Susan Molinari (born March 27, 1958) is an American politician, journalist, and lobbyist from New York. She was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for three terms. She is vice president for public policy at Google.
|Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference|
January 3, 1995 – July 17, 1997
|Preceded by||Bill McCollum|
|Succeeded by||Jennifer Dunn|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from New York
March 20, 1990 – August 2, 1997
|Preceded by||Guy Molinari|
|Succeeded by||Vito Fossella|
14th district (1990–1993)|
13th district (1993–1997)
|Member of the New York City Council|
from the 1st district
January 1, 1986 – March 20, 1990
|Preceded by||Frank Fossella|
|Succeeded by||Fred Cerullo|
March 27, 1958|
New York City, New York, U.S.
John Lucchesi (1988–1992)|
Bill Paxon (1994–present)
|Education||State University of New York, Albany (BA)|
Molinari was born in Staten Island, New York, the daughter of Marguerite (Wing) and lawyer and perennial Republican politician Guy Molinari, and granddaughter of Italian-born Republican politician S. Robert Molinari. She graduated from the then SUNY Albany (now called the University at Albany, The State University of New York). She served on the New York City Council before winning a special election to the House of Representatives in 1990 as a Republican to replace her father, who retired from Congress to become Staten Island Borough President.
Molinari is a member of the Advisory Board for WeProtect which is a global non-profit cooperation with the goal to protect children online and stop the crime of online child sexual abuse and exploitation.
On January 1, 1990, her father, incumbent Republican U.S. Congressman Guy Molinari decided to resign in order to become Borough President of Staten Island. She ran for her father's seat in Staten Island-based New York's 14th congressional district. On the eve of the special election, the New York Times endorsed Molinari because she “promises to add a moderate Republican voice to the city’s Democratic-dominated congressional delegation”. In March 1990, she defeated Robert Gigante 59% to 35%.
After redistricting, she ran in New York's 13th congressional district. She won the Republican primary with 75%. In the general election, she defeated NYC Councilmember Sal Albanese 56%–38% and was elected to her first full term.
She won re-election to her second full term with 71% of the vote.
She won re-election to her third full term with 62% of the vote.
While in the House of Representatives, Molinari was among the more moderate and liberal members of the Republican party.
She signed on to the Republicans' 1994 Contract with America, which promised a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and opposed the placing of U.S. troops under U.N. command. Concerning social policy, she leaned more liberal than many of her Republican colleagues. Molinari was pro-choice but stated on CNN in January 2012 that since she had children she is now pro-life. She also sided with the Democrats in voting for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a cornerstone of Bill Clinton's social policy. She offset these positions with her own standing as a new mother, framing her outlook in terms of "family values", and in fact energetically campaigned for fellow Republicans with whom she disagreed on both abortion and FMLA. On issues of crime and punishment, she favored extended use of the federal death penalty and restrictions. She favored reduction of Social Security taxes, middle class tax cuts, and tax credits for families; these were policies consistent with traditional fiscal conservatism.
In her autobiography she intimated that the tense ideological atmosphere within the Republican Party after they won majority in the House and Georgian Newt Gingrich became Speaker contributed to her unease. Molinari gave the keynote speech at the 1996 Republican National Convention, but resigned from the House in June 1997 to take a job as a television journalist for CBS.
When first elected, she received assignments on the Small Business Committee and Public Works committees. In the 102nd Congress (1991–1993), she traded those assignments to take a seat on the Education and Labor Committee. When the Republicans took control of the House in the 104th Congress (1995–1997), Molinari traded in her Education/Labor seat for a place on the House Budget Committee.
At CBS, Molinari was co-host of news program CBS This Morning for about nine months until 1998. Her hiring was controversial from the very beginning; Although Molinari had earned degrees in communication, her major professional credentials were political, and her main national public recognition came from her speech at the Republican National Convention. Media critics asked whether a partisan politician could reasonably be expected to maintain objectivity. Others at the time criticized her on-air demeanor as either too "stiff" or too "perky", or attacked her interviews as superficial. Conservatives accused her of "selling out". Although allegedly CBS had first tried to respond to these criticisms by switching Molinari into "home and garden" journalism, the official comment from CBS executives was that they thought her better suited to political commentary, and had no such position available.
Molinari announced she was pregnant at the end of her nine-month run at CBS. Her second child was born in late January 1999.
Molinari later hosted a public affairs show called The Flipside and has been a frequent guest commentator on major political talk shows.
Molinari joined the law and public policy firm Bracewell & Giuliani in 2008 as a senior principal. The firm is home to former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and has a well-established government relations and strategic communications practice. Previously, she was president of Ketchum Public Affairs and also served as chief executive officer of Ketchum Inc.'s lobbying firm, The Washington Group, where she served as its chairman. In 2006 Molinari's firm received $300,062 from home mortgage giant Freddie Mac to lobby on their behalf.
Molinari has cooperated for years with the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), which operates a telephone hotline in conjunction with more than 1,000 rape crisis centers nationwide. The group also sponsors outreach programs on college campuses. Her activities have included sponsoring legislation, and more recently heading a task force directed toward developing an Internet-based counterpart to the existing hotline.
Molinari also serves as Chair of The Century Council, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking by advocating and facilitating education, communications, research, law enforcement, and other programs. In its fight against these types of alcohol abuse, the Council is funded by "America's leading distillers" of alcoholic liquor, including Bacardi, Inc. and several other liquor manufacturers.
Although she has maintained a public face, Molinari's subsequent political activities have been largely behind the scenes. She supported George W. Bush's election in 2000, but joined with more moderate Republicans such as Gerald Ford, David Rockefeller, and Richard Riordan in forming the Republican Unity Coalition, which opposed Bush's decision to support an amendment to the United States Constitution banning gay marriage. She did not seek any elected office in 2006, bucking speculation that she would run against Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton. Molinari served as an adviser to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's (R) 2008 presidential campaign. There was early speculation she might consider running for mayor of New York City in 2009, but she never did. In January 2010, Molinari confirmed the fact that she was seriously considering a Senate bid against U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, before issuing a public statement three days later saying that she had decided not to run.
Molinari, now acting as Google's Vice President of Public Policy and Government Relations, has been responsible for the company funding a number of right-wing organizations, shifting away from its previous support for renewable energy, and politically supporting politicians who have been criticized by environmentalists for their alleged anti-environmentalism. In 2013, under Molinari's leadership, Google came under fire for its support of ALEC.
Molinari married fellow U.S. Representative Bill Paxon on July 3, 1994, after having previously been married to John Lucchesi. She and Paxon have two daughters, Susan Ruby (b. 1996) and Katherine Marie (b. 1999). Molinari and her family reside in Alexandria, Virginia.
| Member of the New York City Council
from the 1st district
| Minority Leader of the New York City Council|
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 14th congressional district
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 13th congressional district
| Baby of the House
|Party political offices|
| Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference
| Keynote Speaker of the Republican National Convention
|New title|| Co-Host of CBS Saturday Morning
Served alongside: Russ Mitchell
|Non-profit organization positions|
| Chair of the Century Council