At a Glance
- Career History: New York Assembly (1966 to 1970),Assistant U.S. Attorney, Southern District of New York (1959 to 1964), Legal Counsel, NYC Housing & Redevelopment Board, Neighborhood Conservation Bureau (1963 to 1968)
- Birthday: June 11, 1970
- Hometown: New York City
- Alma Mater: New York University, B.S. 1957; St. John's University, LL.B, 1960
- Spouse: Alma
- Religion: Catholic
- DC Office: 2354 Rayburn House Office Building
- District Office: Manhattan, 212/663-3900
Path to Power
Rangel was born on June 11, 1930, and grew up in Harlem. The high-school dropout enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1948 and served until 1952. He earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star in the Korean War for rescuing 40 men from behind enemy lines.
After his time in the armed services, Rangel returned to New York and to college. He graduated from New York University in 1957 and St. John's University School of Law in 1960. Then he entered the public sector as an assistant U.S. attorney in New York. In 1966 he was elected to the New York State Assembly, where he served two terms.
Rangel is a staunch liberal, voting with the majority of House Democrats 98.2 percent of the time in the 111th Congress.
In November 2010, the House ethics committee voted, 9 to 1, to recommend the veteran New York lawmaker for censure, the second-most serious punishment in the House behind expulsion from the chamber.
In the 2008 presidential race, Rangel strongly supported then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). She credits the congressman with convincing her to run for the U.S. Senate in 2000, an experience that caused her to remark, "In the end, like so many women before me, I just couldn't say no."
Before either Clinton or then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) announced their candidacies for the presidency, Rangel met with them both, and encouraged them both to run. Rangel called Obama "brilliant," "talented," and "not tested."When Obama became the party's nominee, Rangel wholeheartedly supported him, and encouraged Clinton to withdraw from the race when the primaries ended in June 2008.