|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from New York's 4th district
January 3, 2015
|District Attorney of Nassau County|
January 1, 2006 - January 3, 2015
Kathleen Maura Rice
February 15, 1965
|Political party||Republican (Before 2005)|
|Education||Catholic University (BA)|
Touro College (JD)
Kathleen Maura Rice (born February 15, 1965) is an attorney, prosecutor, and the United States Representative for New York's 4th congressional district. She is a Democrat. Prior to serving in Congress, she served as the Nassau County District Attorney, and, prior to that, she served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia and as an assistant district attorney in the Kings County District Attorney's Office in New York City.
Rice announced on January 29, 2014 that she would run for Congress in 2014 in New York's 4th congressional district to replace retiring Democratic incumbent Carolyn McCarthy. Rice won the election over Republican Bruce Blakeman on November 4, 2014 and took office in January 2015.
Rice was born in Manhattan, New York to Laurence and Christine Rice. She grew up in Garden City, on Long Island, as one of 10 siblings. Rice graduated from Garden City High School. She received a B.A. degree from the Catholic University in 1987 and a J.D. degree from the Touro Law Center in 1991.
Rice began her career as an assistant district attorney in the Kings County District Attorney's Office, under District Attorney Charles Hynes in 1992. She prosecuted cases involving burglaries, robberies and sexual assaults and was the first member of her class to be promoted to the homicide bureau.
In 1999, Rice was appointed assistant United States Attorney in Philadelphia by then-Attorney General Janet Reno. As a federal prosecutor, she prosecuted white-collar crimes, corporate fraud, gun and drug cases, and public corruption.
Rice was elected Nassau County District Attorney in 2005, winning by 7,500 votes to become the first female to hold the position. She defeated 31-year incumbent Denis Dillon, who had generally won reelection easily, even after switching his affiliation from Democratic to Republican in 1989. Rice was the first serious opponent that Dillon had faced since his first run in 1974.
Rice was re-elected in 2009 and 2013.
In 2006, Rice, the "state's toughest DWI prosecutor," declared her first major policy initiative to be an "assault on the drunk driving epidemic." She lowered the blood-alcohol level at which you could take a plea bargain, supported Leandra's Law, and charged with murder some drunk drivers who killed their victims.
In September 2011, Rice's office arrested seven students after uncovering an SAT cheating ring on Long Island. When this case led to the discovery of a wider-spread cheating scandal, Rice worked with the College Board, who administers the test, to update security standards to halt cheating in the future. This effort sparked other test administrators, like that which gives the ACT, to update their standards as well.
In 2007, Rice's office, Nassau County and Hempstead police led a counter-assault on Terrace Avenue, a major drug haven and crime-ridden street in Long Island's Hempstead Village. Through a combination of zero-tolerance enforcement for repeat and violent offenders, and social-service based jail diversion for nonviolent and first time offenders, crime has been reduced in the area.
In 2008, following the trampling death of a Walmart employee at one of the retailer's Black Friday sales events, Rice encouraged Walmart to upgrade its security protocols at its nearly 100 New York stores.
In 2012, Rice came out in favor of decriminalizing small amounts of "plain view" marijuana. Rice has also supported efforts to allow some citizens to seal prior low-level, non-violent convictions in the hopes of improving their chances of obtaining employment.
Rice was chosen by Governor Andrew Cuomo to be a member of the Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response, a panel tasked with investigating the failures of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) following Hurricane Sandy of October 2012. The panel recommended that LIPA be replaced by a private, investor-owned company and that the Public Service Commission, which has regulation authority, be given more power to penalize and fine poor-performing utility companies.
Rice supports the "Raise the Age NY" initiative to treat non-violent teen offenders as juveniles in the criminal justice system.
Rice implemented gun buy-back programs in some of the county's most crime-plagued areas, which removed more than 2,000 guns from the streets. She also spoke out in favor of Governor Andrew Cuomo's gun control legislation, and she created the office's first ever gun prosecution unit. Rice announced in early 2011 a major prosecution of 9 gun dealers and gun store employees arrested by police in an undercover operation investigating alleged illegal assault weapons. This was the second arrest for Martin Tretola, one of the gunshop owners. He was previously arrested on firearms related violations in 2007. Subsequently, in 2012, a federal jury delivered a verdict rejecting the charges of Nassau County and District Attorney Rice for the 2007 arrest and awarded Tretola 3 million dollars in compensatory damages and 2 million dollars in punitive damages. This judgment was later reduced to 1.3 million dollars in total upon appeal.
