About Tom Carper
Senator Tom Carper was born in West Virginia and raised in Virginia. After attending The Ohio State University on a Navy R.O.T.C. scholarship and graduating in 1968 with a B.A. in economics, he went on to complete five years of service as a naval flight officer, serving three tours of duty in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, and continued to serve in the Naval Reserve as a P-3 aircraft mission commander until retiring with the rank of captain in 1991 after 23 years of military service. Tom is the last Vietnam War veteran serving in the U.S. Senate.
Tom Carper moved to Delaware in 1973 where he earned his M.B.A. at the University of Delaware. In 1976, at the age of 29, he was elected to the first of three terms as Delaware’s state treasurer. At the time, Delaware had the worst credit rating of any state in America. Six years later, with that credit rating restored to a respectable “AA,” he ran for—and was elected—to Delaware’s at-large seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Tom went on to serve five terms as a U.S. Congressman.
He then served two terms as governor of Delaware beginning in 1993. Tom’s tenure as Governor led to eight balanced budgets—with tax cuts in seven of those eight years—record growth in employment, and a reduction in state debt, all of which led to Delaware earning AAA credit ratings for the first time in the state’s history. During his second term as governor, he was selected to serve as Vice-Chairman, then as Chairman, of the National Governors’ Association (NGA).
On January 3, 2001, Governor Carper became Delaware’s junior senator. He was reelected in 2006, and when Senator Joe Biden stepped down to become Vice President in January 2009, Tom became Delaware’s senior senator. With his reelection in November 2018, he has been elected to state-wide public office in Delaware a record 14 times.
In the Senate, Tom has been a leader on improving our health care system and protecting our environment. As the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Senator Carper helps lead the fight to address the climate change crisis. Senator Carper was a key author of the largest infrastructure investment in U.S. history. He led the Senate to pass the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, historic legislation to strengthen the nation’s water, transportation, and broadband infrastructure.
As a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Carper helped craft key provisions in the Affordable Care Act. Tom is also a leader in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC): he served as the panel’s Chairman in the 113th Congress, then Ranking Member in the 114th Congress. Now, as a senior member of HSGAC, Senator Carper is a leading voice on efforts to protect our country from national security threats and curb waste in government spending.
Every day, Senator Carper takes the Amtrak train to work in Washington, returning each night to Wilmington, where he lives with his wife, Martha. He is the proud father of three sons.