At a Glance
- Career History: CEO, Children's Place at Home Safe shelter (2005-2006); assistant attorney general, state of Florida (2004-2005); Army JAG Corps (2000-2004)
- Birthday: November 21, 1970
- Hometown: Philadelphia
- Alma Mater: Washington and Jefferson College, B.A., 1993; University of Florida, M.A., 1996; University of Miami, J.D., 1999
- Spouse: Tara Rooney
- Religion: Catholic
Permanent Select Intelligence
- DC Office: 1529 Longworth House Office, 202-225-5792
Path to Power
Rooney's birthplace is Philadelphia, but the central location in his family history lies some 300 miles to the west, in the city of Pittsburgh.
His grandfather, Art Rooney Sr., was the founder and original owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and his father, Pat, is one of Art Rooney's five sons. Despite being from Florida, the congressman makes no attempt to hide his love for the family team, and his House office is decked out with Steelers memorabilia. "Anyone from Western Pennsylvania that walks into my [congressional] office is going to feel right at home," Rooney said.
Rooney's political views are generally in line with the Republican Party. He's anti-abortion rights (except when the mother's life is in danger), opposes same-sex marriage, generally favors low taxes and is supportive of offshore oil drilling. But it's issues in the realm of foreign policy and national security that seem to hold his greatest interest.
Military Health Screenings
Rooney reached across party lines just months after joining Congress, sponsoring a bill on mental-health screening in the military with another freshman lawmaker, Rep. Michael McMahon (D-N.Y.). The legislation, which Congress approved in fall 2009, requires all military personnel to undergo a confidential, one-on-one mental-health screening after returning from war zones.
The congressman's uncle, Dan Rooney, is part-owner and chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers and is currently serving as the U.S. ambassador to Ireland after being nominated by President Obama. The Steelers executive was a prominent supporter of Obama during the 2008 election, despite his lifelong membership in the Republican Party.
Rooney taught at West Point with former Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.), the first Iraq War veteran ever elected to Congress, and the two remain close associates. "I don't agree with everything he does politically, but he's probably one of my best friends in the world," Rooney said. "I can bust his chops in front of other Democrats and probably get away with it a little bit more."