Birthdate: Aug. 16, 1965
Birth Place: Rahway, NJ, United States
Residence: Boston, MA
Joe Selvaggi was born in Rahway, N.J., and came to Massachusetts to attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he earned a bachelor's in engineering in 1988. He now lives in Boston.
Seven years later, he co-founded Plaster Fun Time, a chain of drop-in centers that host birthday parties and other outings where children and adults paint a variety of plaster figurines. The chain has grown to nine locations, with 60 full- and part-time employees.
Selvaggi is a U.S. Navy veteran of the first Gulf War and a lifelong Republican. The Boston resident has been active in local party politics, volunteering to do anything from holding signs to writing position papers for candidates he supports.
Selvaggi married his longtime girlfriend, Pauline Donnelly, on New Year's Eve 2011.
Joe Selvaggi defeated Matt Temperley in the 2012 Republican primary for the right to face incumbent Rep. Stephen Lynch in the November general election for Massachusetts' 8th Congressional District seat.
Selvaggi, a New Jersey native and Boston resident, said he's making his first run for elected office for reasons related to the business he co-founded, Plaster Fun Time, which is a chain of drop-in art centers.
First, Selvaggi said his business centers around children, and he's appalled at federal spending that's adding billions of dollars daily to the debt they'll inherit. It's a looming catastrophe, he said, adding he's frustrated that comparatively trivial issues are dominating the national campaigns.
"We're talking about nonsense and the world is on the brink," he said.
Second, as a small business owner, Selvaggi said he knows first-hand about costs related to taxation and regulation, and how they make businesses less competitive. He believes that's exactly what high corporate tax rates and the 2010 health care reform bill will do.
Selvaggi emphasizes job creation as a key way to solve the federal spending problem, by bringing in tax revenue and decreasing the need for government services. He pushes broad tax reform and repealing the health care reform law as key ways to set the stage for economic growth.
In Lynch, Selvaggi faces an incumbent who's had little trouble with re-election in a heavily Democratic state since taking office in 2001. Selvaggi acknowledged he's worried his race against Lynch will be ignored. But Selvaggi said he sees opportunity in the district, where better than half of voters aren't registered with any political party.
Selvaggi also criticizes Lynch for what he calls a sparse record of legislative achievement and continued support for the health care law, even though Lynch initially voted against it. He also said Lynch sits on two committees, Financial Services and Oversight and Government Reform, which have failed miserably to monitor the banking industry and reduce government waste over the last decade.
Selvaggi believes voters who compare his record in the private sector with Lynch's record in Congress will cast a ballot for him.
Source: Associated Press