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Chris Carney

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 10th district
Assumed office 
January 3, 2007
Preceded by Don Sherwood

Born March 2, 1959 (1959-03-02) (age 51)
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jennifer Carney
Residence Dimock Township, Pennsylvania
Alma mater Cornell College, University of Nebraska, University of Wyoming
Occupation Commander in the U.S. Navy, College Professor
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Rank Commander
Unit Noble Eagle
The Pentagon (advisor)
Battles/wars Operation Enduring Freedom
Awards Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
Joint Service Achievement Medal (3)
Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
Naval Rifle Marksman Ribbon
Naval Pistol Expert Medal

Christopher P. "Chris" Carney (born March 2, 1959) is an American politician and member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Pennsylvania's 10th congressional district. He is the first Democrat to represent the district since January 1961. He is a prominent member of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition. The district, located in Northeastern Pennsylvania, includes Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties outside of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre (communities such as Clarks Summit and the Back Mountain towns of Trucksville and Shavertown) as well as all or most of Bradford, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Pike, Union, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming Counties.

Carney is also an associate professor of political science at Penn State Worthington Scranton, where he has taught since 1992.


Personal life

Carney earned his bachelor's degree from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, received his masters from the University of Wyoming, and completed his Ph.D in political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their five children in Dimock Township in Susquehanna County.

Committee assignments

In January 2007, Carney was named Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Management, Investigations, and Oversight, a surprising achievement for a freshman Congressman.[3][4]

Military service

A Commander (select) in the United States Naval Reserve, Carney served multiple tours overseas and was activated for operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle. He was direct commissioned as an Ensign in 1995. He served as Senior Terrorism and Intelligence Advisor at the Pentagon.

He is the recipient of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, three joint Service Achievement Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. His awards also include the Naval Rifle Marksman ribbon and the Naval Pistol Expert Medal.

In September 2007, Congressman Carney went on active duty with the Navy for his two weeks of service as a Lt. Commander in the reserves. On active duty, Carney will be working on the "Predator" project near Norfolk, VA.[5]

In July 2008, Carney was promoted from Lieutenant Commander to Commander (select) in the Naval Reserve. He remains one of just two members of the House to serve in the military reserves.[5]

2006 Congressional campaign

When Carney entered the race for the 10th, he was initially considered an underdog against Republican incumbent Don Sherwood. The 10th had been in Republican hands since 1961. The four-term incumbent had barely defeated Democrat Patrick Casey in his bid to succeed popular 36-year incumbent Joe McDade in 1998, and narrowly defeated Casey in a 2000 rematch. However, he hadn't faced major-party opposition since the 10th was redrawn.

However, revelations of Sherwood's five-year-long extramarital affair with a woman more than 30 years his junior, along with allegations of abuse, severely hampered Sherwood's reelection chances in the 10th, which has a strong social conservative tint. Carney also garnered the endorsement of 30 labor unions.[6] In the election, Carney handily defeated Sherwood, 53% to 47%.

Carney is a somewhat conservative Democrat, which is not surprising given the nature of the district. For example, while opposing proposals to privatize Social Security, he said he is open to the idea of adding private accounts in addition to (not at the expense of) traditional defined benefits.[7][8][8]. He supports federal investment in stem cell research[9], and is an advocate of universal healthcare[7]. He supports gun rights, is Pro-Life, and opposes gay marriage[10]. He supports estate tax reduction.[7][11]

During the campaign, Carney raised money with a wide-variety of supporters including Sen. Barack Obama, Sen Joe Biden[12], Rep. Jay Inslee[13], Rep. Jack Murtha[14], and Richard Perle, former Chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee[15] Douglas Feith, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, congratulated Carney on Election Night.[16]

Carney did make change of direction in Iraq policy a cornerstone of his campaign, often choosing to decry the Bush Administration's failure to properly support the military or to properly plan for the war.[17] However, he subsequently voted to continue the war in Iraq, H.R. 2206, and against H.R. 2956, an effort to establish a timeline to withdraw from Iraq.[18] Carney was one of only ten Democrats to vote against ending the war.[19] Carney also is not enthusiastic about investigations of pre-war intelligence. “The more energy spent on answering Congressional investigations, the less time will be spent on winning the war,” he said.[16] From 2002 to 2004, Carney served as a counterterrorism analyst for the Bush administration, under Douglas Feith in the Office of Special Plans, developing links between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.[20]

On May 3, 2007, Carney voted with 166 Republicans against the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (aka Matthew Shephad Act), even though the Pennsylvania delegation (including 4 Republicans) voted 14-4 in favor.

