Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 1982, 16th term.

Born: June 17, 1946, Toledo, OH

Home: Toledo, OH

Education: U. of WI, B.A. 1968, U. of MI, M.A. 1974, M.I.T., 1981-82

Professional Career: Urban planner, Lucas Cnty. Planning Comm., 1969–75; Urban planning consultant, 1975–77; White House Asst. Dir. for Urban Affairs, 1977–80; Dpty. secy., Natl. Consumer Coop. Bank, 1980–81.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Catholic

Family: Single

Democrat Marcy Kaptur, first elected in 1982, is now the most senior Democratic woman in the House—a distinction not lost on her in her occasional clashes with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Kaptur is a plainspoken Democrat and a dedicated opponent of free trade who does not always toe the party line, but whose old-fashioned ways have proven popular at home.

Kaptur grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood in Toledo, the daughter of Polish-American parents who worked at local auto plants. The family also operated a small grocery store, but her father sold it to get a job with health benefits. “It broke his heart,” she said. She has spent almost her entire career in public service. She and her brother, Steve, live in the house where they grew up. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin, the first in her family to attend college, got a master’s degree from the University of Michigan, and then spent eight years as an urban planner in Toledo. She worked on urban revitalization in the Jimmy Carter White House, returning home in 1980 with thoughts of running for elected office. In 1982, she challenged Republican Ed Weber for the U.S. House seat and won 58%-39%, despite being outspent 3-to-1.

Kaptur has long been convinced that Toledo and places like it have lost jobs and industry because of unfair trade practices and low-wage competition from countries like Mexico and China. She was featured prominently in controversial liberal filmmaker Michael Moore’s 2009 movie Capitalism: A Love Story. “I have always said there’s a great injustice being done here, because the power rests with a handful of megabanks and millions of Americans are being affected,” she told the Toledo Blade when the film opened. In May 2011, Kaptur advocated for President Barack Obama’s proposal to end $4 billion in tax benefits to the oil industry.

Kaptur strongly opposed three trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea that passed the House and were later signed into law by Obama in 2011. Kaptur took to the House floor during the debate to point out that the number of cars that the U.S. imported from South Korea dwarfed the number of American cars bought by people in the Northeast Asian nation. “These unfair, unbalanced agreements will not have a demonstrable, positive impact on job creation. We have lost six million manufacturing jobs in the past decade. Enough is enough,” she said.

In earlier decades, Kaptur was a dedicated opponent of the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement in Congress. She criticized Democratic President Bill Clinton for ignoring Democrats opposed to NAFTA. She became a national figure in 1995, when she appeared before Texas businessman Ross Perot’s United We Stand Party and made a rousing speech on trade that had delegates cheering. Perot, running as a third-party candidate for president in 1996, offered her the vice presidential nomination a year later, but she turned it down. She was a vocal opponent of normal trade relations with China and the 2005 Central American Free Trade Agreement.

Reflecting on those early trade wars years later, Kaptur criticized Pelosi’s support of NAFTA. “That’s where the real knife was put in the flesh,” she said. When Pelosi announced in May 2007 an agreement with Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson on principles for international trade policy, an uninvited Kaptur glared from the back of the room. In 2002, she ran a quixotic, one-day campaign for minority leader against Pelosi but, predictably, got nowhere against the powerful California Democrat. In 2008, Kaptur challenged Pelosi ally Xavier Becerra of California for the leadership post of Democratic Caucus vice chairman and lost badly, 175-67. However, unlike some Democrats who have had issues with Pelosi, Kaptur backed her for minority leader in 2011 when her hold on power within the caucus was at its most tenuous. One of the dissenting Democrats, Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, cast his vote for Kaptur in a symbolic tribute to her as a “strong voice for American workers.”

When Washington state’s Norm Dicks retired in 2012, Kaptur hoped to succeed him as Appropriations’ ranking Democrat. But the post instead went to New York’s Nita Lowey, a more predictable liberal and a favorite of Pelosi’s. Although the minority leader officially remained neutral, news outlets reported that Lowey was widely perceived to have her friend’s backing. Kaptur settled for becoming ranking Democrat on the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee.

Kaptur has a liberal voting record, but departs from party orthodoxy on abortion—she opposes federal funding for abortion, though she also opposed an April 2011 House amendment that would have denied federal money to Planned Parenthood. She said she was confident that federal funds were not being used for abortions, and she argued that Planned Parenthood has provided valuable medical care for women. She is a strong advocate of alternative energy sources such as ethanol and biofuels for Ohio. But she made Democrats work to win her vote on energy and climate change legislation in 2009. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., agreed to her demand to establish a new federal power authority with up to $3.5 billion available to lend to alternative energy projects in Ohio and other Midwestern states. Kaptur has recently sought to promote solar energy, a growing industry in Toledo.

Kaptur keeps close tabs on her district. A constituent gave her the idea to sponsor the legislation that created the World War II Memorial on the Washington Mall. On Appropriations, she has focused on improvements to bridges, roads, and rail and port facilities in her district. In 2010, she ranked 24th among the top earmark recipients in the House, according to the group Taxpayers for Common Sense. She once challenged Republicans on the committee to limit farm payments, but when they threatened her favorite spending projects, she backed off. “I may be blockheaded sometimes, but I’m not stupid,” Kaptur said.

