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Biography John Conyers

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John Conyers John Conyers
John Conyers
U.S. Representative for Michigan (in Congress since 1965) - member of the Democratic Party.


John Conyers Biography

ENG: John Conyers, Jr. (born May 16, 1929) is the U.S. Representative for Michigan's 13th congressional district, serving in Congress since 1965 (the district was numbered as the 1st District until 1993, and as the 14th district from 1993 to 2013). He is a member of the Democratic Party. He is currently the second longest-serving incumbent member of the House (after fellow Michigan Democrat, John Dingell) and the second-longest incumbent member of the entire Congress by length of service (also after Dingell).


Early life, education, and early career

After graduating from Northwestern High School in Detroit, Conyers served in the Michigan National Guard 1948–50; US Army 1950–54; and the US Army Reserves 1954–57. Conyers served for a year in Korea as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and was awarded combat and merit citations. Conyers grew up in Detroit, and received both his B.A. and his LL.B. from Wayne State University.

Conyers was present in Selma, Alabama on October 7, 1963, for the civil rights movement voter registration drive known as Freedom Day. He served as an assistant to U.S. Congressman John Dingell, Jr. prior to his election to Congress.


Detroit Mayoral campaigns

While serving in the U.S. House, Conyers made two unsuccessful runs for mayor of Detroit: one in 1989 against incumbent Coleman Young and again in 1993.



Incumbent Democrat Mayor Coleman Young decided to run for a fifth term, despite growing unpopularity and the declining economy of Detroit. In the September primary, Young won with 51% of the vote. Accountant Tom Barrow qualified for the November run off by getting second place with 24% and Conyers got third place with 18% of the vote. Young defeated Barrow in the run off with 56% of the vote.



In June 1993, incumbent Democrat Mayor Coleman Young decided to retire instead of seeking a sixth term, citing his age and health as the reasons. Although, many believed he decided not to run because of his growing unpopularity. In a Detroit News poll in February, 81% said Young should retire. Conyers was one of the 23 candidates who qualified for ballot access. Dennis Archer was a clear front runner from the beginning. He was a 51-year-old former State Supreme Court Justice who raised over $1.6 million. He won the September primary with 54% of the vote. Conyers placed in fourth place. Archer won the November election.


U.S. House of Representatives - Elections

In 1964, he defeated Republican Robert Blackwell with 84% of the vote. He won re-election to Michigan's 1st congressional district thirteen times, all with even larger margins. After the 1990 United States Census, Michigan lost a congressional district and Conyers's district was renumbered to the 14th district. In 1992, he won re-election to his 15th term in his new district with 82% of the vote against Republican nominee John Gordon. He won re-election another nine times after that. His worst re-election performance was in 2010, when he got 77% of the vote against Republican nominee Don Ukrainec.

In total, he has won re-election twenty-three times and has served twenty-four terms. He is the second longest-serving current member of the House, as well as the after World War II.



Conyers is one of the 13 founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and is considered the Dean of that group. Formed in 1969, the CBC was founded to strengthen African-American lawmakers' ability to address the legislative concerns of Black and minority citizens. He has served longer in Congress than any other African-American. In 1971, he was one of the original members of Nixon's Enemies List.

In 1965, John Conyers won a seat as a freshman on the influential Judiciary Committee, which was then under the leadership of liberal Democrat Emanuel Celler of New York. At the time, the assignment was an elite one, as Judiciary ranked behind only Ways and Means and Appropriations in terms of the number of Members who sought assignment there.

According to the National Journal, Conyers has been considered, with Pete Stark, John Lewis, Jim McDermott, and Barbara Lee, to be one of the most liberal members of Congress for many years. Civil rights icon Rosa Parks served on Conyers' staff between 1965 and 1988.

Conyers is known as one of the opponents of the drive to regulate online gambling. He has likened the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, hidden within the SAFE Port Act, to Prohibition.

After Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in 1968, Conyers introduced the first bill in Congress to make King's birthday a national holiday. It is now celebrated as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.


Personal life

Conyers is married to Monica Conyers.

He appeared in Michael Moore's documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 discussing the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks, stating that members of Congress "don't read most of the bills". Conyers frequently posts at Daily Kos and Democratic Underground. Since May 2005, he's been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post and his own blog.

In 2007, he was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP.





February 8, 2013

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