|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Indiana's 1st district
January 3, 1985 – January 3, 2021
|Preceded by||Katie Hall|
|Succeeded by||Frank Mrvan|
Peter John Visclosky
August 13, 1949
Gary, Indiana, U.S.
|Education||Indiana University Northwest (BA)|
University of Notre Dame (JD)
Georgetown University (LLM)
Peter John Visclosky (// vih-SKLOSS-kee; born August 13, 1949) is an American politician who served as the U.S. representative for Indiana's 1st congressional district from 1985 until his retirement in 2021. He is a member of the Democratic Party and was the dean of the Indiana congressional delegation before his retirement in 2021. The District lies in Northwest Indiana, and includes most of the Indiana side of the Chicago metropolitan area. Redistricting passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 2011 changed the district's boundaries, effective January 2013, to include all of Lake and Porter counties as well as the western and northwestern townships of LaPorte County, while shifting Benton, Newton, and Jasper counties out of the district.
Early life, education, and pre-congressional career
Visclosky was born in Gary, Indiana, the son of John and the late Helen (née Kauzlaric) Visclosky. He is of Croatian-Slovak descent. He was educated at Andrean High School in Merrillville, Indiana. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting at Indiana University Northwest in Gary, Indiana and went on to earn his juris doctor from Notre Dame Law School. At Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Visclosky earned a Master of Laws in International and Comparative Law. He worked as a lawyer and staff member of United States Representative Adam Benjamin before entering the House.
U.S. House of Representatives
In 1984, Visclosky ran for Congress in Indiana's 1st congressional district. In the Democratic primary, he defeated incumbent U.S. Congresswoman Katie Hall, Jack Crawford, and Sandra Smith 34%-33%-31%-1%. In the general election, he defeated Republican Joseph Grenchik 71%-29%. He was reelected 17 times from a district that has been in Democratic hands without interruption since 1931.
In 1986, he won the Democratic primary again with 57%, defeating Hall and three other candidates. He won the general election with 73% of the vote. In 1988, he won the Democratic primary 84%-16% against Sandra Smith. He went on to win the general election with 77% of the vote.
In 1990, Hall challenged Visclosky for the third time and was defeated 51%-30%. He won the general election with 66% of the vote. In 1992, he won the Democratic primary with 72% and the general election with 69%. In 1994, he won the Democratic primary with 77% of the vote. In the general election, he defeated Republican John Larson 56%-44%.
For the rest of his career, he never won a primary with less than 71% and he only once won a general election with less than 60% of the vote - in 2010, when Republicans re-took control of the House of Representatives.
Visclosky is pro-union and anti-free trade. Reinstating the steel tariff, fighting against illegal actions known as "Steel Dumping", in which countries undercut American steel prices by subsidizing steel production, and/or producing steel through nationalized steel companies, which artificially manipulates the market price of steel produced in this manner, a violation of trade agreements, free markets, and certain international laws, and fighting to save American manufacturing jobs have long been priorities of Visclosky. He serves as Chair of the Congressional Steel Caucus when the Democrats have control of the House, and serves as Vice Chair when they don't. He is also a former Chair of the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee and the current Ranking Member. Congressman Visclosky also opposed actions that would have certain components of advanced U.S. Military weapons and hardware made in foreign countries, most notably in China, which caused the closing of U.S.-based manufacturing centers, such as "Magnequench" in Valparaiso, Indiana, which was covered heavily in the media, most notably in printed media from his district, namely "The Times"  and "The Post Tribune", both servicing Northwest Indiana. In this particular case, the component was a sophisticated, high-tech magnet, made of rare earth metals, that is an integral part of U.S. smart-bombs and guided missile systems, including the "Joint Direct Attack Munition" or "JDAM".
Visclosky is one of the 126 Democrats who voted against the Iraq War Resolution. He is also a supporter of high tech solutions as a way to revive the American blue collar work force, and as a way to decrease crime.
Indiana's Lake Michigan shoreline
In 1985, during his first term, Visclosky proposed the "Marquette Plan", which would have seen 75% of Northwest Indiana's industrial shoreline reclaimed for public uses. Two decades later, he revived the proposal in a revised form, as the "Marquette Greenway", which would have seen bike trails built along the lakefront. While the overall "Marquette Plan" has not been realized, a number of projects have reclaimed some of the industrial lakefront, such as the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk.
South Shore Line improvements
A large focus of Visclosky during his tenure was improving the South Shore Line rail service. Visclosky managed to help secure federal funding for a number of improvements to the South Shore Line throughout his tenure, including funding for new overpasses and bridges. In his last term as a congressman, two major projects Visclosky had long advocated for to improve the South Shore Line, double tracking on the existing main branch and the construction of the new West Lake Corridor, received federal funding.
