Matt Cartwright

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Matt Cartwright
Matt Cartwright, official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
Co-Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Serving with Debbie Dingell and Ted Lieu
Preceded byCheri Bustos
David Cicilline
Hakeem Jeffries
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded byTim Holden
Constituency17th district (2013–2019)
8th district (2019–present)
Personal details
Matthew Alton Cartwright

(1961-05-01) May 1, 1961 (age 59)
Erie, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Marion Munley
EducationHamilton College (BA)
University of Pennsylvania (JD)
WebsiteHouse website

Matthew Alton Cartwright (born May 1, 1961) is an American politician and lawyer who is the United States Representative from Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district since 2013. The district, numbered as the 17th district from 2013 through 2019, includes a large swath of northeastern Pennsylvania, anchored by Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and the Poconos. A member of the Democratic Party, Cartwright defeated 10-term incumbent Blue Dog Tim Holden, the Dean of the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation, in the Democratic primary on April 24, 2012, by a 57%-43% margin. Cartwright went on to defeat Republican Laureen Cummings in the general election on November 6, 2012, by a 61%-39% margin.[1] As an attorney, Cartwright previously worked at the law firm of Munley, Munley, and Cartwright.

Early life and education[edit]

Cartwright was born on May 1, 1961, in Erie, Pennsylvania, the son of Alton S. Cartwright and Adelaide (Igoe) Cartwright. Matt Cartwright attended Upper Canada College (Toronto), graduating in 1979, before going on to earn a magna cum laude Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from Hamilton College in 1983,[2] where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Cartwright studied law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He served two years as an Editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review and received his Juris Doctor degree in 1986.[3] In 1981, Cartwright attended the London School of Economics[4] where he met his future wife, Marion Munley. After graduating from law school, both Munley and Cartwright joined the Munley family's law firm in the Scranton area.[5]

Law career[edit]

For twenty-five years, Cartwright worked as an attorney and partner at Munley, Munley and Cartwright, a Scranton firm specializing in representation of consumers and small businesses in personal and business litigation.[6] He was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1986 and in 2005 was further admitted to the Bar of New York. In 2008, Cartwright was inducted into the International Society of Barristers.[7]

Cartwright served from 2009 to 2012 as a member of the Board of Governors of the American Association for Justice.[8] Between 2005 and 2011, Cartwright was the on-air legal analyst for The Law & You. In the segment, aired nightly as part of NBC affiliate WBRE-TV's evening newscast, he fielded viewer questions on legal matters.[9] In 2011, Cartwright co-authored the legal treatise Litigating Commercial and Business Tort Cases published by Thomson Reuters.[10]

During the 1992 presidential election, Cartwright was an Elected Delegate for candidate Bill Clinton at the Democratic National Convention, representing Pennsylvania's 10th congressional district.[11][12] In 2001–2002, he served as District Governor for Rotary International District 7410, covering northeastern Pennsylvania.[13] On November 5, 2010, the Boy Scouts of America's Northeastern Pennsylvania Council presented Cartwright with its Silver Beaver Award for volunteer service to that organization.[14]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

On February 27, 2019, the Center for Effective Lawmaking named Cartwright among the top four most effective Democrats in the U.S. House for the 115th Congress. In the entire U.S. House, Cartwright was one of about a dozen members of both parties “who have been in the 'Exceeds Expectations' category for their entire congressional careers,” according to the CEL report.[15]



Pennsylvania Republicans, who controlled the redistricting process after the 2010 United States Census, significantly altered Holden's 17th district. The old 17th had been based in Harrisburg, but the new 17th had been pushed well to the north and east. In the process, it absorbed heavily Democratic Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, previously in the 11th district.[16] The remap significantly altered the 17th's demographics. The old 17th had been anchored in traditionally Republican territory in central Pennsylvania; in much of the district, Holden was the only elected Democrat above the county level. John McCain carried it with 51 percent of the vote. In contrast, the new 17th was anchored in northeastern Pennsylvania, which had long been the most Democratic region of the state outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Had the district existed in 2008, Barack Obama would have carried it with 56 percent of the vote.

