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Carol Moseley Braun

Carol Moseley Braun

Overview
Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun (born August 16, 1947) is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 feminist politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 and lawyer
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

 who represented Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 in the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from 1993 to 1999. She was the first and to date only African-American woman elected to the United States Senate, the first woman to defeat an incumbent senator in an election, and the first and to date only female Senator from Illinois. From 1999 until 2001, she was the United States Ambassador to New Zealand
United States Ambassador to New Zealand
The United States has maintained a consular presence in New Zealand since 1838. The first consul was James Reddy Clendon. Born in England, Clendon was a ship owner and merchant who bought land and settled in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. In 1838 he was appointed by the federal government of the...

.
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Encyclopedia
Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun (born August 16, 1947) is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 feminist politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 and lawyer
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

 who represented Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 in the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from 1993 to 1999. She was the first and to date only African-American woman elected to the United States Senate, the first woman to defeat an incumbent senator in an election, and the first and to date only female Senator from Illinois. From 1999 until 2001, she was the United States Ambassador to New Zealand
United States Ambassador to New Zealand
The United States has maintained a consular presence in New Zealand since 1838. The first consul was James Reddy Clendon. Born in England, Clendon was a ship owner and merchant who bought land and settled in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. In 1838 he was appointed by the federal government of the...

. She was a candidate for the Democratic nomination during the 2004 U.S. presidential election. Following the public announcement by Richard M. Daley
Richard M. Daley
Richard Michael Daley is a United States politician, member of the national and local Democratic Party, and former Mayor of Chicago, Illinois. He was elected mayor in 1989 and reelected in 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, and 2007. He was the longest serving Chicago mayor, surpassing the tenure of his...

 that he would not seek re-election, in November 2010, Braun began her campaign for Mayor of Chicago
Chicago mayoral election, 2011
The city of Chicago, Illinois held a nonpartisan mayoral election on Tuesday, February 22, 2011. Incumbent Mayor Richard M. Daley, a member of the Democratic Party who has been in office since 1989, did not seek a seventh term as mayor....

. The former Senator placed fourth in a field of six candidates
Chicago mayoral election, 2011
The city of Chicago, Illinois held a nonpartisan mayoral election on Tuesday, February 22, 2011. Incumbent Mayor Richard M. Daley, a member of the Democratic Party who has been in office since 1989, did not seek a seventh term as mayor....

, losing the February 22, 2011 election to Rahm Emanuel
Rahm Emanuel
Rahm Israel Emanuel is an American politician and the 55th and current Mayor of Chicago. He was formerly White House Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama...

.

Early life


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
Paul Robeson High School (Chicago, Illinois)
Paul Robeson High School is a public high school in the Englewood neighborhood of the city of Chicago, Illinois. It is a part of Chicago Public Schools...

) in Chicago. 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. 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. She began her college studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, but dropped out after four months. She then majored in political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Illinois at Chicago
The University of Illinois at Chicago, or UIC, is a state-funded public research university located in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Its campus is in the Near West Side community area, near the Chicago Loop...

, graduating in 1969 and earned a Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

 degree from the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 Law School in 1972.

Professional career


As an attorney
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

, Moseley Braun was a prosecutor
Prosecutor
The prosecutor is the chief legal representative of the prosecution in countries with either the common law adversarial system, or the civil law inquisitorial system...

 in the United States Attorney
United States Attorney
United States Attorneys represent the United States federal government in United States district court and United States court of appeals. There are 93 U.S. Attorneys stationed throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands...

'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.

Early political career


Moseley Braun was first elected to public office in 1978, as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives
Illinois House of Representatives
The Illinois House of Representatives is the lower house of the Illinois General Assembly, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Illinois. The body was created by the first Illinois Constitution adopted in 1818. The state House of Representatives is made of 118 representatives elected from...

. There, she rose to the post of assistant majority leader
Majority leader
In U.S. politics, the majority floor leader is a partisan position in a legislative body.In the federal Congress, the role differs slightly in the two houses. In the House of Representatives, which chooses its own presiding officer, the leader of the majority party is elected the Speaker of the...

. As a State Representative, she became recognized as a champion for liberal social causes. 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." That same year, she was elected as Cook County, Illinois
Cook County, Illinois
Cook County is a county in the U.S. state of Illinois, with its county seat in Chicago. It is the second most populous county in the United States after Los Angeles County. The county has 5,194,675 residents, which is 40.5 percent of all Illinois residents. Cook County's population is larger than...

, Recorder of Deeds
Recorder of deeds
Recorder of deeds is a government office tasked with maintaining public records and documents, especially records relating to real estate ownership that provide persons other than the owner of a property with real rights over that property.-Background:...

