture Committee. All the members of the committee--Republicans and Democrats--were up in arms over the EPA's agenda. I've never seen a witness from the administration get attacked like that from members of the president's own party." Rooney sent a letter thanking Jackson for her promise that the EPA would cooperate with the state of Florida (and their Congressional delegation) to come up with reasonable nutrient levels, and for allowing both scientific review and economic analysis of the new regulations. Rooney's letter also asked the following questions:
Rooney and Senator Marco Rubio were criticised in the press for "siding with polluters" and "greedy business interests," leading Rooney and Rubio to co-author an article explaining that "half of the Democrats in Florida's House delegation supported our amendment to prevent the EPA from enforcing this new mandate until they complete an independent study of the science and a thorough economic analysis" and that Lisa Jackson had recently committed to having the EPA work with Florida's DEP. Although the Rooney amendment was eventually dropped, the EPA agreed to a one-year delay of new water rules and that the National Academy of Sciences would conduct an unbiased review of the EPA cost estimate.
Rooney was criticized in an editorial for voting for a House bill sponsored by John Mica that would prohibit tightening water pollutant limits without a state's consent, a bill that the EPA protested would "overturn almost 40 years of federal legislation by preventing EPA from protecting public health and water quality." In an October 2011 column, Rooney justified congressional review of EPA regulations, reduction of red tape and interference with new mandates as a means to "get the federal government off the backs of famers."
Rooney welcomed amended rules for numeric nutrient standards, approved in December by the Florida Environmental Regulation Commission and submitted to the EPA. After final approval by the EPA, the federal standards would then be withdrawn. The EPA acknowledged that "states have the primary role in establishing and implementing water quality standards for their waters." In June 2012, Florida submitted, and the EPA approved, a plan to improve water quality in the Everglades.
Rooney voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The bill includes disaster relief aid for Florida citrus growers who suffered loss due to Hurricane Irma, which Rooney calls a "big win."
Rooney characterizes himself as a "champion for Second Amendment rights," saying that the right to bear arms is "one of our most sacred rights." As of 2017, Rooney has an "A-" rating from the NRA, indicating a voting record that is generally pro-gun rights. As a Congressman, Rooney has voted in favor of several pieces of legislation to expand gun rights, including a yes vote on H. R. 38 (the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act), which would enable concealed carry reciprocity among all States if and when it is signed into law. Of the Act, Rooney said, "Just as a driver's license would be recognized in another state, a person who is legally permitted to carry a concealed handgun for their or their loved ones' own protection should have that ability anywhere in our nation." In March 2017, Rooney voted in favor of the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, which, if signed into law, will allow veterans who are considered "mentally incompetent" to purchase ammunition and firearms unless declared a danger by a judge. Rooney also voted in favor of H.J.Res.40, which successfully used the Congressional Review Act to block implementation of an Obama-era Amendment to the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 that was aimed at preventing the mentally-infirm from legally purchasing firearms.
In 2015, Rooney signed a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives objecting to a proposed ban of a certain rifle cartridge due to its armor-piercing capabilities. In the letter, it states that "the idea that Congress intended LEOPA to ban one of the preeminent rifle cartridges in use by Americans for legitimate purposes is preposterous." The attempt to ban the cartridges was abandoned shortly thereafter.
Rooney opened up more about his opinions on gun lobbyist groups after his February 2018 announcement that he would not be seeking reelection. Rooney stated that even supporting a bump stock ban after the 2017 Las Vegas shooting was akin to "political suicide" and that "the NRA has an extremely sophisticated ability to either help you or hurt you from being able to continue to call yourself 'Congressman.'" Rooney also questioned the role of AR-15 style rifles in society, saying "What is the purpose of that gun, especially one with a bump stock on it?"
Tom Rooney is a grandson of Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney Sr., a nephew of Pittsburgh Steelers owner and ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney, and a first cousin, once removed, of actresses Kate Mara and Rooney Mara.
Rooney's younger brother, Brian J. Rooney, has a seat on the Pittsburgh Steelers Board of Directors which was previously held by their father. Brian, a veteran of the Iraq War, is a Deputy Director of Michigan Department of Human Services, and was a candidate in 2010 for Congress in Michigan's 7th congressional district. Tom's older brother, Patrick Rooney, Jr., serves in the Florida House of Representatives in District 83.
