A native of New York City, Hon. Paul W. Hodes served two terms as a United States Congressman from New Hampshire's second congressional district, (2007-11). He has combined professional careers in entertainment, law, and politics from an early age.
At Dartmouth College, he studied theater, dance, and music. He performed as an actor in numerous roles, worked on productions of his original plays, and danced with the artists who would later form the contemporary dance company Pilobolus. He also played guitar in ensembles led by jazz great Don Cherry. He studied at the National Theatre Institute in Waterford, Connecticut, and returned there to work as the sound engineer for the O'Neill Playwrights Festival.
After graduating from Dartmouth in 1972, he returned to New York City and continued his studies as an actor at the Herbert Berghof-Uta Hagen studio and appeared off-off Broadway in What's A Nice Country Like You Doing In A State Like This?. He produced a season of new American plays in collaboration with the Ensemble Studio Theater at his Town Meeting Theater Workshop in Vermont. He was the musical director for a production of Yucca Flats at the Manhattan Theater Club and worked for as a freelance film production assistant and for a documentary filmmaker. He produced a documentary film, Raceweek in Newport, which was distributed internationally; appeared in a film directed by Jules Dassin; performed on the folk music circuit; and worked for Cinema-Sound Ltd, producing programs in the early days of public radio. In 1975, his play The Edsel Was A Mistake was produced by Playwrights Horizons.
In 1975, Hodes moved to Boston to attend Boston College Law School. He appeared in Boston Arts Group's production of Hotel Baltimore while attending law school and played music at clubs in New England. After graduating from Boston College Law School in 1978, Hodes moved to New Hampshire to begin his legal career as an assistant attorney general under then-Attorney General David Souter.
Hodes served in the criminal justice division, where he pursued a series of successful homicide prosecutions and the first successful environmental prosecution against polluters. He continued as the special prosecutor for the State of New Hampshire, leading the successful prosecution of the largest white-collar fraud scheme to date in the state's history -- the "Stewart-Meyers" case. Prior to his Congressional service, Hodes pursued the private practice of law as a trial and entertainment lawyer. He was a shareholder and director of the New Hampshire law firm, Shaheen & Gordon, P.A., from 1996-2006, and is now “of counsel” to the firm.
Throughout his career, Hodes devoted substantial time to community service and advancing the arts in New Hampshire. As a guitarist, songwriter, producer, and sound engineer, he and his wife, Peggo, a singer, pioneered rock-and-roll for families. With their band Peggosus, and as "Peggo and Paul," they were long-time members of the state's touring artist roster and most notably earned two Parents Choice Awards for their groundbreaking family music. Hodes has produced, engineered, and performed on numerous recordings and is a member of the musician's union, AFM local 374.
In 2000, Hodes wrote the book and lyrics for The People's House, an original musical collaboration with composer Lawrence Siegel produced by the American Stage Festival. In 2004, just prior to entering politics, Hodes wrote the libretto for Oscar Wilde in collaboration with composer Thomas Oboe Lee. Hodes served as a New Hampshire State Councilor for the Arts. As chairman of the board of the Capitol Center for the Arts from 1990-96, Hodes helped to lead the Concord community's efforts to transform a derelict vaudeville house into a premiere, award-winning performing arts institution that now serves as an important economic engine for the city. He has also served on the board of the Concord Community Music School and as chairman of the board of Tricinium, Ltd.
Hodes was elected to Congress in 2006, and was chosen as the president of the historic 2006 freshman class. He served as a national co-chair of President Obama's 2008 campaign. In Congress, he was a member of the Arts Caucus, testified on artists' rights before the House Judiciary committee and served on the exclusive Financial Services Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Hodes is president of the Economic Innovation Institute and Action Fund, policy advocacy organizations advocating a progressive agenda for economic growth and innovation. He is a founder and principal of Northern Connection, LLC, a business and political consulting firm. In addition to his service on the National Council on the Arts, Hodes currently serves on the advisory board of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm's College. He has been elected a board member of the NJDC and ADL, New England. He is affiliated with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) as a writer and publisher as manager of Big Round Music, LLC. He is a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS) and of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 374.
He and his wife Peggo live in Concord, New Hampshire. They are the parents of two artistic children: Max, an audio engineer and rock musician who lives in Brooklyn, New York, and Ariana, an actress who lives in Los Angeles, California.