Marjorie Margolies /ˈmɑːrdʒəri mɑːrˈɡoʊliːz/ (born June 21, 1942), formerly known as Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky /-mɛzˈvɪnski/, is a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Fels Institute of Government, an adjunct faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania, and a women's rights activist. She is a former journalist and a Democratic politician. From 1993 to 1995, she was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Pennsylvania's 13th congressional district.
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 13th district
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 1995
|Preceded by||Lawrence Coughlin|
|Succeeded by||Jon Fox|
|Born|| June 21, 1942
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Edward Mezvinsky (1975–2007, div.)|
|Children||11, including Marc Mezvinsky|
|Alma mater||University of Pennsylvania|
Margolies was born in Philadelphia. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1963. She was a broadcast journalist for over twenty-four years, winning five Emmy Awards for her work. She worked as a television journalist at WCAU-TV from 1967 to 1969, was a CBS News Foundation Fellow, Columbia University from 1969 to 1970, and then worked for WRC-TV from 1975 until 1990. She was also a correspondent for the Today Show.
In 1992 she ran for an open seat in Congress for Pennsylvania's 13th congressional district, a largely suburban district outside Philadelphia which Republicans had held since 1916. She defeated Bernard Tomkin in the Democratic primary, 79%-21%. In the general election, she defeated Republican State Representative Jon D. Fox by a margin of 0.5%, or a difference of 1,373 votes.
She was on the bipartisan Deficit Reduction Task Force. In 1994, she completed A Woman's Place, a book with the other women in the class of 1992.
Many of her votes cost her re-election bid in 1994. One vote was for President Bill Clinton's controversial 1993 budget, for which she was the deciding vote. She had opposed the bill, until the President called her. House Democrats cheered as the House Republicans jeered, "Goodbye Marjorie!" In a 2009 interview with The Daily Beast, she recalled U.S. Congressman Robert Walker (R-Pennsylvania) in particular joining in the Republican jeers. She also recalled the ire of her constituents resulting from her vote, saying "when I went to town-hall meetings, I had to be escorted by the police....I was just surprised at the level of divisiveness and immaturity."
After a health care reform bill passed the House in November 2009, the conservative Americans for Tax Reform featured her 1994 defeat as an example of what could occur in the 2010 midterm elections because of one particular vote to those Democrats in swing districts who voted in favor of that health care reform bill. Margolies, however, wrote in the Washington Post that she was glad that she had cast her vote as she had, and urged vulnerable Democrats in Congress to vote for the healthcare bill in March 2010.
After her term in Congress, she was the Chair of the National Women’s Business Council, and the Director and Deputy Chair of the United States delegation to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995.
She currently serves as the founder and chair of Women’s Campaign International (WCI), a group that provides advocacy training for women throughout the world. She is also an adjunct professor at the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania.
In 1998, she ran for Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania. She won the Democratic primary election with 53% of the vote, defeating two other candidates. She became the running mate for State Representative Ivan Itkin. The ticket lost to Republicans Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker, 57%-31%.
In 2000, she decided to run, but ultimately withdrew from the Democratic Senate primary with five other candidates, for the seat of Rick Santorum, after disappointing fundraising, mother's illness, and legal trouble of her husband, Edward Mezvinsky, which ended in several convictions for fraud. Shortly thereafter, she filed for bankruptcy, but failed to receive a discharge from her debts, based on 11 U.S.C. §727(a)(5). The court found Mezvinsky had failed to satisfactorily explain a significant loss of assets in the four years prior to her bankruptcy filing. The bankruptcy judge stated, in her published opinion, "I find that the Debtor has failed to satisfactorily explain the loss of approximately $775,000 worth of assets (the difference between the $810,000 represented in May 1996 and the $35,000 now claimed in her Amended Schedule B)." Sonders v. Mezvinsky (in re Mezvinsky), 265 B.R. 681, 694 (Bankr. E.D. Pa. 2001).
Margolies filed the necessary paperwork on May 31, 2013, to run in the Democratic Party primary for a return to Congress from her old district in the 2014 elections. She ran to replace Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Penn.), who was running for Governor of Pennsylvania in 2014. The other Democrats in the race were state Rep. Brendan Boyle of Northeast Philadelphia; state Senator Daylin Leach of Montgomery County; and Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. State Rep. Mark B. Cohen of Philadelphia and former City Controller Jonathan Saidel filed to run, but later withdrew.
On May 20, 2014, Margolies lost the primary election to Boyle.
She was married to former U.S. Congressman Edward Mezvinsky, of Iowa, in 1975; they divorced in 2007. During their marriage, she was known as Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky. They had 11 children together; four from his first marriage, two she had adopted on her own, two sons they had together, and three adopted children. In 1970, Margolies adopted a daughter from Korea, reportedly the first time a single American woman had adopted a foreign child. The story of this, and her adoption also of a girl from Vietnam were detailed in her book, They Came to Stay. From their 11 children, the Mezvinskys have 18 grandchildren as of 2014.
Their son, Marc Mezvinsky, married Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on July 31, 2010, in Rhinebeck, New York. He is an investment banker who worked at Goldman Sachs and is now at 3G Capital Management.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 13th congressional district
|Party political offices|
|Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania
Catherine Baker Knoll