- 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
Marcy Kaptur was born in Toledo, Ohio on June 17, 1946. 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 the 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. House of Representatives, where she has been re-elected every two years since then. She is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and her campaigns have been endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America.
In the 1980s, Kaptur steadfastly opposed U.S. assistance to the Contra freedom fighters who were battling the Soviet-backed, Marxist Sandinista dictatorship in Nicaragua.
In January 1995, Kaptur sent a letter on official congressional stationery, thanking Holocaust denier Gregg Klemmer for having sent her a copy of a Holocaust-denying documentary video in which David Cole and Franciszek Piper suggested that the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland was actually built after WWII for propaganda purposes. “Mr. Cole has obviously invested a great deal in researching his subject and I admire his tenacious curiosity,” Kaptur wrote.
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 stated:
“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 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 2007 Kaptur voted against President Bush’s decision to deploy an additional 21,500 American soldiers to Iraq, a deployment that eventually enabled the U.S. to win the Iraq War.
In 2009 Kaptur appeared in Michael Moore‘s anti-capitalist film, Capitalism: A Love Story.
In October 2009, the Socialist Party of America announced in its newsletter that Kaptur was one of 70 Congressional Democrats belonging to its caucus.
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.
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.”
In August 2014, Kaptur praised the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for its “tireless efforts to defend civil liberties and empower individuals.” In October 2017 she said that “CAIR’s work in the state of Ohio and across the nation is much appreciated.”
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!, the National Education Association, and the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union.
Kaptur believes that:
- public and private employers alike should be legally required to implement affirmative-action hiring and promotion policies that give preference to African Americans and women, as compensation for historical injustices;
- the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) should serve as a strategic stepping stone toward the eventual implementation of a single-payer healthcare system;
- voucher programs designed to enable low-income parents to send their children to private schools constitute bad policy because they rob the public schools of vital resources;
- restrictions on immigration are basically racist because they tend to prevent Hispanics and other non-whites from entering the U.S.;
- social services should be available to all U.S. residents regardless of their immigration status;
- illegal aliens should be offered amnesty if they have been productive members of society;
- an ever-increasing reliance on “green energy” sources such as wind and solar should be put in place, along with the phasing out of fossil fuels, the imposition of carbon taxes, and the raising of vehicle CAFE standards;
- federal spending on infrastructure projects and job programs is crucial to the success of any economic recovery program; and
- the nationalization of banks and corporations is preferable to federal bailouts of those entities.
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.
Further Reading: “Marcy Kaptur” (Votesmart.org, Keywiki.org); “Local Marchers Condemn U.S. Support for Contras” (Toledo Blade, 10-29-1986); “Revealed” Democratic Congresswoman Sent  Letter Praising Holocaust Denier” (Daily Caller, 10-2-2014); “Threat of War Spurs U.S. Soul-Searching” (Toledo Blade, 3-1-2003, re: Kaptur’s comments at the “Preaching & Teaching Peace” workshop); “House Ukraine Caucus Chair [Kaptur]: ‘Some Group Had To Step In To Mediate’” (BuzzfeedNews.com, 3-1-2014); Leading Contributors to Marcy Kaptur’s Political Campaigns (OpenSecrets.org); Marcy Kaptur’s Positions on Key Issues (OnTheIssues.org).