Representative John Conyers, Jr., a Detroit Democrat, was re-elected to the 14th Congressional District in November of 2006, to his 21st term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The district covers all of Highland Park and Hamtramck, as well as large portions of Detroit and Dearborn. Due to the Congressional redistricting of 2000, Representative Conyers also now represents the Down River communities of Melvindale, Allen Park, Southgate, Riverview, Trenton, Gibraltar, and GrosseIle.
Having entered the House of Representatives in 1964, Mr. Conyers is the second most senior member in the House of Representatives. After serving as Chairman of the House Committee on Government Operations (now renamed Government Reform) from 1989 until 1994, Congressman Conyers was elected by his congressional colleagues to lead, as Chairman, the pivotal House Committee on the Judiciary. In addition to its oversight of the Department of Justice (including the FBI) and the Federal Courts, the Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over copyright, civil rights, consumer protection, and constitutional issues. Congressman Conyers was also a memberPicture of CBC at Capitol Steps of the Judiciary Committee in its 1974 hearings on the Watergate impeachment scandal and played a prominent role in the recent impeachment process, giving him the distinction as the only Judiciary Committee Member to have served on both panels.
Congressman Conyers is also one of the 13 founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and is considered the Dean of that group. Formed in 1969, the CBC was founded to strengthen African-American law makers' ability to address the legislative concerns of Black and minority citizens.
In Mr. Conyers' 40 plus years in Congress, some of his major accomplishments include: the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, the Motor Voter Bill of 1993, the Martin Luther King Holiday Act of 1983, the Alcohol Warning Label Act of 1988, and the Jazz Preservation Act of 1987. He was also the driving force behind the Help America Vote Act of 2002.
Working for the People of Detroit and Down River Communities
Representative Conyers and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1968Congressman Conyers is dedicated to improving the lives of the people of the 14th Congressional District. During the 107th Congress, he secured an appropriation totaling over one million dollars for the Detroit Medical Center. Hutzel Hospital received $800,000 for general renovation and the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan received an appropriation of $450,000. In addition, Rep. Conyers intervened to prevent abuse of women in Michigan prisons. He held a series of public meetings to hear testimony by both former inmates and staff on the sexual misconduct of male guards in Michigan's prisons. The public meetings and contact with the U.S. Department of Justice led to the creation of a policy in Michigan prisons that restricts male correctional officers from guarding women who reside in private quarters. Conyers also convened a job fair for ex-offenders in conjunction with the City of Detroit Employment Connection. This innovative partnership was established to reduce the recidivism rate amongst ex-offenders and to ensure that they have access to adequate employment once released from prison.
Providing Leadership on Judiciary Issues
As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Representative Conyers has introduced and endorsed legislation to advance civil liberties, ensure equal protection and access to the voting booth, and combat violence against women. Since September 11th, he has worked to strike a balance between keeping our country safe from terrorism and protecting the civil liberties of our citizens. Conyers has supported the Administration, proper law enforcement, and intelligence authorities' efforts to prevent terrorism. At the same time, he has worked to make sure that civil liberties and civil rights are preserved in the process. During the 107th Congress, Conyers introduced the "Military Tribunal Authorization Act of 2002," which provides lawmakers with an opportunity to exercise their constitutional authority to define and regulate the use of military tribunals. To address organizational problems in the FBI, which recently came to light, he introduced the "Federal Bureau of Investigation Reform Act of 2002". This legislation would improve the agency's management and structure as well as protect whistleblowers who report FBI wrongdoing.
In response to problems experienced by voters during the 2000 Presidential Election, Representative Conyers co-authored comprehensive election reform legislation to end discriminatory election practices, which was enacted in October of 2002. This bill advances civil rights and protects voting rights, among other provisions, by establishing federal minimum voting rights standards for election machines and requiring voting sites to be made accessible to those with disabilities.