Tom, Tara and their three sons (Tommy, Sean, Seamus) formerly split their time between Tequesta, Florida and Washington, D.C. Rooney decided to run in the new District 17, and he promised to move into that district, but told The Ledger that he and his wife had not yet decided on which city. Rooney planned to move to Charlotte County, but he said that "I'm leaving where I grew up. That's the hardest thing." Charlotte County has the largest percentage of voters in the newly-drawn district, and includes the city of Punta Gorda (where Rooney has his campaign office and one of his Congressional offices) as well as the larger, but unincorporated Port Charlotte as well as other unincorporated communities. The Rooneys ended up selling their Tequesta home and purchasing a home in Okeechobee.
Tom's grandfather, Art Rooney, bought the Palm Beach Kennel Club in West Palm Beach in 1969 and his father ran the business as president from 1984 until recently, when his brother, Patrick J. Rooney Jr., became president of the club. Tom Rooney lists ownership of stock in family businesses in his congressional financial disclosure form. Rooney has said that he has neither operational nor ownership responsibilities, and the stock is part of a trust with his children as beneficiaries. In 2010, Rooney stood at 346th place in terms of net worth among the members of the U.S. House.
The Palm Beach Kennel Club serves the product of yet another family business, Rooney's Old Irish Ale. The Palm Beach County Commission has approved a referendum for the November 2012 ballot to decide whether slot machines will be allowed at the Palm Beach Kennel Club. Tom's cousin Joe Rooney is a spokesman for, as well as Co-Chair and Treasurer of the coalition supporting the Palm Beach County slot machines referendum. Other Florida counties have put slot machine referendums on the November ballot, but Attorney General Palm Bondi issued an opinion that current state law does not allow slots outside of Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Joe Rooney said Palm Beach County will have several paths to follow if the referendum succeeds, including legislation and legal action.
'Tom Rooney can attempt to run from away from his father's gambling interests all he wants, but at the end of the day the truth is in the money,' said Florida Democratic Party Spokesman Eric Jotkoff.
Prior to Rooney's election in 2008, the only other Miami Law alumnus to serve in Congress had been the late Representative Dante Fascell.
I don't think I could run for office without my faith. It's very difficult to put yourself out there. Going to Mass on Sunday is a time for me to get stronger.
Rooney, R-Punta Gorda, who is trying to win his third term in Congress in District 17, said Mack is the reason he's a congressman today, planting his political seed two decades ago.
Considered the only Democratic incumbent in South Florida who might have trouble, Mahoney has seemingly put himself in a good position with his mostly centrist legislative record, having become very accessible to his constituents, and, like other incumbents, bankrolling a sizeable early lead in fundraising among all the candidates.
Republican challenger Tom Rooney, a lawyer and former Army officer, had trailed early in the campaign until news broke last month about Mahoney's affairs. Rooney quickly gained ground and handily won Tuesday night to replace Mahoney representing District 16, covering parts of eight counties from Palm Beach County across the state to the Gulf.
The seat is considered to be one of the more competitive House races, and Mahoney already had a tough challenge in a district that has traditionally leaned slightly Republican. He faces former Army officer Tom Rooney, a lawyer whose family owns the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On Tuesday night, a person close to the Mahoney campaign told the AP that Mahoney also was having a relationship with a high-ranking official in Martin County in his Florida district around the same time of the purported affair with Allen.
With Mahoney a no-show, Republican challenger Tom Rooney simply took questions during the luncheon held by the nonpartisan Forum Club of the Palm Beaches.
Republicans have tread lightly with Florida Democrat Rep. Tim Mahoney, who admitted to having extramarital affairs. Cook predicts the race is likely to be won by his Republican opponent, Tom Rooney.
Given a choice of two fiscal conservatives, voters in Florida's 16th Congressional District overwhelmingly kept incumbent Republican Tom Rooney in Washington.
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After months of speculating and strategizing about Florida's new congressional map, it took only two brief phone conversations for Republican U.S. Reps. Tom Rooney and Allen West to dramatically rearrange their political plans.
Rooney collected $930,249 in campaign donations through the last federal finance reporting period, which ended July 25, and had spent $798,006. Arnold raised $13,920 through that same period, and had spent $13,184.
...Rooney says he often feels like a political rookie these days as he pursues a third term by introducing himself to new voters in freshly drawn congressional District 17.
When voters get their ballots for the Nov. 6 election, the U.S. Congressional District 17 will be one of the few in which there will be a three-way race.
The two Republicans vying to represent congressional District 17 couldn't be more different, giving voters a clear choice in next week's primary.
