photo illustration showing Capitol Building with a Cornell flag at the top

CU in Congress: Alumni in the House

Stories You May Like

Stamp of Approval: Postal Service Honors RBG and Novelist Morrison

Exploring the Widening Chasm Between Urban and Rural Voters

David Hackney ’87 Traces His Career in Public Service Back to Lessons Learned on the Hill

The seven Cornellians serving as representatives in D.C. include military veterans, businesspeople, and even a former MMA fighter

By Joe Wilensky

Ever since John DeWitt Warner 1872 headed to Washington, D.C., in 1891 to serve as a representative from NYC, dozens of Cornellians have held seats in Congress, including five in the Senate and more than 50 in the House.

There are seven alumni in the 118th Congress. It is a modern Big Red high eclipsed only by the 112th Congress (2011–13), which included not only seven alums in the House, but also Mark Kirk ’81, who represented Illinois in the Senate.

Here’s a look at the alumni currently serving on the Hill:

Katherine Clark, JD ’89

A sixth-term Democrat, Clark represents Massachusetts’s Fifth District, which includes a diverse mix of cities and towns north and west of Boston, including Cambridge.

In January 2023, she was sworn in as the House minority whip, becoming the legislative body’s second-highest ranking Democrat. She had previously served as assistant speaker of the 117th Congress.

Clark has advocated against online abuse and for ending wage discrimination, protecting women’s healthcare, and expanding child care options for working parents.

Katherine Clark, JD ’89

She previously served as a state senator and state representative, as well as general counsel for the Massachusetts Office of Child Care Services. In addition to her JD, she earned an undergrad degree from St. Lawrence University and an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

She is part of a Cornellian family: her husband is Rodney “Scott” Dowell, JD ’89, and her father was H. Chandler Clark ’49, LLB ’56.

Sharice Davids, JD ’10

Sharice Davids, JD ’10

Davids, a Democrat, is in her third term representing Kansas’s Third District, which includes Kansas City and Overland Park.

In 2018, she became both the first openly gay Kansan and one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress.

Davids has previously served as vice chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and chair of the Committee on Small Business.

She also has served on the Joint Economic Committee and the Steering and Policy Committee and co-chaired both the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and the Congressional Native American Caucus.

She has focused on increasing access to affordable healthcare, investing in infrastructure that also creates jobs, lowering student loan debt, and more. Davids is also now serving as a regional whip for the Democrats in the 118th Congress.

A member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, Davids was raised by a single mother who was an Army drill sergeant; she has trained in mixed martial arts and was a professional MMA fighter after attending the University of Missouri and Cornell Law School. She worked as a White House fellow during the Obama Administration.

Wesley Hunt, MBA ’15, MPA ’15, MILR ’16

The newest Cornellian in Congress, Hunt is a Republican in his first term representing Texas’s new 38th District, which includes Houston suburbs. A Houston native from a military family, he attended West Point, graduating in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in leadership and management and a concentration in mechanical engineering.

He spent eight years in the Army as an aviation branch officer and Apache helicopter pilot, with one combat deployment to Iraq.

Wesley Hunt, MBA ’15, MPA ’15, MILR ’16

He also had two deployments to Saudi Arabia, during which he served as a diplomatic liaison officer. After being honorably discharged as a captain, Hunt headed to Cornell’s joint MPA/MBA program and earned another master’s from the ILR School.

His stated priorities include securing the southern border, restoring U.S. energy independence, improving natural disaster infrastructure, and mitigating the continued flooding threat in Houston.

Stories You May Like

Stamp of Approval: Postal Service Honors RBG and Novelist Morrison

Exploring the Widening Chasm Between Urban and Rural Voters

Dan Meuser ’88

Dan Meuser ’88

A Republican, the Arts & Sciences alum is in his third term representing Pennsylvania’s Ninth District, located in the east central part of the state.

Meuser has served on the Small Business and Foreign Affairs committees and is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access. He has also been a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, the Republican Study Committee, the Border Security Caucus, the Congressional Coal Caucus, and the U.S.-China Working Group.

His priorities include revitalizing his district’s communities through jobs and economic growth; strengthening the district’s coal industry while also helping workers access training programs; and national and border security. Meuser attended New York Maritime University (now SUNY Maritime College) before transferring to Cornell on a Navy ROTC scholarship.

He was an executive at Pride Health Care, later known as Pride Mobility Products, a healthcare products manufacturer. In 2011, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett nominated him to serve as the state’s secretary of revenue; he led the department until he ran for Congress in 2018.

Elissa Slotkin ’98

The CALS alum is a Democrat in her third term and is now representing Michigan's redrawn Seventh District, which is centered on the state capital of Lansing and spans the middle of the state.

She has previously served on the Armed Services, Homeland Security, and Veterans’ Affairs committees. According to her Congressional website, she prioritizes access to healthcare and lowering the price of prescription drugs, works to ensure access to clean water and protect the Great Lakes, and focuses on increasing government integrity and accountability.

Elissa Slotkin ’98

Slotkin grew up on her family farm in Holly, Michigan, a small town near Flint. After earning her undergrad degree in rural sociology from Cornell, she obtained her master’s from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Slotkin worked as a Middle East analyst for the CIA, including three tours in Iraq as a militia expert, and in several defense and intelligence positions for the White House and Office of the Director of National Intelligence. In 2011, she moved to a senior position at the Pentagon and served as acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.

Melanie Stansbury, MS ’07

Melanie Stansbury, MS ’07

A Democrat, Stansbury was re-elected to New Mexico’s First District, covering the state’s central area including most of Albuquerque; she had previously won the seat in a special election in 2021.

After graduating from Saint Mary’s College of California with a BA in human ecology and natural science, Stansbury earned her master’s in community and regional sociology on the Hill and went on to a career in public service—a direction she has said was sparked by a Cornell in Washington course.

Stansbury previously worked on science, natural resources, and tribal issues in the White House Office of Management and Budget; was a staffer in the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; and served as a New Mexico state representative. She has served on the Space, Science, and Technology Committee and the Natural Resources Committee.

Beth Van Duyne ’95

The Arts & Sciences alum is a Republican in her second term representing Texas’s 24th District, which includes portions of Tarrant, Denton, and Dallas counties.

When she first won her seat in 2020, she became only the second Republican woman from Texas elected to the U.S. House. She has served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Small Business Committee as well as the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.

Beth Van Duyne ’95

Prior to her election to Congress, Van Duyne served as regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, overseeing Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Arkansas; as Mayor of Irving, Texas, from 2011 to 2017; and as an Irving city councilor.

She has also served as the Texas chair for the Community Leaders of America, was on the board of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, and ran an executive consulting business.

Top: Photo illustration by Cornell University; all portraits provided

Published January 10, 2023


  1. Howard F Fries, Class of 1974

    It is nice to see that there are Cornellians who are representing their constituents as Republicans . . . but they seem to be pre-1990s in their undergraduate education.

    • Nell Cady-Kruse, Class of 1983

      Hi Howard, I did notice that Beth Van Duyne (R, TX) is Class of ’95 — in case you didn’t see that. And Wesley Hunt also is a recent Cornell triple Masters – and Westpoint ’04. So that’s pretty impressive.

  2. DIANA L WEGGLER, Class of 1978

    Wow! That is an impressive lineup! So proud of my alma mater for producing such brilliant, dedicated public servants. May they serve their districts with honor and integrity.

  3. John J Brennan, Class of 1952

    I am not pleased with the lack of “reps” for NYS. Keep trying

Leave a Comment

Once your comment is approved, your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Other stories You may like