|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Indiana's 7th district
March 11, 2008
|Member of the Indianapolis City-County Council|
from the 15th district
October 2007 - March 13, 2008
|Born||October 16, 1974|
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
|Education||Concordia University Wisconsin (BA)|
Indiana Wesleyan University (MS)
André D. Carson (born October 16, 1974) is the U.S. Representative for Indiana's 7th congressional district, in office since a special election in 2008. The district includes the southern four-fifths of Indianapolis, including downtown. He is a member of the Democratic Party.
He is the grandson of his predecessor, former U.S. Representative Julia Carson (1938-2007). Carson was the second Muslim to be elected to the United States Congress, following Keith Ellison of Minnesota in 2006.
André Carson was born and raised in Indianapolis. He graduated from Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, and received a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice and management from Concordia University Wisconsin (2003), and a master of science degree in business management from Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana (2005). 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.
From 1996 to 2005, Carson worked as a compliance officer for the Indiana State Excise Police, the law enforcement arm of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission. He was later employed in the anti-terrorism division of Indiana's Department of Homeland Security and then as a marketing specialist for Cripe Architects + Engineers in Indianapolis. He served as a member of the Indianapolis/Marion city-county council from 2007 to 2008.
In December 2007, Carson's grandmother, Julia Carson, who had represented Indiana's 7th District in Congress since 1997, died of lung cancer. Three months later, Carson won a special election for his grandmother's vacant seat in the House of Representatives. Carson has retained that legislative seat ever since.
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.
Carson converted to Islam in the 1990s after his exposure to the poetry of the Sufi mystic Rumi and reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Before converting to Islam, Andre Carson attended a Baptist church and was educated in a Catholic school.
Carson is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus,New Democrat Coalition,Congressional Arts Caucus,Afterschool Caucuses and was 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, United States Congressional 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 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 House Office Building to the chambers. Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart offered a $100,000 reward for any proof of these accusations. Although audio and video recordings of the protest have been posted online, no proof of the racial slurs has yet been provided, and the reward remains unclaimed.
On August 28, 2011, Carson told a gathering of supporters when referring to the Tea Party movement "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 declined calls to resign, reaffirming, "I stand on the truth of what I spoke", and clarified that his comments were directed at certain tea party leaders and not the tea party as a whole.
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 would establish 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 made a speech to an Islamic group that resulted in criticism from groups when he stated that American public schools should be modeled on Islamic madrassas. He granted an interview to reporter Mary Beth Schneider of The Indianapolis Star in which he maintained his speech remarks had been taken out of context. On the same date, he issued a press release clarifying his position that no "particular faith should be the foundation of our public schools."
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.
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 current War in Afghanistan.
In 2009, Carson voted in favor of H. Res. 34 - 111th Congress, a House Resolution authored by Nancy Pelosi reaffirming Israel's right to defend itself, but later voted against H.R.769, the Safeguard Israel Act.
On July 23, 2019, Carson voted against H. Res. 246 - 116th Congress, a House Resolution introduced by Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL-10) opposing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement targeting Israel. The resolution passed 398-17.
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 is the only Member of Congress to have served in a Department of Homeland Security Fusion Center. He has voted to increase appropriations funding for the Department of Homeland Security. In 2017, Carson attended a protest, at Indianapolis International Airport against President Donald Trump's executive order to temporarily place limits on immigration until better screening methods are devised. Carson decried the executive order as being part of a "bigotry campaign" and stated "For those who want to make America great again, we have to remind them that the first article of the constitution says congress shall make no law respecting [the] establishment of religion. Make no mistake about it: This is a Muslim ban."
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."
In 2009, Carson introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at reducing incidents of recidivism. The Recidivism Reduction Act (H.R. 2829) aims to attack the cycle of recidivism by ensuring prompt access to federal supplemental security income and Medicaid benefits for ex-offenders re-entering society and addressing the gap in mental health services. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act would repeal federal laws that prevent drug felons from receiving TANF benefits.
On June 26, 2009 Carson introduced the Jeremy Warriner Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 3088), which would require GM and Chrysler to carry liability insurance that would cover vehicles produced before they filed for bankruptcy in early 2009. The bill is named for Jeremy Warriner, an Indianapolis resident who lost his legs when his defective Chrysler vehicle caught fire during a car accident.
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-Calif.) contributed $4,000 each from their own campaign funds and $10,000 each from their political action committees to the Carson campaign.
Carson won the primary election with 46%, while Woody Myers received 24%, David Orentlicher received 21%, and Carolene Mays received 8%. Carson and was set to face off in the General Election against Elrod, but Elrod dropped out. Gabrielle Campo was selected by a party caucus to face the incumbent, Carson.
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 handily defeated Scott to retain his seat.
|Republican||Marvin B. Scott||55,213||37.81|
|Democratic||Andre Carson (Incumbent)||61,443||54.73|