An internal poll from Cartwright showed him up seven points against Holden, the incumbent. The new district was significantly bluer than its predecessor and was located in territory where constituents were unfamiliar with Holden. The only portion of the district that had been in the old 17th was Holden's home in Schuylkill County, with the majority of Democratic primary voters located in counties considered more favorable to Cartwright's candidacy.[17][18] During the primary, Cartwright described himself as being from "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" — a line often employed by Howard Dean and Paul Wellstone.[19] He was supported by, the League of Conservation Voters, and the Campaign for Primary Accountability.[20][21] Cartwright ran as a self-professed "FDR Democrat", and as an ally of President Obama on taxes and health care reform, and pledged to work with U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey Jr., also of Scranton, on regulations for safety in fracking. Cartwright also benefited in the race from endorsements from popular local public figures like State Representative Phyllis Mundy and former Scranton mayor Jimmy Connors. Holden's opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and his support of energy legislation that included the Halliburton loophole are believed to have contributed to his defeat.[22] On April 24, 2012, Cartwright defeated Holden by 57%-43% in the primary.[23]

In the November general election, Cartwright faced Republican nurse Laureen Cummings, a leader of the Scranton Tea Party. On November 6, Cartwright defeated Cummings, 61%–39% to become the district's next congressman.[24]

On January 4, 2013, Cartwright was selected by his peers to serve as a class president of the 49 new Democratic members of the 113th Congress.[25][26]


On November 4, 2014, Cartwright won a second term, defeating Republican challenger David Moylan, M.D., the elected Coroner of Schuylkill County, PA by 13.6 points.[27]


On November 8, 2016, Cartwright won his third term, defeating Republican challenger Matthew Connolly, a businessman from Northampton County, PA by seven points.[28]


In the 2016 general election, Donald Trump won the 17th district by over 10%. Facing an underfunded opponent, Cartwright did not run television advertisements. That year, Cartwright won re-election by only 7 points, representing his lowest margin of victory.[29][30] As a result, the National Republican Congressional Committee began to see Cartwright as potentially vulnerable, and listed him as a top target. In response, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee included him on its "frontline" list.[31][32] Despite this, the district was rated as Likely D, meaning it was expected that Cartwright would win re-election.[33]

After the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania threw out Pennsylvania's previous congressional map, Cartwright's district was renumbered as the 8th district. It was pushed to the north and now covers the northeast corner of the state, but sweeps west to grab Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. In the process, it absorbed the remainder of Lackawanna County previously in the 10th district, as well as almost all of Luzerne County.

In the election, Cartwright faced a self-funding opponent who spent $1.7 million of his family's money in the race, in total outspending Cartwright by nearly $300,000, including direct expenditures of $625,778 by the NRCC.[34]

Cartwright won his fourth term by 9.3% with 54.65% of the vote without financial assistance from the DCCC.[35]

Following the general election, Cartwright was elected to House Democratic leadership, to serve as Co-chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee for the 116th Congress in the House Democratic Caucus elections.[36]

Committee assignments[edit]


He is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus,[37]the House Military Depot and Industrial Facilities Caucus,[38] the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition Caucus,[39] the United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus,[40] the Veterinary Medicine Caucus[41] and the Climate Solutions Caucus.[42]

Political positions[edit]


Ed O'Keefe of the Washington Post wrote on November 3, 2013, that Cartwright was elected largely based on the Affordable Care Act "because the veteran moderate Democrat he challenged in a primary voted against it." According to O'Keefe, "Cartwright spent his first year in office preparing constituents for 'the ACA'."[43]

In May 2017, Cartwright voted against the Republican-sponsored American Health Care Act.[44] Cartwright said in January 2018 that he continued to support the Affordable Care Act.[45] Cartwright also supports Medicare for All.[46]


