Birthdate: Oct. 30, 1961
Birth Place: Jamaica, NY, United States
Residence: Henderson, NV
First Elected: 2010
District: District 3
Joe Heck was born in Jamaica, N.Y., and now resides in Henderson, Nev. He earned a bachelor's degree from Pennsylvania State University, and a medical degree in osteopathy from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Heck is a colonel in the Army Reserve. He served in Iraq and earned a master's degree from the U.S. Army War College in 2006.
He was president and medical director of Specialized Medical Operations Inc., a company that provides medical training, consulting and operational support to law enforcement, emergency responders and military special operations. He dissolved the company after he was elected to Congress in 2010.
He was elected to the Nevada Senate in 2004 and served one term.
Heck and his wife, Lisa, have three children.
Joe Heck launched a return to the political arena in 2010 being elected to represent Nevada's 3rd District in the U.S. House. In 2012, he hopes to fend off a challenge by Democrat John Oceguera, the outgoing Nevada Assembly speaker, and return to Congress for a second term.
Heck won the seat in 2010, beating the Democratic incumbent, Dina Titus, despite Democrats having a 6 percentage point advantage in voter registration. Heck appealed to the large number of independent voters and beat Titus by about 1,700 votes.
After reapportionment _ the redrawing of voting boundaries every 10 years _ Republicans had a slight registration advantage going into the 2012 election.
In a tight race, Hispanic voters could prove key, and Heck has tried to make inroads with the Latino community despite his opposition to some measures they favor. Heck opposes the DREAM Act, which seeks to create a path toward citizenship for some illegal immigrants who complete college or join the military. He also has said the 14th Amendment that grants children of illegal immigrants born in the United States automatic citizenship should be reconsidered.
In May 2012 he sponsored a bill that would speed up visa approvals to boost foreign tourism.
Heck was elected in 2010 with the help of pro-business and tea party groups. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ran ads in Las Vegas supporting his 2012 re-election.
Heck advocates overall tax reform. He opposes economic stimulus bills and said he would oppose corporate bailouts.
He opposed the 2010 health care reform bill on grounds of cost and need. He said health care should move away from employer-provided insurance to individual-based coverage. He supports tort reform to decrease medical costs, electronic medical records and an option for the uninsured to buy into an existing insurance program. After the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law in June 2012, Heck joined other Republicans in calling for its repeal.
Heck was criticized by Democrats when it was reported his wife, Lisa, collected unemployment benefits in 2011 after she lost her job with her husband's company when he was elected to Congress. Heck, who mostly voted for extending federal jobless benefits, said in a statement that his wife was no different from many Americans who lost their jobs. He added she stopped receiving unemployment when she gave up her job search to remain at home.
Source: Associated Press