Home>Congress>Murphy seeks transportation funds from fellow Needham High School alum

Two Needham High School graduates: Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, left, Class of 1965, and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Class of 1975

Murphy seeks transportation funds from fellow Needham High School alum

House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee chairman Pete DeFazio grew up 4/10 mile from New Jersey governor

By David Wildstein, March 26 2019 7:31 pm

The road to a new Portal Bridge may be paved through the Boston suburb of Needham, Massachusetts.

That’s the hometown of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, the chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and a key decision maker in the bid to obtain funding for key New Jersey projects like the new Gateway Tunnel and the Portal Bridge replacement.

Murphy spent some time on the phone with DeFazio today, his staff said, pitching the need for federal dollars to fund his transportation wish-list.  His staff called the conversation “productive.”

It’s not immediately clear whether either realized they were Needham High School graduates: DeFazio was a member of the Class of 1965; Murphy was in the Class of 1975.

Murphy’s childhood home on Central Avenue was less than half a mile from the house DeFazio’s grew up in on Daley Street.  DeFazio’s father, Mike, was the wrestling coach at Needham High School – he passed away before Murphy got there – and Pete DeFazio was a wrestler at that school and later at Tufts University.

The two Democrats took different paths on the way to public office.

While Murphy had a successful Wall Street career before becoming an ambassador and governor, DeFazio wound up in politics at a much younger age.

After Tufts, DeFazio went to graduate school in Oregon and stayed there.  He was an aide to Rep. Jim Weaver from 1977 to 1982 and then ran for Lane County Commissioner in 1982.

When Weaver retired in 1986, DeFazio ran for Congress.  He won the Democratic primary by one percentage point and the general with 54%.  He became chairman of the Transportation committee in January when Democrats took control of the House.

Phil Murphy in a performance of Sweet Charity at Needham High School in 1975


Peter DeFazio, third from right, on the Needham High School Varsity Wrestling Team in 1965. His father, coach Mike DeFazio, is far right.


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