In July 2015, Cartwright voted against a bill that would have withdrawn funding from municipalities that declined to detain undocumented persons for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement service.[citation needed] In June 2017, Cartwright was one of three Democrats who joined the 228-195 majority voting to cut off some particular federal grants from cities not agreeing to detentions. He voted for "Kate's Law," to increase criminal punishment for undocumented recidivist violent criminals.[47] He co-sponsored legislation to protect the "Dreamers," people who entered the country illegally as children.[45] When President Trump ordered a temporary limit on immigration from certain countries, Cartwright criticized the order.[45]


On April 12, 2016, Cartwright introduced H.R. 4904, the MEGABYTE Act, to reduce duplication of computer software procurement by the federal government. The bill passed in the U.S. House on June 7, 2016, and passed the U.S. Senate on July 14, 2016. It was signed by President Obama on July 29, 2016.[48][non-primary source needed]

Cartwright supports net neutrality.[45]


On June 29, 2017, Cartwright introduced H.R. 3122, the Veterans Care Financial Protection Act of 2017, to crack down on scams targeting veterans applying for the Aid and Attendance benefits. The bill passed in the U.S. House on November 6, 2017, and passed the Senate on February 15, 2018. It was signed by President Trump on March 9, 2018.[49][non-primary source needed]

Economic issues[edit]

Cartwright supports increasing the income tax on the highest incomes.[50] He also believes the current tax system in place gives too many breaks to Americans in the highest tax brackets.[50] He describes the middle class as being "under assault" and seeks to alter the tax system to allow the middle-class to carry less of a burden.[50]

Cartwright has criticized the Trump tax cut, saying that it gave taxpayers little relief while adding huge sums to the national debt.[45]

Cartwright has stated that promoting family-sustaining jobs is his "No. 1 message."[51] He introduced H.R. 2296, the Job Creation through Energy Efficiency Manufacturing Act,[52] and H.R. 5812, the Innovate America Act.[53]

He supports stricter enforcement of prohibitions against gender-based discrimination in wages.[50] He has described education as the only method of truly alleviating poverty.[50]

Cartwright supports reducing defense spending in some areas.[50]


To combat global warming, Cartwright supports implementing cap-and-trade emission standards for companies to encourage lowering emissions.[50]

On February 26, 2014, Cartwright introduced the Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act of 2014 (H.R. 4092; 113th Congress), a bill that would require the United States Department of Energy to establish a centralized clearinghouse to disseminate information on federal programs, incentives, and mechanisms for financing energy-efficient retrofits and upgrades at schools.[54][55] Cartwright argued that "the bill is a strategic and cost-saving investment to relieve the fiscal pressure felt by schools across the country while bringing us closer to energy security." Cartwright's bill passed unanimously out of the Energy and Commerce Committee on April 30, 2014.[56] It passed the full House of Representatives on June 23, 2014.[57]

Gun policy[edit]

Cartwright is in favor of more gun control.[50] During his first month in office he co-sponsored four bills involving gun control.[58] He opposes gun-makers' legal immunity after a crime has occurred, and he opposes assault rifle sales.[58]

LGBT issues[edit]

He supports same-sex marriages[50] and stated "there's no reason to discriminate against gay people."[59] He does not believe religious leaders should be mandated to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.[59] The Human Rights Campaign scorecard has given Cartwright a 100% score for his tenure in Congress.[60]


Cartwright describes himself as personally pro-life but has consistently voted for abortion rights.[50]

Student loans[edit]

In October 2018, Cartwright co-authored a Washington Post article proposing a pilot program to examine the effectiveness of non-transferable financial incentives such as certain student loan forgiveness being given to increase organ donation.[61]

Electoral history[edit]

Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Matt Cartwright 161,393 60.3
Republican Laureen Cummings 106,208 39.7
Total votes 267,601 100
Democratic hold
Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Matt Cartwright (Incumbent) 93,680 56.76
Republican David Moylan 71,371 43.94
Total votes 165,051 100
Democratic hold
Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District, 2016
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Matt Cartwright (Incumbent) 157,734 53.80
Republican Matt Connolly 135,430 46.20
Total votes 293,164 100
Democratic hold
Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Matt Cartwright (Incumbent) 134,519 54.65
Republican John Chrin 111,640 45.35
Total votes 246,159 100
Democratic hold

Personal life[edit]

Cartwright married Marion K. Munley on August 10, 1985 in Archbald, Pennsylvania.[62] They live in Moosic, Pennsylvania, with their two sons.[63]


  1. ^ "Cartwright beats out Cummings for 17th District House seat". Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  2. ^ "Matthew Cartwright '83 Runs for Congress Alumni News & Notes". Hamilton College. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  3. ^ "Meet Matt: Cartwright for U.S. Congress". Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  4. ^ "Matthew Cartwright". Forbes. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Clark, Adam (April 19, 2012). "Cartwright, Holden face off in 17th District primary". The Morning Call.
  7. ^ "Matthew A. Cartwright". Munley, Munley & Cartwright. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  8. ^ "Pennsylvania Attorney Matthew A. Cartwright Chosen to Serve on AAJ Board of Governors". July 14, 2011. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  9. ^ Toeplitz, Shira (April 17, 2012). "Redistricting Makes Blue Dog Holden an Underdog". Roll Call.
  10. ^ "Litigating Business and Commercial Tort Cases". Thomson Reuters. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  11. ^ Moyer, Josh (April 10, 2012). "Cartwright emphasizes health care, trade in platform". Citizens Voice. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  12. ^ Gibson, Keegan (December 22, 2011). "Serious Primary Challenger Emerges for Holden". PoliticsPA. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  13. ^ "Rotary District 7410 Northeastern Pennsylvania Past District Governors". Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  14. ^ "Boy Scouts Present Silver Beaver Awards". Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  15. ^ "Highlights from the New 115th Congress Legislative Effectiveness Scores". Center for Effective Lawmaking. February 27, 2019.
  16. ^ Lindsey, Zach. "Matt Cartwright in victory over U.S. Rep. Tim Holden: Time to 'rebuild'". The Express-Times. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  17. ^ Gibson, Keegan (2012-04-09). "Cartwright Poll: Cartwright Leads Holden 42-36". PoliticsPA. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  18. ^ Bland, Scott (April 24, 2012). "Holden Loses Re-Election Bid to Cartwright". National Journal.
  19. ^ Joseph, Cameron (January 25, 2012). "Holden gets primary challenge in Pa". The Hill.
  20. ^ Isenstadt, Alex (April 25, 2012). "Jason Altimire, Tim Holden fall in Pennsylvania primaries". Politico.
  21. ^ Sledge, Matt (April 25, 2012). "Matt Cartwright, Environmentalist Candidate, Wins Pennsylvania Primary With Help Of Oil Magnates". Huffington Post.
  22. ^ Weisman, Jonathan (April 25, 2012). "2 House Democrats Defeated After Opposing Health Law". The New York Times. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  23. ^ "Holden, longtime Pa. incumbent, ousted in primary". CBS News. April 25, 2012.
  24. ^ "STATE-BY-STATE RESULTS". Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  25. ^ Kurtz, Connor. "Cartwright Elected Freshman Dem President". PoliticsPA. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  26. ^ Bell, Peter (November 15, 2012). "The New Faces of the 113th Congress". National Journal.
  27. ^ "Cartwright Cruises to Second Term". The Morning Call. November 4, 2014.
  28. ^ "Cartwright Soundly Defeats Republican Challenger". The Citizens Voice. November 9, 2016.
  29. ^ "Daily Kos Elections' presidential results by congressional district for the 2016 and 2012 elections". Daily Kos. Retrieved 2017-11-24.
