(1937 - )
Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey represents parts of
Westchester County, Queens, and the Bronx in the United States House of
Representatives. Lowey was first elected to the
House in 1988, and most recently won her campaign for re-election in 2014 after running unopposed.
As a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, Lowey has
developed a reputation as an extremely effective, committed legislator with
a substantial record of accomplishment. Few members of Congress have taken
key leadership roles on so many vital public policy issues. She has been
called "courageous" by the The New York Times, and recognized by
the The New York Daily News as one of "New York's Key Members of
Congress." Newsday called her "terrific" and said "she
delivers for New York." And Congressional Quarterly cited her as one
of the 50 most effective Members of Congress, saying she "maneuvers
skillfully through the appropriations process."
Lowey is a leading Congressional proponent of educational opportunity,
health care reform and biomedical research, stricter gun control and public
safety laws, environmental protections, women's issues, a leading
international role for the United States, and federal funding for public
television and the arts.
As a former PTA President of PS 178 in Jamaica Estates, Lowey came to
Congress determined to improve and reform our nation's schools. She is the
author of landmark legislation to provide federal resources for school
construction and renovation nationwide, and has been a leader in expanding
federal after-school programs so that children receive educational
instruction and adult supervision after regular school hours. Lowey is a
strong proponent of rigorous educational standards and is fighting to make
college tuition tax deductible for New York's families.
Lowey has emerged as one of the Appropriations Committee's leading
advocates of increased federal investments in biomedical research on
diseases like cancer, diabetes, and alzheimer's at the National Institutes
of Health. Called a "champion of increased funding for breast cancer
research" by the Washington Post, Lowey has helped double spending on
breast cancer research since 1992 and has helped increase overall research
at the NIH. She has been repeatedly honored by the National Breast Cancer
Coalition for her leadership in the fight against cancer.
Lowey is also a leader in the fight to reform managed care. She has
authored a bill to ensure that women in managed care plans have direct
access to their Ob-Gyns, and is a strong supporter of legislation to
guarantee that doctors and patients -- not insurance companies -- make
decisions about appropriate care.
Lowey is committed to making our neighborhoods and streets safer. She was a
strong supporter of the Brady Law and the Assault Weapons Ban, and is now
working to ban the sale of handguns like the "Saturday Night
Special." Lowey was named Mothers Against Drunk Driving's (MADD)
"Legislator of the Year" for her work to strengthen our nation's
drunken driving laws. In 1995 Lowey wrote the nation's "Zero
Tolerance" law, which makes it illegal for minors to drive with any
alcohol in their system. She is also the author of legislation to revoke
the license of repeat drunk drivers and establish a national DWI standard
of .08 BAC.
As a candidate for Congress in 1988, Nita Lowey pledged to make Long Island
Sound cleaner and healthier. In 1990 she passed legislation into law
establishing a special Environmental Protection Agency office for Long
Island Sound. Since then she has obtained federal funding for local
clean-up efforts and has written legislation to improve the area's
wastewater treatment infrastructure. Lowey has taken a key role in securing
federal support to protect the New York City watershed and has been a
national leader in preserving strong environmental laws like the Clean Air
Act and the Clean Water Act.
As a former Chair of the Congressional Women's Caucus and the current Chair
of the House Pro-Choice Caucus, Lowey has been widely recognized for her
leadership on women's issues. The Washington Post called her "the most
prominent abortion rights advocate in Congress," and she has won
widespread praise for winning passage of her bill to ensure that insurance
companies cover prescription contraceptives for federal employees. Lowey
established the Congressional Advisory Panel to the National Campaign to
Prevent Teen Pregnancy to encourage abstinence and responsibility among
teens. She has also been a leader in the fight against domestic violence,
securing record increases in federal funding for battered women's shelters.
Lowey is a leading Congressional proponent of a strong U.S. - Israel
relationship, and is the Appropriations Committee's chief advocate of the
annual U.S. aid package to Israel. She
is a longtime champion of human rights, and has taken a key role in
fighting for democracy and justice in Northern Ireland, Indonesia, and
around the world.
When GOP leaders threatened the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) with
elimination, Lowey "invited" muppets Ernie and Bert to a
Congressional hearing to make their case for public television. The
resulting worldwide publicity is largely credited with saving the agency.
Lowey has been equally stalwart in her defense of the National Endowment
for the Arts (NEA), and has been named to serve on the prestigious National
Council for the Arts in recognition of her leadership.
Lowey was born in the Bronx, graduated from the Bronx High School of
Science, where she was the senior class president, and received a
Bachelor's Degree from Mount Holyoke College. She served as Assistant
Secretary of State for the State of New York before being elected to
Congress. Nita and Stephen Lowey have been married for 37 years and are the
proud parents of three grown children and four grandchildren.
Sources: Congressman Nita Lowey