Maria Cantwell: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Not to be confused with Mary Cantwell.
Maria E. Cantwell

Assumed office 
January 3, 2001
Serving with Patty Murray
Preceded by Slade Gorton

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 1st district
In office
January 5, 1993 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by John Miller
Succeeded by Rick White

Born October 13, 1958 (1958-10-13) (age 51)
Indianapolis, Indiana
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) None
Residence Edmonds, Washington
Alma mater Miami University
Occupation software executive
Religion Roman Catholic

Maria E. Cantwell (born October 13, 1958) is the junior United States Senator from the state of Washington and is a member of the Democratic Party. Previously she served in the Washington House of Representatives and one term as member of the United States House of Representatives from Washington's 1st congressional district. She is Washington's second female senator.


Early life

Cantwell was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was raised in a predominantly Irish-American neighborhood on the south side of Indianapolis. Her father, Paul F. Cantwell,[1] served as county commissioner, city councilman, state legislator, and Chief of Staff for U.S. Representative Andrew Jacobs, Jr.. Her mother, Rose M., was an administrative assistant.

She attended Emmerich Manual High School and was inducted into the Indianapolis Public Schools Hall of Fame in 2006.[2] After high school, Cantwell went to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration. She moved to Seattle, Washington, in 1983 to campaign for Alan Cranston in his unsuccessful bid for the 1984 Democratic Presidential nomination. She then moved to the Seattle suburb of Mountlake Terrace because it reminded her of Indianapolis, and led a successful campaign to build a new library there.

Early political career

In 1986, Cantwell was elected to the Washington State House of Representatives at the age of 28. In her campaign, she embarked on an extensive door-knocking effort in her district.[3] As a state representative, she helped write Washington's Growth Management Act of 1990, which required cities to develop comprehensive growth plans, and she negotiated its passage. She also worked on legislation regulating nursing homes.

In 1992, Cantwell became the first Democrat elected to the United States House of Representatives from Washington's first congressional district in 40 years. During her only term, she helped convince the Clinton Administration to drop its support of the Clipper chip, she voted in support of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and she supported President Clinton's 1993 budget. Republican Rick White used that vote to narrowly defeat her in the Republican landslide year of 1994.

In the private sector

After her defeat, Cantwell vowed to leave politics. Political ally Rob Glaser offered her a job as vice president of marketing for RealNetworks. Among her accomplishments was the live (Internet streaming) broadcast of a Mariners-Yankees baseball game in 1995. (Cantwell is an avid Mariners fan.)

In 1998, the company faced heavy criticism because privacy groups alleged that the RealJukebox software program incorporated spyware to track unsuspecting users' listening patterns and download history. In response, RealNetworks amended its privacy policy to fully disclose its privacy practices regarding user listening patterns. Subsequently, RealNetworks submitted to independent outside audits of its privacy practices. Several lawsuits regarding the alleged privacy violations were settled out of court. This has in part formed her views on privacy and thus her opposition to the Bush Administration's post-9/11 policies.[4]

Cantwell became a multimillionaire with the stock options from RealNetworks. In August 2000, during her Senate campaign, Cantwell sold about 110,000 shares of RealNetworks stock at around $44/share.

2000 campaign

At the urging of party activists and officials, Cantwell formed an exploratory committee in October 1999 to consider a run for United States Senate against Democrat Deborah Senn and incumbent Republican Slade Gorton. She committed to running on January 19, 2000.


Cantwell entered the campaign a year in after Senn; she quickly lost the Washington State Labor Council and NARAL endorsements to Senn. Early on, privacy became an issue. Senn cited her record protecting medical privacy as insurance commissioner. Cantwell promoted Internet privacy and cited her opposition to the Clipper Chip.

In her television advertising late in the campaign, Senn accused Cantwell of ducking debates. Cantwell had agreed to two debates; Senn preferred more. They ended up having three debates, during which the candidates harshly attacked each other. Senn attacked RealNetworks and Cantwell's role in the company. Cantwell accused Senn of wanting to run against RealNetworks and said that Senn was uninformed on Internet issues.

