The Honorable Susan Molinari
“We all bring our experiences to a discussion, and there are all different experiences, and so I did take very seriously the experience of being a female and bringing that to the discussion. I was not one of those people—sometimes I would go up to somebody and say they did this, and they’d be like, ‘I am not going to be the female legislator.’ And I totally respect that, but that was not me; I was going to be the female legislator. If there was something that was going on that was ticking me off with regard to women, anyplace, I was going to be the female. So, I took that very seriously. There was a reason I was there.”
—The Honorable Susan Molinari, January 8, 2016
U.S. Representative from New York (March 20, 1990–August 2, 1997)
Raised in a political family, Susan Molinari’s relationship with her father, Congressman Guy Molinari, greatly influenced her road to Congress. As the only Republican on the city council of New York, and the daughter of a well-known politician, Molinari used her notoriety and experience to win a seat in the U.S. House. She made history as only the second daughter to directly succeed her father in Congress. Her youth and political lineage garnered the attention of the Republican Leadership and the respect of her colleagues. In the 105th Congress (1997–1999), the New York Representative became one of the highest-ranking Republican women when she was elected vice chair of the Republican Conference.
In her interview, Molinari recalls how she and other Republican women had new opportunities—increased speaking engagements and plum committee assignments, for example—after the GOP gained control of the House in 1995. Embracing the role of a surrogate representative for women nationwide and abroad during her five terms in the House, Molinari describes how she used committee assignments and congressional delegations as a platform to address gender inequalities and to craft legislation to help women and families. In her personal life, Molinari made headlines when she married fellow Representative Bill Paxon of New York, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Molinari gave birth to a daughter while serving in Congress and speaks about the press attention this event received, as well as how she and her husband balanced being new parents with their congressional careers.
MOLINARI, Susan, (daughter of Guy Victor Molinari; wife of William Paxon), a Representative from New York; born in Staten Island, Richmond County, N.Y., March 27, 1958; graduated from St. Joseph Hill Academy, 1976; B.A., State University of New York, Albany, N.Y., 1980; M.A., State University of New York, Albany, N.Y., 1982; research analyst, New York state senate finance committee; finance assistant, National Republican Governors Association; ethnic community liaison, Republican National Committee, 1983-1984; member of the New York, N.Y. council, 1986–1990; elected as a Republican to the One Hundred First Congress, by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of United States Representative Guy V. Molinari, reelected to the four succeeding Congresses, and served until her resignation August 2, 1997 (March 20, 1990–August 2, 1997); television journalist.
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"A Long Line of Politicians"
The Honorable Susan Molinari remembers growing up in a political family.
The Honorable Susan Molinari was experienced in creating campaign slogans – she created one for her father when he served in the House. Here she discusses her own campaign slogan, “A New Generation of Leadership.”
A Collaborative Relationship
The Honorable Susan Molinari describes working with her father to gain resources for New York while he was borough president of Staten Island.
The Honorable Susan Molinari discusses how men used to build relationships in places women were not allowed, like the gym.
The Honorable Susan Molinari describes feeling underestimated as a woman in Congress.
A Women's Perspective on Committee Work
The Honorable Susan Molinari remembers debating Representative John Boehner of Ohio during a committee hearing.
"How Do We Help?"
The Honorable Susan Molinari recalls working across party lines in the Congresswomen's Caucus.
Women Members Working Together
The Honorable Susan Molinari remembers supporting her female colleagues.
Violence Against Women Act
The Honorable Susan Molinari recalls focusing on the Violence Against Women Act.
Women and House Leadership
The Honorable Susan Molinari discusses the importance of having women in leadership positions.
Breast Cancer Stamp
The Honorable Susan Molinari describes how the Breast Cancer Stamp bill passed with bipartisan support.
The Honorable Susan Molinari tells the story of getting engaged on the House Floor.
A Meaningful CODEL
The Honorable Susan Molinari recalls being on a congressional delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina while pregnant.
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