Carol Moseley Braun

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Carol Moseley Braun
Carol Moseley Braun NZ.jpg
United States Ambassador to New Zealand
In office
December 15, 1999 – March 1, 2001
Appointed by Bill Clinton
Preceded by Josiah Horton Beeman
Succeeded by Charles Swindells
United States Senator
from Illinois
In office
January 5, 1993 – January 3, 1999
Preceded by Alan J. Dixon
Succeeded by Peter Fitzgerald
Cook County Recorder of Deeds
In office
December 1, 1988 – December 1, 1992
Preceded by Harry "Bus" Yourell
Succeeded by Jesse White
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
from the 25th district
In office
January 12, 1983 – December 1, 1988
Preceded by New district
Succeeded by Donne Trotter
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
from the 24th district
In office
January 5, 1979 – January 12, 1983
Preceded by Robert E. Mann
Succeeded by District eliminated
Personal details
Born Carol Elizabeth Moseley
(1947-08-16) August 16, 1947 (age 66)
Chicago, Illinois
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Michael Allen Braun
   (1973–1986; divorced)
Children Matthew John Braun (b. 1977)
Alma mater University of Illinois at Chicago,
University of Chicago
Occupation Lawyer
Religion Episcopalian[1]

Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun, also sometimes Moseley-Braun[2] (born August 16, 1947), is an American politician and lawyer who represented Illinois in the United States Senate from 1993 to 1999. She was the first and only African-American woman elected to the United States Senate, the first African-American U.S. Senator for the Democratic Party, the first woman to defeat an incumbent U.S. Senator in an election, and the first and only female Senator from Illinois. From 1999 until 2001, she was the United States Ambassador to New Zealand. She was a candidate for the Democratic nomination during the 2004 U.S. presidential election. Following the public announcement by Richard M. Daley that he would not seek re-election, in November 2010, Braun began her campaign for Mayor of Chicago.[3] The former Senator placed fourth in a field of six candidates, losing the February 22, 2011, election to Rahm Emanuel.

Early life[edit]

Carol Elizabeth Moseley was born in Chicago, Illinois. She attended public and parochial schools. She attended Ruggles School for elementary school, and she attended Parker High School (now the site of Paul Robeson High School) in Chicago.[4][5] Her father, Joseph Moseley, was a Chicago police officer and jail guard and her mother, Edna, was a medical technician in a hospital. Both her parents were Catholic.[6] The family lived in a segregated middle-class neighborhood in the South Side of Chicago. Her parents divorced when she was in her teens, and she lived with her grandmother.[7] She began her college studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, but dropped out after four months.[5] She then majored in political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago,[8] graduating in 1969 and earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1972.

Professional career[edit]

As an attorney, Moseley Braun was a prosecutor in the United States Attorney's office in Chicago from 1973 to 1977. An Assistant United States Attorney, she worked primarily in the civil and appellate law areas. Her work in housing, health policy, and environmental law won her the Attorney General's Special Achievement Award.[9]

Early political career[edit]

Moseley Braun was first elected to public office in 1978, as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives. There, she rose to the post of assistant majority leader. As a State Representative, she became recognized as a champion for liberal social causes.[10] As early as 1984, she proposed a moratorium on the application in Illinois of the death penalty. And in what became a landmark reapportionment case, Crosby vs State Board of Elections, she successfully sued her own party and the state of Illinois on behalf of African American and Hispanic citizens. When she left the state legislature in 1987, her colleagues recognized her in a resolution as "the conscience of the House."[11] That same year, she was elected as Cook County, Illinois, Recorder of Deeds, a post she held for four years.

U.S. Senate[edit]

Elections[edit]

U.S. Senator Moseley Braun

In 1991, angered by incumbent Democratic senator Alan Dixon's vote to confirm Clarence Thomas, Moseley Braun challenged him in the primary election. Candidate Albert Hofeld's campaign ran many anti-Dixon ads, and Moseley Braun won the Democratic senate primary. On November 3, 1992, she became the first African American woman to be elected to the United States Senate, defeating Republican Richard S. Williamson. Her election marked the first time Illinois had elected a woman and the second time a black person was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate. She (along with Edward Brooke) was one of two African-Americans to serve in the Senate in the 20th century and was the sole African-American in the Senate for her entire term.

Carol Moseley Braun was a one-term Senator, losing to Republican Peter Fitzgerald in her re-election bid in 1998.

Female Senators of the Democratic Party, 1993. Top Row (L-R): Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) Bottom Row: Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D-IL), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

Positions[edit]

Despite her reputation as a liberal, Moseley Braun possessed something of a centrist record on economic issues. She voted for the 1993 budget package and against the welfare reform laws passed in 1996, but on many other matters she was more conservative. Moseley Braun voted in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and lawsuit reform measures like the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (she was also among the minority of Democrats to support the even more controversial Common Sense Product Liability and Legal Reform Act of 1995). She also voted contrary to the interests of the more populist wing of the party by voting for the Freedom to Farm Act and the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Like her Illinois colleague, fellow Democrat Paul Simon, she voted in favor of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution and also to place a nuclear spent fuel storage facility in Nevada, a move strongly opposed by many Democrats, especially current Majority Leader Harry Reid.

On social issues however, she was significantly more liberal than many of her fellow senators. She was strongly pro-choice, voting against the ban on partial-birth abortions and the restrictions on funding in military bases for abortions. She also voted against the death penalty and in favor of gun control measures. Moseley Braun was one of only sixteen senators to vote against the Communications Decency Act and one of only fourteen to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act. She delivered a eulogy to Thurgood Marshall on January 26, 1993.

In 1993, the Illinois Senator made headlines when she convinced the Senate Judiciary Committee not to renew a design patent for the United Daughters of the Confederacy because it contained the Confederate flag. The patent had been routinely renewed for nearly a century, and despite the Judiciary Committee’s disapproval, the Senate was poised to pass a resolution sponsored by Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina that included a provision to authorize the extension of the federal patent. Moseley Braun threatened to filibuster the legislation “until this room freezes over.” She also made a plea to her colleagues about the symbolism of the Confederate flag, declaring, “It has no place in our modern times, place in this body, place in our society.” Swayed by Moseley Braun’s argument, the Senate rejected the UDC’s application to renew its patent.[12]

Controversy[edit]

Moseley Braun was the subject of a 1993 Federal Election Commission investigation over $249,000 in unaccounted-for campaign funds. The agency found some small violations, but took no action against Moseley Braun, citing a lack of resources. Moseley Braun only admitted to bookkeeping errors. The Justice Department turned down two requests for investigations from the IRS.[13]

In 1996, Moseley Braun made a private trip to Nigeria, where she met with dictator Sani Abacha. Despite U.S. sanctions against that country due to Abacha's actions, the Senator neither notified nor registered her trip with the State Department. She subsequently defended Abacha's human rights records in Congress.[14] Her former fiancé Kgosie Matthews, who also served on her campaign staff (in violation of U.S. immigration regulations[15]), had been a lobbyist for the Nigerian government; Matthews would later leave the country. She had paid Matthews, a native of South Africa, a salary of $15,000 a month during the campaign.[16] Braun is on the advisory board of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.[citation needed]

In 1998, after George Will wrote a column reviewing the allegations of corruption against her,[17] Moseley Braun responded to Will's comments, saying that "I think because he couldn't say nigger, he said corrupt,"[18] She also compared Will to a Ku Klux Klansman, saying "I mean this very sincerely from the bottom of my heart: He can take his hood and put it back on again, as far as I'm concerned."[19] Later, Moseley Braun apologized for her remarks.[18]

Ambassadorship[edit]

On October 8, 1999,[20] President Clinton nominated Moseley Braun to be the United States Ambassador to New Zealand. Although her nomination ran into token opposition from her old adversary, Jesse Helms, and the senator who defeated her, Peter Fitzgerald, the Senate confirmed her on November 10, 1999 in a 96–2 vote.[21][22][23] She served until the end of Clinton's presidency.

2004 presidential campaign[edit]

She announced her intention to run for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in February 2003. On January 15, 2004, four days before the Iowa caucuses, Moseley Braun dropped out of the race and endorsed Howard Dean.

