Gerry Connolly and Cathy “Smitty” Smith, his wife of more than thirty years, live in Mantua and have been residents of Fairfax County since 1979. Their daughter, Caitlin Rose, is a recent graduate of a Virginia university.
Gerry is serving his fifth term in Congress. He previously served for five years as Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. He also served nine years as the Providence District Supervisor. As Chairman of the ten-member board, Gerry balanced a budget of $4.5 billion and managed a county that, based on size, would make it the nation’s thirteenth largest city, twelfth largest school district, and sixth largest office market. He served as Chairman of the County’s Legislative Committee and Vice-Chair of the Economic Advisory Committee. Gerry also served as Chairman of the Board of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC), Chairman of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC), and a member of the Board of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) where he was chairman. He also chaired the region’s Emergency Preparedness Taskforce. Gerry represented Fairfax County on the Board of the Virginia Association of Counties (VaCo) where he also served as president.
In 2000, Gerry received COG’s Scull Award, the region’s highest award for leadership, for his work on promoting telework throughout the Metropolitan Washington Region. In 2002, he received an environmental achievement award from the Hunter Mill Defense League and was recognized by Fairfax Trails and Streams for his role as “father” of the forty-mile cross-county trail. He has been recognized by the Fairfax Federation of Citizens Associations for his authorship of the county’s Value Engineering program that has saved taxpayers millions of dollars, and by the Fairfax Firefighters for his role in improving public safety. In 2005, Gerry received an award from Catholics for Housing for outstanding political leader. Also in 2005, he was named Outstanding Local Elected Official of the Year by the Virginia Transit Association. In 2006, he was named Outstanding Local Official in the United States by the American Public Transit Association. Gerry has been recognized for his leadership on a number of issues including gang prevention, for which he was named Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s 2006 Man of the Year.
Following his election to Congress in November 2008, Gerry joined the New Democrats Caucus, a group of pro-business, centrist members of Congress who advocate fiscal responsibility and economic growth. In 2012, he was elected Vice Chairman of the New Democrats, and co-Chair of the coalition’s Task Force on Technology, Education and Entrepreneurship. Gerry serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. He has earned a reputation as a fiscally responsible legislator and an independent voice for Northern Virginia. Within the Congress, Gerry quickly became known as an expert on local and state government issues, including transportation and education. He is also regarded as a strong advocate for federal employees and issues affecting the information technology and government contracting sectors, which form the backbone of Northern Virginia’s economy and workforce.
In Congress, Gerry has received numerous awards for his efforts to assist veterans and the children of active military families at war, promote smart growth initiatives, protect parklands and fragile natural areas, and fight for increased research and treatment for breast cancer. He was elected President of the Freshman class by his colleagues, and in that role served as a liaison to House leadership, advocating for moderate, pragmatic policies supported by fellow new members of Congress. In a tough economic climate, Gerry has successfully steered funding to Northern Virginia for vital projects, including completion of the Fairfax County Parkway, widening of the Prince William Parkway, accelerating work on Rail to Dulles, purchasing locomotives and rail cars to maintain safety and add capacity on Virginia Railway Express, and funding for Metro. In Fairfax and Prince William, he has also fought to save teachers’ jobs and protect quality education.
Gerry’s career as a public official began on March 28, 1995 when he was elected Providence District Supervisor on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and was re-elected to a four-year term on the board in November of that same year. Gerry was unopposed for re-election in November 1999. In 2003, he was elected Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and was reelected in 2007.
Gerry is a dedicated community leader, and his leadership and common-sense approach to community issues marked his term as Mantua Citizens Association (MCA) president and his two terms as president of the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations, the premier nonpartisan citizen organization in Fairfax County. The Star-Texaco storage facility oil spill at the Pickett Road tank farm was discovered during Gerry’s tenure. He worked with local, state, and federal officials to resolve the problem.
Gerry received a B.A. in Literature from Maryknoll College in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, and an M.A. in Public Administration from Harvard University in 1979. After graduating from Harvard, he began a ten-year career with the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. During his tenure with the U.S. Senate, Gerry developed a reputation for pragmatism and the ability to reach out to Democrats and Republicans alike to get things done.
Prior to his election to Congress Gerry spent twenty years in the private sector working in the information technology and government contracting industry, serving as the Vice President for Washington operations for SRI International and as Vice President for Community Relations for SAIC, a fortune 500 company headquartered in Fairfax.