- Democratic Member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus
- After 9/11, she compared Osama bin Laden to American patriots in the Revolutionary War.
- Former member of the Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus
- Member of the NAACP and the National Urban League
See also: Democratic Party Congressional Progressive Caucus
Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus NAACP National Urban League
Marcy Kaptur was born in Toledo, Ohio on June 17, 1946, to blue-collar parents who worked at local automobile plants. She earned an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Wisconsin in 1968, a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan in 1974, and a Ph.D. in urban planning from MIT in 1982. From 1969-75 Kaptur worked as an urban planner for Toledo-Lucas County. From 1975-77 she was Director of Planning for the National Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs. And from 1977-79 she was Assistant Director for Urban Affairs in the Jimmy Carter Administration. After Carter's electoral defeat in 1980, Kaptur spent a year as Deputy Secretary of the National Consumer Cooperative Bank.
In 1982 Kaptur, a Democrat, was elected to represent the Ninth District of Ohio in the U.S. Congress, and she has been re-elected every two years since then. Her campaigns have been endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America.
In the 1980s, Kaptur steadfastly opposed U.S. assistance to the freedom fighters who were battling the Soviet-backed, Marxist dictatorship in Nicaragua.
Kaptur has long contended that industry in America's so-called “Rust Belt” declined not because unions and class-war politics ruined the investment climate and forced wages and benefits to rise to uncompetitive levels, but because of unfair, low-cost foreign competition. Favoring tariffs and trade barriers, Kaptur fought fiercely against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Her opposition to NAFTA and similar free-trade measures has continued unabated ever since. For example:
- In 1995 Kaptur co-sponsored—along with Congressional Representatives Peter DeFazio, Nydia Velazquez, Gene Taylor, and Bernie Sanders—a bill calling for the U.S. to withdraw from NAFTA within 90 days.
- In August 1995 Kaptur made a rousing anti-free trade speech to a gathering of Ross Perot's organization United We Stand, and in 1996 presidential candidate Perot offered to make Kaptur his Reform Party running mate. (The congresswoman declined.)
- In 2000 Kaptur voted in favor of having the U.S. withdraw from the World Trade Organization.
- Between 2003 and 2007, Kaptur voted against implementing U.S. free-trade agreements with Singapore, Chile, Australia, and Peru.
- In 2005 Kaptur voted against the Central America Free Trade Agreement.
- At a June 2006 press briefing, Kaptur voiced her deep misgivings over the proposed Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.
- On March 5, 2008 in Washington, Kaptur spoke at an anti-NAFTA conference co-sponsored by Global Exchange and the Institute for Policy Studies.
At a “Preaching and Teaching Peace in the Face of War” workshop for Catholic leaders in early 2003, Kaptur likened modern-day Arab terrorists to “nontraditional American revolutionaries” such as the “Green Mountain Boys” and “religious groups” that had “fled persecutions” in the past. Proceeding from that premise, she advised that before initiating military action against Iraq, the U.S. should reflect upon how powerful the combination of religion and politics had been in its own history:
“If you think back to our founding as a country, we are a country of revolution.... One could say that Osama bin Laden and these non-nation-state fighters with religious purpose are very similar to those kind of atypical revolutionaries that helped [America] to cast off the British crown. I think that one thing that people of faith understand about the world of Islam is that the kind of insurgency we see occurring in many of these countries is an act of hope that life will be better using Islam as the only reed that they have to lean on. I think that people of faith understand that for many of the terrorists, their actions are acts of sacred piety to the point of losing their lives.”
In 2005 Kaptur became a member of the Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus.
In 2009 Kaptur appeared in Michael Moore's anti-capitalist film, Capitalism: A Love Story.
On January 27, 2010, Kaptur was one of 54 Members of Congress who signed a letter calling on President Barack Obama to use diplomatic pressure to end Israel's blockade of Gaza—a blockade which had been imposed in order to prevent the importation of weaponry from Iran and Syria. To view a list of all the signatories, click here.
In March 2014, as Russia annexed Crimea and threatened to invade all of Ukraine, Kaptur reasoned that ethnic tensions in the Crimean Peninsula had left Russian President Vladimir Putin with little choice but to impose his power over the region. Said the congresswoman:
“If I was President Putin, I would have worried with the collapse of the Party of Regions [which had maintained peace between Tartars, ethnic Russians, and other groups in the area], about peace in the Crimea.... I understand Russia’s military posture. The United States has never been invaded the way Russia has.... I view, and I’m sure the Russians do, [Crimea] as their rear flank … [and] we seem to be in between leaders right now.... The Party of Regions kept it civil ... some group had to step in to mediate that, and at the moment it appears to be Russian troops.”
The members, leaders, and PACs of numerous labor unions have been among the leading sources of campaign funding for Kaptur throughout her congressional career. To name just a few of these unions: the AFSCME, the American Association for Justice, the American Federation of Teachers, the International Brothehood of Teamsters, UNITE HERE!, and the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union.
Kaptur today is a member of the NAACP and the National Urban League. She was a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus prior to 2015.
For an overview of Kaptur's voting record on a variety of key issues during her congressional career, click here.
For additional information on Kaptur, click here.