As an outspoken critic of violence against women, Congressman Conyers was also a lead sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was enacted in 1994 and re-authorized in 2001. It provides funding for federal, state, and local programs to combat domestic violence and sexual assault. In addition, Mr. Conyers is the principal author of the "End Racial Profiling Act," legislation that would ensure that the rights of all Americans are protected by banning racial profiling nationwide and by requiring all federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to take administrative steps to eliminate the practice. He also introduced the "Hate Crimes Prevention Act," legislation that would place a wide range of hate crimes under federal jurisdiction and allow for enhanced support by the Federal government of local investigation and prosecution.
Fighting for Michigan's Working Families
Representative Conyers at Detroit Diesel 1994Representative Conyers has spent his entire career fighting for Michigan's working families. As a supporter of the UAW, Congressman Conyers is well aware of the struggles that affect working families. With families facing skyrocketing health care costs, rising unemployment, and an outdated minimum wage, Conyers continues to fight for equal pay for women and minorities, a raise in the minimum wage, and full employment of all Americans. He opposes the Bush Administration's attempts to roll back worker safety standards, the elimination of overtime in favor of flex-time, and efforts to undermine workers' collective bargaining rights in both the public and private sectors. Currently, Mr. Conyers is working on legislation that would protect workers' pensions and health care in cases of bankruptcy such as those involving Enron, Worldcom, and National Steel.
Working for Quality, Affordable Health Care
For more than three decades, Congressman Conyers has led efforts in Congress to reform the health care system. He is the founder and chairman of the Congressional Universal Health Care Task Force, a 45 member caucus whose mission is to pass universal health care legislation by 2005. This legislation would guarantee every American access to affordable, comprehensive, quality health care. The caucus introduced House Concurrent Resolution 99, which has the support of over 450 grassroots organizations across the country and dozens of Members of Congress. He recently introduced the United States National Health Insurance Act, H.R. 676, a Medicare For All Single Payer bill which has the endorsement of over 4,000 physicians nationally. Further, Representative Conyers introduced the Resident Physician Safety Protection Act in order to reduce the hours that resident physicians work so they can perform at optimal levels. The American Medical Association and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education have adopted major provisions of the bill.
In a world currently dominated by globalization, ethnic conflicts, and terrorism, Mr. Conyers is committed to promoting peace and understanding. He has worked diligently to turn back the war effort against Iraq. Last Congress, he voted against Joint House Resolution 114 which gave the President the authority Conyers and Nelson Mandelato invade Iraq. Additionally, he signed on as a plaintiff to a lawsuit which asserted that the resolution was unconstitutional and therefore not valid, since the Constitution specifically designates that only Congress can declare war. Additionally, Mr. Conyers has spoken at anti-war demonstrations and written letters to the Administration asking that it meet with the Members of Congress who oppose the war. Further, Mr. Conyers also met with Secretary General Kofi Annan to reinforce to the Secretary that many members of Congress fully support the United Nations and encouraged him to remain focused in asserting the UN role as an arbiter of peace.
Another country which Mr. Conyers has worked diligently to help is the country of Haiti. In the 108th Congress, Mr. Conyers is an original co-sponsor of a Haiti Trade bill, which will provide duty-free status to Haitian garments that are either assembled or knit to shape in Haiti, as long as the yarns and fabrics are from the US or from countries with which the US has an agreement. Mr. Conyers is committed to directing multi-lateral funding to Haiti, specifically, $154 million in loans that have been approved by the Inter-Development World Bank (IDB) but have yet to be released. In this regard, Mr. Conyers met with the Board of Directors at the IDB and the Undersecretary of Treasury . In addition, he has written numerous letters to the State Department, the President and to Members of Congress in an attempt to get the much needed funds to Haiti.
Personal and Professional
The Conyers family and President Clinton
Born in 1929, Rep. Conyers was raised in Detroit and educated in the city's public school system. After serving in the National Guard and the United States Army Corps of Engineers in the Korean War, he returned to Michigan where he earned both his Bachelor of Arts (1957) and Juris Doctor (1958) degrees at Wayne State University.
He is the recipient of many awards for leadership, including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Award, which was presented to him by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He has also been awarded a number of honorary degrees from colleges and universities throughout the nation. He is married to the former Monica Esters. Mr. and Mrs. Conyers have two sons, John III and Carl Edward.