John Yarmuth is a Jewish American politician who currently serves in the U.S. House of Representatives from Kentucky.
Yarmuth was born on November 4, 1947, in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Edna E. (née Klein) and Stanley R. Yarmuth. He is descended from Jewish immigrants from Russia and Austria. He graduated from Atherton High School and went on to earn a degree in American Studies from Yale and a law degree from Georgetown.
After graduating from Yale in 1969, Yarmuth associated himself with the Republican Party. From 1971 to 1975, he worked for Senator Marlow Cook, however once the Senator lost his seat, Yarmuth returned to Louisville to establish the magazine, Louisville Today (1976-1982). He worked as assistant vice president for University Relations at the University of Louisville from 1983-1986 and then worked in public relations and marketing for Caretenders Healthcorp from 1986-1990.
In 1985, Yarmuth switched to the Democratic Party because he disagreed with the Reagan administration and felt the Republican Party no longer welcomed diverse views. He then discovered his beliefs were much more in line with the Democratic Party.
Yarmuth founded the Louisville Eccentric Observer Weekly (LEO) in 1990 and served as its publisher, editor, and columnist. In his column called Hot Coals, Yarmuth would advocate for Democratic policies. LEO currently has about 150,000 readers each month and has won almost 100 Metro Louisville Journalism Awards, of which Yarmuth has won 16 for his own writings. Yarmuth sold LEO in 2003, but continued writing his columns until he decided to run for Congress.
In 2003, Yarmuth and John Ziegler talked politics every week on “Yarmuth & Ziegler” on WAVE 3 TV. In a successor program, “Hot Button,” Yarmuth debated Jim Milliman from September 2004 to December 2005.
Yarmuth was elected as the representative of Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District in 2006. He has won his subsequent reelection bids, most recently in 2018.
Yarmuth edits and owns Kentucky Golfer, rates Golf courses for Golf Digest magazine, and serves on the board of the Kentucky Golf Association. He is the founder and president of the Center for Kentucky Progress, a progressive think tank on Kentucky issues. Yarmuth also serves as a director of the Jewish Community Center, the Society of Professional Journalists, Planned Parenthood, and the Louisville Forum.
He and his wife, Cathy, have one son.
Sources: Yarmuth for Congress;
Congressman John Yarmuth;
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress;
“John Yarmuth,” Wikipedia.