Carolyn McCarthy: Wikis


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Carolyn McCarthy

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 4th district
Assumed office 
January 3, 1997
Preceded by Dan Frisa

Born January 5, 1944 (1944-01-05) (age 66)
Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Widowed
Residence Mineola, New York
Alma mater Glen Cove Nursing School
Occupation Nurse
Religion Roman Catholic

Carolyn McCarthy (born January 5, 1944) is an American politician and has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing New York's 4th congressional district, since 1997. The district is located in central Long Island in west-central Nassau County and includes Mineola, the Five Towns, East Rockaway, Rockville Centre, Oceanside, Garden City, Hempstead, Uniondale, East Meadow, Roosevelt, Franklin Square, Valley Stream, and Elmont.[1]

McCarthy was born Carolyn Cook in Brooklyn, raised in Mineola, her father was a boilermaker and her mother worked at Woolworth's.[2] In her youth, she was an athlete and wanted to become a physical education teacher but found reading challenging and later was diagnosed with dyslexia. After caring for her boyfriend injured from a car accident, McCarthy decide to work as a Licensed Practical Nurse.[3] She lived with her family in Mineola, a suburban area about twenty miles outside New York City on Long Island. On December 7, 1993, her husband, Dennis, was killed and her son, Kevin, severely injured, on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train at the Merillon Avenue station, when a mass murderer, Colin Ferguson, opened fire on random unarmed passengers.[4] Ferguson killed six and wounded 19 others.[5] McCarthy responded to the crime by launching a campaign for additional gun control measures that eventually propelled her to Congress in 1996 on the Democratic ticket.

In the biographical 1998 television movie The Long Island Incident, which portrayed these events, she was played by actress Laurie Metcalf.[6]


Political career

The Fourth District and its predecessors had been in Republican hands since 1953,[7] even though the surrounding Nassau County has supported Democrats for President since 1992.[8] In 1996, the district's first-term Republican incumbent Dan Frisa was running for re-election while McCarthy testified against a Republican measure to repeal the federal Assault Weapons Ban in a congressional hearing, an attempt that was ultimately unsuccessful.[9][10]

After Frisa voted for the repeal, McCarthy, a lifelong Republican,[11] announced she would run against him in the primary. However, local Republican officials indicated disinterest.[2] So, with the support of the local and national Democratic parties, and the endorsement of Newsday, the local daily newspaper, McCarthy ran as a Democrat and defeated Frisa by seventeen points.[12] Afterwards, some Republicans tried to persuade her to run as a Republican in 1998, but that never occurred.[13]

She faced a close fight for reelection in 1998 against state assemblyman Gregory Becker,[14] but did not face serious opposition again until 2004. That year, she faced Hempstead mayor James Garner. The race was expected to be competitive, but McCarthy won easily, taking 63% of the vote.

Although McCarthy has always served as a Democrat, she did not change her voter registration from Republican until 2002.[15]

It has been widely reported that she is strongly considering entering the 2010 Senatorial special election to challenge Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, based upon the latter's support for gun rights.[16][17] Gillibrand was appointed January 23, 2009 by Governor David Paterson to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had vacated the seat to become Secretary of State in the new Obama Administration. On June 4, 2009. Congresswoman McCarthy announced that she would not run in the 2010 Democratic Party primary for the US Senate. [1]

Committee assignments

Political actions and positions


Gun control

McCarthy is one of the most vocal advocates in the nation for gun control. In 1997, she sponsored a bill requiring trigger locks on guns.[18] She introduced legislation to ban the sale of guns to tourists to the United States after an incident at the Empire State Building. Because of this, she reported receiving several death threats.[19] Later that same year, McCarthy opposed a Treasury bill provision that allowed importing weapons that are banned for sale in the U.S.[20] In the aftermath of the Columbine High School massacre, McCarthy submitted a bill requiring firearms be child-resistant and to add obstacles to the purchase of guns by young adults[21] along with regulating gun shows.[22]

After the Assault Weapons Ban expired in September 2004, McCarthy introduced the Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2007 to reauthorize it in February 2007. McCarthy's new version would ban 65 models of firearms, as opposed to the previous ban's 19 models. In addition, McCarthy's law would ban any semiautomatic rifle, shotgun or handgun that was "originally designed for military or law enforcement use, or a firearm based on the design of such a firearm, that is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes, as determined by the Attorney General."[23] Interestingly enough, McCarthy was unable to expound on specific definitions of cosmetic features of firearms listed in her bill.[24] magazine, a journalist asserted that the bill has little chance of passage and criticized it as a "fund-raising" bill.[25] McCarthy frames the reintroduction of the ban as law enforcement protection, though active, off-duty and retired police officers would be exempt from the gun bans.[23]

On Monday, April 16, 2007, after the shootings at Virginia Tech, and after President Bush's press secretary Dana Perino said, "The president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed,"[26] McCarthy issued a press release calling for "legislation to prevent further acts of gun violence."[27] Because the Virginia Tech massacre gunman, Seung-Hui Cho, was able to pass the background check to legally buy a firearm despite his prior mental health issues because of inconsistent sharing of records between the federal and state governments,[28] the House of Representatives passed legislation (H.R. 2640, the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007) introduced by McCarthy, with the support of the National Rifle Association and later signed into law by President Bush to remedy this.[28][29] McCarthy indicated she wanted later to revisit the issue of doing background checks at gun shows.[29]

