Margolies working toward a Congress comeback

Look­ing at ex­per­i­ence: Mar­jor­ie Mar­gol­ies, pic­tured out­side Saxby’s Cof­fee Shop at 40th and Lo­cust streets, wants voters to re­call her 1993 vote for the Clin­ton budget as she makes her case to again serve in Con­gress. TED BOR­DE­LON / TIMES PHOTO

You prob­ably know Mar­jor­ie Mar­gol­ies. Well, that’s what her poll­sters said last month, any­way.

Ac­cord­ing to their num­bers, 81 per­cent of the 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, which en­com­passes much of east­ern Mont­gomery County and about three-quar­ters of North­east Phil­adelphia, are fa­mil­i­ar with her.

If you’re in the 19 per­cent of voters who aren’t sure who she is, Mar­gol­ies would prob­ably want you to know one thing right off the bat: She voted for Bill Clin­ton’s eco­nom­ic plan in 1993 when she served one term as a con­gress­wo­man from 1993 to 1995.

“One vote can make a dif­fer­ence,” Mar­gol­ies said from a cof­fee shop near the Uni­versity of Pennsylvania, where she teaches a class at the Fels In­sti­tute of Gov­ern­ment.

The plan passed 218-216.

It was un­an­im­ously op­posed by House Re­pub­lic­ans and 41 Demo­crats, largely be­cause the Clin­ton budget pro­posed a hike in fed­er­al taxes. Dur­ing her cam­paign, Mar­gol­ies had prom­ised not to raise taxes, and the vote, in many re­spects, led to her de­feat in her bid for a second term as the 13th Dis­trict’s con­gress­wo­man.

Mar­gol­ies con­tends that the bill led to the cre­ation of 23 mil­lion jobs and spurred the eco­nom­ic boom of the 1990s.

“It all star­ted on Aug. 5, 1993,” Mar­gol­ies said. “Ask any eco­nom­ist.”

While that vote is cer­tainly the reas­on for a large part of her no­tori­ety, she also is known for her close ties to the Clin­ton fam­ily via her son Marc Mezv­in­sky’s mar­riage to Chelsea Clin­ton in 2010.

She said that her in-laws have “been very warm,” and noted that Bill Clin­ton made a dona­tion to her cam­paign.

While she has been out of of­fice for al­most 20 years, Mar­gol­ies is the founder and chair of Wo­men’s Cam­paign In­ter­na­tion­al, a group that aims to aid wo­men in emer­ging demo­cra­cies seek­ing roles in the polit­ic­al pro­cess.

“I have no re­tire­ment skills,” Mar­gol­ies said, not­ing that she is a “polit­ic­al ad­dict” who has kept up with any and all news from D.C. and bey­ond.

At 71, she is the old­est can­did­ate run­ning in the 13th Dis­trict. The race also in­cludes state Rep. Brendan Boyle, state Sen. Daylin Leach and health-care re­form ad­voc­ate Valer­ie Arkoosh.

She said that her age shouldn’t be a factor in the cam­paign, though, ac­cord­ing to Mar­gol­ies, “Ex­per­i­ence counts.”

She noted that her two pri­or years as con­gress­wo­man will give her more fa­vor­able com­mit­tee as­sign­ments than the typ­ic­al con­gres­sion­al fresh­man gets, and that her ex­per­i­ence fun­drais­ing for Wo­men’s Cam­paign In­ter­na­tion­al has kept her in touch with of­fi­cials in dif­fer­ent gov­ern­ment branches.

When Mar­gol­ies first ran for the con­gres­sion­al seat in 1992, it was loc­ated en­tirely with­in Mont­gomery County, and in­cluded her home in Wyn­newood, where she cur­rently resides. Now that she is out­side of the 13th Dis­trict, she plans to move for the cam­paign.

Re­cent fun­drais­ing fig­ures from the second quarter showed Mar­gol­ies had raised the least amount of money of the four Demo­crat­ic can­did­ates.

“We star­ted very late,” she noted, adding that one of her up­com­ing fun­draisers will in­clude about 30 former and cur­rent mem­bers of Con­gress.

Re­gard­less of the num­bers, Mar­gol­ies said that she is not wor­ried about fun­drais­ing, and that she is “com­fort­able run­ning a race as an un­der­dog” as she has in the past.

If elec­ted, Mar­gol­ies said that she didn’t sus­pect there would be much dif­fer­ence among the can­did­ates on many hot-but­ton is­sues such as guns, edu­ca­tion and same-sex mar­riage.

She said that the state of gov­ern­ment is de­plor­able, and poin­ted to the Re­pub­lic­an-led House’s re­peated at­tempts to de­fund the Af­ford­able Care Act as a case-in-point ex­ample that, “Wash­ing­ton’s broken.” ••

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