Cantwell secured the endorsements of The Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Spokesman-Review, and the News Tribune. She easily won her party's nomination, defeating Senn 3-to-1 in the primary. Although he won renomination, Slade Gorton got fewer votes than Cantwell and Senn's combined total. Cantwell cited this as evidence that Washington was ready for a change.

General election

Social security, prescription drugs, dams, and campaign finance reform were among the most important issues in Cantwell's race against Gorton. Cantwell also adopted the slogan, "Your voice for a change," a veiled reference to Gorton's campaign theme in 1980, challenging incumbent Warren Magnuson's age. She claimed Gorton supported "19th century solutions to 21st century problems."

Cantwell won the endorsements of The Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the state's two biggest newspapers. Gorton won the Tri-City Herald and the News Tribune.

At times the campaign was accused of pettiness. After a Cantwell campaign worker deep-linked to a humorous photo on the Gorton website, Gorton accused Cantwell's campaign of hacking his website, and Senn accused Cantwell of hypocrisy because of the incident. "Fiddling with people's websites and calling it good fun ... adds a very childish and unworthy character to the race," said Senn's campaign spokeswoman Barbara Stenson.[5]

The election results were extremely close. Early on, Cantwell enjoyed a lead, and TV networks projected a Cantwell victory. As absentee ballots streamed in, Gorton overtook Cantwell and achieved a lead of 15,000 votes. When the heavily Democratic Puget Sound region finished counting ballots and the county totals were certified on November 23, Cantwell had regained the lead; she was ahead by 1,953 votes out of 2.5 million cast, about .08%. A mandatory recount increased her lead to 2,229 votes, or .09%.

In 2000, Maria Cantwell and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan became the first women to defeat incumbent senators.

Campaign finance

Cantwell spent over $10 million of her own money on her campaign, pledging not to accept money from PACs. When RealNetworks stock declined at the end of 2000, she spent time raising funds for debt retirement, although she kept her pledge not to accept PAC money, as documented by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.[6]

In the waning weeks of the 2000 campaign, the Federal Election Commission ruled that Cantwell violated federal campaign finance law by securing $3.8 million in bank loans for her campaign and failing to properly disclose the loans until January 30, 2001.[7] The Federal Election Commission sent a letter of admonishment.[8]

2006 re-election campaign

The close 2004 gubernatorial race between Democrat Christine Gregoire and Republican Dino Rossi suggested to many that the 2006 contest might go either way.[9] Both Cantwell and her opponent Republican Mike McGavick dominated their primaries; initial speculation favored a Republican victory.[10] "At one point," wrote analyst Larry Sabato, "all the talk in this race concerned Cantwell's cool relations with anti-war Democratic elements and McGavick's relatively united base. But Democrats appear to have closed ranks behind their junior senator."[11] Cantwell ended up winning re-election by a 16 point margin, even winning several traditionally Republican counties in Eastern Washington including Spokane County.[12][13]

During the 2006 campaign, Cantwell received heavy criticism for declining most of the invitations she received to debate McGavick in public forums. Media outlets across the state, including the The Olympian and the Yakima Herald-Republic, rebuked Cantwell, claiming that she is afraid to confront McGavick, calling it "unacceptable"[14] and "simply not fair." Cantwell agreed to a total of two debates with her opponent in Seattle and Spokane, lasting 60 and 30 minutes, respectively. However, when Cantwell ran as a challenger for the Senate against the incumbent Slade Gorton in 2000, Gorton only agreed to two debates of a similar format. In another comparison, when Washington's Senior Senator Patty Murray ran for re-election in 2004, she only agreed to two debates with George Nethercutt, although both debates lasted one hour.[15]

