2011 Distinguished American

John A. Boehner, the 53rd speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, was born in Reading, Ohio, the son of Mary Ann and Earl Henry Boehner, the second of twelve children.

He was elected to represent the Eighth Congressional District of Ohio for an 11th term in November 2010.

John has lived in southwest Ohio his entire life. He grew up mopping floors and waiting tables at his family tavern and played football for Coach Gerry Faust at Cincinnati's Moeller High School. After graduating in 1968, he worked several jobs to pay his way through Xavier University.

Some of the highlights of Boehner's political career include he and fellow members of the "Gang of Seven" taking on the House establishment -- Democrat and Republican.

They successfully closed the scandal-riddle House Bank, uncovered "dine-and-dash" practices at the House Restaurant and exposed drug deals and cozy cash-for-stamps deals at the House Post Office.

In 1994, he helped secure passage of legislation allowing school districts to use their Title I funds for public school choice programs, under which parents could choose which public school their children would attend. John also was instrumental in crafting the Contract with America. One of the Contract's cornerstones -- the Congressional Accountability Act, which required Congress to live under the same rules and regulations as the rest of the nation -- bears the unmistakable print of his drive to reform the House.

According to a press release from his office, today Speaker Boehner is focused on removing government barriers to private-sector job creation and economic growth, cutting government spending, reforming Congress, and rebuilding the bonds of trust between the American people and their representatives in Washington.

Boehner and his wife, Debbie, were married in 1973. They have two daughters, Lindsay and Tricia.