Category: Archive

Manton stepping down

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Ray O’Hanlon

Rep. Tom Manton, for years a leading figure in Irish American political life, is calling it quits after 14 years in the House of Representatives.

Manton, a Democrat and co-chair of the congressional Ad Hoc Committee for Irish Affairs, announced his intention Tuesday not to seek another term in the upcoming November elections.

His seat in New York’s 7th District is almost certain to be filled by Assemblyman Joe Crowley, who has already been selected to fill the seat by the Democratic Party’s Committee on Vacancies.

The 7th District, covering parts of both Queens and the Bronx, is viewed as being solidly Democratic.

In a statement, Manton cited “other professional and personal endeavors” as his reason for retiring.

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The former New York City Council member, city police officer and U.S. Marine is an attorney and is expected to devote time to his law practice.

“I have worked for the citizens of this nation, New York City and Queens for most of my adult life,” Manton said.

The congressman, who is 65, has been particularly prominent over the years in issues of Irish American concern, including the quest for a just and lasting peace in Northern Ireland and greater job opportunities for Catholics there by way of the MacBride Principle campaign.

Manton also came out in support of undocumented Irish immigrants — many of them lived in his district — during the 1980s and was a crucial backer in the House for the Donnelly and Morrison visa programs.

In announcing his retirement from active politics, Manton, who chairs the Queens County Democratic Organization, threw his full support behind Assemblyman Crowley.

“Joe Crowley would make an excellent candidate and a superb member of Congress who would ably represent the citizens of the 7th Congressional District,” Manton said.

“I hope the local party leaders will support Joe as the Democratic candidate in the upcoming general election,” Manton added.

Crowley, too, is a prominent figure in Irish-American politics and his Assembly district is almost identical to the congressional district he will now be seeking to represent.

Crowley has been the leading political advocate in New York for a Great Hunger curriculum in New York public schools and has succeeded in winning support for the idea from both Democrats and Republicans, including Gov. George Pataki.

Manton’s retirement, meanwhile, came as a surprise to even close colleagues and friends.

“I was really surprised. He’s going to be missed. He has done such good work on behalf of Ireland and the peace process,” said Rep. Peter King, a Republican and fellow co-chair of the Ad Hoc Committee.

Manton is the second front rank Irish American politician to announce a career change in recent months, the other being Massachusetts rep. Joe Kennedy.

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