Mike Capuano: Who he is & why he’s running for re-election
Congressman Mike Capuano is 66 years old and lives with his family in Somerville, where he is a lifelong resident and former mayor. Mike is seeking re-election so he can remain on the front lines of the fight to stop Donald Trump and his racist, destructive policies. Because of his strong progressive record, Mike has earned 100% ratings from Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the Human Rights Campaign and the NAACP. Mike has consistently delivered record funding to expand affordable housing and improve transportation. Mike will use his experience, passion and know-how to stop Trump and stand up for our values.
Mike was born in Somerville, the fourth child of Andrew Capuano and Rita Garvey Capuano. He was named after both grandfathers, Michael Capuano and Everett Garvey. One was an orphan born in Italy who came to America alone when he was eighteen. The other was the son of Irish immigrants. Mike’s grandmothers passed away when he was very young.
Mike developed asthma at age three. It is controlled today, but asthma limited activities as a child. That same year, Mike’s older sister died of polio. His brother also contracted the disease but recovered.
Mike’s father, Andrew, volunteered to fight the Axis in 1941. He believed the war was a fight for freedom and constitutional government. National or ethnic identities mean nothing in such a struggle. Andrew wanted to be a pilot, but an ear injury ended his brief Navy Air Force Career. Andrew enlisted in the Army as a private and was Captain Capuano when he was severely injured in the Battle of the Bulge. Andrew was recognized for valor with numerous medals and left the service an 80% disabled veteran.
Upon returning to Somerville, Andrew entered local politics. He was the first Italian-American elected to local office there and Mike learned much about government from him.
Andrew and Rita built a secure and loving environment for their children, emphasizing the importance of education. Mike attended Dartmouth College, opening up a whole new world. Mike’s years at Dartmouth made him realize not everyone played basketball on a court littered with broken glass. His academic experience was invaluable, but the life lessons were equally important.
Mike married Barbara, his high school sweetheart whom he met in chemistry class. Mike graduated from Boston College Law School and Barbara earned an MBA in accounting from Babson College. The couple returned to Somerville and put down roots of their own. Remembering the experiences of his father, Mike sought and won a seat on the Board of Alderman at the age of 25. He saw the unrealized potential of Somerville and launched an unsuccessful campaign for Mayor.
Their first child, Michael, was born prematurely, spending three months in pediatric intensive care. For weeks, the couple didn’t know whether their son would survive. They still remember how those anxious months felt and the joy of taking a healthy baby home. A second son, Joe, completed their family.
When the boys were old enough for playtime at local parks, Mike and Barbara couldn’t find a single playground with safe swings and slides, but they found plenty of trash and broken glass. The Capuano family had to visit parks in other cities. That experience reignited Mike’s passion for activism. He joined the board of the local Community Development Corporation then ran for Alderman again, and won.
As Alderman, Mike established himself as a leader on many fronts. He authored the original Sanctuary City Ordinance. He prioritized fiscal responsibility, educational excellence, public safety and zoning reform. After four years Mike ran for Mayor and won.
As Mayor of Somerville, Mike established a record of success that still stands today and upon which others have built. One of Mike’s first priorities was constructing new playgrounds. He oversaw the construction of new schools, improved roads and developed housing programs for homeowners and tenants. He founded the nation’s first local environmental strike force and established the Count on Me Campaign, a public education initiative to encourage racial and ethnic tolerance. He expanded support for the arts and instituted paid parental leave years before family leave was required by state or federal law.
When an opportunity arose to run for Congress after the incumbent announced he would not seek re-election, Mike decided to go for it. Mike was not well known beyond his small city. No one outside Somerville gave Mike a chance against 9 other candidates. They were wrong.
During his first term in Congress, Mike was elected a President of his Class. He was named to the Financial Service Committee and later to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Mike was chosen to manage the transition when Democrats won a majority of the House of Representatives and oversaw the creation of a new House ethics system, the independent Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). That successful effort was described as “the most important change in ethics rules in a generation”.
Mike was a leader in debate over the Affordable Care Act, ensuring the state was protected. He was a leader in the debate against the Iraq War and the Patriot Act. He sued President Bush to limit his power to unilaterally declare war and sued President Obama when missiles were shot into Libya without a declaration of war. He is an outspoken critic of attacks on internet privacy and repeal of net neutrality.
Mike has been tireless in fighting President Trump and his radical right-wing agenda. He voted to advance impeachment proceedings each time it has come up in the House and sued Trump for violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. He is a vocal critic of Trump’s agenda and understands the danger Trump represents on so many fronts.
Mike has earned perfect scores from NARAL, Clean Water Action, the NAACP, Planned Parenthood, the League of Conservation Voters, the Human Rights Campaign, the AFL-CIO, and many other national groups. He is equally proud of his F rating from the NRA.
Mike has a solid record of accomplishment at every level of government. He understands how to make progress and how to best battle against the Trump agenda. Mike has a proven record of results and hopes voters will give him another opportunity to represent them during this tumultuous time.