Cantwell was a key proponent of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill of 2002 and cosponsored the Clean Money, Clean Elections Act of 2001.[16][17] In 2005 she wrote a letter in support of the Perkins Loan program[18], and told the Seattle Times in July 2006 that she is opposed to Social Security privatization[19]. Cantwell cosponsored the "Pension Fairness and Full Disclosure Act of 2005".[20]

Cantwell earned the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters[21] and other environmental groups[22][23] for opposing oil drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and by cosponsoring the Roadless Area Conservation Act, legislation aimed at preserving Washington's forests from logging and the building of paved roads. She has also worked to invest in alternative energy and to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil, by sponsoring the Clean EDGE Act of 2006.[24]

US Senate career

Committee assignments

Sen. Cantwell currently serves on these Committees and Subcommittees in the 111th United States Congress

Political views

Cantwell serves on the Finance Committee, the Indian Affairs Committee, the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. She also served on the Judiciary Committee during her first two years (2001–2002).

While she scores high on a progressive chart from,[25] Cantwell has made several controversial votes during her time in the Senate that have created friction between her and members of the Democratic Party.

On the issue of the Iraq war, on October 11, 2002 Cantwell voted in favor of the Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq. Her October 10, 2002, press release, however, quotes her as stating on the floor of the U.S. Senate, "... Mr. President, my vote for this resolution does not mean that I am convinced of the Administration has answered all the questions. I believe the following issues must be addressed before the U.N. or the U.S. move forward with military action." Cantwell detailed six specific areas where her questions and concerns were as yet unanswered at the time of her vote to authorize war, i.e., "First: Continued Multilateral Approach ... Second: Successful Military Strategy ... Third: A Postwar Commitment Strategy ... Fourth: Fighting the Broader War on Terrorism ... Fifth: Maintaining Middle East Stability ... Sixth: Protecting Iraqi Civilians."

In 2006 Cantwell voted against the Kerry-Feingold Amendment to S.2766 that would have set a timetable for withdrawal,[26] but in favor of the Levin-Reed Amendment[27] that would encourage beginning a phased withdrawal by the end of the year, with no timetable for completion.

On the issue of abortion, Cantwell calls herself "100% pro-choice", and she consistently supports the positions of the pro-choice movement. She was one of 34 senators to vote against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, which passed and was signed into law by President Bush on November 5, 2003, and has been ruled against by multiple federal courts before finally being upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. She also voted against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which made it an additional crime to kill or harm a fetus during a criminal assault upon the mother. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 61-38, and was signed into law by President Bush on April 1, 2004.

Cantwell is the chair of the Senate Democrats 20/20 Energy Independence campaign and is a co-chair of the Apollo Alliance.[28] One of Cantwell's main accomplishments was the passage of an amendment "To prevent energy market manipulation," which passed 57-40 in the Senate; a previous effort was defeated by a vote of 50-48.[29]

In the summer of 2005, Cantwell voted for the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which angered many who opposed free trade agreements. Others argued that due to the state's unique economy, any senator from Washington almost had to vote for free trade pacts. Her votes on CAFTA, the PATRIOT Act, and Iraq prompted a 2006 Democratic primary challenge from Hong Tran, a Seattle legal aid attorney, and a third party challenge from Aaron Dixon, the former captain of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party.

Citing his potential views on abortion and the environment, Cantwell was one of 22 senators to vote against United States Supreme Court nominee John Roberts.

In December 2005 Cantwell scored what many perceived as one of the strongest victories of her first term when she blocked Alaska senator Ted Stevens' efforts to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Stevens attached the measure to a bill that provided money for defense spending and Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. Cantwell managed to round up the votes of 41 Democrats and 2 Republicans, enough to block a final vote.[30] Stevens removed the ANWR drilling measure from the larger bill, but promised to bring the matter up at a later date.

In January 2006, after publicly announcing her opposition to Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, Cantwell, along with 18 other Democrats and all 53 present Republicans, voted for the cloture motion.[31] The success of this motion ended an unlikely attempt to filibuster the confirmation of Judge Alito that was being led by Senator John Kerry and Senator Ted Kennedy.[32] Alito was confirmed the next day by a vote of 58-42, with most Democrats, including Cantwell, voting against.