Questions on Rice's early prosecution cases
The Kings County district attorney's prosecution of Antowine Butts for double homicide imploded and ended in an acquittal in 2000, but not before Butts spent two years in a Rikers Island jail cell. After the case unraveled, Butts alleged that he was a victim of prosecutorial misconduct in a civil rights lawsuit that was settled with New York City.
Among those named in that suit: Kathleen Rice, the architect of the case against Butts. Despite that high profile, Rice has largely escaped attention -- including during the current campaign -- for starting her career in an office in which prosecutors are alleged to have put some innocent people behind bars with coerced confessions, bogus witness statements, coached lineup identifications and other tactics.
In April 2013, Rice announced the arrest of 18 members of the "Rollin' 60's" gang, an "ultra-violent" subset of the Crips. Rice charged these defendants with crimes ranging from attempted murder of a police officer, to assault and robbery, to gun and drug sales.
Among those Rice has charged and convicted of corruption include a deputy police commissioner, a Long Beach City Council member, former Nassau County legislators, and several town building department employees.
In July 2013, Kathleen Rice was appointed by Governor Cuomo to be one of three co-chairs of the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption. The work of the commission is currently ongoing.
Rice has reformed the recruiting, hiring and promotional practices of her office. She eliminated a gender pay gap that had previously been greater than 30%. Rice developed an aimed at offering flex-and part-time work schedules to those needing to care for a family member or a personal situation. Half of the attorneys and management in Rice's office are women.
In 2010, Rice ordered the review of a 1987 case in which Arnold Friedman and his son, Jesse, pleaded guilty to sexually abusing young boys in their Great Neck, Long Island home. Rice formed a panel of outside experts - including the Innocence Project's Barry Scheck - to examine whether or not Jesse Friedman had wrongfully confessed. In a 172-page report released in July 2013, investigators found that Friedman had not been wrongfully convicted.
In July 2013, Rice was inducted as President of the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York (DAASNY).
In an August 2017 tweet, Rice referred to both the National Rifle Association and its spokeswoman, conservative political commentator and author Dana Loesch, as national security threats under President Donald Trump. Loesch reacted to the congresswoman's remarks by calling for her resignation.
In 2005, Kathleen Rice returned home to Nassau County and declared her candidacy for District Attorney on the Democratic line. Rice challenged 30-year incumbent DA Denis Dillon. Throughout the campaign, Rice provided an alternative to Dillon, pledging to cut plea bargaining and touting her would-be zero tolerance policy for drunk driving. Rice also committed herself to modernizing the office's approach to domestic violence and crimes of sexual abuse. Rice edged out Dillon 51%-49% in the November election.
In 2009, Rice was challenged by Law Clerk Joy Watson. Rice defeated Watson 54-46%.
In May 2010, Rice announced that she would seek the Democratic nomination for New York State Attorney General. The race pitted Rice against four Democratic opponents: then-State Senator Eric Schneiderman, former prosecutor Sean Coffey, former State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, and former insurance commissioner Eric Dinallo. Though originally considered a long shot, she would narrowly lose the five-way primary to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, 34% to 32%.
In 2013, Rice was challenged by Law Secretary Howard Sturim. Rice defeated Sturim 59-41%.
In June, 2014, Rice won the Democratic primary election for U.S. House of Representatives in New York's fourth congressional district, defeating Nassau County Legislator Kevan Abrahams 56-44%. In November 2014, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in New York's fourth congressional district, defeating Republican candidate Bruce Blakeman 53-47%.
Rice won reelection in 2016, defeating Republican David Gurfein, 59.6-40.4%, with a margin of about 60,000 votes.
Rice won reelection in 2018, defeating Republican Ameer Benno, 61.3-38.7%.
|Republican||Denis Dillon (incumbent)||143,827||48.65|
|Democratic||Kathleen Rice (incumbent)||129,508||54.2|
|Democratic||Eric T. Schneiderman||227,203||34.36|
|Democratic||Richard L. Brodsky||65,683||9.93|
|Democratic||Eric R. Dinallo||49,499||7.49|
|Democratic||Kathleen Rice (incumbent)||164,805||58.88|
2018electionwas invoked but never defined (see the help page).
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 4th congressional district
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority