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Profile of Rep Keith Ellison of Minnesota

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Profile of Rep Keith Ellison of Minnesota Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images

Rep Keith Ellison of Minnesota:

Democrat Keith Ellison was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006 and reelected in 2008 and 2010, after serving from 2002 to 2006 in the Minnesota legislature. Ellison is the first adherent of the Islamic faith elected to Congress, and the first African-American elected from Minnesota.

In the 112th Congress, Rep Ellison serves on the Financial Services Committee, including four related subcommittees, and co-chairs the House Progressive Caucus with Rep Raul Grijalva of Arizona. (See U.S. House Democratic Leadership, 2011 to 2012 for a complete listing.)

Rep Ellison's Political Stances:

Rep Ellison names his top priorities as "Peace, working class prosperity, environmental sustainability, and civil and human rights." Specifically, Rep Ellison is pro-choice, pro-gay rights, and supports a Constitutional amendment to guarantee equal rights to women.

Ellison opposed and voted against supporting all aspects of the Iraq War from the time he entered Congress, including troop escalations and funding without a firm exit date.

Rep Ellison, a proponent of comprehensive immigration reform, advocates on his website "I believe immigration rules need to be straightforward, fair, and predictable. They currently are not. I am committed to passing comprehensive immigration reform and have co-sponsored such legislation in my two terms in Congress. I believe that our reformed immigration system should include a clear path to citizenship for those who are already in the U.S. working and paying taxes."

Personal Data:

  • Birth - August 4, 1963 in Detroit, Michigan to Leonard Ellison, a psychiatrist, and wife Clida, a social worker. Rep. Ellison has four brothers, three who are lawyers and one a doctor.
  • Education - University of Detroit Jesuit High School, 1981. B.A. in economics in 1987, Wayne State University. J.D. in 1990, University of Minnesota Law School.
  • Family - Divorced in 2012 from wife Kim after a two-year separation. Four children: Isaiah, Elijah, Jeremiah, Amirah.
  • Faith - Converted to Islam from Catholicism while a college student.

Rep Keith Ellison on the Issues:

On Education, College Affordability

"I believe that every American child should be guaranteed access to a world-class education -- from pre-school through college. Increasing educational opportunities for children of all backgrounds is a key to creating opportunities and prosperity for working families.

"The Federal Government needs to take decisive action to support children, families, schools and teachers in the development of high quality educational opportunities. We must also ensure that children with disabilities are given the same opportunities for success as their peers by requiring the federal government to fully fund special education.

"I am greatly concerned about the skyrocketing cost of higher education, which is a proven pathway to grow the middle class. I believe that the Federal Government must do more to support higher education so that our communities can be as competitive as possible in today’s global economy."

Universal Health Care, Single-Payer Health Systems

"I believe universal health care coverage is the civil rights issue of our time. The need for safe, affordable health care is an issue that affects us all.

"After nearly a century of effort, I proudly voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. The new law is centered on building on what works in our current health system and fixing what is broken...

"I am steadfast advocate for a single-payer health care system. I am a proud co-sponsor of the United States Health Insurance Act, which will provide health care to all Americans by establishing a national single-payer health care system. I will continue to fight for single-payer health care system because I think it is only true way to make health care a right for every single American."

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