Matt Cartwright

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Matt Cartwright
Matt Cartwright, official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 17th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Tim Holden
Personal details
Born Matthew Alton Cartwright
(1961-05-01) May 1, 1961 (age 57)
Erie, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Marion Munley
Children 2
Education Hamilton College, New York (BA)
University of Pennsylvania (JD)
Website House website

Matthew Alton Cartwright (born May 1, 1961) is an American politician and attorney who has served as the United States Representative for Pennsylvania's 17th congressional district since 2013. The district includes a large swath of northeastern Pennsylvania, including Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and Easton. 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 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 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]



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.[15] 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.

It was widely believed that Holden, a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, would face a tough fight to secure re-election in the primary. Not only was the district significantly bluer than its predecessor, but it was located in territory that he did not know and did not know him. 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.[16][17] 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.[18] He was supported by, the League of Conservation Voters, and the Campaign for Primary Accountability.[19][20] 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.[21]

On April 24, 2012, Cartwright defeated Holden by 57%-43% in the primary.[22]

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.[23]

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.[24][25]

On March 28, 2014, Cartwright was named a "moderate Democratic leader" in the U.S. House by the independent legislative watchdog[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]


Donald Trump won the 17th district while Cartwright won re-election by his lowest margin (7 points).[29][30] The DCCC has included Cartwright on their "frontline" list.[31] The NRCC has included Cartwright on their target list as well.[32] Despite this, the district is rated as Likely D, meaning it is expected that Cartwright will win re-election.[33]

On September 5, 2018, the National Republican Congressional Committee released its first attack TV ad against Cartwright. The ad focuses on Cartwright being late in paying taxes, while painting him side-by-side with Minority Leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi in wanting to raise taxes.[34]

Committee assignments[edit]

He is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus,[35] the United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus,[36] the Veterinary Medicine Caucus[37] and the Climate Solutions Caucus.[38]

Political positions[edit]


In September 2018, Cartwright introduced a bill called the Coal Royalty Fairness and Communities Investment Act of 2018. The legislation would give $70 million to struggling historic coal communities for the purpose of building their local economies and promotion job opportunities. The bill would also ensure fair returns on publicly-owned coal and increase the transparency of the federal coal program. Of the funding the bill would provide, $5 million would go toward funding the construction and operation of projects that would capture and store carbon dioxide emissions from industrial sources.[39]


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'."[40]

In May 2017, Cartwright voted against the Republican-sponsored American Health Care Act.[41] Cartwright said in January 2018 that he continued to support the Affordable Care Act.[42]


In July 2015, Cartwright voted against a bill that would have withdrawn certain funding from sanctuary cities. In June 2017, however, Cartwright was one of three Democrats who joined the 228-195 majority voting to cut off some federal grants from sanctuary cities.[43] He co-sponsored legislation to protect the "Dreamers," people who entered the country illegally as children.[42] When President Trump ordered a temporary limit on immigration from certain countries, Cartwright criticized the order.[42]


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 the President on July 29, 2016.[44]

Cartwright supports net neutrality.[42]

Economic issues[edit]

Cartwright supports increasing the income tax on the highest incomes.[45] He also believes the current tax system in place gives too many breaks to Americans in the highest tax brackets.[45] 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.[45]

Cartwright has criticized the Trump tax cut, saying that it gave taxpayers little relief while adding huge sums to the national debt.[42]

Cartwright has stated that promoting family-sustaining jobs is his "No. 1 message."[46] He introduced H.R. 2296, the Job Creation through Energy Efficiency Manufacturing Act,[47] and H.R. 5812, the Innovate America Act.[48]

He supports stricter enforcement of prohibitions against gender based discrimination in wages.[45] He has described education as the only method of truly alleviating poverty.[45]

Cartwright supports reducing defense spending.[45]


To combat global warming, Cartwright supports implementing cap-and-trade emission standards for companies to encourage lowering emissions.[45] Although he believes American energy production and American economic growth are linked, he does not believe environment-friendly methods should be ruled out.[49] He supports investments in sustainable "green" energy productions with fewer emissions.[49] He also supports further forest conservation and is committed to keep water sources clean through repealing legislation allowing companies to pollute water supplies.[49]

