Allyson Schwartz

Allyson Schwartz

Allyson Young Schwartz (born October 3, 1948) is an American politician and Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the Thirteenth Congressional District of Pennsylvania since 2005. Her district (map) includes parts of Montgomery County, and a portion of Philadelphia. Schwartz is the only woman in Pennsylvania's delegation to Congress.

Family and background

Schwartz is married to Dr. David Schwartz, a cardiologist. She has two adult sons, is a resident of Jenkintown, and is a member of the Jewish faith. She is an endorser of the Genocide Intervention Network.

Born Allyson Young in New York City with a brother Neal, and two sisters Nancy and Dayle, Schwartz received a B.A. from Simmons College in 1970, and a Masters degree from Bryn Mawr College in 1972. From 1975 to 1988, Schwartz was the executive director of the Elizabeth Blackwell Center, a women's health care center in Philadelphia. From 1988 to 1990, Schwartz was acting Deputy Commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, appointed by former Mayor Wison W. Goode.

Political career

Early career

In 1990, Schwartz was elected to the Pennsylvania state Senate, representing a district in Northwest and Northeast Philadelphia. She was re-elected in 1994, 1998, and 2002. The district was extended into Montgomery County in the legislative reapportionment of 1991, and Schwartz moved in early 2004 to Jenkintown in Montgomery County, where she still lives. In 2000, she ran in the Democratic primary for the United States Senate seat of freshman Republican Rick Santorum. She finished second behind Pittsburgh-area Congressman Ron Klink, but won Montgomery County and Philadelphia with impressive numbers.

Congressional elections

In 2003, Pennsylvania 13th District Congressman Joe Hoeffel decided not to run for a fourth term in 2004 opting instead to make an ultimately unsuccessful Senate run against Republican Arlen Specter. Schwartz had originally planned to run for Auditor General, but changed her plans after Hoeffel's announcement. She narrowly defeated former Philadelphia deputy mayor and Constitution Center director Joe Torsella in the primary. She then defeated Republican Melissa Brown 56%-41%, the largest margin of victory in decades for a Democrat in Pennsylvania's 13th, once considered the strongest base of the moderate Republicanism that had long prevailed in the Philadelphia suburbs.

In 2006, Schwartz retained the seat by defeating opponent Raj Bhakta, who is most famous for his appearance on the television show The Apprentice 2.

Allyson Schwartz is a member of the New Democrat Coalition and the chair of the New Democrat Coalition Taskforce on Health. In this position, she has actively pushed for the greater use of interoperable and secure electronic prescribing systems throughout the country in an attempt to decrease medical errors as well as costs and liability to providers, health systems and patients.

Congressional record

On January 10, 2005, Schwartz was appointed to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. On February 14, 2005, she was appointed to the Budget Committee. She was credited with securing $52.5 million in federal funds for local infrastructure priorities as a part of the Transportation Equity Act of 2005 bill.

The following list shows votes by Allyson Schwartz on several bills, nominations and resolutions that have come before the 109th Congress. The list is based on an analysis of the potential impact of the legislation on policy and politics.

Date Vote Legislation
12/06/06 No Vote 526: H RES 6099: To ensure that women seeking an abortion are fully informed regarding the pain experienced by their unborn child.
6/16/06 No Vote 288: H RES 861: This vote pledged support for the War in Iraq and rejected a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
5/10/06 No Vote 135: H R 4297: Extended the Bush tax cuts.
2/1/06 No Vote 4: H RES 653: Cut nearly $40 billion from the federal budget by imposing substantial changes on welfare, child support and student lending programs.
12/16/05 No Vote 661: H R 4437: This bill would clamp down on illegal immigration and toughen border security. It does not include any new avenue for current illegal immigrants to gain legal status.
12/14/05 Yes Vote 630: H R 2863: Supported a ban on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees held by U.S. forces and to requires the military to follow the Army field manual for interrogations.
9/29/05 No Vote 506: H R 3824: Would have forced the government to compensate property owners if development plans were stymied by attempts to protect endangered species and would have given political appointees more power to make decisions about which species and areas would be subject to government intervention aimed at protecting plant and wildlife.
7/28/05 No Vote 445: H R 6: Offered tax breaks and incentives in what supporters said was an effort to spur oil and gas companies to provide innovative wasy to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil, conserve resources and reduce pollution.
7/28/05 No Vote 443: H R 3045: Established a free trade zone among the United States, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua; a separate agreement with the Dominican Republic was also included in the measure.
6/22/05 No Vote 296: H J RES 10: This vote approved the proposal of a Constitutional amendment to ban the desecration of the American flag. The same bill was later defeated in the Senate.
6/15/05 Yes Vote 258: H R 2862
5/24/05 Yes Vote 204: H R 810: Would have repealed restrictions on federal spending on embryonic stem cell research.
3/21/05 No Vote 90: S 686: Gave federal courts jurisdiction in the Terri Schiavo dispute.
1/4/05 No Vote 6: H RES 5: Instituted a number of changes in the ethics rules that govern the conduct of individual members of Congress.


Political scientists noted her talent for fundraising. While most former state legislators raise comparitavely more money through PACs than individual donations, she raised $4,597,032 from individual donations and comparatively little ($558,376) in PAC donations.


  • Berkman, Michael, and James Eisenstein. “State Legislators as Candidates: The Effects of Prior Experience on Legislative Behavior and Fundraising,” Political Science Quarterly, 52, no. 3 (1999): 481–498.

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