In his over three decades of public service, Congressman Christopher Shays (R-CT) has distinguished himself as a committed advocate for the constituents of the Fourth District, a dedicated leader in the fight against terrorism, a budget hawk, an activist for good government, a respected voice on urban issues, and a staunch environmentalist.
Christopher is a senior member of the Government Reform Committee, Ranking Member of its Subcommittee on National Security and a member of the Homeland Security and Financial Services Committees. These assignments put him at the center of some of the most critical issues facing our country today: fighting the war on terror, getting our economy moving again and increasing government accountability.
On the front lines of the war on terror well before September 11, 2001, Christopher is considered an expert on terrorism issues. He chaired 20 hearings on the terrorism threat before the attack on the twin towers and Pentagon and continues aggressive oversight of the nationâ€™s military, intelligence and homeland security operations, to ensure we are working hard to prevent and prepare for future attacks.
The first Congressman to enter Iraq after the war, Christopher has been to the nascent democracy nineteen times. He has traveled throughout Baghdad and the Iraqi countryside, both inside and outside the umbrella of the military; witnessed their historic elections; and sought to provide leadership by uniting U.S. officials, NGO representatives and Iraqi citizens to define the future of the country and the region together.
First elected to public office in 1974 - the year of the Watergate scandal -Christopher has been an outspoken advocate for good government practices. He has been a driving force behind such landmark legislation as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, which transforms federal campaign finance law, and the Congressional Accountability Act, which requires Congress to live by the laws it writes.
Christopher represents 17 communities, including the cities of Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk, and places a high priority on urban renewal and economic development issues. He works to attract businesses to Connecticutâ€™s urban areas in order to create a larger job and tax base through such programs as the â€œOne Coast, One Futureâ€ initiative, which takes a regional approach to marketing the Bridgeport-Stamford corridor. He and Kweisi Mfume, who formerly represented Baltimore, introduced the Urban Marshall Plan to Rebuild Our Cities, which proposed legislation to encourage economic and social programs to benefit cities.
Christopher was elected to Congress in 1987 promising to â€œget our financial house in orderâ€ and has worked hard to reduce spending and stimulate the economy with selected tax cuts.
Christopher has a seat on the Financial Services Committee, which oversees an industry of utmost importance to the economy of the Fourth District. He is a proponent of the Corporate Auditing Accountability, Responsibility and Transparency Act, which protects investors by improving the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures. Christopher serves on the Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises and the Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittees, where he works on policy related to U.S. capital markets, securities and insurance industries, regulation of government-sponsored enterprises and public and private housing and community development needs.
Designated an â€œEnvironmental Championâ€ by the League of Conservation Voters, Christopher is steadfast in his commitment to protecting our precious earth. He fights to conserve our resources, diversify our energy sources, limit greenhouse gas emissions, and protect the integrity of federal laws that guard our air, land and water.
A leader among centrist Republicans, Christopher is an advocate of socially moderate views. He worked with the former Administration to establish the successful COPS program, which has helped reduce crime through the United States. He leads the charge to end racial profiling and sexual discrimination in the workplace. He is an ardent supporter of a womanâ€™s right to choose. He helped author the 1993 Gun Control Act and advocates a sensible assault weapons ban reauthorization bill. A former Peace Corps volunteer, Christopher helped establish the AmeriCorps national service program and co-founded the Congressional National Service Caucus. He is Co-Chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus, the Congressional Friends of Animals Caucus and the Nonproliferation Task Force.
A guest on national and local television and radio shows, Christopher is an oft-quoted voice on the pressing issues of the day, including terrorism, Iraq, civil liberties, the economy, campaign finance reform and the budget.
Christopher served seven terms in the Connecticut House of Representatives prior to his election to Congress. He earned his MBA and MPA from New York University and his undergraduate degree from Principia College. He and his wife, Betsi - his high school sweetheart - grew up in Darien, lived in Stamford for 27 years, and now reside in Bridgeport. Their daughter, Jeramy, attends Vermont Law School and is studying environmental policy.