Rep. Gerry E. Studds, 46, a liberal Democrat from Massachusetts, has been elected to the House six times since 1972, rolling up impressive victory margins in a formerly solid Republican district that includes Cape Cod and the well-to-do suburbs south of Boston.
Studds, who formerly taught history and government at a private school in New Hampshire, entered politics in 1970 as an unknown peace candidate during the Vietnam War furor and nearly upset the Republican incumbent.
Studds then built a political organization, learned to speak Portuguese and studied the problems of the fishing industry to help him work with the substantial Portuguese population in the New Bedford area, and won in 1972 against a big-spending Republican.
A member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Studds was instrumental in the House action to prohibit the sale of the AWACS weapon system to Iran. On the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, one of his major successes for his seaside district was pushing the bill to extend the territorial waters of the United States to 200 miles.
Studds is considered extremely popular in a district that ranges from blue collar New Bedford to the trendy resort communities of Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and Provincetown, with its substantial gay population.
After graduating from Yale, where he received a BA and a master's degree in history, he was a foreign service officer at the State Department. He served briefly in the Kennedy White House as an assistant in an effort to develop a domestic peace corps and later was a legislative assistant to Sen. Harrison A. Williams Jr. (D-N.J.).
His first name, pronounced with a hard "g," is a reminder that he is descended from Elbridge Gerry, vice president under James Madison who was the drafter of the original gerrymander.
Studds is unmarried, and has a home in Cohasset, Mass. --Peter Perl