Inaugural Speakers

CONGRESSMAN ANDRE’ CARSON  “7TH Congressional District, Indiana”

Andre_Carson_2009Congressman André Carson represents Indiana’s 7th Congressional District.  First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in early 2008 as part of a special election, Congressman André Carson has established himself as an influential leader and respected public servant, fighting for good paying jobs, economic growth, and safer communities for Indiana’s working families.

In the 114th Congress, Congressman Carson serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he is the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management.  Additionally, Carson was selected for membership on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence which oversees the intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the US Intelligence Community.  This is a fitting appointment given his background in law enforcement, his work at the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center, and his past service in the 113th Congress on the Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.

Before taking office, Congressman Carson served on the Indianapolis City-County Council, where he worked to improve schools, support local businesses, and promote prosperous neighborhoods for families.  Before his career as an elected official, he served as a Local Board Investigative Officer for the Indiana State Excise Police and was also detailed to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security’s Intelligence Fusion Center, where he worked in anti-terrorism.  Congressman Carson earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Management from Concordia University-Wisconsin and a master’s in Business Management from Indiana Wesleyan University.  He is married to Mariama Carson, an award winning professional educator in the Pike Township School District.  They are the proud parents of an eight-year-old daughter, Salimah.

CONGRESSMAN KEITH ELLISON  5TH Congressional District, Minnesota

Inaugural Speakers

Congressman Keith Ellison represents Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Fifth District includes the City of Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs and is one of the most vibrant and ethnically diverse districts in Minnesota.

Rep. Ellison’s guiding philosophy is based on “generosity and inclusion” and his priorities in Congress are building prosperity for working families, promoting peace, pursuing environmental sustainability, and advancing civil and human rights.
Rep. Ellison’s commitment to consumer justice led him to write legislation that was included in the Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights of 2009. This law prevents an unfair practice called “universal default,” which allowed lenders to increase their customers’ interest rates if they had late payments with another lender.  In response to the foreclosure crisis that began in 2008, Rep. Ellison also wrote the Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Act, which requires banks and other new owners to provide at least 90 days’ notice of eviction to renters occupying foreclosed homes.
As a member of the House Financial Services Committee, the congressman helps oversee the nation’s financial services and housing industries, as well as Wall Street. He also serves on the House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee, which decides committee assignments for Democratic Members and sets the Democratic Caucus’ policy agenda.  In the past he served on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Rep. Ellison was elected co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus for the 113th Congress that promotes the progressive promise of fairness for all.

He is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, founded the Congressional Consumer Justice Caucus, and belongs to more than a dozen other caucuses that focus on issues ranging from social inclusion to environmental protection.

Before being elected to Congress Rep. Ellison was a noted community activist and ran a thriving civil rights, employment, and criminal defense law practice in Minneapolis.  He also was elected to serve two terms in the Minnesota State House of Representatives.
Keith was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He has lived in Minnesota since earning his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1990. Keith is the proud father of four children.