On April 18, 2007, during an interview on MSNBC with Tucker Carlson, McCarthy repeatedly dodged questions asking her to identify basic firearms components which her legislation proposed to ban. He asked her to explain the need to regulate barrel shrouds, one of the many provisions of the Act.[30] She responded that more importantly the legislation would ban large capacity "clips" used in the Virginia Tech massacre and that the class of guns chosen were those used by gangs and police killers. However, the Virginia Tech shooter did not have high capacity magazines; they were the legal, 10 round variety. After admitting that she did not know what a barrel shroud was, McCarthy stated, "I believe it is a shoulder thing that goes up" [31], which was not only incorrect, but seemingly attempted to describe a firearms accessory that does not exist.[32]

War in Iraq

McCarthy voted in favor of the Iraq War Resolution in 2002.[33] In 2006, she voted in support of a Republican resolution in support of the war.[34]

Death penalty

In her 1996 race, McCarthy said she was against the death penalty but stated she wouldn't support repeal because her district supported it.[35]

Hearing Loss

McCarthy is one of the strongest advocates of hearing loss detection, prevention, and treatment. As a former nurse, she has repeatedly championed the Hearing Aid Tax Credit Act (H.R. 1646 in the current session of Congress -, which is designed to help those with hearing loss afford hearing aids.


McCarthy expresses a personal opposition to abortion but has consistently supported legal abortions. In 1997, McCarthy voted against a ban on late-term partial-birth abortions because it didn't include an exception when a women's health was at risk.[36]

Age discrimination

In 2003, McCarthy introduced legislation prohibiting companies from compelling the retirement of older employees and denying them pension and benefits.[37]

Special education

McCarthy, who has dyslexia, testified in support of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and co-sponsored an act to fund early detection of dyslexia.[18][38][39]

Children's health insurance program

In September 2007, McCarthy supported an increase of $35 billion for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), the national program to provide health care for children from families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private health insurance. She said, “No child in the 4th Congressional District, Long Island, or anywhere throughout our nation should ever go without medical care."[40] The increase passed but was later vetoed by President Bush.[41]

Stem cell research

McCarthy has been a supporter of stem cell research but restricted to the use of embryos that would be discarded. In 2007, she supported the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act which did just that. It passed both the House and Senate but was later vetoed by President Bush.[42][43]


McCarthy received a rating of 8% from the American Conservative Union in 2005, and holds a lifetime ACU rating of 20%.[44] She received a "Liberal Quotient" of 90 out a possible 100 in 2005 from Americans for Democratic Action[45]. McCarthy received a "C" on the progressive Drum Major Institute's 2005 on middle-class issues.[46] In 2003, The firearm-rights advocacy organization, the National Rifle Association, rated McCarthy with an "F", indicating a pro-gun control voting record.[47]

Electoral history

Third party candidates omitted, so percentages may not add up to 100%.

2008 Election Results Carolyn McCarthy 62% DemocratJack Martins38% Republican

New York's 4th U.S. Congressional District[48]
Year Candidate Votes % ±%
2006 Carolyn McCarthy (D) 101,861 64.9% +1.9%
Martin W. Blessinger (R) 55,050 35.1%
2004 Carolyn McCarthy (D) 159,969 63.0% +7.1%
James Garner (R) 94,141 37.0%
2002 Carolyn McCarthy (D) 93,651 55.9% -4.7%
Marilyn F. O'Grady (R) 72,882 43.5%
2000 Carolyn McCarthy (D) 136,703 60.6% +8.0
Gregory R. Becker (R) 87,830 38.9%
1998 Carolyn McCarthy (D) 90,256 52.6% -4.9
Gregory R. Becker (R) 79,984 46.6%
1996 Carolyn McCarthy (D) 127,060 57.5%
Daniel Frisa (R) 89,542 40.5% -9.7%[49]


