U.S. Representative Tom Petri represented Wisconsin's 6th Congressional District for 18 terms until his retirement from the U.S. House of Representatives at the end of the 113th Congress (January 2015). He was a senior member of both the Transportation and lnfrastructure Committee and the Committee on Education and the Workforce. ln the 113th Congress, he served as Chairman of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee and previously served as Chair of the Aviation Subcommittee.
Known for his innovative and creative solutions to government problems, Rep. Petri pursued legislative initiatives in several areas, including student loan reform, the federal highway program, cost-sharing for federal water projects, tax and welfare reform, and health care reform. He also sponsored bipartisan legislation, the Making Work and Marriage Pay Act, which would establish a commission to examine and report to Congress on the disincentives for low-income couples to work and marry created by uncoordinated state and federal social safety net programs.
ln addition to his legislative work, Rep. Petri at various times in his career served as the Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives-British Parliament exchange, the House French Caucus and the House German Caucus and was an active participant in U.S. House-Japanese Diet discussions. ln appreciation of his efforts, in Nov. 204 Japanese Emperor Akihito conferred on Rep. Petri honorary membership in the order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver level, and in early 2015 Queen Elizabeth ll made Petri and honorary Officer of the British Empire.
Petri was born in Marinette, Wisconsin and attended Goodrich High School in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. He received undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard College/Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was clerk to United States Judge James Doyle of the Western District of Wisconsin, 1965. Petri served in Somalia as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1966-1967, and then in the White House focusing on anti-drug efforts. A lawyer in private practice in Wisconsin, Petri also served in the Wisconsin State Senate from 1973-1979. He is married to Anne Neal Petri and has one daughter, Alexandra.