Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D)
Elected: 2004, 3rd term.
Born: Oct. 3, 1948, Queens, NY .
Education: Simmons Col., B.A. 1970, Bryn Mawr Col., M.S.W. 1972.
Family: Married (David); 2 children.
Elected office: PA Senate, 1990-2004.
Professional Career: Exec. dir., Elizabeth Blackwell Center, 1975-88; Dep. comm., Philadelphia Human Services Dept., 1988-90.
The congresswoman from the 13th District is Allyson Schwartz, a Democrat elected in 2004. Her mother fled Vienna as a teenager in 1938, after the Germans annexed Austria, and traveled alone to the United States, where she was taken in by a Jewish foster home in Philadelphia. Her father was a dentist in Flushing, Queens, where she grew up. A graduate of Simmons College with a master’s degree in social work from Bryn Mawr College, Schwartz started a women’s health center in 1975 and worked on health care issues as first deputy commissioner for the Philadelphia Department of Human Services. Her husband is a cardiologist. In 1990, Schwartz was elected to the state Senate. In 2000, she ran for the U. S. Senate and finished second in the Democratic primary, with 27% of the vote, behind U.S. Rep. Ron Klink, who had 41%.
|Allyson Schwartz (D)||196,868||(63%)||($1,745,577)|
|Marina Kats (R)||108,271||(35%)||($500,141)|
|John McDermott (CNP)||8,374||(3%)|
|Allyson Schwartz (D)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (66%), 2004 (56%)
The 13th District seat opened when Democratic Rep. Joe Hoeffel ran, unsuccessfully, against then-Republican Sen. Arlen Specter in 2004. Schwartz faced two rounds of serious competition. In the primary, her opponent was Joe Torsella, an aide to then-Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell. She was backed by EMILY's List, which spent $170,000 on her behalf and also phoned voters and sent out mailings. Torsella did well in the city portion of the district, but Schwartz carried Montgomery County with 62%, for an overall win of 52%-48%.
In the general election, her opponent was Republican Melissa Brown, an ophthalmologist who supported abortion rights. “The two opponents proved that women can sling mud as capably as any men,” The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote. Schwartz called herself a “new Democrat,” not a liberal, but Brown labeled her a radical. Schwartz called Brown “sleazy” because of her links to a bankrupt health maintenance organization and a lawsuit that the state insurance department filed against her. Both candidates emphasized health care. Schwartz emphasized her sponsorship of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provided health insurance for 133,000 children from low-income families. Brown, a physician with an M.B.A, called for changes in tort law, arguing that it would keep doctors’ liability insurance down and lower the cost of health care. Schwartz won 56%-41%, getting 60% of the vote in Northeast Philadelphia and 53% in Montgomery County.
In the House, Schwartz has voted with moderate Democrats, and she is vice-chairman of the New Democrat Coalition. She has focused on health care, joining with then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois to support a plan to automatically enroll all children eligible for the federal SCHIP program, including those with pre-existing conditions. In early 2007, Schwartz got a seat on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, which has broad jurisdiction over health issues and where she made universal insurance coverage a priority. She sought more funds for preventive health care programs and improved health-information systems. In January 2008, she joined with two other Democrats, Reps. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania and Lois Capps of California, in advocating a set of principles to modernize the U.S. medical system with innovation, insurance reform and improved care. In other issues on the committee, Schwartz played a central role in the House’s November 2007 passage of the bilateral trade agreement with Peru. As a condition of her support, she secured assurances of environmental and labor protections in that country.
She has been re-elected easily.