At a Glance
- Career History: Instructor, University of Massachusetts (1998-present); Mayor, Springfield, Mass. (1984-1989); City Councilman, Springfield, Mass., (1978-1984)
- Birthday: Feb. 14, 1949
- Hometown: Worcester, Mass.
- Alma Mater: American International College, B.S. (1972); University of Hartford, M.P.A. (1976)
- Spouse: Maureen
- Religion: Roman Catholic
- Committees: House Ways and Means
- DC Office: 2208 Rayburn House Office Building, 202-225-5601
- State/District Office: Milford, 508-634-8198; Springfield, 413-785-0325
- Web site
Path To Power
Neal was born in 1949 in Worcester, Mass. Raised in Springfield, Neal's mother died of a heart attack when he was 13 and his father, an alcoholic, died several years later. He and his younger sisters received Social Security survivor benefits while being raised by their aunt and grandmother.
Earning his bachelor's from American International College and his master's in public administration from the University of Hartford, Neal ran the western Massachusetts campaign of 1972 Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern. Neal later worked in Springfield City Hall as an assistant to Mayor William C. Sullivan. In 1978, Neal began work as a high school and college history teacher and also won a City Council seat. In 1984, Neal became the Springfield's mayor.
Neal ranks among the more loyal House Democrats, rarely breaking with his party, according to The Washington Post votes database. While Democrats had the House majority from 2007 to 2010, Neal voted against the majority of Democrats less than two percent of the time.
Neal backed both versions of the 2008 financial bailout bill, saying the bill was "designed to protect the interests of those Americans living on Main Street" and included tough oversight and transparency rules while protecting taxpayers and instituting safeguards against home foreclosures. He supported the 2010 financial-reform bill, saying ""The taxpayer cannot be the backstop for taking up risky sophisticated financial products that cannot be explained by the average consumer."
Neal's political action committee, Madison PAC, donated to 39 Democratic House campaigns during the 2010 cycle. The largest donations of $5,000 went to Reps. Mark Critz (D-Pa.), Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.) and John Lewis (D-Ga.).
If named the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, Neal would join two Massachusetts Democrats who are the top party members of committees: Rep. Barney Frank on the House Committee on Financial Services and Ed Markey on the Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.