Major Owens was a Democrat and New York politician who represented the state's 11th Congressional district (map)in the United States House of Representatives from 1983 to 2007. He opted to retire rather than seek reelection in 2006.
Major Robert Odell Owens was born June 28, 1936 in Collierville, Tennessee. He has a bachelor's degree from Morehouse College and a master of library science degree from Atlanta University. Owens was a librarian before entering politics. He was elected to the New York state Senate in 1974 as a Democrat.
Owens represents a very diverse district located entirely within Brooklyn, New York. His district includes low income areas of Brownsville, a large Hasidic area of Crown Heights and the upscale neighborhood of Park Slope.
Although Owens won the Democratic primary with just 45% of the vote, he was re-elected in 2004 with 94% of the vote.
Owens voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.
Owens retired from the House at the end of his term in January 2007.
The character Mark Richardson in the popular television program The West Wing is believed to be based on Owens. Richardson plays an African-American Congressman from Brooklyn who looks a lot like Owens.
Owens is nicknamed the "Rappin' Rep" since he writes raps. His rap songs are often political and liberal in nature. He posts them on his official Congressional website.
Owens is also the father of actor Geoffrey Owens, best known for playing the role of Elvin on The Cosby Show.
Meet the Cash Constituents
|Links to more campaign contribution information for Major Owens
from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org site.
|Fundraising profile:||2006 election cycle||Career totals|
|Top contributors by organization/corporation:||2006 election cycle||Career totals|
|Top contributors by industry:||2006 election cycle||Career totals|
Committees and Affiliations
Committees in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)
- House Committee on Education and the Workforce
- Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness
- Subcommittee on Workforce Protections - Ranking Minority Member
- House Committee on Government Reform
- Subcommittee on Criminal Justice Drug Policy and Human Resources
- Subcommittee on Government Management Finance and Accountability
- Subcommittee on Federal Workforce and Agency Organization
Coalitions and Caucuses
- Government Operations, 1983-1994
- Congressional Black Caucus
- Congressional Black Caucus Higher Education Brain Trust
- Associate Member, Congressional Hispanic Caucus
- Co-Chair for Caucus Programs, Congressional Progressive Caucus
- Congressional Urban Caucus
Boards and other Affiliations
- Member, SECME Incorporated, 2000-present
- Member, Morehouse College Alumni Association, 2000-present
- Member, Brooklyn National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 1987-present
- Member, American Library Association, 1986-present
- Member, New York Jobs with Justice
- Board, Central Brooklyn Martin Luther King Commission, 1983-present
- Coalition for Community Empowerment, 1982-present
- Founder, National Commission for African American Education, 1991-2002
- Board, Bedford Stuvesant Youth in Action, 1965-1967
- Chariman, Brooklyn Congress of Racial Equality, 1964-1966
- Americans for Democratic Action
More Background Data
Articles and Resources
- Official website
- Campaign website
- Education Mobilization by Rep. Major Owens
- Interview with Rep. Major Owens
- Major Owens' Colbert Report interview.
- Gur, "The Phattest Bubble You've Ever Seen?", Room Eight, May 12, 2006.
- Gur, "The 4-112 On The 11th", Room Eight Congressional Wire, June 23, 2006.
- Gur, "What Part Of "You Will Pimp My Pay to $168K" Did You Not Understand?", Room Eight, June 30, 2006.
- Congressional Wire, "Earth to Congress - Come In!", Room Eight, July 11, 2006.
- Gur, "Why Bother?", Room Eight, July 12, 2006.
- Gur, "Congressman Owens Harangues Rep Murtha Over Brooklyn Visit", Room Eight, August 29, 2006.
- Major Owen's Colbert Report interview. (Other Colbert Report interviews with members of Congress.)
Local blogs and discussion sites
- Major Owen's Colbert Report interview.
District Office- Brooklyn (1):
289 Utica Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11213-4997
District Office- Brooklyn (2):
1414 Cortelyou Road
Brooklyn, NY 11226
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