In May 2006, Cantwell, along with 38 of 44 Senate Democrats, voted in favor of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (S. 2611).[33] This controversial legislation includes provisions to improve border security, increases fines and other punishments for employers of illegal immigrants, creation of a guest worker program (which includes an almost doubling of the number of H1-B visas)[34], and creates a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country.[35] The bill, with support from Republican Party leadership, passed 62-36.

Cantwell speaks during the second day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

On December 31, 2007, Cantwell became the 10th senator to endorse Hillary Clinton's candidacy to become the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.[36] Cantwell supported Clinton through the duration of the primary season,[37] but she had vowed to vote for the winner of the pledged delegates.[38] After Clinton's concession on June 7, Cantwell endorsed Obama.[39] At the Washington State Democratic Convention on June 15, Cantwell added: "I do want to see a strong Democratic woman in the White House," ... "That's why I'm so glad Michelle Obama will be the next first lady."[40]

Health Care Reform

Cantwell supports health care reform in the United States and was a co-sponsor of Senator Ron Wyden's (D-OR) Healthy Americans Act. In her role as a member of the Finance Committee she had an influential role in crafting health care reform legislation. On September 29, 2009, when the Finance Committee considered health care reform legislation, Cantwell supported amendments to establish a public health care option that would compete with private insurers to offer health care.[41]

Environmental Views

In addition to her opposition to drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge, Cantwell has been one of the most vocal critics of the increase of oil and gasoline prices during 2008.[42] Advocating increased regulation of futures markets and windfall taxes on oil profits, Cantwell has drawn scathing criticism from the Wall Street Journal.[43]

Cantwell received the highest rating possible from the League of Conservation Voters for her environmental voting record. She is known for supporting alternative energy research and for protecting Washington's forests from logging and the construction of paved roads and has earned endorsement from various prominent environmental advocacy groups.[21] and other environmental groups[22][23] She has opposed drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on multiple occasions, has voted to reduce oil usage by 40% by 2025, and has opposed legislation to relax or terminate CAFE standards.[44] The Seattle Times has described Cantwell's environmental record as "pristine"[45] and The Wilderness Society has described Cantwell as an "environmental champion".[46]

Support for fellow Democrats

Maria Cantwell is a major supporter of fellow Democrats running for office. In 2006, facing her own challenging race, Cantwell used ActBlue to raise $100,000 for Darcy Burner, Peter Goldmark, and Richard Wright, all of whom were facing tough House races in Washington State. In the 2008 cycle, Cantwell was particularly committed to supporting the re-election of Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