  30. ^ "House Election Results: G.O.P. Keeps Control". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-11-24.
  31. ^ "2017–2018 DCCC Frontline Members". DCCC. Retrieved 2017-11-24.
  32. ^ "NRCC Announces Initial Offensive Targets For The 2018 Cycle - NRCC". NRCC. 2017-02-08. Retrieved 2017-11-24.
  33. ^ "2018 House Race ratings | The Cook Political Report". The Cook Political Report. Retrieved 2017-11-24.
  34. ^ "Open Secrets Center for Responsive Politics |Open Secrets". Open Secrets. Retrieved 2019-03-23.
  35. ^ "Open Secrets Center for Responsive Politics |Open Secrets". Open Secrets. Retrieved 2019-03-23.
  36. ^ "House Democrats' New Elected Leadership Team Is More Progressive and Diverse". Roll Call. December 4, 2018.
  37. ^ "Caucus Members". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Archived from the original on 22 October 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  38. ^ "House Military Depot and Industrial Facilities Caucus". Legislative Tracking System. Municipal Association of South Carolina. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  39. ^ "SEEC Caucus Members". Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  40. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  41. ^ "Members of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus". Veterinary Medicine Caucus. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  42. ^ "90 Current Climate Solutions Caucus Members". Citizen´s Climate Lobby. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  43. ^ O'Keefe, Ed; Rep. Matt Cartwright, loyal Democrat, stands by health-care law, takes stage to defend it; Washington Post; November 3, 2013;
  44. ^ Stallsmith, Shelly; 4 Pa. Republicans voted against health care bill; Statesmen Journal; May 4, 2017;
  45. ^ a b c d e Peterson, Margie; At town hall, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright weighs in on tax bill, coal industry and whether he welcomes a primary challenge; The Morning Call; January 25, 2018;
  46. ^ Jayapal, Pramila (2019-03-13). "Cosponsors - H.R.1384 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Medicare for All Act of 2019". Retrieved 2019-06-02.
  47. ^ Marcos, Cristina; House passes 'Kate's Law' and bill targeting sanctuary cities; The Hill; June 29, 2017;
  48. ^ "MEGABYTE Act of 2016 (2016 - H.R. 4904)". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  49. ^ "Govtrack". Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  50. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Matt Cartwright:(Democrat, district 17)". On the Issues."Cartwright, Moylan debate immigration, Ebola". Allentown Morning Call. "Matt Cartwright's Ratings and Endorsements". VoteSmart.
  51. ^ "Blue Collar Democrats: Shaky Jobs Message Doomed Clinton". Newsweek.
  52. ^
  53. ^ "Innovate America Act (2014 - H.R. 5812)". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  54. ^ "CBO - H.R. 4092". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  55. ^ "H.R. 4092 - All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  56. ^ "House Committee Unanimously Approves Energy Efficiency for Schools Act". SBC Magazine. 5 May 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  57. ^ "Thomas, Bill Summary and Status, HR 4092". Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  58. ^ a b Itkowitz, Colby (Feb 6, 2013). "Rep. Cartwright makes gun control a priority". The Morning Call.
  59. ^ a b "Cartwright backs gay marriage". Times Leader.
  60. ^ "Human Rights Campaign Scorecard" (PDF). Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  61. ^ "Student loan forgiveness and other incentives could save lives. Here's how". Washington Post.
  62. ^ McGill, Andrew (April 12, 2012). "Political adwatch: Matt Cartwright's 'Priorities' gives little reason to offend". The Morning Call.
  63. ^ Krawczeniuk, Borys (January 25, 2012). "Cartwright says he's the real Democrat, not Holden". The Times-Tribune.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Tim Holden
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 17th congressional district

Succeeded by
Conor Lamb
Preceded by
Brian Fitzpatrick
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Tony Cárdenas
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Joaquín Castro