Birthdate: June 15, 1965
Birth Place: Arlington, WA, United States
Residence: Everett, WA
First Elected: 2000
District: District 2
Rick Larsen was born and raised in Arlington, Wash., and now lives in Everett. He earned a bachelor's degree from Pacific Lutheran University and a master's degree from the University of Minnesota.
Larsen was public affairs director for the Washington state Dental Association for six years after working for the Port of Everett in 1990 and 1991.
He won a seat on the Snohomish County Council in 1997 and served as council chair in 1999.
He was first elected to the U.S. House in 2000.
Larsen and his wife, Tiia, have two sons.
Rick Larsen finds himself in a much safer, redrawn district as he seeks a seventh term in Congress in 2012. He narrowly survived a rematch with Republican John Koster two years ago; this election he faces conservative political newcomer Dan Matthews, a Boeing instructor pilot.
Washington's 2nd Congressional District has been redrawn since the state was granted an additional district last year. The rural, eastern parts of Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish counties have been sliced off, while some of Seattle's north suburbs have been added _ changes that favor Democrats.
On the campaign trail Larsen has touted his work of the past two years. That includes joining others in Washington's delegation to press the Air Force to have Boeing Co. build its new fleet of aerial refueling tankers. The $35 billion contract is a huge boon to the Seattle-area economy.
Larsen also cites his efforts to pass bipartisan legislation to help businesses export their goods overseas; a bill to improve pipeline safety; and a transportation bill that includes guaranteed money for Washington's ferries. He encouraged the Navy to bring the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier to Everett, and he secured money for an ongoing study that forms the basis for flood control projects in the Skagit River Valley.
His opponent is a retired military pilot who served in Vietnam and in the first Iraq war, and he has accused Larsen of supporting local military installations and service members out of "political expediency" alone. He notes that Larsen supported a defense bill that raised health care fees for military retirees.
But Larsen's campaign insists the naval air stations in Everett and on Whidbey Island could have no stronger advocate. The defense bill Matthews referenced did raise fees _ but only at the request of the Defense Department, because the fees had not been raised since the 1990s, the campaign says. It says Larsen is working to make sure the Navy follows through on a plan to bring electronic warfare planes to Whidbey, and that he has a new staffer, a 30-year military veteran, dedicated to matching veterans with private sector jobs.
Accomplishments from previous terms include working with the Bonneville Power Administration to help guarantee an affordable electricity supply for the Intalco aluminum facility in Ferndale and protect more than 530 jobs at the plant.
In May 2008, Larsen celebrated the success of a nearly six-year effort to create the Wild Sky Wilderness northeast of Seattle. Larsen and the state's senior senator, Patty Murray, were sponsors of the bill creating the wilderness, which was signed into law by former President George W. Bush. Creating the first new wilderness area in Washington state in nearly a quarter-century, the measure designated 167 square miles in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest north of Sultan as federal wilderness, the government's highest level of protection.
Source: Associated Press