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 and 2015, 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 addition, Cartwright has voted:
- against a 2013 bill authorizing U.S. states to require that beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participate in a mandatory work activity—i.e., employment or job training—for a minimum of 20 hours per week;
- in favor of a 2013 bill calling for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility by December 1, 2014;
- against a 2013 proposal to increase offshore oil and gas exploration;
- against separate bills (in 2014 and 2015) authorizing the construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would transport petroleum from Canadian oil sands to U.S. refineries;
- against a 2015 bill calling for the prohibition of federal funding to any state or local governments that practice “sanctuary” policies which prevent law enforcement from investigating the citizenship or immigration status of criminal suspects;
- against a 2013 proposal to prohibit the use of federal funds “to finalize, implement, administer, or enforce” the administrative amnesty which the Obama administration had recently granted to millions of illegal aliens residing in the United States;
- against a 2013 House Amendment stipulating that all changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) must be approved by Congress before taking effect; and
- against a 2015 bill that called for an end to federal funding for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in light of that organization's newly documented involvement in a fetal organ-selling scandal.
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.”
On other matters of political import, Cartwright:
- strongly agrees with the following assertion: “Affirmative Action makes up for past injustice. Until blacks, women, and other minorities are proportionately represented in the upper classes of the economy and the workplace, society owes them a hand up. Government should actively enforce Affirmative Action laws in private companies.”
- favors the expansion of Obamacare as a means of progressing toward universal, government-controlled healthcare coverage
- strongly agrees with the statement that: “Social Security should remain forever under federal control to ensure that all Americans have a secure retirement. The Trust Fund should not be invested in anything like the stock market, since that would introduce undue risk.”
- opposes the implementation of voucher programs designed to enable the parents of poor children who attend failing public schools, to send their youngsters instead to private schools
- strongly supports the principle of taxing high earners at higher rates than low earners, and the notion that redistribution of wealth is a proper role of government
- strongly believes that funding for the U.S. military should be reduced dramtically, and that an overly-large U.S. military compromises American security interests by making enemies abroad and decimating the national economy over time
- strongly opposes Voter ID laws on grounds that they are rooted in a racist intent to suppress nonwhite voter turnout
- strongly supports policies that: (a) prioritize green energy over fossil fuels; (b) raise carbon taxes on businesses; (c) raise CAFE standards for domestically produced automobiles; (d) provide federal funds for research into “alternative and sustainable” energy resources; and (e) push to implement the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement that in 1997 set binding greenhouse gas-reduction targets for 37 industrialized countries.
For additional information on Cartwright's voting record and his positions on a variety of critical issues, click here, here, and here.