JULIA CARSON Biography - Polititians


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Name: Julia May Carson                                                                       
Born: 8 July 1938 Louisville, Kentucky                                                       
Died: 15 December 2007 Indianapolis, Indiana                                                 
Julia May Carson (July 8, 1938 – December 15, 2007), born Julia May Porter, was           
a member of the United States House of Representatives for Indiana's 7th                     
congressional district from 1997 until her death in 2007 (numbered as the 10th               
District from 1997 to 2003). Carson was the first woman and first African                   
American to represent the 7th District. She was also the second African American             
woman elected to Congress from Indiana, after Katie Hall.                                   
Carson was born in Louisville, Kentucky. The daughter of Velma V. Porter, she               
moved to Indianapolis while still a girl and worked in various positions to                 
support her family. She graduated from Crispus Attucks High School in 1955 in               
Indianapolis. She then attended Martin University in Indianapolis and Indiana               
University-Purdue University Indianapolis.                                                   
In 1965, while working as a secretary at UAW Local 550, she was hired away by               
newly elected congressman Andy Jacobs to do casework in his Indianapolis office.             
When his own electoral prospects looked dim in 1972, he encouraged Carson to run             
for the Indiana House of Representatives, which she did; she was elected in 1972,           
serving as a member for four years. In 1976, she successfully ran for the                   
Indiana Senate, where she served for 14 years.                                               
In 1990 she was elected as a Trustee for Center Township (downtown Indianapolis),           
and was responsible for running welfare in central Indianapolis. Carson served               
six years as a trustee, creating a $6 million surplus from the office's $20                 
million debt. Jacobs has said Carson "not only took cheats off the welfare                   
rolls, she sued them to get the money." When Jacobs retired in 1996, Carson ran             
as his replacement in what was then the 10th District, and won Democratic                   
endorsement despite being heavily outspent by party chairman Ann DeLaney, 49                 
percent to 31 percent.                                                                       
In the general election she faced Republican Virginia Blankenbaker, a State                 
Senator and stockbroker who, like Carson, was also a grandmother with liberal               
views on abortion and the death penalty. Each raised a similar sum of money, but             
Carson won 53 percent to 45 percent that November.                                           
Carson had a reputation for being somewhat unpredictable, including votes for               
anti-terrorism bills and normal trade relations with China. Carson opposed the               
Iraq war resolution in 2002.                                                                 
Among her other achievements, Carson led Congress to pass a House measure                   
awarding Rosa Parks the Congressional Gold Medal. Another notable achievement               
was a bill she cosponsored with Sen. Richard Lugar to remove bureaucratic                   
bottlenecks on child health insurance.                                                       
Carson was reelected with little difficulty in 1998 and 2000, but her poor                   
health led to tighter-than-expected races afterward. In the 2002 election, her               
district was renumbered as the 7th District after Indiana lost a district, and               
was made slightly more Republican than its predecessor. Carson faced public                 
affairs specialist Brose McVey. In a heated campaign that led to Carson leaving             
the stage in protest in their final pre-election debate, she won re-election 53             
percent to 44 percent. She was reelected by just over 11 points in 2004.                     
Carson defeated Eric Dickerson in the 2006 elections 54 percent to 46 percent, a             
narrow 8-point margin in a year when most incumbent Democrats skated to victory.             
In the same election, Democrats managed to capture three districts in Indiana               
that are somewhat more Republican than the 7th.                                             
Carson was a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.                                       
She was one of the 31 who voted in the House not to count the electoral votes               
from Ohio in the 2004 presidential election.                                                 
On September 29, 2007, the Indianapolis Star reported that Carson had been an in-patient     
at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for the preceding eight days. She was                 
being treated for an infection in her leg near the area where a vein was removed             
in 1996 during double bypass heart surgery. Before her hospitalization was                   
revealed, Carson missed 42 of 77 votes during the month. Year-to-date, Carson               
had participated in 87 percent of the House votes.                                           
On November 25, 2007, the Star reported that Carson had been diagnosed with                 
terminal lung cancer. When being treated for a leg infection, the cancer was                 
discovered by Carson's doctors. Carson had battled it before, but it had gone               
into remission. In a statement, Carson said she was ready to return to                       
Washington before "the second shoe fell — heavily."                                       
According to her friend Andy Jacobs, Carson died at about 9:15 AM on December 15,           
On December 21, 2007 Julia Carson's casket was taken to the Indiana Statehouse               
in downtown Indianapolis by horse-drawn military caisson. Carson became the                 
ninth Hoosier to lie in repose at the Statehouse Rotunda. An early morning                   
service was held in the statehouse where Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Carson's             
grandson, City-County Councilman André Carson, gave remarks. Thousands of                   
Hoosiers paid last respects to Carson by visiting the casket and attending an               
evening ceremony held in the statehouse. Those who attended the evening ceremony             
included Jesse Jackson, Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, Fm Rep. Andrew Jacobs,             
Jr., Rep. Brad Ellsworth, Rep. Baron Hill, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. Diane               
Watson, and Richard Hatcher among others. Rudy Clay, mayor of Gary, Indiana,                 
presented a key to the city to the Carson family.                                           
The funeral for Julia Carson, held on December 22, 2007, brought thousands of               
citizens together to pay last respects. Those who spoke at the funeral included             
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Sen. Richard Lugar, Sen. Evan Bayh, Fm Sen. Birch               
Bayh, Rep. Pete Visclosky, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Indianapolis Mayor Bart               
Peterson, radio host Tavis Smiley, Louis Farrakhan, and Indiana House Speaker B.             
Patrick Bauer. The funeral services aired on live television in central Indiana.             
Carson was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery. Graveside ceremony included a three-volley         
A special election will be held on March 11, 2008 to determine Carson's                     
replacement. Her grandson André Carson is running for the Democrats.