Steny Hoyer Biography

(U.S. Representative for Maryland's 5th Congressional District Since 1981)

Birthday: June 14, 1939 (Gemini)

Born In: New York City, New York, United States

American politician and attorney Steny Hoyer has been a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland's 5th district since 1981. The Democratic politician was first inspired to join politics after listening to a John F. Kennedy speech in his university days. He worked as an attorney for a few days and then took over as the Member of the Maryland Senate from the 4C district and then from the 26th district. At age 35, he was the youngest president of the Maryland Senate. He has also been the Vice Chair and Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, the Democratic House Minority Whip, and the House Majority Leader, just behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Throughout his political career, he has worked for the benefit of workers, labor unions, women, disabled people, and fire and public safety staff. Both he and his wife, Judy, were previously associated with early childhood development and education.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Steny Hamilton Hoyer

Age: 83 Years, 83 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Judith Hoyer (m. ?–1997)

father: Steen Theilgaard Høyer

mother: Jean Høyer

Born Country: United States

Political Leaders American Men

Notable Alumni: University Of Maryland, College Park, Georgetown University Law Center

U.S. State: New Yorkers

More Facts

education: Georgetown University, University Of Maryland--College Park, Suitland High School

Early Life & Education

Steny Hamilton Hoyer was born on June 14, 1939, in New York City, US, to Jean and Steen Theilgaard Hoyer. He was raised in Mitchellville, Maryland.

While his father was Danish, his mother was American. Hoyer also has Scottish, English, and German roots through his mother. His mother was also related to John Hart, one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence.

After graduating from Suitland High School in Maryland, he joined the University of Maryland, College Park. In 1963, he received his bachelor’s degree from the university and was named to the honor society Omicron Delta Kappa. He later joined the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC, and obtained his JD in 1966.

Continue Reading Below
Recommended Lists:
Early Political Career

After graduating from law school, Steny Hoyer worked as an attorney for a while. However, he has been interested in politics since he heard a 1960 campaign speech by John F. Kennedy at his university. He was later inspired by the Civil Rights Movement.

Hoyer served US senator Daniel Brewster from 1962 to 1966. In 1966, Hoyer was elected to the Maryland State Senate and represented the 4C district. The seat was newly created.

He took over his duties in January 1967 and continued in office till 1975. From 1975 to 1978, he represented the 26th district in the Maryland Senate. In 1975, at age 35, he also became the youngest person to be elected president of the Maryland Senate.

One of his first votes as a state senator was against the ban on interracial marriage, that was still legal in Maryland back then. He also worked toward making affordable housing available to all and providing better transit options for commuters.

He was the first vice president of the Young Democrats of America from 1969 to 1971. From 1975 to 1981, he was part of the Maryland Board of Higher Education.

Career in the US House of Representatives

In 1981, Steny Hoyer was elected to the US House of Representatives, through a special election, after Rep. Gladys Noon Spellman’s seat lay vacant due to his illness. Hoyer then won the re-election to the seat.

He assumed office as a Representative of Maryland's 5th district on May 19, 1981. Since his tenure began, he has worked relentlessly on building better communities and schools, securing economic opportunities, and building the best constituent services of any district in the US.

From 1989 to 1995, Hoyer served as the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. In 1990, he became the lead sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which helped people with disabilities get equal rights. In 1990, the act was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, and the Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act (FEPCA), which mentioned a 5 percent pay hike to federal employees.

Later, Hoyer co-sponsored the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which reduced domestic violence cases and brought abusers to justice. He has also worked to increase federal funding to the fire and public safety of the 5th District. He has invested in programs for providing the firefighters with adequate training and equipment, too.

Continue Reading Below

From 2003 to 2007, he was named the House Democratic Whip. From 2007 to 2011, he was the House Majority Leader. Following his appointment as the House Majority Leader, Hoyer left his seat on the House Appropriations Committee, where he had earlier worked with the Subcommittees for Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.

As the House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer served as the second-in-command of the House Democratic Leadership, behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi. His duties included mobilizing the party votes on major legislations, structuring House Democrats’ legislative priorities, and conveying the Democratic point of view.

He went back to being the House Minority Whip from 2011 to 2019 and then served as the House Majority Leader again, from 2019 to 2023. In 2022, he supported the Help America Vote Act, which ensured every provisional ballot was counted.

Apart from supporting hiking of the minimum wage, he has also fought for securing the rights of workers and labor unions and preventing Dreamers from being deported. He has also defended the Affordable Care Act and worked to protect women’s health care choices. He has worked to ensure equal pay for women, has supported the Paris Climate Agreement, and supported the restoration of voting rights to people who have been incarcerated in the past.

Following the Democrats’ loss of majority in the House in the 2022 mid-term elections, Hoyer declared he would resign from the party’s leadership. In 2023, as the new Congress came into power, Hoyer’s term as the majority leader came to an end.

Personal Life

Steny Hoyer was married to Judy Pickett Hoyer from 1961 till her death, due to cancer, on February 6, 1997. Hoyer has three daughters: Susan, Stefany, and Anne. He also has three grandchildren, Judy, James, and Alexa; and four great-grandchildren, Ava, Braedon, Brooklyn, and Savannah.

His wife, Judy, was a champion for childhood education. She worked as an early childhood education administrator in Prince George’s County. Many child development learning centers in Maryland have been named Judy Centers in her honor.

Judy also suffered from bouts of epilepsy. An annual lecture on the ailment has now been named after her and is sponsored by the Epilepsy Foundation of America. In 2002, Steny Hoyer received the Epilepsy Foundation’s Congressional Leadership Award for his role in boosting research in the area.

Hoyer has been part of the board of trustees of the St. Mary’s College of Maryland since 1995. He has also been part of the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland and has worked with the United States Naval Academy Board of Visitors.

Hoyer is part of a Baptist church. He lives in Mechanicsville, in St. Mary's County, Maryland.

Follow Steny Hoyer On:

See the events in life of Steny Hoyer in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Steny Hoyer Biography
- Editors,

People Also Viewed

Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Ron DeSantis
Ron DeSantis
Joe Biden
Joe Biden
Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Kathy Hochul
Kathy Hochul
George W. Bush
George W. Bush
Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton