Jack Quinn (politician)
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 30th and 27th district
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 2005
|Preceded by||Louise Slaughter|
|Succeeded by||Brian Higgins|
April 13, 1951 |
Buffalo, New York
|Spouse(s)||Mary Beth McAndrews |
|Children||Jack III, Kara Elizabeth |
|Residence||Hamburg, New York|
|Religion||Roman Catholic |
John Francis "Jack" Quinn, Jr. (born April 13, 1951) is the President of Erie Community College (ECC), and a former politician from the State of New York. He was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1993 to 2005. Quinn's political views are Moderate-Conservative to Conservative, and his voting record reflects Centrist leanings. While in Congress, Quinn was active in numerous committees, subcommittees, and caucuses as chair or member. Prior to becoming a congressional representative, Quinn taught in Orchard Park, New York; worked at a steel plant; and was active in the Hamburg Town Council, as well as being the town's supervisor. After leaving Congress and prior to taking the top leadership post at ECC, Quinn was also president of a lobbying firm in Washington, DC. Quinn has two adult children, including his son, former New York State Assembly Member Jack Quinn, III; and his daughter, Kara Elizabeth. He currently resides in Hamburg with his wife, Mary Beth.
- 1 Background
- 2 Education
- 3 Pre-congressional career
- 4 Congressional career
- 5 Post-congressional career
- 6 Community involvement
- 7 Family and personal life
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Quinn was born in Buffalo, New York on April 13, 1951. His father, Jack Quinn, Sr., was a locomotive engineer with the South Buffalo Railway, and also worked at the Erie County Public Library. Quinn's mother is Norma; and he has four brothers, Kevin, Jeffrey, Thomas, and Michael.
Quinn graduated from Siena College; and the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1978 with a Master's degree in Education. Quinn also holds a school superintendent credential that he earned at the State University of New York at Fredonia.
Quinn was a middle school English teacher in the Orchard Park Central School District for 10 years, where he coached track and field, basketball, and football. Prior to entering the teaching field, Quinn briefly worked at the Bethlehem Steel Plant in Lackawanna, New York. He served on the Hamburg, New York Town Council from 1982 to 1984, followed by a stint as town supervisor until 1993.
After the retirement of Congress Member Henry Nowak, Quinn was elected to the House of Representatives in 1992 representing most of Buffalo and suburban Erie County in the 30th District. The district was heavily Democratic, and had been made even more Democratic after redistricting in 2002. However, Quinn defeated Erie County Executive Dennis Gorski in an upset. He was re-elected five more times by surprisingly wide margins in what was by far the most Democratic district in the nation to be represented by a Republican.
Quinn survived in this district in large part due to the close ties he developed with organized labor, something not common with most Republicans. Quinn worked to develop those ties even while voting against several programs and initiatives early in his career, a few of which included Amtrak subsidies, Social Security, and the Low Income Home Energy Assistant Program. Despite such votes and initially being an unknown, Quinn was successful in Buffalo, much as Jack Kemp was twenty years earlier. Quinn was also viewed as being honorable, and he did not have any character issues.
Despite a close relationship with Bill Clinton, whom he considers his friend, he voted for three of the articles of impeachment against him. There have been several suggestions that the House leadership pressured him into doing so, though Quinn, himself, denied this in a 1999 article in the Washington Post. Quinn stated that his position in regard to impeaching Clinton was "a vote of conscience" that was "a personal decision and personally painful," though he initially stated that the situation did not merit impeachment. It has been reported that Clinton's 1999 visit to Buffalo after his State of the Union Address was in response to Quinn's votes.
During the 2002 redistricting process, one map had Quinn drawn into a district with a longtime friend, Democrat John LaFalce. However, he ended up with a district that encompassed nearly all of his old district and added Chautauqua County, the 27th District. The 30th District was eliminated based on the results of the 2000 census.
Selected electoral history
|Election Results, United States House of Representatives, 27th District, November 5, 2002|
|Right to Life||Thomas Casey||3,586||2.06||-67.00|
- Quinn also ran on the Conservative ticket in this election.
- These election results reflect Quinn's largest margin of victory.
|Election Results, United States House of Representatives, 30th District, November 3, 1992|
|Right to Life||Mary F. Refermat||6,025||2.48||-49.22|
- Quinn also ran on the Change Congress ticket in this election.
- These election results represent Quinn's smallest margin of victory.
Quinn was a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he served as chairman of the Railroads Subcommittee. On the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Quinn was a member of the Transportation Subcommittees on Aviation, Highways, Surface Transportation, Mass Transit, and Water and Environment.
Quinn chaired both the Executive Committee of the Congressional Steel Caucus and the Benefits Subcommittee. He further chaired the Republican Working Group on Labor. Quinn was also a member of the Veteran's Affairs Committee, and its related Subcommittee on Hospitals and Health Care. He served on the Joint Economic Committee as a member.
To aid his constituents, Quinn opened and closed more than 10,000 working cases during his time in Congress. This type of commitment to completing federal casework has been described as "legendary."
Quinn's political affiliation is Republican Conservative to Republican Moderate-Conservative. His political views placed him as a centrist between Democrats and Republicans on most issues on which he voted in Congress in 2004. Much later in his congressional career, his voting record was typically in the middle, falling between Democratic and Republican views.
In his first year in Congress, Congressional Quarterly reported that Quinn's voting record was 84-85% Republican in support of the party line. During his first year, while there were issues that he voted in favor of, there were also those that he voted against, including a $16 million community development stimulus package for Buffalo. The Buffalo News reported that Quinn's consistency in voting along Republican party lines was reflected in 87% of his votes by 2001.
Regarding Quinn's vote against the $16 million Buffalo stimulus package, Buffalo's Fillmore Council Member David A. Franczyk was quoted in a Buffalo News article by Jerry Zremski on January 1, 1994, stating:
- Jack Quinn is hurting this community.
A portion of Quinn's voting record has been tracked, online, regarding issues such as abortion, education, energy and the environment, gay marriage, healthcare, homeland security, immigration, social security, stem cell research, taxes, the economy, the second amendment (the right to keep and bear arms), and both the War in Afghanistan and the War in Iraq.
Regarding abortion, Quinn has stated that he is pro-life. In 1994, Democrat Ellen T. Kennedy criticized Quinn for voting against a bill that would make it a crime to block abortion clinic access. Kennedy noted that Quinn's 1993 approval rating from a group that supports abortion rights, the National Abortion Reproductive Rights Action League, was 5%.
Particular stances regarding certain issues that Quinn holds include being against both gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana. He is a proponent of Alaska/offshore oil drilling, Bush tax cuts, capital punishment, labor, life, and social security privatization. Quinn also supported campaign finance reform.
In 1998 at Canisius College in Buffalo, Quinn hosted fellow Congress Member John Lewis, a Democrat and African-American from Georgia who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the civil rights movement. The talk in which the two congressional leaders participated was regarding race relations and how they can be improved. The event was attending largely by African-Americans, and was suggested to be an attempt at increasing bloc voter support for Quinn among the Black community in Buffalo.
At the 1998 dialogue at Canisius College between Quinn and Lewis, Quinn was quoted in The Buffalo News about race relations:
- We believe a discussion about race is important, not only nationally, but in our own neighborhoods. That discussion needs to take place not only in the Congress, but in statehouses, county legislatures, in block clubs, and in the streets.
It has been suggested that Quinn would have been better to be a Democrat in Buffalo, though as a Republican, he appeared to garner more Republican support in Congress than a Democrat would have. In reality, Quinn has been asked if he would become Democrat, and has not directly answered that question. At that time he was asked in 1996, he stated that there were more important issues at hand, such as balancing the budget, than to which political party one was affiliated.
Support of selected, specific issues
Quinn was a supporter of Amtrak, working to maintain its prominence in the country's infrastructure, and improve the safety of passengers. Quinn has described himself as an "unabashed Amtrak supporter."
Regarding the Railroad Retirement Survivors Act, urging that the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974 be amended, Quinn stated in a letter to fellow Congress members, being re-quoted on page 9 of The Locomotive Engineer Newsletter in June 1997:
- During the lifetime of the employee and the spouse, the employee receives a full annuity and so does the spouse. However, after the employees' death, only a widow's or widower's annuity is payable. The inadequate spousal annuity of the current system often leaves the survivor with less than the amount of income needed to meet ordinary and necessary living expenses. Coming from a railroad family, I have seen firsthand the hard work and long hours that go into working on the railroad. The benefits that come along with the life of a railroader are well deserved but more importantly are paid for from within the railroad industry itself. No contributions from American taxpayers are needed. Put simply, an agreement among railroad industry groups for adequately funding annuity reform is what is needed.
