Thomas Joseph Downey (born January 28, 1949) is an American politician and was a U.S. Representative from New York.
Downey graduated from West Islip High School, West Islip, New York, 1966, and went on to earn a B.S. from Cornell University, 1970. He attended St. John's University Law School, Brooklyn, N.Y. from 1972 to 1974, and earned a J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law in 1980. He served as Suffolk County, New York legislator from 1972 to 1974 and delegate to the Democratic National Convention, 1972. In 1974, he was elected as Democrat to the 94th United States Congress; at 25, he was the youngest member of that Congress. He was re-elected to the eight succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1993) and unsuccessfully ran for reelection to the One Hundred Third United States Congress in 1992. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, Downey weighed in on arms control issues, serving as an adviser to the negotiation teams for the SALT and START talks. As a member of the Budget and Ways and Means Committees, he championed welfare reform and child care legislation.
In March 1985 Downey was involved in a brief physical scuffle in the House chamber with Republican Congressman Robert Dornan of California. Downey had earlier been described in a public speech as "a draft dodging wimp" by Dorman, following a series of personal and political differences between the two congressmen. Downey had received a medical deferral for a pierced eardrum at the time of the Vietnam War, while Dornan was a former Air Force jet pilot.
A close confidante of Al Gore since their days in the House of Representatives together, Downey played Jack Kemp in Gore's 1996 Vice Presidential debate rehearsals. He was set to play George W. Bush in Gore's rehearsals for the 2000 Presidential debates; however, after mysteriously receiving a package containing Bush's preparatory materials, he stepped aside to avoid the appearance of an improper advantage for his friend and candidate.
Downey is currently a lobbyist and chair of Downey McGrath Group, Inc., a lobbying firm he founded in 1993. The president is Ray McGrath, also a former US Representative from New York. Downey represented Dubai Ports World and lobbied Congress to approve the controversial ports deal. Downey argues that "they would have made this country more secure" because "DP World is one of the few companies that could have worked with us to truly improve security, both at home and abroad."
He currently serves on the advisory board for Council for a Livable World, a pioneering non-partisan advocacy organization dedicated to reducing the danger of nuclear weapons.
Downey married Carol Browner, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, on June 21, 2007.
- ^ Downey McGrath Group, Inc. | Thomas Downey
- ^ page 32, Time Magazine March 18, 1985
- ^ Downey, Thomas, "Ports would have been more secure — Editorial", March 19, 2006. accessed April 17, 2006
By Dean Hanley
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