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Biography of C McKinney

Cynthia Ann McKinney

In just nine years, Cynthia Ann McKinney, Georgia's first African-American Congresswoman and the only woman serving in the state's congressional delegation, has emerged as an internationally renowned advocate for voting rights, human rights and the strengthening of business ties between Africa and the United States. She is known as a passionate, intelligent, charismatic and effective member of the House of Representatives.

As a Georgia state legislator from 1988 to 1992, Congresswoman McKinney gained national attention because of her determined struggle for a fair and just reapportionment plan in Georgia. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives by a decisive margin in 1992, McKinney has continued that struggle. Her new district, the Fourth Congressional District of Georgia, was redrawn as a result of recent US Supreme Court decisions challenging the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act.

Georgia's Fourth District is one of the most ethnically diverse districts in the southeastern United States. The district comprises parts of DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties, two of the most dynamic and populous counties in the fifteen-county metropolitan Atlanta area. South DeKalb County is home to one of the most affluent African-American communities in the country. Likewise, Gwinnett County has consistently ranked among the top five fastest growing counties in the country.

Congresswoman McKinney's increasing influence on Capitol Hill was acknowledged with her appointment to the powerful and prestigious Armed Services Committee. She is also a key member of the International Relations Committee, serving as Ranking Member on its International Operations and Human Rights Subcommittee.

For the last five years, the Congresswoman has been the House sponsor of the Arms Transfers Code of Conduct. This much-needed legislation, which aims to prevent the sale of US weapons to dictators, finally passed the House in June 1997. Congresswoman McKinney has also taken a leading role in promoting stronger diplomatic and economic ties with African nations. President Clinton invited Congresswoman McKinney to serve on the official American delegation to the inauguration of Liberian President Charles Taylor. In addition, President Clinton requested that McKinney attend high-level talks to open diplomatic ties with the new Democratic Republic of Congo. At the same time, she has assisted a number of Georgia-based companies in establishing and strengthening trade relations with African nations.

In addition to dutifully serving the needs of her constituents, Congresswoman McKinney has taken a leading role in Democratic politics. In 1993, the Democratic Caucus elected her Whip for Region 8, a leadership position covering the Democratic delegations of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. She was elected secretary of the freshman class by her colleagues in the 103rd Congress and was the first freshman representative to head the Women's Caucus Task Force on Children, Youth and Families. She has served as vice president of the Democratic sophomore class. Congresswoman McKinney is also an active member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Progressive Caucus and works closely with the Hispanic Caucus.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia on March 17, 1955, Cynthia currently lives in south DeKalb County. She earned a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California in 1978 and is currently working to complete her dissertation in international relations at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. In 1984, Cynthia worked as a Diplomatic Fellow at Spellman College in Atlanta. She also taught political science at Clark Atlanta University and later at Agnes Scott College, a women's college in Decatur, Georgia. Before being elected to Congress, Cynthia served on the board of the HIV Health Services Planning Council of Metro Atlanta from 1991-92.

Cynthia is the daughter of veteran Georgia State Representative Billy McKinney and Leola McKinney, a nurse of forty years at Grady Hospital in Atlanta. Cynthia McKinney is the proud mother of a sixteen-year-old son, Coy McKinney.

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