2011 Chicago mayoral candidate[edit]

U.S. Senator Moseley Braun

In November 2010, Moseley Braun announced she would run in the 2011 Chicago mayoral election, after mayor Richard M. Daley announced he would not be seeking re-election.[24] In early 2011 potentially strong African-American candidates congressman Danny Davis, and state senator James Meeks left the race and endorsed Moseley Braun, making her the so-called consensus black candidate.[25][26][27]

In a debate on January 30, 2011, she accused another candidate, Patricia Van-Pelt Watkins of "being strung out on crack" for twenty years.[28]

Moseley Braun came in fourth in the field of six, receiving about nine percent of the vote. In her concession speech, she remarked that her young niece could become the first female mayor of Chicago,[29] neglecting to mention Jane Byrne, Chicago's first female mayor, who served from 1979 to 1983.[30]

Life outside of politics[edit]

She currently runs a private law firm, Carol Moseley Braun LLC in Chicago. Moseley Braun has launched a line of organic food products called Organics.[31]

Lauryn Valentine[edit]

In September 1988 a woman, Lauryn Kaye Valentine, applied to legally change her name to Carol Mosley Braun. Citing the former senator as her hero, and promising not to "dishonor [the] name", the change was made official. That December, however, Valentine put her name forward as a candidate for Alderman of the cities 37th Ward.[32] Before the election a Circuit Court judge rescinded the name change, forcing the woman to revert to her original name.[33] Valentine was later ruled ineligible to run, as she was not a registered voter at the time because of the name changes.[34]

Personal life[edit]

In 1973, she married Michael Braun, whom she met in law school.[6] They had one son, Matthew, in 1977. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1986.[10] She resides in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. She is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

Crime victim[edit]

In April 2007, Braun suffered a broken wrist when a mugger emerged from bushes near her front door to steal her purse, cutting the strap with a knife. Braun resisted and fell during the struggle, fracturing her left wrist. The mugger was chased off by a University of Chicago student while his girlfriend called 9-1-1. Braun was later treated and released from a hospital.[35] A suspect, Joseph Dixon, was later charged with the crime and was sentenced to 20 years in prison on July 11, 2008.[36]

Home foreclosure[edit]

Braun's financial problems made headlines in October 2012 when it was revealed that her home was in foreclosure as she had been unable to make any mortgage payments for over a year. Before she was evicted, she managed to sell her house although the sale was "underwater" as she sold it for approximately $200,000 less than the amount she still owed on her loan.[37]

Electoral history[edit]

Illinois U.S. Senate Election 1992 – Democratic Primary
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Carol Moseley Braun 557,694 38.30
Democratic Alan Dixon (incumbent) 504,077 34.61
Democratic Albert Hofeld 394,497 27.09
Illinois U.S. Senate Election 1992
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Carol Moseley Braun 2,631,229 53.27
Republican Richard Williamson 2,126,833 43.06
Illinois U.S. Senate Election 1998
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Peter Fitzgerald 1,709,041 50.35
Democratic Carol Moseley Braun (incumbent) 1,610,496 47.44
Chicago mayoral election, 2011[38] (General Election)
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Rahm Emanuel 323,546 55%
Nonpartisan Gery Chico 140,362 24%
Nonpartisan Miguel del Valle 54,342 9%
Nonpartisan Carol Moseley Braun 52,483 9%
Nonpartisan Patricia Van Pelt Watkins 9,604 2%
Nonpartisan William "Dock" Walls III 5,291 1%