Rooney, 41, is not an ideal choice. He backs the House Republican budget that would cut taxes and spending but not raise additional revenue. His call to repeal health care reform suggests he is in denial about the concerns of 4 million Floridians who have no health insurance. But Rooney is more reasonable in calling for an end to some tax loopholes and in being open to creating a path to obtaining legal status--but not citizenship--for some illegal immigrants.
He may be new to Hillsborough, but we expect voters who get to know him will appreciate Rooney's experience and sensible priorities.
As a member of the House Agriculture Committee and chair of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry, the 41-year-old Rooney sits in a strong position to bolster Florida's farms and ranches and the rural communities in East Manatee. Indeed, the entire district is one of the largest agriculture producing regions in the country, with dairy, citrus, beef, fruit and vegetable farms.
July marked the worst month on record for Army suicides, and the numbers are similarly bleak across other branches of the military.
Supported in the Senate by Florida Democrat Bill Nelson, it passed unanimously Saturday and now heads to the president for his signature.
Rooney congratulated all the students, noting Florida led the nation this year in Congressional gold medalists, with a total of 280.
The truck went completely inside the building and had to be towed from the scene.
The office of the Tequesta Republican wasn't occupied until the pickup truck entered the building.
If you're having a crummy day, here's a friendly reminder that it could always be worse: at least a truck didn't crash straight into your office.
In a concurrence in last week's Supreme Court decision, Justice Samuel Alito took the somewhat unusual step of calling out Congress for its vague language, encouraging the legislative branch to clarify the Clean Water Act.
It is rare on Capitol Hill for a lawmaker to concede something didn't go as planned.
Increasingly, Republicans have criticized Obama for what they portray as a failure to lead in the region, and Rooney's are among the harshest attacks yet.
The switch comes after a wave of conservative outrage at the proposed redistricting plan, with some accusing Republicans in the state Legislature of trying to push West, a bombastic freshman who has clashed with the party's leadership, out of Congress.
Rooney later took to the House floor to argue in support of another amendment he proposed that would force suspected foreign terrorists and enemy combatants to be tried by a military commission in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba instead of in U.S. courts.
Rooney, a former military prosecutor, ripped into his colleague as the House prepared to debate Amash's bipartisan amendment to the defense reauthorization bill that would eliminate the authority of the military to indefinitely detain individuals suspected of being terrorists who were caught within the United States.
...Congressmen like Tom Rooney would seek to turn the judicial system on its head.
...when Republicans like Rooney say that Smith and Amash want to "coddle terrorists," they're not necessarily talking about some heavily armed Al Qaeda fighter in Kandahar. They're potentially talking about you.
Bachmann, from Minnesota, and the four other representatives sent letters to top intelligence and security officials last week warning that the Muslim Brotherhood, a global religious Islamic movement whose members have been linked to terrorist groups in the past, may have infiltrated the top levels of U.S. government.
Notably, six Islamist-sympathizers have achieved positions within or advisory roles serving Team Obama: Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Rashad Hussein; Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Huma Abedein; Presidential advisor Dalia Mogahed; FBI Citizens Academy graduate Kifah Mustafa; Homeland Security Advisory Committee Member Mohamed Elibiary and Homeland Security Countering Violent Extremism Working Group Member Mohamed Magid.
Seven-term GOP Rep. Mike Simpson said Friday that Rep. Michele Bachmann's claim that an extremist Islamic group has infiltrated the U.S. government is a revival of McCarthyism that must be condemned.
It's difficult to imagine U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney associating himself with the ranting of former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, his House colleague.
The underlying driving force behind this desperate desire to stop unpleasant questions is the elite's fear that an honest discussion of radical Islamism will spin out of control. They fear if Americans fully understood how serious radical Islamists are, they would demand a more confrontational strategy.
Like the ghosts of Shakespeare's Banquo or Dickens' Jacob Marley, the specter of the late commie-hunting congressman from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy, will always be with us. It is summoned up today, by some on the left, who use it as a tool to thwart legitimate questions about people and ideologies that seek to destroy America.
While in Minnesota to observe work on the new St. Croix River bridge, Bachmann brushed off backlash over her speculation that U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Ind., and Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Rep. Rooney said he was concerned about the Muslim Brotherhood's involvement in the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, in which a Muslim Army officer murdered 13 people.
Rooney, R-Tequesta, reiterated the investigation's importance Tuesday, specifically regarding Department of Defense issues and the tragedy at Fort Hood.
