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Candidate Profile from Congressional Quarterly

Joseph M. Hoeffel (D) of Abington
  • Born: September 3, 1950, Philadelphia.
  • Education: Boston U., B.S., 1968-72; Temple U., J.D., 1980-86.
  • Military Service: Army Reserves, 1970-76.
  • Occupation: Lawyer.
  • Family: Wife, Francesca; two children.
  • Religion: Protestant.
  • Political Career: Pa. House, 1977-84; Democratic nominee for U.S. House, 1984, 1986; Montgomery County commissioner, 1992-present; Democratic nominee for U.S. House, 1996.

  • Campaign Address: 24 W. Airy St., Norristown, PA 19401
  • Telephone: (610) 272-6445
  • Fax: (610) 272-6169
  • E-mail: Not reported.
  • Web: Not reported.

Avenging an 84-vote loss in 1996, Hoeffel convinced voters in this wealthy suburban-Philadelphia district that he is the moderate, independent voice they want in Congress.

The socially progressive fiscal conservative prides himself on his refusal to toe the party line. He illustrated this in the campaign by vehemently criticizing efforts to impeach President Clinton while at the same time refusing to attend an October fundraiser with the president. He did welcome a visit from the first lady, however, as well as one from former Reagan press secretary James Brady, who supported Hoeffel for his views on gun control.

Despite his independence, he says he is proud to be a Democrat and likely will fall in line with the party on the majority of issues, especially social ones. On education, he supports national academic standards and smaller classes. He wants to strengthen the Endangered Species Act, as well as clean air and water laws. He also advocates reform of health maintenance organizations to allow doctors more leeway and patients more choices, including the ability to sue for coverage denials. And he supports abortion rights, including so-called "partial-birth" abortions, government funding of the procedure and approval of the abortion drug RU-486.

Economically, however, he asserts that he is more conservative. He has indicated that he favors a "responsible" balanced budget. And, although he admits it may be unlikely, he wants a committee assignment to Appropriations, Budget or Ways and Means.

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