Kaptur, who wrote a book on women in Congress, is exceedingly popular in the Toledo area and was rarely challenged at election time until 2012. Ohio lost two congressional seats in the 2010 reapportionment, and state Republicans drawing the new map put her in a district with fellow Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Though the ultraliberal Kucinich’s earlier bids for president had made him a national hero to hard-core progressives, he had a reputation at home for being more interested in hobnobbing with celebrities than accomplishing much for the district. He also didn’t help himself by briefly toying with the idea of running in Washington state.

Kaptur beat him easily in the Democratic primary, 56%-40%, putting an end to his 16-year House career. (In Toledo’s Lucas County, she took 94% to his 4%.) She had an even easier time in the general election against Republican Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as “Joe the Plumber” for his role in a 2008 presidential debate. The Cook Political Report called his candidacy “one of the biggest pipe dreams of the year,” and Kaptur trounced him, 73%-23%.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-4146

(202) 225-7711

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2186
Washington, DC 20515-3509

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-4146

(202) 225-7711

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2186
Washington, DC 20515-3509

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-4146

(202) 225-7711

One Maritime Plaza 6th Floor
Toledo, OH 43604

DISTRICT OFFICE

(419) 259-7500

(419) 255-9623

One Maritime Plaza 6th Floor
Toledo, OH 43604

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-4146

(202) 225-7711

200 West Erie Room 310
Lorain, OH 44052

DISTRICT OFFICE

(440) 288-1500

200 West Erie Room 310
Lorain, OH 44052

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-4146

(202) 225-7711

17021 Lorain Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44111

DISTRICT OFFICE

(216) 767-5933

16024 Madison Street Suite 3
Lakewood, OH 44107

DISTRICT OFFICE

(440) 799-8499

5592 Broadview Road Room 101
Parma, OH 44134

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

PO Box 899
Toledo, OH 43697

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(202) 225-4146

(202) 225-7711

PO Box 899
Toledo, OH 43697

EXPORT CONTACTS » *

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Aerospace

TJ Lowdermilk
Legislative Assistant

Agriculture

Edward Edney
Legislative Assistant

Animal Rights

Courtney Hruska
Office Manager; Scheduler

Arts

Nora Sarsour
Legislative Assistant

Budget

TJ Lowdermilk
Legislative Assistant

Campaign

Jenny Perrino
Legislative Director

Disaster

Jenny Perrino
Legislative Director

Education

Edward Edney
Legislative Assistant

Energy

TJ Lowdermilk
Legislative Assistant

Environment

TJ Lowdermilk
Legislative Assistant

Finance

Edward Edney
Legislative Assistant

Foreign

Nora Sarsour
Legislative Assistant

Grants

Theresa Morris
Constituent Liaison; Caseworker

Health

Nora Sarsour
Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

Jenny Perrino
Legislative Director

Housing

Edward Edney
Legislative Assistant

Immigration

Jenny Perrino
Legislative Director

Judiciary

Jenny Perrino
Legislative Director

Labor

Jenny Perrino
Legislative Director

Military

TJ Lowdermilk
Legislative Assistant

Jacob Smith
Caseworker; Staff Assistant

Public Works

TJ Lowdermilk
Legislative Assistant

Seniors

Nora Sarsour
Legislative Assistant

Theresa Morris
Constituent Liaison; Caseworker

Social Security

Jenny Perrino
Legislative Director

Tax

Edward Edney
Legislative Assistant

Trade

Jenny Perrino
Legislative Director

Transportation

TJ Lowdermilk
Legislative Assistant

Veterans

Nora Sarsour
Legislative Assistant

Jacob Smith
Caseworker; Staff Assistant

Election Results

2014 GENERAL
Marcy Kaptur
Votes: 106,338
Percent: 67.68%
Richard May
Votes: 50,792
Percent: 32.32%
2012 GENERAL
Marcy Kaptur
Votes: 217,771
Percent: 73.04%
Samuel Wurzelbacher
Votes: 68,668
Percent: 23.03%
2012 PRIMARY
Marcy Kaptur
Votes: 42,902
Percent: 56.18%
Dennis Kucinich
Votes: 30,564
Percent: 40.02%
2010 GENERAL
Marcy Kaptur
Votes: 121,819
Percent: 59.35%
Rich Iott
Votes: 83,423
Percent: 40.65%
2010 PRIMARY
Marcy Kaptur
Votes: 33,637
Percent: 86.49%
Dale Terry
Votes: 5,256
Percent: 13.51%
2008 GENERAL
Marcy Kaptur
Votes: 222,054
Percent: 74.37%
Bradley Leavitt
Votes: 76,512
Percent: 25.63%
2008 PRIMARY
Marcy Kaptur
Votes: 118,814
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (59%), 2008 (74%), 2006 (74%), 2004 (68%), 2002 (74%), 2000 (75%), 1998 (81%), 1996 (77%), 1994 (75%), 1992 (74%), 1990 (78%), 1988 (81%), 1986 (78%), 1984 (55%), 1982 (58%)

* Export counts will reset after 30 days. Please contact your Dedicated Advisor if you have reached your limit.

To order a print copy of the 2016 edition of the Almanac of American Politics, click here. For questions about print orders, call Columbia Books at 1-888-265-0600 ext 0266 or email customer service.

For questions about the digital Almanac, please contact your Dedicated Advisor or Membership@NationalJournal.com.

×