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John Joseph LaFalce (born October 6, 1939) is a former congressman from the state of New Yorkmarker; he served from 1975 to 2003.

LaFalce was first elected to the 94th United States Congress in 1974 and re-elected to each succeeding Congress through the 107th, serving his Western New York congressional district for 28 years, from 1975 to 2003. He served as Chairman of the House Small Business Committee from 1987 to 1995, and as Ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee from 1999 to 2003. He declined to seek re-election to the 108th Congress.

Personal background

LaFalce was born in Buffalo, New Yorkmarker, on October 6, 1939. He graduated from Public School 49 (1953), Canisius High Schoolmarker (1957), Canisius Collegemarker (1961), and Villanova University School of Law in 1964. From 1965 to 1967, Rep. LaFalce served in the United States Army during the Vietnammarker era, leaving active duty with the rank of Captain. He returned from military service to practice law in Western New York with the law firm of Jaeckle, Fleischman and Mugel, and soon became active in public service. In 1970, he ran successfully for the New York State Senate, and in 1972 was elected to the New York State Assembly. He is often seen at the Memorial Day parade in Kenmore passing out free handshakes.

He is married to the former Patricia Fisher and they have one son, Martin, who is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Centermarker and currently works as a public interest lawyer in New York City.

U.S. Representative

In 1974, at the age of 35, LaFalce became only the second Democrat, and the first since 1912, to win election to what was then the 36th congressional district of New York. During his career in the House of Representatives, he served on both the Committee on Small Business and the Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs (now the Committee on Financial Services). In January 1987, he was elected by the Democratic Caucus as Chairman of the Committee on Small Business, thus becoming the first member of his class (those elected in 1974) to chair a full, standing committee of the House. Following the change in control of Congress in 1994, he continued to play the key role as the Committee's Ranking Democrat. In February 1998, he was elected the Ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee and served in that capacity through 2003.

LaFalce had numerous accomplishments as a legislator. For example, he is credited with initiating the Competitiveness Policy Council.

LaFalce was generally a liberal Democrat, but strongly opposed abortion. He currently serves on the National Advisory Board of Democrats for Life of America.

After the 2000 census, New York lost two congressional districts. One plan called for the merger of LaFalce's territory with the neighboring 27th district of Republican Jack Quinn, a longtime friend. The final map merged his district with the Rochestermarker-based 28th District of fellow Democrat Louise Slaughter. The new district retained Slaughter's district number, but geographically was more LaFalce's district; indeed, only a narrow band of territory from Buffalo to Rochester connected the two areas. Nonetheless, LaFalce didn't seek reelection in 2002.


  1. National Advisory Board. Democrats for Life of America. Accessed March 21, 2009.

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