Under the administration of President George W. Bush, the EPA let the states off the hook by allowing them to formulate plans without deadlines for action.
The case was filed in the same Pensacola federal court where McCollum also is challenging President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
David Guest, attorney for Earthjustice, released a statement following yesterday's announcement of the suit against the EPA. Calling the lawsuit a 'waste of taxpayer dollars,' Guest said that the state was using tax dollars to side with polluters rather than the environment.
The rule that the EPA set for Florida was a 'speed limit sign' that gave everyone fair notice of what specific level of pollution would be allowed in a particular water body. If the speed limit was exceeded, regulators could take action to prevent toxic algae outbreaks and green slime. But the DEP's rule doesn't provide that certainty, and it won't protect public health.
This decision represents yet another failure to address Florida's worst pollution problem--sewage, manure and fertilizer in our water.
Critics of the regulations are hoping for another election-year gift: a decision by the EPA to abandon its requirements, and instead endorse ones drafted by the state.
The E.P.A. itself has repeatedly postponed the effective date of... a rule hotly opposed by developers in a hotly contested state.
There has been great concern about the reliability and legitimacy of the science used by the EPA in setting the proposed numeric numbers. At this morning's meeting Rooney asked the EPA to help settle this dispute by having a third party study and review the science the agency used.
I will not allow EPA to act tyrannically and dictatorially on this issue that affects every Floridian. Until the EPA is willing to consider Florida's unique needs and its economy, this regulation must not go into effect.
Nutrient standards--especially in the Everglades--have been especially controversial lately as two federal judges have ordered water managers and environmental officials to enforce nutrient standards and speed up the Everglades cleanup.
Under the leadership of Lisa Jackson, the EPA has alternately antagonized and disappointed business leaders and environmentalists.
A raft of policy riders were dropped from the budget deal approved late Friday, including one that would have prevented the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing controversial new clean water standards in Florida. But the rules are on hold anyway.
Florida's Department of Environmental Protection, the Chamber of Commerce, the League of Cities, and the Farm Bureau, along with the EPA, all deserve to be part of this process.
Rooney, citing multiple concerns, including those about the potential cost to business and agriculture, has actively supported legislation that would block the EPA from implementing numerical limits to nitrogen and phosphorus in state waters under the federal Clean Water Act. This is disconcerting given that Rooney also portrays himself as a champion of the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon.
...the high costs of excessive government regulation and red tape are threatening to drive farmers out of business. Small farmers, who have fewer resources to keep up with the growing number of federal mandates, are being hit especially hard.
By bringing all sides to the table, as I and others have advocated, Florida was able to reach a compromise that I think everyone can support.
The Florida Republican is related to, um, maybe everyone on the Eastern Seaboard, or at least most everyone involved in the National Football League.
Mara is the great-granddaughter of both New York Giants founder Tim Mara and Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney, Sr.
Four other Rooney siblings are not seeking office.
The 41-year-old Republican from Palm Beach County is a heavy favorite to win a third term in a newly drawn district that sprawls across the state to include part of Manatee County and all of Charlotte. Rooney's sense of urgency stems from his belief that the country is running out of time to address the national debt.
As part of the growing bitterness in the race, the Kennel Club's president, Pat Rooney Sr., the candidate's father, has threatened Valeche with a lawsuit over a newspaper editorial in which Valeche criticized the kennel club's proposal to expand gambling.
PBKC remained the main family business here. Last year, it was the nation's No. 1 dog track in terms of money wagered at $199 million counting both live and simulcast.
In 2008, Rooney drew an income of $88,860 with the Stuart law firm of Kramer, Sopko and Levenstein, his 14.3 percent shares with the Patrick J. Rooney Jr. Irrevocable Trust, which owns the Palm Beach Kennel Club, the Patrick J. Rooney Sr. family trust, and a family trust involved in real estate development in Pittsburgh, are worth a combined $166,004 to $415,000.
From'99 to present, the Rooney's Old Irish Ale has been served and enjoyed exclusively at Florida family businesses: Rooney's Public House (Jupiter, FL), Rooney's Public House (PB International Airport), Rooney's All-In Sports Bar & Grille, (West Palm Beach, FL) and the Palm Beach Kennel Club (West Palm Beach, FL).
The kennel club owners, the influential Rooney family, have lobbied for years to get slot machines and other expanded gaming.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 16th congressional district
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 17th congressional district
|Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Representatives by seniority
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