At a Glance
- Career History: Deputy Secretary, National Consumer Cooperative Bank (1980-1981); White House Assistant Director for Urban Affairs (1977-1980); Urban planner, National Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs (1975-1977); Urban planner, Lucas County Planning Commission (1969-1975)
- Birthday: June 17th, 1946
- Hometown: Toledo, Ohio
- Alma Mater: Post-graduate studies in urban planning and development finance, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (1981-1982); master's in urban planning, University of Michigan (1974); B.A., University of Wisconsin (1968)
- Religion: Catholic
- Committees: Appropriations Committee (Subcommittee on Transportation, HUD and Related Agencies; Subcommittee on Defense; Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA & FDA Related Agencies); Budget Committee
- DC Office: 2186 Rayburn Bldg., Washington DC, 20515, (202)-225-4146
- District Office: Toledo: (419)-259-7500
Path to Power
Kaptur was born in Toledo, Ohio, to a blue-collar Polish-American family. She was the first member of her family to attend college.After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 1968, she obtained a master's degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan.
For about fifteen years, Kaptur pursued an urban-planning career, which culminated in her years as an urban affairs adviser in Jimmy Carter's White House. There, she focused on housing and neighborhood revitalization.
Kaptur has urged her party to listen to those who are disenfranchised by the political process and excluded from the economic system. She has urged reform of the campaign finance system, championed policies to address economic inequality and battled against free trade agreements.
One area on which Kaptur breaks with liberal Democrats is abortion. While she favors a legal right to abortion, Kaptur opposes federal funding for the practice. During the 1993 health-care reform debate, she played a leading role in an effort to exclude abortion from federally-mandated benefits.
Many of Kaptur's allies are in the Congressional Progressive Caucus. For instance, she partnered with Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), to offer an alternative to the 2008 financial bailout plan. Kaptur was a friend of the late Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa.).
Some who were part of Kaptur's network are no longer in the House. Her most prominent partner in the fight against NAFTA was House Majority Whip David Bonior (D-Mich.); she has described ex-Rep. Jack Brooks (D-Texas) as her first mentor.