- Elected to the House of Representatives in 2012
- Joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus
Born on May 1, 1961 in Erie, Pennsylvania, Matt Cartwright received a bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College in 1983. During his undergraduate years, he also studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Cartwright subsequently earned a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in 1986, and then spent three years as an associate attorney with the Philadelphia-based law firm of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker and Rhoads. In 1988 he became a partner with the Munley, Munley and Cartwright Professional Corporation, a post he continues to hold. In addition, Cartwright was an on-air legal analyst with the Nexstar Broadcasting Group’s WBRE-TV from 2005-11, and served as a Board of Governors member with the American Association for Justice from 2009-11.
Cartwright launched a political career in 2012 when he was elected, as a Democrat, to represent Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he continues to serve as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Though Cartwright identifies himself as “pro-life,” he voted against a 2014 bill calling for a ban on federal funding for abortion services and for health insurance policies that cover such services. He also voted against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Acts of 2013, 2015, and 2017, which sought to prohibit abortions from being performed on any fetus that had reached the 20th week of its gestation period—except in cases where a pregnancy endangered the mother’s life or was the result of rape or incest.
In February 2016, Cartwright joined fellow House Representatives Ted Lieu and Peter Welch in writing a letter urging Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate the Shell Corporation for allegedly trying to prevent the American public from learning that the greenhouse gases associated with fossil-fuel combustion promote potentially catastrophic global warming. “The Department of Justice (DOJ) successfully prosecuted tobacco companies for colluding within their industry to deliberately mislead the public,” said the letter. “We ask that the DOJ similarly investigate Shell for participating with ExxonMobil’s sustained deception on climate science.”
In the spring of 2016, Cartwright and four fellow House Democrats — Luis Gutierrez, Dan Kildee, Mark Pocan, and Hank Johnson — traveled to the West Bank to meet with Shawan Jabarin, a longtime activist with (and former recruiter for) the terrorist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Jabarin had since served as the general director of Al-Haq, a vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights, a member of the Human Rights Watch Middle East Advisory Board, and a commissioner for the International Commission of Jurists. The congressmen’s travel expenses were covered in full by the non-governmental organization MIFTAH.
In June 2018, Cartwright denounced the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME, which held that public-sector employees who do not belong to their industry’s union cannot be required to pay union fees, even though they may benefit from the collective bargaining efforts of that union. Characterizing the decision as a vote “against every single hard-working American who fights every day just to make ends meet,” the congressman said that the ruling “enables free-riding by those who benefit from union agreements but don’t want to pay their fair share.” Just hours after the Court ruling was handed down, Cartwright and Senator Mazie Hirono together introduced the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, whose aim was to overturn the decision legislatively.
Cartwright has voiced his support for cap-and-trade legislation as a means of limiting carbon emissions and climate change. In a 2012 political debate, for instance, he said: “Global warming is not a hoax. It’s not something that should be taken lightly. Trashing the environment is not the way to grow your economy.”
As matters of principle, Cartwright believes that:
- all women should have an unrestricted right to abortion-on-demand at any stage of pregnancy – subsidized by taxpayers, in cases of economic hardship;
- all employers, public and private, should be legally required to implement affirmative-action hiring and promotion policies that give preference to African Americans and women, as compensation for historical injustices;
- wealthy people should be required to pay much higher tax rates than those who earn less;
- U.S. defense spending should be scaled back dramatically;
- voter ID laws are, by and large, racially motivated attempts to suppress minority voting and should be eliminated; and
- an ever-increasing reliance on “green energy” sources such as wind and solar should be put in place, along with the phasing out of fossil fuels, the imposition of carbon taxes, and the raising of vehicle CAFE standards.
For information on Cartwright’s voting record on a variety of key issues, click here.
For additional information on Cartwright’s positions on a variety of critical issues, click here.
Further Reading: “Matt Cartwright” (Ballotpedia.org, Votesmart.org); “Lawmakers Now Demand Gov’t Investigate Shell for Ignoring Global Warming” (by Chris White, 2-20-2016); “Dem Reps Met With Alleged Member of Palestinian Terrorist Group” (by Jenna Lifhits, 11-17-2016); “Dem Rep Cartwright: Janus Decision A Vote ‘Against Every Single Hard-Working American’” (by Ian Hanchett, 6-30-2018); Matt Cartwright’s Positions on Key Issues (OnTheIssues.org).