Electoral history

See also


  1. ^ 1
  2. ^ IPS Hall of Fame
  3. ^ "2002 Woman of Distinction". The YWCA of Olympia. 
  4. ^ Rosen, Jeffrey (2004). "The Path of the Law". The Naked Crowd: Reclaiming Security and Freedom in an Anxious Age (1st Trade Paperback ed.). New York: Random House. pp. 139. ISBN 0375759859. 
  5. ^ Manny Frishberg (2000-06-15). "Fishy Linking Nets Campaign War". Wired News.,1283,37025,00.html. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  6. ^ "Cantwell, Maria (D-WA)". 2006-10-10. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  7. ^ "Feds say Cantwell violated election law". KING-TV. 2004-02-19. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  8. ^ "MUR 5198". Federal Election Commission. 2004-02-23. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  9. ^ "Poll Results — WA". 2005-05-17. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  10. ^ "2006 Primary Election Results". Washington Secretary of State. 2006-10-03. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  11. ^ "September 19 Primary Updates". Center of Politics. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  12. ^ "2006 General Election Results". Washington Secretary of State. Retrieved 2006-11-17. 
  13. ^ "U.S. Senate, Washington". CNN. Retrieved 2006-12-02. 
  14. ^ "Cantwell passes up chance to debate issues in vital region". Yakima Herald-Republic. 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  15. ^ Neil Modie (2006-09-30). "Cantwell, McGavick quibble over debates". Seattle P-I. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  16. ^ "S. 27". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  17. ^ "Sen. Wellstone’s Legislation Offers Alternative to Current System Through Public Financing". Clean Money Clean Elections PAC. 2004-04-05. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  18. ^ "July 28, 2005 Federal Perkins Loan letter". 2005-07-28. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  19. ^ "Where they stand on Social Security". Seattle Times. 2006-07-28. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  20. ^ "S. 991: Pension Fairness and Full Disclosure Act of 2005". Govtrack.US. 2005-05-10. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  21. ^ a b "League of Conservation Voters Endorses Senator Maria Cantwell for Reelection". League of Conservation Voters. 2005-08-29. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  22. ^ a b "Maria Cantwell: U.S. Senator". Cascade Sierra Club. 2006-06-12. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  23. ^ a b "DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE ACTION FUND ENDORSES SENATOR MARIA CANTWELL IN HER 2006 RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN". Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund. 2006-07-17. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  24. ^ Daniel Seligman (2006-09-14). "Apollo Alliance Statement on the Clean EDGE ACT". Apollo Alliance. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  25. ^ "Maria Cantwell Progressive Score". Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  26. ^ "S.Amdt. 4442 Vote Summary". United States Senate. 2006-06-22. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  27. ^ "S.Amdt. 4320 Vote Summary". United States Senate. 2006-06-22. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  28. ^ "Apollo Partners National Advisory Board". Apollo Alliance. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  29. ^ "S.Amdt. 2087 Vote Summary". United States Senate. 2006-11-05. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  30. ^ Alicia Mundy (2005-12-22). "Hulk meets his match in drilling fight". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  31. ^ Charles Babington (2006-01-31). "Senate to Vote On Alito Today". Washington Post. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  32. ^ "Alito filibuster is unlikely". Seattle Times. 2005-11-02. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  33. ^ "S. 2611 Vote Summary". United States Senate. 2006-05-25. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  34. ^ "The H-1B and L-1 Visas and America's High-Tech Workforce". IEEE-USA. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  35. ^ "S.2611". Library of Congress. 2006-05-25. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  36. ^ Katharine Q. Seelye (2007-12-31). "Saying he pulled negative ad, Huckabee shows it". The International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  37. ^ Eli Stone (2008-02-19). "The Superdelegate Mess". The Stranger. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
  38. ^ Kathie Durbin (2008-03-24). "Cantwell supporting Clinton -- for now". 
  39. ^ "Cantwell Flips and Endorses Obama". The Columbian. 2008-06-08. 
  40. ^ Niki Sullivan (2008-06-15). "Cheers, Jeers at the State Democratic Convention in Spokane". Spokane: The News Tribune. 
  41. ^ The public health care proposals were not approved by the committee. "More Cantwell vs cantwell vs Cantwell". Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  42. ^ "Senate told speculators causing oil madness". Salt Lake Tribune. 2008-06-00. 
  43. ^ "Dubai's Favorite Senators". The Wall Street journal. 2008-06-10. 
  44. ^ Maria Cantwell on the Issues
  45. ^ The Seattle Times: Opinion: Who is Maria Cantwell?
  46. ^ Cantwell to Receive Ansel Adams Award for Commitment to Preserving Nation's Lands

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Miller
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 1st congressional district

January 3, 1993 – January 3, 1995
Succeeded by
Rick White
United States Senate
Preceded by
Slade Gorton
United States Senator (Class 1) from Washington
January 3, 2001 – present
Served alongside: Patty Murray
Political offices
Preceded by
Olympia Snowe
Chairwoman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
January 4, 2007–present
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ron Sims
Democratic Party nominee for United States Senator from Washington (Class 1)
2000, 2006
Succeeded by
To be determined
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
John Ensign
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Ben Nelson

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