, a post she held for four years.

Elections



In 1991, angered by incumbent Democratic senator Alan Dixon's vote to confirm Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Succeeding Thurgood Marshall, Thomas is the second African American to serve on the Court....

, Moseley Braun challenged him in the primary election. Candidate Albert Hofeld's campaign ran many anti-Dixon ads, and Moseley Braun won the primary, ultimately defeating Richard S. Williamson in the Senate election. On November 3, 1992, she became the first African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 woman to be elected to the United States Senate. 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
Edward Brooke
Edward William Brooke, III is an American politician and was elected to the United States Senate as a Republican from Massachusetts in 1966, defeating his Democratic opponent, Endicott Peabody, 60.7%–38.7%...

) 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
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 Peter Fitzgerald in her re-election bid in 1998
United States Senate election in Illinois, 1998
The 1998 United States Senate election in Illinois was held on November 3, 1998. Incumbent Democrat U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun decided to run for re-election, despite the number of controversies she was in during her first term. Republican State Senator Peter Fitzgerald was his parties'...

.


Positions


Despite her reputation as a liberal
Liberalism in the United States
Liberalism in the United States is a broad political philosophy centered on the unalienable rights of the individual. The fundamental liberal ideals of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion for all belief systems, and the separation of church and state, right to due process...

, 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
North American Free Trade Agreement
The North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA is an agreement signed by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994. It superseded the Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement...

 (NAFTA) and lawsuit reform measures like the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act
Private Securities Litigation Reform Act
The United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Pub. L. 104-67, 109 Stat. 737 implemented several substantive changes affecting certain cases brought under the federal securities laws, including changes related to pleading, discovery, liability, class representation, and...

 (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
Populism
Populism can be defined as an ideology, political philosophy, or type of discourse. Generally, a common theme compares "the people" against "the elite", and urges social and political system changes. It can also be defined as a rhetorical style employed by members of various political or social...

 wing of the party by voting for the Freedom to Farm Act and the Telecommunications Act
Telecommunications Act
There are several pieces of legislation named the Telecommunications Act* Telecommunications Act 1997, Australia* Telecommunications Act * Telecommunications Act 1984, United Kingdom* Telecommunications Act of 1996, United States...

 of 1996. Like her Illinois colleague, fellow Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 Paul Simon, she voted in favor of a Balanced Budget Amendment
Balanced Budget Amendment
A balanced-budget amendment is a constitutional rule requiring that the state cannot spend more than its income. It requires a balance between the projected receipts and expenditures of the government....

 to the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 and also to place a nuclear spent fuel storage facility in Nevada, a move strongly opposed by many Democrats, especially current Majority Leader
Majority leader
In U.S. politics, the majority floor leader is a partisan position in a legislative body.In the federal Congress, the role differs slightly in the two houses. In the House of Representatives, which chooses its own presiding officer, the leader of the majority party is elected the Speaker of the...

 Harry Reid
Harry Reid
Harry Mason Reid is the senior United States Senator from Nevada, serving since 1987. A member of the Democratic Party, he has been the Senate Majority Leader since January 2007, having previously served as Minority Leader and Minority and Majority Whip.Previously, Reid was a member of the U.S...

.

On social issues however, she was significantly more liberal than many of her fellow senators. She was strongly pro-choice
Pro-choice
Support for the legalization of abortion is centered around the pro-choice movement, a sociopolitical movement supporting the ethical view that a woman should have the legal right to elective abortion, meaning the right to terminate her pregnancy....

, 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
Gun control
Gun control is any law, policy, practice, or proposal designed to restrict or limit the possession, production, importation, shipment, sale, and/or use of guns or other firearms by private citizens...

 measures. Moseley Braun was one of only sixteen senators to vote against the Communications Decency Act
Communications Decency Act
The Communications Decency Act of 1996 was the first notable attempt by the United States Congress to regulate pornographic material on the Internet. In 1997, in the landmark cyberlaw case of Reno v. ACLU, the United States Supreme Court struck the anti-indecency provisions of the Act.The Act was...

 and one of only fourteen to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act
Defense of Marriage Act
The Defense of Marriage Act is a United States federal law whereby the federal government defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. Under the law, no U.S. state may be required to recognize as a marriage a same-sex relationship considered a marriage in another state...

. 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
United Daughters of the Confederacy
The United Daughters of the Confederacy is a women's heritage association dedicated to honoring the memory of those who served in the military and died in service to the Confederate States of America . UDC began as the National Association of the Daughters of the Confederacy, organized in 1894 by...

 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 an impassioned and eloquent 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.

Controversy


Moseley Braun was the subject of a 1993 Federal Elections 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
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 turned down two requests for investigations from the IRS.