In 2008 he was one of the "Blue Dog" Democrats who joined most Republicans in an unsuccessful to attempt to pass a bill amending FISA to grant telecommunications companies immunity from prosecution for their involvement in warrantless wiretapping of American citizens. In particular, he sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi encouraging her not to fight the bill. `

2008 re-election campaign

On November 4, 2008, Carney defeated Chris Hackett 56% to 44%.[21]

Carney was one of the few incumbent Democrats to be rated vulnerable in this election cycle, because he was a freshman running in a strongly Republican district (its Cook Partisan Voting Index was R+8). The National Republican Congressional Committee advertised for the Hackett, while the Service Employees International Union and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee--which were among those organizations identifying Carney as especially vulnerable—advertised on his behalf, placing special emphasis on his vote for an increase in the federal minimum wage to $7.25 by 2009, a measure passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by Bush on May 24, 2007.

Since the summer of 2007, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report and a number of other political analysts listed Carney's District as "slightly" leaning Democratic in 2008, and according to the FEC Carney has raised over $500,000 towards his re-election in the first six months of 2007. Public opinion polls conducted in January 2008 indicated a lead over Hackett (then a candidate in the GOP primary), by significant double-digit margins and even a majority of registered Republicans, 53 percent, approve of Carney's job performance. Carney strove to portray himself as a conservative Democrat and asserted, time and time again, that Republican efforts to portray him as a "tax-and-spend" liberal would fail because 10th district residents are familiar with his moderate policies. The candidates differed over Social Security. Carney opposed Bush's plan for privatization, while Hackett supported it.[22]

In the April 22 Pennsylvania primaries, enormous Democratic voter turnout, most certainly due to the presidential race, led Carney to earn over 70,000 votes in the congressional primary, despite running unopposed—more than the combined vote in the Republican primary.

Like all current Democratic members of Congress, Chris Carney was a superdelegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. In late March, he was reported being somewhat skeptical of Hillary Clinton's electability, citing that her negatives are "widely known", and adding, regarding Barack Obama, that, "what we don't know is whether the other shoe is going to drop for Mr. Obama." He vowed that he would "wait and see how his district votes", hinting that he would likely issue an endorsement after the April 22 Pennsylvania primary for the candidate that wins by a "landslide"--if a huge victory by either occurs—in his overwhelmingly conservative district in which registered Democrats are few compared to Republicans. Another northeastern Pennsylvania Congressman, Paul Kanjorski, had long endorsed and actively campaigned for Clinton, alongside a number of other Democratic politicians in the state, including Governor Ed Rendell, while U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr. was Obama's most significant supporter. Prior to 2008, in his 2006 race against Sherwood, Obama had helped Carney raise funds for his campaign. Carney endorsed Clinton on May 9 after she carried his district in the Democratic primary by a whopping 70%-30% margin.

Congressman Carney voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008[23] and also the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009[24]. Congressman Carney also voted for the Affordable Health Care for America Act[25].

See also


  1. ^ Committee on Homeland Security
  2. ^ House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee: About the Committee
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Committee on Homeland Security
  5. ^ Representative Christopher P. Carney, Proudly Serving the People of the 10th District of Pennsylvania
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ a b c Project Vote Smart - Representative Christopher P. 'Chris' Carney - Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ The Times-Tribune - Sherwood protests stem-cell criticism 10/12/06
  10. ^ On the Issues | Chris Carney for Congress
  11. ^ On the Issues | Chris Carney for Congress
  12. ^ The Pennsylvania Progressive: Carney/Biden Event
  13. ^ [3]
  14. ^ The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA - Under fire: Murtha defends comments about war, troops
  15. ^ [4].
  16. ^ a b A New House Democrat With an Insiders’ View of Iraq - New York Times
  17. ^ Chris Carney for Congress
  18. ^ Chris Carney votes
  19. ^ House vote H.R. 2956
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Jones, Coulter (September 30, 2008), "Carney, Hackett differ on privatizing Social Security", The Citizens' Voice, 
  23. ^ "Bailout Roll Call". 2008-10-03. Retrieved March 18 2010. 
  24. ^ "Stimulus Roll Call". 2009-28-01. Retrieved March 18 2010. 
  25. ^ "Health Reform Roll Call". 2009-11-07. Retrieved March 18 2010. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Don Sherwood
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 10th congressional district

Succeeded by


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