Julia Carson

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Julia Carson

Julia May Carson served nearly two decades in the Indiana legislature and in an Indianapolis administrative office before winning election to the U.S. House in 1996. Representative Carson, the first African American and woman to represent the Indiana state capital, focused on issues that affected working-class Americans, many with which she was personally familiar. “The only thing some people learn from oppression and hatred is revenge. Others learn compassion and empathy,” said former Representative Andy Jacobs, Carson’s political mentor. “From the physical pain of material poverty and the mindlessly cruel persecution of nitwit racism, Julia Carson made her choice of hard work, compassion, and a pleasing sense of humor.”[1]

Her grandson, Andre Carson, later won her old seat.


Julia May Porter was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on July 8, 1938. Her single mother, Velma Porter, moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, to find work as a domestic. Julia Porter grew up poor, attended the local public schools, and worked part-time, waiting tables, delivering newspapers, and harvesting crops, among other jobs. In 1955, she graduated from Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis. Shortly thereafter she was married, and had two children, Sam and Tonya. She divorced while they were still young. She later studied at Martin University in Indianapolis and Indiana University in Bloomington. [2]

State politics

In 1965 Julia was working as a secretary at a local chapter of United Auto Workers when she met newly elected Representative Andy Jacobs. Jacobs was looking for a caseworker and district aide, and he hired Carson. She worked for Jacobs for seven years until 1972, when he encouraged her to run for office in the Indiana legislature. He recalled sitting in Carson’s living room for an hour, trying to convince her to run. “Come on, kid,” Jacobs encouraged. “This is the time to step up.”2 From 1973 to 1977, Carson served in the state house of representatives, serving as the assistant minority caucus chair, before winning election to the Indiana senate. She served in the upper chamber until 1990, sitting on its finance committee and eventually holding the minority whip position. Throughout her service in the state legislature, Carson was employed as the human resources director at an electric company—a job she held from 1973 to 1996. In 1991, Carson won election as a Center Township trustee. In that post, she administered welfare payments in central Indianapolis, earning a reputation for defending the poor that would last throughout her career.[3]

US Congress

Julia Carson was elected to Congress from Indiana in 1996,

Carson underwent heart surgery shortly after her election and was sworn in to office from her hospital bed on January 9, 1997. She was unable to travel to Washington, DC, until early March. Her health problems led to speculation she would not return for re-election in 1998, but Carson quickly quelled the rumors.6 Carson won her four re-election campaigns by slightly larger margins in her competitive district. Reapportionment in 2001 added more than 100,000 constituents, many of them Republican. Nevertheless, Carson was re-elected in 2004 and 2006, both times with 54 percent of the vote.

When Representative Carson claimed her seat in the 105th Congress (1997–1999), she received posts on the Banking and Financial Services Committee (later renamed Financial Services) and the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. In the 108th Congress (2003–2005) she left Veterans’ Affairs to accept an assignment on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

In late 2007, Carson’s health once again became a concern. The Representative expressed frustration with her regular battle with asthma and diabetes. After missing an important vote due to health problems, Carson noted, “I understand how an athlete feels when they sit one out to recover from an injury. The minutes move slowly, and you want nothing more than to be in for the big game.” In October, Carson took a two-week leave of absence to recover from a leg infection that had forced her to traverse the Capitol in a wheelchair.17 One month later, Carson announced that she had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer during a follow-up examination of her leg. Carson succumbed to the disease on December 15 in her Indianapolis home. [4]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

In 1998 Juia Carson, Democrat was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[5]

Cuba visit

On February 18 1990, six members of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus visited Cuba to evaluate the U.S.-imposed embargo. Among the visitors: Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee of California, Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas, Julia Carson of Indiana and others.[6][7]

Supported by Council for a Livable World

The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported Julia Carson in his successful House of Representatives run as candidate for Indiana.[8]

EMILY's List

Carson has been supported by EMILY's List during her campaigning.

Health Care Access resolution

John Conyers promoted House Concurrent Resolution 99 (H. Con Res. 99) Directing Congress to enact legislation by October 2004 that provides access to comprehensive health care for all Americans. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES April 4, 2001.

Sponsors:John Conyers (for himself), Jan Schakowsky, John Tierney, Barbara Lee, Donna Christensen, David Bonior, Dennis Kucinich, Earl Hilliard, Maurice Hinchey, Jerry Nadler, Donald Payne Chaka Fattah, Peter DeFazio, John Lewis Tammy Baldwin, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Barney Frank, Henry Waxman, Cynthia McKinney, Jim Langevin, George Miller Alcee Hastings, Patsy Mink, John Olver , Bennie Thompson, Pete Stark, Julia Carson, and Mike Capuano submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce;[9]

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), that the Congress shall enact legislation by October 2004 to guarantee that every person in the United States, regardless of income, age, or employment or health status, has access to health care..

HR 3000

On September 3, 2003 Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced H.R. 3000, the United States Universal Health Service Act, which would provide health coverage for all Americans. H.R. 3000 would establish a United States Health Service (USHS), which would eliminate profit issues from health care because it would be owned and controlled by the public and administered primarily at the local level.[10]

According to the Communist Party USA's People's World, initial supporters of HR 3000 were Julia Carson, (D-Ind.), Donna Christensen (D-Va.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.), Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Major Owens (D-N.Y.), Donald Payne (D-N.J.), and Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.).

The World went on to say;[11]

We will not win the United States Health Service without a massive, prolonged struggle by working people against the corporate defenders of the current for-profit health care industry.

DSA support

Democratic Socialists of America supported[12]Carson's 2004 Congressional race.

DSAers in central Indiana are supporting veteran civil rights worker Julia Carson in her re-election bid to the state’s 7th CD, in Indianapolis. An opponent of the Iraq War from its inception, Carson is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Progressive Caucus. Indiana’s first female and first African-American representative in Congress, she is a strong supporter of national health care.

In Democratic Socialists of America's Democratic Left Winter 2004/2005, Theresa Alt wrote;[13]

We reported on the candidates that DSAers were supporting in the last issue of Democratic Left. How did they do?
Alas, there were no breakthroughs in the conservative states. Although Indiana DSAers’ favorite, Julia Carson, easily regained her House seat, it did not swing the state..


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