  1. ^ "New York's 4th Congressional District Map". Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  2. ^ a b Barry, Dan (1996-11-07). "L.I. Widow's Story: Next Stop, Washington". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  3. ^ "McCarthy, Carolyn". The H. W. Wilson Company. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  4. ^ Marks, Peter (December 15, 1993). "Train Shooting Victim Speaks For First Time Since Injury". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-24.  
  5. ^ Kleinfield, N. R. (December 7, 1994). "A Year Later, the Demons Remain; Fear Still Haunts L.I.R.R. Shooting Survivors". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-19.  
  6. ^ Joyner, Will (1998-05-02). "After Massacre, Fact Meets Memory". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-01-25. "Carolyn McCarthy ... became an impressive woman-of-the-people voice for gun control"  
  7. ^ Henry J. Latham 1953–58, Seymour Halpern 1959–63, John W. Wydler 1963–73, Norman F. Lent 1973–93, David A. Levy 1993–95, Daniel Frisa 1995–97
  8. ^ "United States Presidential Election Results". Dave Liep's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  9. ^ "Personal Plea on Gun Ban". New York Times. 1996-03-22. Retrieved 2008-02-03.  
  10. ^ Toner, Robin (1996-10-12). "Hurled by Tragedy Into Public Life, a Novice Learns to Cope". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-03.  
  11. ^ Dao, James (1996-08-28). "A Woman Comes to Politics Via Personal Trial". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-03.  
  12. ^ "1996 U.S. House of Representatives Results". FEC. 1996-11-05. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  13. ^ Lambert, Bruce (1996-11-07). "Crossovers for McCarthy". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  14. ^ Halbfinger, David M. (1998-11-05). "McCarthy Is Re-elected by a Slim Margin". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  15. ^ Gootman, Elissa (April 29, 2003). "McCarthy Quietly Changes Registration". New York Times.,%20Carolyn. Retrieved 2007-10-19.  
  16. ^ "Paterson Picks Gillibrand for Senate Seat," The New York Times
  17. ^ "New York pol fumes over Senate choice," The Boston Herald
  18. ^ a b Barry, Dan (1997-06-22). "An Icon Goes to Washington". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  19. ^ "Threats Are a Price For Backing Gun Control". New York Times. 1997-05-07. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  20. ^ Gray, Jerry (1997-09-18). "Gingrich Tries to Rein In Ally On Big Spending for Highways". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  21. ^ Bruni, Frank (1999-05-05). "Senate Looks for Clues on Youth Violence". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  22. ^ Mitchell, Alison; Bruni, Frank (1999-06-17). "House Undertakes Days-Long Battle On Youth Violence". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  23. ^ a b H.R. 1022 — 110th Congress (2007): Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2007, (database of federal legislation) Retrieved on Apr 21, 2007
  24. ^ Carlson, Tucker. (April 18, 2007). "Carolyn McCarthy". Retrieved 2009-08-04.  
  25. ^ Casteen, John T. (April 17, 2007). "After Blacksburg". Slate magazine. Retrieved 2007-04-21.  
  26. ^ Sullivan, Kevin (2007-04-17). "Shock, Sympathy And Denunciation Of U.S. Gun Laws". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  27. ^ "Rep. McCarthy Statement on Virginia Tech Shootings". Carolyn McCarthy. 2007-04-16. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  28. ^ a b Palank, Jacqueline and Urgina, Ian (June 14, 2007). "House Votes to Bolster Database on Gun Buyers". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-29.  
  29. ^ a b Eisenberg, Carol (2008-01-08). "Bush signs long-stalled gun-control legislation". Newsday.,0,7931141.story. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  30. ^ "Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2007 (Introduced in House)". Library of Congress THOMAS database. February 13, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-13.  
  31. ^ "'Tucker' for April 18 - Tucker -". April 19, 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-06.  
  32. ^
  33. ^ "Final Vote Results For Roll Call 455". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. 2002-10-10. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  34. ^ Palmer, J. Jioni (2006-06-17). "Breaking ranks on Iraq". Newsday.,0,4181826.story. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  35. ^ Barry, Dan (1996-11-06). "Widow of Rail Shooting Victim Defeats Incumbent in Emotional Contest on L.I.". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  36. ^ Lambert, Bruce (1997-04-03). "Nassau Prosecutor Blasts Congresswoman for Abortion Vote". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  37. ^ Treaster, Joseph B. (2003-05-31). "Legal Experts Say Allstate Lost a Battle In Agents' Suit". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  38. ^ "Testimony Before the Committee on Education and The Workforce". Carolyn McCarthy. 1998-05-13. Retrieved 2008-02-05. "I have a learning disability -- dyslexia. But I went to school at a time when children with disabilities were swept under the rug."  
  39. ^ "H.R. 73 [107th: Early Prevention of Dyslexia in Children Act of 2001"]. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  40. ^ "Rep. McCarthy Votes to Provide Health Insurance for Long Island’s Children". Carolyn McCarthy. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  41. ^ Pear, Robert (October 6, 2007). "A Battle Foreshadowing a Larger Health Care War". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-24.  
  42. ^ "Rep. McCarthy Statement on Stem Cell Research Vote". Carolyn McCarthy. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  43. ^ "H.R. 3: Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007". Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  44. ^ "2005 Votes". American Conservative Union. 2005. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  45. ^ "ADA’s 2005 Congressional Voting Record" (PDF). Americans for Democratic Action. May 2006. p. 9. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  46. ^ "Congress at the Midterm: Their 2005 Middle-Class Record". Drum Major Institute. 2005. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  47. ^ "Carolyn McCarthy on the Issues". On The Issues. 2003. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  48. ^ "New York House District 4 – Previous Election Results". The Post-Standard. Retrieved 2008-02-03.  
  49. ^ "Statistics of the Congressional Election Of November 8, 1994". Clerk of the House of Representatives. 1994-11-08. Retrieved 2008-02-03.  

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Daniel Frisa
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 4th congressional district

January 3, 1997 – present


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