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.[50][51] 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.[52] It passed the full House of Representatives on June 23, 2014.[53]

Gun policy[edit]

Cartwright is in favor of more gun safety laws.[45] During his first month in office he co-sponsored four bills involving gun control.[54] He opposes gun-makers' legal immunity after a crime has occurred, and he opposes assault rifle sales.[54]

LGBT issues[edit]

He supports same-sex marriages[45] and stated "there's no reason to discriminate against gay people."[55] He does not believe religious leaders should be mandated to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.[55]


Cartwright describes himself as a moderate on abortion.[45]

Personal life[edit]

Cartwright married Marion Munley in 1985.[56] They live in Moosic, Pennsylvania with their two sons Jack and Matt.[57]

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


  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. ^ Lindsey, Zach. "Matt Cartwright in victory over U.S. Rep. Tim Holden: Time to 'rebuild'". The Express-Times. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  16. ^ Gibson, Keegan (2012-04-09). "Cartwright Poll: Cartwright Leads Holden 42-36". PoliticsPA. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  17. ^ Bland, Scott (April 24, 2012). "Holden Loses Re-Election Bid to Cartwright". National Journal.
  18. ^ Joseph, Cameron (January 25, 2012). "Holden gets primary challenge in Pa". The Hill.
  19. ^ Isenstadt, Alex (April 25, 2012). "Jason Altimire, Tim Holden fall in Pennsylvania primaries". Politico.
  20. ^ Sledge, Matt (April 25, 2012). "Matt Cartwright, Environmentalist Candidate, Wins Pennsylvania Primary With Help Of Oil Magnates". Huffington Post.
  21. ^ Weisman, Jonathan (April 25, 2012). "2 House Democrats Defeated After Opposing Health Law". The New York Times. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  22. ^ "Holden, longtime Pa. incumbent, ousted in primary". CBS News. April 25, 2012.
  23. ^ "STATE-BY-STATE RESULTS". Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  24. ^ Kurtz, Connor. "Cartwright Elected Freshman Dem President". PoliticsPA. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  25. ^ Bell, Peter (November 15, 2012). "The New Faces of the 113th Congress". National Journal.
  26. ^ "Cartwright Named a Legislative Leader by Watchdog Group". Cartwright.House.Gov. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  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. ^ "PA8: NRCC 1st Ad Attacks Cartwright on Taxes". PoliticsPA. 2018-09-05. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  35. ^ "Caucus Members". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  36. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  37. ^ "Members of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus". Veterinary Medicine Caucus. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  38. ^ "90 Current Climate Solutions Caucus Members". Citizen´s Climate Lobby. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  39. ^ "REP. CARTWRIGHT INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO ELIMINATE COAL ROYALTY LOOPHOLE". Congressman Matt Cartwright. 2018-09-19. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  40. ^ O'Keefe, Ed; Rep. Matt Cartwright, loyal Democrat, stands by health-care law, takes stage to defend it; Washington Post; November 3, 2013;
  41. ^ Stallsmith, Shelly; 4 Pa. Republicans voted against health care bill; Statesmen Journal; May 4, 2017;
  42. ^ 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;
  43. ^ Marcos, Cristina; House passes 'Kate's Law' and bill targeting sanctuary cities; The Hill; June 29, 2017;
  44. ^
  45. ^ 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.
  46. ^ "Blue Collar Democrats: Shaky Jobs Message Doomed Clinton". Newsweek.
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^ a b c "Environment". Cartwright for Congress.
  50. ^ "CBO - H.R. 4092". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  51. ^ "H.R. 4092 - All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  52. ^ "House Committee Unanimously Approves Energy Efficiency for Schools Act". SBC Magazine. 5 May 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  53. ^ "Thomas, Bill Summary and Status, HR 4092". Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  54. ^ a b Itkowitz, Colby (Feb 6, 2013). "Rep. Cartwright makes gun control a priority". The Morning Call.
  55. ^ a b "Cartwright backs gay marriage". Times Leader.
  56. ^ McGill, Andrew (April 12, 2012). "Political adwatch: Matt Cartwright's 'Priorities' gives little reason to offend". The Morning Call.
  57. ^ 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

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