Gwendolynne Sophia Moore (born April 18, 1951) is the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin's 4th congressional district, serving since 2005. She is a member of the Democratic Party.
The district is based in Milwaukee and also includes South Milwaukee, Cudahy and St. Francis, and part of West Allis. She is the first woman to represent the district. She is also the second woman and the first African-American elected to Congress from Wisconsin.
Early life, education and career
Moore was born in Racine, Wisconsin, but has spent most of her life in Milwaukee.
She is the eighth of nine children; her father was a factory worker and her mother a public school teacher. Moore attended North Division High School and served as student council president. She later attended Marquette University and became a single mother and was for a while a welfare recipient. Nonetheless, she was able to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, graduating in 1973.
She worked as an organizer with Volunteers In Service to America. Through the program, she worked to establish the Cream City Community Development Credit Union to offer grants and loans to low-income residents to start businesses.
For her work, she was awarded the national “VISTA Volunteer of the Decade” award from 1976-1986. From 1985 to 1989, she worked for the City of Milwaukee as a neighborhood development strategist and for the state Department of Employment Relations and Health and Social Services. Moore also worked for the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) as a housing officer.
In 2000, she received a Certificate for Senior Executives in State and Local Government from Harvard University.
Moore was elected to the Wisconsin Assembly in 1989 and served two terms. She was a prominent voice calling into an investigation into the case of sexual assault and serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who lived two blocks away from Moore.
In the election of 1992, Gwen Moore was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate, in which she served the 4th District from 1993 to 2004. Moore was the first African-American woman to be elected to the upper chamber of the Wisconsin legislature.
She became a prominent voice against mandatory ID security measures to enter the state capitol. She said "I am too often reminded [9/11 hijacker] Mohammed Atta had a photo ID. This will not tell people whether I am a terrorist. This disenfranchises people who come to their Capitol."
U.S. House of Representatives
Moore was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2004, earning 69.6 percent of the vote and defeating Republican attorney Gerald Boyle in the general election.
Moore was one of a handful of African-Americans to have been elected to Congress as freshmen in 2004, and she was the first African-American and second woman (after Tammy Baldwin) to represent Wisconsin in Congress.
In the House, Moore has earned, over the first session of the 109th Congress, 90% and higher legislative agenda approval scores from Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Sierra Club of Wisconsin, and the Service Employees International Union. Moore has focused herself legislatively on traditional Democratic and progressive issues, believing that the federal government should play a significant role in the amelioration of poverty and the resolution of difficult local problems.
During her first term, Moore introduced legislation to provide certain economic incentives and tax cuts to small businesses to promote job creation, and also cosponsored legislation in support of community block grants, continued and expanded Medicaid funding, the amendment of the Truth in Lending Act to prevent so-called "predatory lending", and the removal of troops from Iraq; Moore is also a cosponsor of two prospective amendments to the US Constitution, providing for uniform national election standards and prohibiting gender discrimination under law.
Moore publicizes that, “her number one priority is to create jobs” through her position in The House. She has fought for tax reforms in favor of lower-income citizens, stating that “one week of Bush tax cuts for millionaires could help 350,00 hungry mothers and babies for an entire year.” Citing previous legislation and cuts to programs in favor of low-income children, Moore has recently proclaimed that “[Government has] already cut the entitlement and snatched the safety net from up underneath kids.”
Moore has received support from Interest Groups ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union (93%), The Human Rights Campaign (100%), and The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) (100%), to The National Farmer’s Union (100%) and Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund (100%). Moore lacks support from Interest Groups regarding hunting and sportsmen rights (0% support from Sportsmen and Animal Owner’s Voting Alliance), pro-life issues (0% support from National Right to Life), and conservative tax reform stances (0% support from Americans for Tax Reform.)
Moore has become a prominent advocate for women’s rights, who releases frequent statements on topics ranging from domestic abuse awareness to abortion rights. She voted “nay” on Amends Federal Health Care Law to Prohibit Abortion Coverage on October 13, 2011, and publicly opposed the launched investigation into the financial accounting of Planned Parenthood, stating that the investigation “is an unfortunate waste of taxpayer dollars.”
Moore has sponsored seven bills since Jan 4, 2005, two which have made it out of committee (Average) and zero which have been successfully enacted (Average, relative to peers).
Moore has cosponsored 343 bills during the same time period (Many, relative to peers).
On May 6, 2006, Moore and eight fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus were arrested and ticketed for unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct after they stepped onto the grounds of the Embassy of the Sudan to call attention to the ongoing Darfur conflict in Sudan. Moore said that the group expected ex ante to be arrested but that they were pleased to participate in a "peaceful act of civil disobedience".
In January 2011, Moore was elected Democratic co-chair of the Congressional Women's Caucus to become a leader on health insurance reform and the protection of reproductive rights.
Moore was the eighth of nine children born to a factory worker father and public school teacher mother. After graduating from North Division High School, she attended Marquette University as an expectant mother, receiving welfare benefits to aid her in her pursuit of a degree. On her campaign website, Moore recalled, "I was on welfare and just shy of 19 when my first daughter was born, but I was encouraged to take advantage of my ability and drive and remained in school." Moore graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.
During the congressional debate in February 2011 on the Pence Amendment proposing to defund the health services organization Planned Parenthood, in response to comments from Paul Broun suggesting that Planned Parenthood promoted racist eugenics because more black women than white women have abortions, Moore spoke about her experience raising children on little money, and why "planned parenthood is healthy for women, it’s healthy for children and it’s healthy for our society".
Arrest of her son
Moore's son, Sowande Ajumoke Omokunde, aged 26, was arrested in connection with the November 2, 2004, (election day), tire-slashing of Republican party vehicles in Milwaukee; he was charged with a felony in connection with the event on January 24, 2005, but agreed, on January 20, 2006, to plead no contest in exchange for a sentencing recommendation of restitution and probation. However, on April 26, 2006, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Michael Brennan threw out the plea deal and sentenced Omokunde to serve four months in prison and to pay $2,305 in fines and restitution. In response, Moore said, "I love my son very much. I'm very proud of him. He's accepted responsibility."
Representative Moore has become a U.S. delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
March 20, 2012