In 1996, Moseley Braun made a private trip to Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

, where she met with dictator Sani Abacha
Sani Abacha
General Sani Abacha was a Nigerian military leader and politician. A Kanuri from Borno by tribe, he was born and brought up in Kano, Nigeria. He was the de facto President of Nigeria from 1993 to 1998....

. Despite U.S. sanctions
International sanctions
International sanctions are actions taken by countries against others for political reasons, either unilaterally or multilaterally.There are several types of sanctions....

 against that country due to Abacha's actions, the Senator did not notify, nor register her trip with, the State Department. She subsequently defended Abacha's human rights records in Congress. Her former fiancé Kgosie Matthews, who also served on her campaign staff (in violation of U.S. immigration
Immigration to the United States
Immigration to the United States has been a major source of population growth and cultural change throughout much of the history of the United States. The economic, social, and political aspects of immigration have caused controversy regarding ethnicity, economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants,...

 regulations), 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.

In 1998, after George Will
George Will
George Frederick Will is an American newspaper columnist, journalist, and author. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winner best known for his conservative commentary on politics...

 wrote a column reviewing the allegations of corruption against her, Moseley Braun responded to Will's comments, saying that "I think because he couldn't say nigger, he said corrupt," She also compared Will to a Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as the Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically...

sman, 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." Later, Moseley Braun apologized for her remarks.

2004 presidential campaign


She announced her intention to run for the Democratic Party presidential
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 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
Howard Dean
Howard Brush Dean III is an American politician and physician from Vermont. He served six terms as the 79th Governor of Vermont and ran unsuccessfully for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. He was chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009. Although his U.S...

.

2011 Chicago mayoral candidate


In November 2010, Moseley Braun announced she would run in the 2011 Chicago mayoral election
Chicago mayoral election, 2011
The city of Chicago, Illinois held a nonpartisan mayoral election on Tuesday, February 22, 2011. Incumbent Mayor Richard M. Daley, a member of the Democratic Party who has been in office since 1989, did not seek a seventh term as mayor....

, after mayor Richard M. Daley
Richard M. Daley
Richard Michael Daley is a United States politician, member of the national and local Democratic Party, and former Mayor of Chicago, Illinois. He was elected mayor in 1989 and reelected in 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, and 2007. He was the longest serving Chicago mayor, surpassing the tenure of his...

 announced he would not be seeking re-election. In early 2011 potentially strong African-American candidates congressman Danny Davis
Danny K. Davis
For other persons named Danny Davis, please see Daniel Davis .Daniel K. Davis is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1997. He is a member of the Democratic Party.-Early life, education and career:...

, and state senator James Meeks
James Meeks
James T. Meeks is a Democratic member of the Illinois Senate, representing the 15th district since 2003. He is also an active Baptist minister in Chicago and chairs the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus...

 left the race and endorsed Moseley-Braun, making her the so-called consensus black candidate.

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

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, neglecting to mention Jane Byrne
Jane Byrne
Jane Margaret Byrne was the first and to date only female Mayor of Chicago. She served from April 16, 1979 to April 29, 1983. Chicago is the largest city in the United States to have had a female mayor as of 2011.-Early political career:...

, Chicago's first female mayor, who served from 1979 to 1983.

Life outside of politics


She currently runs a private law firm, Carol Moseley Braun LLC in Chicago. Moseley Braun has launched a line of organic food
Organic food
Organic foods are foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, do not contain genetically modified organisms, and are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.For the...

 products called Ambassador Organics.

Personal life


In 1973, she married Michael Braun, whom she met in law school. They had one son, Matthew, in 1977. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1986. She resides in Hyde Park, Chicago
Hyde Park, Chicago
Hyde Park, located on the South Side of the City of Chicago, in Cook County, Illinois, United States and seven miles south of the Chicago Loop, is a Chicago neighborhood and one of 77 Chicago community areas. It is home to the University of Chicago, the Hyde Park Art Center, the Museum of Science...

. She is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta
Delta Sigma Theta
Delta Sigma Theta is a non-profit Greek-lettered sorority of college-educated women who perform public service and place emphasis on the African American community. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was founded on January 13, 1913 by twenty-two collegiate women at Howard University...

 sorority.

Crime victim


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
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 student while his girlfriend called 9-1-1
9-1-1
9-1-1 is the emergency telephone number for the North American Numbering Plan .It is one of eight N11 codes.The use of this number is for emergency circumstances only, and to use it for any other purpose can be a crime.-History:In the earliest days of telephone technology, prior to the...

. Braun was later treated and released from a hospital. A suspect, Joseph Dixon, was later charged with the crime and was sentenced to 20 years in prison on July 11, 2008.

Electoral history





External links