In Profile: Congresswoman Nita Lowey
This week, WAND/WiLL recognizes the accomplishments of Congresswoman Nita Lowey. Last week, she participated in the Roundtable on the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security moderated by WAND executive director Susan Shaer. Lowey is particularly relevant to the Action Plan due to her position as ranking member on the Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs that provides much of the relevant international development and humanitarian aid.
During her tenure in Congress, Lowey has fought on behalf of mistreated and underprivileged women around the world. “Investments in health, education, humanitarian aid for refugees and disaster victims and micro-loans for entrepreneurs are critical to fostering stability around the world,” she wrote last year in a Politico op-ed after an anonymous senior administration official called gender issues in Afghanistan “pet rock issues,” and suggested that funding requirements supporting Afghan women should be abandoned. Congresswoman Lowey questioned Secretary of State Clinton about the statement and called it “unacceptable” to step back from promoting gender equality in Afghanistan efforts.
From her position on the appropriations subcommittee, Lowey has been able to make progress to support women around the world largely through her good relationship with the chair of the subcommittee, Republican Congresswoman Kay Granger. While talking about how the subcommittee gets so much done despite partisan conflict, Lowey commented, "Maybe it's because it's the only committee in Congress with a female chair and a female ranking member."
Congresswoman Lowey represents New York’s 18th district, after previously representing the 20th district. Lowey has been subject to redistricting several times, but her current district consists of the suburbs north of New York City. She was first elected to Congress in 1988 and has won her elections since by wide margins. Lowey is a member of the Committee on Appropriations, as well as the Congressional Women’s Caucus and the House Pro-Choice Caucus, both of which she previously chaired. In 2001 and 2002, she led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which made her the first woman to do so.
While in Congress, Lowey has done a significant amount of work on behalf of health and women’s issues. She helped vastly increase investment in cancer research, particularly breast cancer, and has been honored several times by the National Breast Cancer Coalition. She was the first to write and pass a bill requiring clear disclosure of allergens in food products, and Mother’s Against Drunk Driving once named her Legislator of the Year. She also wrote and passed legislation requiring coverage of contraceptives for federal employees, and she created the Congressional Advisory Panel to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Education and after-school programs are other important issues she has worked on.
WAND/WiLL is happy to acknowledge Congresswoman Lowey’s work advocating for women in the United States and around the world.
-Hayley Anderson, Intern - Northeastern Class of 2015