André D. Carson (born October 16, 1974) is the U.S. Representative for Indiana's 7th congressional district, serving since the special election in 2008. He is a member of the Democratic Party.
He is the grandson of his predecessor, former U.S. Representative Julia Carson (1938–2007). He is one of two Muslims serving in the U.S.
Congress (along with Keith Ellison).
Early life, education and career
André Carson was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. At a young age, Carson's interest in public service was shaped by his grandmother, the late Congresswoman Julia Carson. Carson grew up in a rough neighborhood, and he credits that experience for shaping his policy views on issues like education, public safety and economic opportunity.
After going to Catholic school for a short time as a child and being raised as a Baptist by his grandmother, Carson converted to Islam in his teenage years. He was drawn to the faith because he felt Islamic teachings were peaceful and focused on helping others.
Carson attended Indianapolis Public Schools and is a graduate of Arsenal Technical High School. He went on to graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice Management from Concordia University Wisconsin and a Master of Business Management from Indiana Wesleyan University.
Carson got his professional start as a law enforcement officer, serving as an investigator for the Indiana State Excise Police for nine years.
He later joined the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and was detailed to an Intelligence Fusion Center, supervising an anti-terrorism unit.
Following his career in law enforcement, Carson was a marketing specialist for Cripe Architects + Engineers in Indianapolis.
Early political career
Before being elected to public office, Carson was a Democratic Party Committeeperson in Indianapolis. In 2007, Carson won a special caucus of the Marion County Democratic Party to become the City-County Councilor for the 15th Council district of Indianapolis-Marion County.
U.S. House of Representatives
Carson is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, New Democrat Coalition and the youngest member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Among others, he is also a member of the Congressional Automotive Caucus, Cancer Action Caucus, Children's Caucus, Climate Change Caucus, Human Rights Caucus, International Conservation Caucus, Labor and Working Families Caucus, Study Group on Public Health, Democratic Budget Group, LGBT Equality Caucus, Military Family Caucus and Renewable/Efficient Energy Caucus. He also serves as the Congressional Black Caucus liaison to the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (CBC Liaison).
In the 2008 Presidential Election, Carson endorsed Senator Barack Obama in April 2008, and later won Obama's endorsement for his own May 2008 Democratic primary battle.
Carson was the first member of Indiana's Congressional Delegation to announce his support for then-candidate Obama.
On February 13, 2009, Carson voted to pass the H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a $787 billion economic stimulus package aimed at helping the economy recover from a deepening worldwide recession. This act included increased federal spending for health care, infrastructure, education, various tax breaks and incentives, and direct assistance to individuals.
The ARRA has led to billions of dollars in investment in Carson's district, including grants to hire more police officers and save teaching jobs, and landmark investments in green technology that will create hundreds of new jobs.
Carson has stated his support for programs that improve teacher education and training, improve aging school infrastructure and increase access to affordable, secondary education.
Carson is the author of H.R. 3147, the Young Adults Financial Literacy Act, which was introduced on July 9, 2009. This legislation establishes a grant program to fund partnerships between educational institutions aimed at providing financial literacy education to young adults and families.
On September 17, 2009, Carson voted to pass H.R.
3221, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which will invest in the Pell Grant program and other student financial aid programs to make college more affordable.
Carson has supported investment in the development of new technologies that will reduce American dependence on foreign oil, create thousands of new jobs and begin to correct the adverse environmental effects of fossil fuels. Carson has opposed legislation to increase offshore drilling for oil or natural gas, instead promoting use of solar, wind, biofuel, biomass, and other renewable fuels.
On June 26, 2009, Carson voted to pass H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which seeks to comprehensively address the effects of climate change by funding development of alternative energy technologies and implementing a cap and trade system.
Carson is a strong supporter of health care reform legislation that increases access to medical care for millions of uninsured Americans and provides a more stable system for those at risk of losing their health insurance. On July 30, 2009, he signed a letter from the Congressional Progressive Caucus to House leadership, calling for a robust public option to be included in any health care reform bill.
He has opposed taxes both on the medical device industry and employer provided health insurance plans as a means to pay for health care reform. Instead, he has called for finding savings in the current health system by reducing waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare system, as well as implementing a surcharge on the wealthiest Americans as a means to cover the costs of reform.
