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Democrat

Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D)

Allyson Schwartz Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-6111

Address: 1227 LHOB, DC 20515

Allyson Schwartz Biography
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  • Elected: 2004, 5th term.
  • District: Pennsylvania 13
  • Born: Oct. 03, 1948, Queens, NY
  • Home: Jenkintown
  • Education:

    Simmons Col., B.A. 1970, Bryn Mawr Col., M.S.W. 1972

  • Professional Career:

    Exec. dir., Elizabeth Blackwell Center, 1975-88; Dep. comm., Philadelphia Human Services Dept., 1988-90.

  • Political Career:

    PA Senate, 1990-2004.

  • Religion:

    Jewish

  • Family: Married (David); 2 children

Allyson Schwartz, a Democrat elected in 2004, has leveraged her considerable professional expertise on health care issues into an influential role within her caucus and also has emerged as a Democratic strategist. She sought to challenge embattled Pennsylvania GOP Gov. Tom Corbett in 2014, but lost in the Democratic primary in spectacular fashion to businessman Tom Wolf, getting just 18 percent of the vote. Read More

Allyson Schwartz, a Democrat elected in 2004, has leveraged her considerable professional expertise on health care issues into an influential role within her caucus and also has emerged as a Democratic strategist. She sought to challenge embattled Pennsylvania GOP Gov. Tom Corbett in 2014, but lost in the Democratic primary in spectacular fashion to businessman Tom Wolf, getting just 18 percent of the vote.

Schwartz’s 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%.

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, a former aide to Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell. She was backed by abortion rights group EMILY's List, which spent $170,000 on her behalf and conducted voter outreach. 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. 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. “The two opponents proved that women can sling mud as capably as any men,” The Philadelphia Inquirer observed.

Both candidates emphasized health care. Schwartz campaigned on 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 a 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%, getting60% of the vote in Northeast Philadelphia and 53% in Montgomery County.

As a member of the Ways and Means Committee in 2009, Schwartz proposed the creation of “Health Care Innovation Zones” to better coordinate care among physicians, hospitals, and other providers. During the subsequent health care overhaul debate, she led the efforts to include a provision barring insurance companies from denying coverage to children and adults with preexisting conditions and one ensuring that adult children could remain on their parents’ policies until age 26. She joined Republicans in 2012 in advocating repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a cost-cutting panel established by the law that she said usurped Congress’ responsibility. But she blasted GOP lawmakers for linking its repeal to tort reform, which she called “an unrelated, divisive, and polarizing issue.”

In February 2013, Schwartz joined Nevada Republican Joe Heck on a bill to replace the controversial Medicare payment formula to doctors with a temporary system of physician pay raises, to be followed by new payment methods that would reward efficient care. In another issue 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.

Schwartz’s 2010 Republican opponent, Carson Dee Adcock, dubbed her “the Nancy Pelosi of the East.” But Schwartz has voted frequently with moderate Democrats, and was a vice chairman of the moderate New Democrat Coalition. She was one of just 22 Democrats in 2012 to support a budget plan based on the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commission’s recommendations. “She’s very hard-working; no one will outwork her,” Terry Madonna, a political science professor at Franklin & Marshall College, told the Philadelphia Daily News.

Schwartz has been reelected easily, and has climbed the ranks at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; she was in charge of candidate recruiting for the 2012 election. She then ascended to finance chair, the second-ranking DCCC post. In February 2013, she stepped down from the job and formed an exploratory committee as an initial step in challenging Corbett. With her fundraising prowess and many connections within Democratic circles, she was seen as a potentially formidable candidate.

But Schwartz, in the eyes of some Pennsylvania political observers, did not anticipate a highly competitive primary contest. Her aggressive personal style led Philadelphia magazine, in a highly critical profile in December 2013, to assert that "there are many people in the political worlds of Philadelphia and Harrisburg—not a few, not a mere handful, but many—who can’t stand Allyson Schwartz." Wolf began as an underdog, but reached into his pocked to put nearly $10 million into a blitz of television ads. He turned the contest into a rout, winning the nomination with 58 percent of the vote.

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Allyson Schwartz Election Results
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2012 General
Allyson Schwartz (D)
Votes: 209,901
Percent: 69.09%
Joseph Rooney (R)
Votes: 93,918
Percent: 30.91%
2012 Primary
Allyson Schwartz (D)
Votes: 36,756
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (56%), 2008 (63%), 2006 (66%), 2004 (56%)
Allyson Schwartz Votes and Bills
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National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 73 (L) : 26 (C) 70 (L) : 29 (C) 76 (L) : 24 (C)
Social 65 (L) : 34 (C) 78 (L) : 19 (C) 71 (L) : 29 (C)
Foreign 68 (L) : 32 (C) 75 (L) : 25 (C) 62 (L) : 37 (C)
Composite 69.0 (L) : 31.0 (C) 75.0 (L) : 25.0 (C) 69.8 (L) : 30.2 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

20112012
FRC016
LCV9489
CFG617
ITIC-82
NTU1215
20112012
COC33-
ACLU-76
ACU04
ADA7575
AFSCME100-
Key House Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • Pass GOP budget
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Extend payroll tax cut
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Find AG in contempt
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Stop student loan hike
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Repeal health care
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass cut, cap, balance
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Defund Planned Parenthood
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Repeal lightbulb ban
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Add endangered listings
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Speed troop withdrawal
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Regulate financial firms
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Pass tax cuts for some
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Stop detainee transfers
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Legalize immigrants' kids
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Repeal don't ask, tell
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Limit campaign funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Overturn Ledbetter
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass $820 billion stimulus
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Let guns in national parks
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass cap-and-trade
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Bar federal abortion funds
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass health care bill
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Bail out financial markets
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Repeal D.C. gun law
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Overhaul FISA
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Increase minimum wage
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Expand SCHIP
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Raise CAFE standards
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Share immigration data
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Foreign aid abortion ban
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Ban gay bias in workplace
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Withdraw troops 8/08
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • No operations in Iran
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Free trade with Peru
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
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The Almanac is a members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics. Comprehensive online profiles include biographical and political summaries of elected officials, campaign expenditures, voting records, interest-group ratings, and congressional staff look-ups. In-depth overviews of each state and house district are included as well, along with demographic data, analysis of voting trends, and political histories.
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