Rush Dew Holt, Jr. (born October 15 1948, Weston, West Virginia) is an American Democratic Party politician and the current U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 12th Congressional District. He is currently the only Quaker in the Congress and one of only a few dozen members of Congress who have a PhD.
Holt served as a faculty member at Swarthmore College from 1980 to 1988 where he taught physics, public policy, and religion courses. During that time, he also worked as a Congressional Science Fellow for U.S. Representative Bob Edgar of Pennsylvania. From 1987 until 1989, Holt headed the Nuclear and Scientific Division of the Office of Strategic Forces at the U.S. Department of State.
From 1989 until his successful congressional campaign in 1998, Holt was the Assistant Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton University, the University's largest research facility and the largest center for energy research in New Jersey.
Holt is married to Margaret Lancefield, a physician and Medical Director of the charity clinic of the University Medical Center at Princeton. They have three grown children from Lancefield's previous marriage: Michael, Dejan and Rachel and seven grandchildren: Noah, Niala, Boaz, Varun, Cecile, Rohan and Joshua.
On April 18, 2008, Holt was presented with the ASME President's Award in recognition of his "leadership in calling on a renewed national commitment to science, engineering, and math education programs" by past ASME president Terry Shoup.
Holt was challenged by former Republican Congressman Dick Zimmer in the 2000 election; Holt's prior win was thought by Republicans to be a fluke, and the race attracted considerable money and advertising. The election was hotly contested, with Zimmer ahead on election night, but Holt ahead the next day. Ten days after the election, Holt declared himself the winner by 481 votes. Zimmer challenged the results, but conceded after the count began to go against him.
Redistricting before the 2002 elections made Holt safer, in part by adding much of Trenton. While Holt faced a fairly well-funded challenge from New Jersey Secretary of State Buster Soaries, an African-American, he defeated Soaries handily with 61% of the vote. He was reelected again in 2004 over Bill Spadea (59-41%) and in 2006 over former Helmetta, New Jersey Council President Joseph Sinagra (65-35%).
On May 22, 2003, Holt introduced legislation to require electronic voting machines to produce a paper record in time for the 2004 elections. The bill entitled Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003 is designed to address concerns that there is no way to verify vote counts on electronic touch screen voting machines, should a similar situation arise as did in Florida during the 2000 presidential election. At the first meeting of the 110th Congress Rush Holt was the first Congressman to bring an issue to the Speaker. He has been active in contested elections, notably the 2006 controversy in Florida's 13th congressional district race between Christine Jennings and Vern Buchanan.
Rush Holt is a member of the New Democrat Coalition.
Holt received a grade of 100% on the progressive Drum Major Institute's 2005 and 2007 Congressional Scorecards on middle-class issues, and he is consistently scored well by that organization.
He has produced green bumper stickers reading My Congressman IS a rocket scientist! reflecting his scientific background.