PMA Group investigation
The Washington Times reported in March 2009 that Visclosky had received, over ten years, $1.36 million in campaign donations from clients of the PMA Group. In 2007 and 2008, the United States House Committee on Appropriations, of which Visclosky is a member, directed $137 million in government purchasing to PMA's clients. In May 2009, Visclosky received subpoenas in the grand jury investigation into PMA Group, the first member of Congress to be subpoenaed in the investigation. The Congressman was later cleared of all charges by the House Ethics Committee, who detailed in a 305-page report that "Simply because a member sponsors an earmark for an entity that also happens to be a campaign contributor does not, on these two facts alone, support a claim that a member's actions are being influenced by campaign contributions".
In 2011, the House Ethics Committee ended its investigation, clearing Visclosky and Republican former Representative Todd Tiahrt of Kansas. While "PMA's lobbyists pushed or directed company executives to maximize personal or Political Action Committee (PAC) campaign contributions and to attend specific fundraisers while pursuing earmarks," the report notes, "the evidence did not show that Members or their official staff were included in discussions or correspondence about, coordinated with PMA on, or knew of these strategies."
- Committee on Appropriations
- Congressional Steel Caucus (Vice Chair)
- Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues
- Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans
- Congressional Diabetes Caucus
- Congressional Fire Services Caucus
- Congressional Hellenic Caucus
- Congressional Serbian Caucus
- Great Lakes Task Force
- Missing, Exploited, and Runaway Children Caucus
- Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition
- Buy America Caucus
- Dairy Farmers Caucus
- French Caucus
- Macedonian Caucus
- National Parks Caucus
- Slovak Caucus
- Friends of Switzerland
- Wine Caucus
- Wire and Wire Products Caucus
- Law Enforcement Caucus
- Congressional Arts Caucus
- U.S.-Japan Caucus
- As pronounced by himself: "Pete Commemorates the U.S. Army's 237th Anniversary".
- Balluck, Kyle (November 6, 2019). "Longtime Rep. Pete Visclosky announces retirement". TheHill. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
- staff, Times. "Visclosky to retire at conclusion of his 18th term representing NWI". nwitimes.com. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
-  U.S. legislators with Czech-Slovak roots at Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences.
- "Our Campaigns - IN District 1 - D Primary Race - May 08, 1984". www.ourcampaigns.com.
- "Our Campaigns - IN District 1 Race - Nov 06, 1984". www.ourcampaigns.com.
- "Our Campaigns - IN District 1 - D Primary Race - May 06, 1986". www.ourcampaigns.com.
- "Our Campaigns - IN District 1 Race - Nov 04, 1986". www.ourcampaigns.com.
- "Our Campaigns - IN District 1 - D Primary Race - May 03, 1988". www.ourcampaigns.com.
- "Our Campaigns - IN District 1 Race - Nov 08, 1988". www.ourcampaigns.com.
- "Our Campaigns - IN District 1 - D Primary Race - May 08, 1990". www.ourcampaigns.com.
- "Our Campaigns - IN District 1 Race - Nov 06, 1990". www.ourcampaigns.com.
- Our Campaigns - IN District 1 - D Primary Race - May 05, 1992
- "Our Campaigns - IN District 1 Race - Nov 03, 1992". www.ourcampaigns.com.
- "Our Campaigns - IN District 1 - D Primary Race - May 03, 1994". www.ourcampaigns.com.
- "Our Campaigns - IN District 1 Race - Nov 08, 1994". www.ourcampaigns.com.
- Indiana District 1: Rep. Peter Visclosky (D) National Journal
- Visclosky Statement in Opposition to Free Trade Agreements October 11, 2011
-  "The Times of Northwest Indiana"
-  "The Post-Tribune"
- Zorn, Tim (November 6, 2019). "Pete Visclosky brought South Shore Line improvements, Marquette Greenway to region". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved January 24, 2021.
- Lavalley, Amy (February 14, 2020). "Indiana Dunes sees huge growth in visitors in first year as a national park, but little else has changed". chicagotribune.com. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 24, 2021.
- Bendavid, Naftali and Davis, Susan, "Indiana Congressman Receives Subpoena in Lobbying Probe", Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2009.
- Salant, Jonathan (February 27, 2010). "Ethics panel clears Murtha on donations". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on March 2, 2010. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
- STEVE; ROBERTS, COKIE (March 11, 2010). "A bribe by any other name". Arizona Daily Sun. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
"Bribe" is a hard term to define legally. But we know a payoff when we see one. And that e-mail exchange could not have been clearer: Sierra Nevada delivers for Visclosky because Visclosky delivers for Sierra Nevada.
- "House ethics panel clears 'Murtha Method' representatives". Center for Public Integrity. February 27, 2010. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
- "Project Vote Smart - Representative Peter J. 'Pete' Visclosky - Biography". Votesmart.org. August 13, 1949. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
- "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
- "Members". U.S. - Japan Caucus. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
- "Office of the House Clerk – Electoral Statistics". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives.
- "Election Results". Federal Election Commission.
- "November 6, 2012 General Election". Secretary of State of Indiana. November 28, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
- "November 4, 2014 General Election". Secretary of State of Indiana. March 11, 2015. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
- "November 8, 2016 General Election". Secretary of State of Indiana. January 3, 2017. Retrieved April 12, 2017.