He has also voiced his opposition for health care reform legislation that increases the deficit.
On November 7, 2009, Carson voted to pass H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, the House version of legislation designed to reform the American health insurance industry.
Carson believes that “American efforts to capture and kill al Qaeda terrorists have greatly diminished” because of the Iraq War. He has often stated his belief that al Qaeda and the Taliban pose the most imminent threat to the United States, and has pushed for a reduction of troops in Iraq to cover the needs of the War in Afghanistan.
In August 2009, Carson visited American service members stationed in Iraq.
Citing a high foreclosure rate in Indianapolis, Carson has named foreclosure prevention and increased affordable housing to be among his top priorities.
On May 7, 2009, Carson voted to pass the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2009 (H.R. 1728), which regulates the mortgage lending industry by setting limits on types of loans offered to potential borrowers. Carson authored an amendment to this legislation that funded the distribution of information about foreclosure rescue scams through targeted mailings.
Carson has been a Member of the House Committee on Financial Services since taking office in 2008. During this time, the committee has focused on legislation addressing the American financial crisis that began in late 2007.
Carson voted to pass legislation enacting the Troubled Asset Relief Program on October 3, 2008. He has also voted to pass legislation increasing oversight over the Troubled Asset Relief Program, limiting executive pay, reforming sub-prime mortgage markets and regulating the financial industry.
Carson was a cosponsor of H.R. 627, the Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights, which sought to increase transparency and regulation in the credit card industry. This legislation was signed into law by President Obama on May 22, 2009.
Carson has voiced his support for legislation creating the Consumer Finance Protection Agency and monitoring systemic risk in the financial sector.
On July 24, 2008, Carson voted to pass the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act (H.R. 5501) which provided aid to developing countries fighting high rates of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. He successfully included an amendment in this bill which created "a transatlantic, technological medium of exchange that allows African scientists and American medical professionals to collaborate on the best methods for treating and preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS on the African continent."
On March 20, 2010, Carson told reporters that health care protesters outside the Capitol hurled racial slurs at fellow Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) member Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia. Carson came off the House floor and told reporters his story about health care protesters hurling racial slurs during their walk from the Cannon Building to the chambers. Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart has offered a $100,000 reward for any proof of these accusations. Audio and video recordings of the event have been posted on the Internet, no proof has yet been provided by those who made the accusations, and the reward remains unclaimed.
On August 28, 2011, Carson told a gathering of supporters when referring to the Tea Party "This is the effort that we're seeing of Jim Crow," Carson said. "Some of these folks in Congress right now would love to see us as second-class citizens. Some of them in Congress right now of this Tea Party movement would love to see you and me... hanging on a tree." Carson refused to apologize for the remarks, and in fact his spokesman said he stood by them.
In 2008, André Carson won the nominating caucus of the Marion County Democratic Party, giving him the Democratic nomination for the special election to succeed his late grandmother, Congresswoman Julia Carson. During this election, he was endorsed by U.S. Senator Evan Bayh, then-Senator Barack Obama, former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, Marion County Sheriff Frank J. Anderson, then-Representative from Indiana's 8th district Brad Ellsworth, and retired U.S. Congressman Andy Jacobs, Jr. U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) contributed $4,000 each from their own campaign funds and $10,000 each from their political action committees to the Carson campaign.
Carson defeated Republican State Representative Jon Elrod and Libertarian Sean Shepard in the special election on March 11, 2008, securing 53% of the vote.
Carson was re-elected in November 2008 to his first full term in Congress with 65% of the vote. Since that time, Carson's hometown newspaper, The Indianapolis Star, has praised him for "going strong" in his first year in office, writing that Carson has "[proven] himself to be relentlessly positive and seriously hardworking."
In 2010, Carson again faced perennial Republican candidate Marvin Scott, who took issue with Carson's Muslim faith during the general election. However, Carson defeated Scott to retain his seat.
Carson is married to Mariama Shaheed Carson, an educator in the Pike Township School District. They and their daughter, Salimah, live in Center Township in Indianapolis.
November 10th, 2011