Quinn was a proponent for rejuvenating both Buffalo's waterfront and inner harbor, as well as the Erie Canal Corridor.
In a news release by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on August 15, 1999, Quinn stated:
- HUD recognizes the importance of Buffalo's Inner Harbor as an integral part of the Erie Canal. A 'new' Erie Canal can only bring prosperity to our state, including Buffalo, by increasing tourism, and attracting new businesses and new jobs. It is important for us to restore and maintain the quality of the Erie Canal for its historical and cultural value. I have worked hard to bring in more than $37 million in federal funds for the development of the waterfront. There is no doubt that this development is essential for Buffalo's future success.
Interested in maintaining the strength of teaching hospitals in New York State, Quinn introduced bipartisan legislation known as "The Quinn-Lowey Hospital Emergency Assistance Act (H.R. 2266)," co-sponsored by Congress Member Nita Lowey, that aimed to preserve Medicare payments to hospitals. The budget crisis of 1997 contributed to the reduction of funding to hospitals, and the bill aimed to maintain government funding payments to hospitals at their prior levels.
Regarding Medicare funding for hospitals in relation to "The Quinn-Lowey Hospital Emergency Assistance Act," Quinn was quoted in a July 28, 1999 official press release, stating:
- Teaching hospitals are a necessity in serving the elderly and for training doctors. In order for the U.S. to continue being the world leader in graduate medical education, we must continue Medicare's commitment to our teaching hospitals...every hospital in every state would benefit from this bill, whether it's in a rural, urban or suburban area...Medicare DSH payments are an absolute necessity. Subjecting DSH to the federal government's annual budget process where it would have to compete against other important federal priorities would represent a wholly inappropriate shift of what is properly a Medicare responsibility to general revenues.
Quinn received numerous awards during his work in Congress. Quinn received the AMVETS Silver Helmet Award for working on behalf of veterans; and the Legislative Leadership Award from the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans.
Quinn also received the Government Service Award from the Buffalo American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) Council for his support of working women and men; and the Spirit of Enterprise Award from the United States Chamber of Commerce.
From the National Association of Railroad Passengers, Quinn received the Golden Spike Award. In recognition of Quinn's support for railway safety, he was given Operation Lifesaver's Congressional Appreciation Award.
Further awards that Quinn has won include the Public Service Award from Niagara Frontier Parks and Recreation Society; the Good Citizen Medal of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution; the Humanitarian Award from the Erie County Office for the Disabled; and the Distinguished Graduate Award from the National Catholic Elementary Schools Association.
Quinn was honored with the Friend of the Farm Bureau Award. Quinn received this national recognition award for having demonstrated an active and strong record that is consistent with the American farmer's needs.
Reflections of others
Congressional colleagues saluted Quinn on his work upon his retirement. Congress Members Sue Kelly, Tom Reynolds, and Edolphus Towns made statements in Congress, honoring him for his accomplishments.
On December 6, 2004, Congress Member Sue Kelly stated of Quinn, as quoted in Capitol Words:
- When it comes to obtaining federal assistance toward New York's widespread transportation needs, Jack Quinn has fought and won millions of dollars for our state. It has been an honor to work together with him on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. During his 12 years in Congress, Jack Quinn also has distinguished himself by enhancing New York's agriculture industry, protecting our veterans, and advocating the American worker on labor issues. 
Congress Member Tom Reynolds also recognized Quinn for his congressional achievements, with the following statement in the December 7, 2004 issue of Capitol Words:
- Throughout his entire career, Jack always acted with the best interests of New Yorkers in mind. As the chairman of the House Republican Working Group on Labor, Jack was the "go-to guy" in our conference on a wide variety of labor-related issues. His positions on both the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Veterans' Affairs Committee allowed Jack to do important work on behalf of our Nation's veteran community and passenger rail systems, employees and customers, issues that were of great importance to him.
Congress Member Edolphus Towns shared in Congress further congressional accomplishments of Quinn, being quoted on November 17, 2004 in Capitol Words:
- As chairman of the Railroads Subcommittee, Jack has been a strong and consistent voice in fighting hard for preserving Amtrak. Amtrak remains a critical part of our transportation infrastructure, especially in New York and along the Northeast corridor. Jack's leadership on this issue has greatly benefited all of us who rely on this important national passenger rail system. In fact, his commitment to this issue earned him the "Golden Spike Award" from the National Association of Railroad Passengers. Safety on railways is another key issue for Representative Quinn.
As President of Erie Community College
Quinn was appointed President of Erie Community College in 2008. There were 59 candidates who were nationally-considered for the post; and the consensus by the ECC Board of Trustees was to appoint Quinn.
As the top leader of ECC, Quinn has presided over rising enrollments at the College during a time of decreasing or flat budgetary support from Erie County and the State of New York. ECC obtains approximately 19% of its financial support from Erie County. Quinn understands the need for proper funding for ECC.
Regarding the need for increased funding for ECC, Quinn was quoted in a January 20, 2008 McClatchy - Business Tribune News article by Jay Rey:
- Money is short. I dealt with this as a member of Congress. I dealt with this as the supervisor of Hamburg. We're going to have to be creative.
Quinn also has the advantage of having lived "the ECC experience" - as he termed it - within his own family. Quinn's wife, Mary Beth, attended ECC, taking courses for her nursing degree in their earlier years when the couple was also raising their family.
In 2008, Quinn was the dinner chair of the American Ireland Fund gala. The American Ireland Fund raises monies to support community development, peace, reconciliation, arts, culture, and education in Ireland.
Quinn has also been either a member or chair of many civic organizations. Quinn has chaired the Hamburg Industrial Development Agency. Additionally, he is or has been a member of the BryhLin Foundation; the Greater Buffalo Chapter of the American Red Cross; Hamburg Kiwanis Club; the Knights of Columbus; and the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce. He has also been a member of the United Way of Western New York; the Greater Buffalo Chamber of Commerce; and the Southtowns Sewage Treatment Agency. Further, he served on the boards of St. Francis High School in Athol Springs, New York; and the New York State Advisory Council of the American Red Cross.
Family and personal life
Quinn is married to his wife, Mary Beth, and has two adult children, Jack III and Kara Elizabeth. Quinn's son, Jack Quinn III, is a former member of the New York State Assembly, the youngest ever to serve in New York State.
- NNDB: Jack Quinn, NNDB.com, Soylent Communications, Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- Quinn, John Francis (Jack), Biographical Directory of the United States Congress: 1774-Present, Washington, DC, 2014, Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- Congressman Jack Quinn, R-New York, Internet Multicasting Service, Undated, Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- Quinn, Jack, Our Campaigns, 4 September 2005, Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- SUNY ECC: Erie Community College: State University of New York: About ECC: The president's office, Erie Community College.edu, Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- Jack Quinn to take helm at ECC: His selection raises questions by some on criteria for the post, McClatchy - Tribune Business News, Washington, DC: McClatchy - Tribune Business News, 30 January 2008, Rey, J., Retrieved 11 January 2014.
- Rep. Jack Quinn, Govtrack.us, Washington, DC: Civic Impulse, LLC, 2014, Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- Alumni: Honorable Jack Quinn '73, Siena College, Loudonville, NY: Siena College, Undated, Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- U.S. Representative Jack Quinn, Congressional Report Cards, Voter Information Services, 2014, Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Representative Jack Quinn: Legislation sponsored or cosponsored by Jack Quinn, Congress.gov, Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 2014, Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- John R. Quinn, Sr., close advisor to congressman son, Buffalo News, Buffalo, NY: Berkshire Hathaway, 19 July 2004, Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- Fundraiser for Congressman Jack Quinn, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, Washington, DC: American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, 2014, Retrieved 5 January 2014,
- American Ireland Fund: Jack Quinn and his brothers, Susan O'Neill & Associates, 2008, Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- UB Alumni Association: Jack Quinn, Jr., EdM '78, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, January 2006, Byers, B.A., Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- The parable of Jack Quinn, Boston Globe, Boston, MA, 29 December 1998, Shribman, D.M., Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- Everyone can find something to like, quibble with after Quinn's 1st year, Buffalo News, Washington, DC Bureau, 1 January 1994, Zremski, J., Retrieved 11 January 2014.
- Congressman Jack Quinn, 30th District, New York, Library of Congress Web Archives, Washington, DC: Library of Congress Web Archives, 5 August 2011, Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- Congressman Jack Quinn, 30th District, New York, Library of Congress: United States 107th Congress Web Archive Collection, Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 12 December 2002, Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- Does how Quinn votes really matter? A different political climate insulates Buffalo congressman, Buffalo News, Buffalo, NY: Berkshire Hathaway, 22 May 1995, Turner, D., Retrieved 11 January 2014.
- Jack Quinn's disappointing choice, Buffalo News, Buffalo, NY: Berkshire Hathaway, 16 December 1998, Retrieved 11 January 2014.
- Bush to visit Buffalo on Tuesday; president will speak at Kleinhans to invitation-only crowd, Buffalo News, Buffalo, NY: Berkshire Hathaway, 16 April 2004, Turner, D.L., Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- Congressman Jack Quinn: The end of a term... A legacy continues, From Our Perspective, 5 December 2004, Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- House GOP member announces retirement, CNN.com, Atlanta, GA: Cable News Network/Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., 26 April 2004, Henry, E., Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- Challenger says he battles the mighty Quinns; claims ex-congressman unfairly aids son's race, Buffalo News, Buffalo, NY: Berkshire Hathaway, 29 July 2006, McCarthy, R.J., Retrieved 11 January 2014.
- Honoring Congressmen Amo Houghton and Jack Quinn, Capitol Words, Sunlight Foundation, 6 December 2004, Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- Honoring Congressman Jack Quinn, Capitol Words, Sunlight Foundation, 7 December 2004, Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- Jack Quinn's quest, Railway Age, Vol. 203 (5), No. 4, 2002, Vantuono, W.C., Retrieved 11 January 2014.
- Tribute to Congressman Jack Quinn, Capitol Words, Sunlight Foundation, 17 November 2004, Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- Jack Quinn thriving as moderate republican, Buffalo News, Buffalo, NY: Berkshire Hathaway, 28 June 1998, McCarthy, B., Retrieved 11 January 2014.
- Jack Quinn's decision, Buffalo News, Buffalo, NY: Berkshire Hathaway, 11 September 2001, Retrieved 11 January 2014.
- The evolution of Jack Quinn; redistricting sets the Hamburg republican up for a long run in Congress, despite a term-limit pledge made when he was first elected, Buffalo News, Buffalo, NY: Berkshire Hathaway, 16 June 2002, Turner, D., Retrieved 11 January 2014.
- Hamilton: Obama, Lewis, and Quinn on education, Niagara Gazette, Niagara Falls, NY: Niagara Gazette, 23 August 2013, Hamilton, K., Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Jack Quinn - On the issues, PoliGu.com: The political guide, Undated, Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- Kennedy assails Quinn on his abortion position, Buffalo News, Buffalo, NY: Berkshire Hathaway, 11 May 1994, McCarthy, R.J., Retrieved 11 January 2014.
- 'Jack (Quinn), would you ever consider becoming Democrat?', Buffalo News, Buffalo, NY: Berkshire Hathaway, 25 February 1996, McCarthy, B., Retrieved 11 January 2014.
- BLE proposes increasing benefits for widow(er)s, The Locomotive Engineer Newsletter, Vol. 11, No. 6, P. 9, Cleveland, Ohio: Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, June 1997, Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Cuomo Kicks off statewide tour to increase tourism on Erie Canal; Cuomo, Glickman, LaFalce, and Quinn announce $31.1 million in federal aid to Western New York canal region, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Archives: News releases, No. 99-150, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 15 August 1999, Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Congressman Jack Quinn: Press release: Quinn introduces bill to restore funding to teaching hospitals, United States House of Representatives, Washington, DC: United States House of Representatives, 28 July 1999, Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- The Ireland Funds, The Ireland Funds, Boston, MA, 2014, Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- American Ireland Fund, Charity Navigator, 2014, Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Honorable Jack Quinn '73, Siena College alumni page
- SUNY ECC: Erie Community College: The president's office
- UB alumni association: Jack Quinn, Jr., EdM '78
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 30th congressional district
|District 30 eliminated after the 2000 Census|
Thomas M. Reynolds
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 27th congressional district
William D. Reuter (interim)
|President of Erie Community College
April 2008 – present