Friday, July 10, 2009

André Carson

André D. Carson (born October 16, 1974) is the United States Representative for Indiana's 7th congressional district and the grandson of his predecessor, former U.S. Representative Julia Carson (1997–2007).[1][2] Carson, who is African American, describes himself as "an Orthodox, universal, secular Muslim."[3] He is the second Muslim to serve in the U.S. Congress, after Keith Ellison (D-MN), and is the first Muslim elected to federal office from Indiana. He is currently the youngest Democratic Member of Congress.



[edit] Biography

Carson is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana. He attended Indianapolis Public Schools and is a graduate of Arsenal Technical High School. Carson 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. He was a local board officer and investigator for the Indiana State Excise Police for nine years. He also served in the Indiana Department of Homeland Security at the Intelligence Fusion Center, supervising an anti-terrorism unit. He was a marketing specialist for Cripe Architects + Engineers.[4] He is also a Democratic Party committeeperson in Center Township of Marion County, Indiana.

He, his wife Mariama, and daughter Salimah live in the Fall Creek Place neighborhood of Indianapolis.

[edit] Political career

Carson was elected to the Indianapolis City-County Council in 2007 to replace Councillor Patrice Abdullah in the 15th Council district of Indianapolis. Abduallah resigned his seat before completing his term.[5]

[edit] U.S. House of Representatives campaign

André Carson won the Nominating Caucus of the Marion County Democratic Party for the Democratic nomination for the special election in Indiana's 7th congressional district, with 223 of 439 votes cast in his favor; the seat became vacant after the death of his grandmother Julia Carson. Carson won the special election on March 11, 2008, to complete the term of his grandmother, winning 53% of the vote.

He was endorsed by U.S. Senator Evan Bayh,[6] former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, Marion County Sheriff Frank J. Anderson,[7] current Representative from Indiana's 8th district Brad Ellsworth,[7] retired U.S. Congressman Andy Jacobs, Jr, and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Carson is not a member of the Nation of Islam and denies any specific link to Farrakhan. According to the Jewish Daily Forward, "André Carson is fighting claims about his family’s connection with Farrakhan".[8] 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.[9]

Carson ran a grassroots campaign that included on-foot canvassing by the Neighbors for Carson campaign.

Carson defeated Republican State Representative Jon Elrod and Libertarian Sean Shepard in the special election on March 11, 2008.[10] Despite speculation to the contrary,[11] Carson took his oath of office while holding a bound copy of the United States Constitution, not on the Qur'an.[1]. This was during a mock swearing-in ceremony as there is no official ceremony for interim Congressmen.

Carson endorsed U.S. Presidential Candidate Barack Obama in April 2008, and later won Obama's endorsement for his own May 2008 Democratic primary battle. Carson was the first of Indiana's five U.S. House Democrats to announce support for a presidential candidate.[12]

Carson is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. In June 2008, he announced he was joining the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Equality Caucus of the U.S. House, chaired by U.S. Representative Barney Frank (D-MA).

[edit] Committee assignments

[edit] Election history

United States Representative from Indiana's 7th congressional district, 2008 (special)
Party Candidate Votes Percentage

Democratic André Carson 45,668 54.0%

Republican Jon Elrod 36,415 43.1%

Libertarian Sean Shepard 2,430 2.9%
United States Representative from Indiana's 7th congressional district, 2008
Party Candidate Votes Percentage

Democratic André Carson 172,650 65.1%

Republican Gabrielle Campo 92,645 34.9%

Republican Delbert Suits (write in) 4 0.0%

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