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Mihalopoulos, Dan (October 23, 2003). "Crusading for a second chance". Chicago Tribune. p. 1 (Tempo). 
    Religion: Braun is Episcopalian. Raised Roman Catholic, Braun said she became a born-again Christian in 1986—the year she got divorced, her mother suffered a stroke, a younger brother died of drug abuse and Chicago Mayor Harold Washington blocked her bid for lieutenant governor.
  2. ^ Marja Mills, "The Humble Hyphen", Chicago Times, March 14, 2003, explaining that Moseley Braun adopted the hyphenation on joining the Senate and dropped it ten years late
  3. ^ Mitchell, Mary (September 14, 2010). "Trailblazing Moseley Braun set to run again". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  4. ^ [1]"Carol Moseley Braun," Cook County Clerk website. Retrieved January 4, 2011
  5. ^ a b Carol Moseley Braun, Illinois state representative. (November 16, 1980). Chicago Tribune (1963–Current file),p. f48. Retrieved January 4, 2011, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849–1987). (Document ID: 619772962)
  6. ^ a b [2] Levinsohn, Florence Hamlish "Carol Moseley Braun: She has the credentials. Can she get the votes?" Chicago Reader, March 5, 1992. Retrieved January 4, 2011
  7. ^ "Carol Mosely Braun." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Vol. 11. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2004. p199-200. 23 vols.
  8. ^ [3] UIC Admissions Office website says she is an alumna. Retrieved January 4, 2011
  9. ^ [4] Simmonds, Yusef "The Senators: Carol Moseley Braun." Los Angeles Sentinel, November 20, 2008. Retrieved January 4, 2011
  10. ^ a b [5] Nordgren, Sarah, "Carol Moseley Braun: the unique candidate." Associated Press, printed in the Gainesville Sun, August 9, 1992, page 15D. Retrieved January 1, 2011
  11. ^ "Carol Moseley-braun". National Women's History Museum. Retrieved November 21, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Black Americans in Congress – Carol Moseley Braun, Senator from Illinois". Baic.house.gov. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  13. ^ Slate, Is Carol Moseley-Braun [sic] a Crook?", February 19, 2003
  14. ^ NPR, "2004 Democratic Presidential Candidates: Carol Moseley Braun", May 6, 2003
  15. ^ Siskind Susser Bland. "US SENATOR’S CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOUND TO BE WORKING ILLEGALLY." May 1998. Accessed February 16, 2010.
  16. ^ [6] Johnson, Dirk "Illinois's new Senator under fire on issue of boyfriend's conduct." Chicago Tribune, December 31, 1992. Retrieved January 1, 2011
  17. ^ Will, George F. "Story of Chicagoan Carol Moseley-Braun." September 6, 1998.
  18. ^ a b Associated Press, "Moseley-Braun Lashes Out At Columnist, Apologizes" (defunct link. Archived copy as of 2007-06-13.), CNN, September 9, 1998.
  19. ^ "Moseley-Braun loses to Republican Fitzgerald", CNN, November 3, 1998.
  20. ^ http://clinton6.nara.gov/1999/10/1999-10-08-carol-moseley-braun-named-us-ambassador-to-new-zealand.html
  21. ^ "Senate Confirms Moseley-braun". Chicago Tribune. November 10, 1999. 
  22. ^ http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r106:S10NO9-0009:
  23. ^ http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=106&session=1&vote=00361
  24. ^ Mitchell, Mary (September 14, 2010). "Trailblazing Moseley Braun set to run again". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2010-09-18. "So it really shouldn't be a surprise the wide open field that appeared when Mayor Daley announced he would not seek another term brought about a relapse. 'A group of people came together to encourage me to run,' Moseley Braun told me. 'They literally took a vote telling me to get in the race.'" 
  25. ^ Chicago Sun-Times http://www.suntimes.com/news/3112495-418/braun-black-davis-mayor-candidate.html |url= missing title (help). 
  26. ^ "Carol Moseley Braun Emerges As Main Black Candidate in Chicago Mayor's Race". Huffington Post. January 1, 2011. 
  27. ^ by theGrio (January 1, 2011). "Braun left as main black candidate in Chicago race". theGrio. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  28. ^ http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/elections/carol-moseley-braun-patricia-van-pelt-watkins-crack-addict-20110130 accessdate=February 25, 2011
  29. ^ "Topic Galleries – WGN". Wgntv.com. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  30. ^ "A Chronology of Chicago's Mayors". Chicago Public Library. Retrieved May 26, 2010. 
  31. ^ AP (2006). Carol Moseley Braun Launches Organic Food Line. Retrieved May 21, 2006[dead link]
  32. ^ Ayres, B. Brandon (12 January 1999). "Political Briefing; What's in a Name? Ask Moseley-Braun". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 June 2013. 
  33. ^ "Woman can't go by Mosley-braun name". Chicago Tribune. April 22, 1999. Retrieved 7 June 2013. 
  34. ^ "New Name Hinders Ward Candidate". Chicago Tribune. 16 January 1999. 
  35. ^ Ihejirika, Maudlyne. "Moseley Braun's rescuers", Chicago Sun-Times, April 29, 2007.[dead link]
  36. ^ "Carol Moseley Braun's attacker gets 20 years", Chicago Tribune, July 11, 2008.[dead link]
  37. ^ Goldsborough, Bob. Chicago Tribune http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-former-sen-moseley-braun-sells-hyde-park-home-for-1205-million-20121016,0,7929218.story |url= missing title (help). 
  38. ^ "Rahm Emanuel wins Chicago mayoral vote". CNN. February 23, 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

United States Senate
Preceded by
Alan J. Dixon
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Illinois
1993–1999
Served alongside: Paul Simon, Richard Durbin
Succeeded by
Peter Fitzgerald
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Josiah Horton Beeman
United States Ambassador to New Zealand
1999–2001
Succeeded by
Charles J. Swindells
Party political offices
Preceded by
Alan J. Dixon
Democratic nominee for Senator from Illinois
(Class 3)

1992, 1998
Succeeded by
Barack Obama