Thomas Phillip "Tip" O'Neill, Jr. (December 9, 1912 – January 5, 1994) was an American politician. O'Neill was an outspoken liberal Democrat and influential member of the U.S. Congress, serving in the House of Representatives for 34 years and representing two congressional districts in Massachusetts. He was the Speaker of the House from 1977 until his retirement in 1987, making him the second longest-serving Speaker in U.S. history after Sam Rayburn, and the longest consecutive serving Speaker.
O'Neill was born to Thomas Phillip O'Neill, Sr., and Rose Ann (Tolan) O'Neill near Barry's Corner in the Irish middle-class area of North Cambridge, Massachusetts, known at the time as "Old Dublin." The third of three children, his mother died when he was 9 months old, and he was largely raised by a French-Canadian housekeeper until his father remarried when he was 8. O'Neill senior had started out as a bricklayer, later winning a seat on the Cambridge City Council and an appointment as Superintendent of Sewers. During his childhood, O'Neill received the nickname "Tip" after the baseball player James "Tip" O'Neill. He was educated in Roman Catholic schools, graduating from St. John's High School in 1931, where he was captain of the basketball team. From there he went to Boston College, from which he graduated in 1936. He lived on Orchard St. In Cambridge.
O'Neill first became active in politics at 15, campaigning for Al Smith in his 1928 presidential campaign against Republican Herbert Hoover. Four years later, he helped the campaign for Franklin D. Roosevelt. As a senior at Boston College, O'Neill ran for a seat on the Cambridge City Council and lost; his first and only electoral defeat. This campaign taught him the lesson that became his best known quote: "All politics is local".