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Michael Forbes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Michael Forbes
Michael Forbes
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2001
Preceded byGeorge Hochbrueckner
Succeeded byFelix Grucci
Personal details
Born (1952-07-16) July 16, 1952 (age 68)
Riverhead, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic (since 1999)
Other political
Republican (until 1999)
Alma materSUNY Albany

Michael Patrick Forbes (born July 16, 1952) is an American former politician from the state of New York. Forbes represented a Long Island district in the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001, first as a Republican (until 1999) and then as a Democrat. Forbes left Congress after being defeated in the 2000 Democratic primary election. He subsequently moved to Texas, where he became a Roman Catholic permanent deacon.

Early life and career

Michael Patrick Forbes of Round Rock, Texas and Quogue, Long Island, was born on 16 July 1952 at Riverhead, Long Island, New York to Kenneth and Jane (née Morrissey) Forbes. He is the grandson of Carrie Bowman, a Broadway actress, and T. Harold Forbes, an actor and song and dance man who became a well-known newspaper publisher in New Rochelle and Long Island, NY. Forbes graduated from the SUNY Albany, Saint Paul University and the University of Ottawa. He received an honorary Doctor of Law from Long Island University. Forbes got his start in politics as an assistant to New York State Assembly Speaker Perry B. Duryea, Jr..[1] He was a senior aide and close advisor to Republicans U.S. Sen. Al D'Amato and U.S. Rep. Connie Mack. In 1979, Forbes joined the George H.W. Bush campaign as a volunteer in New York and again, in 1987, campaigned statewide in Maine for Bush to succeed Ronald Reagan. President Bush appointed Forbes to a senior post at the United States Small Business Administration in 1989. He served four years, leaving in 1993 when the Clinton administration came into office.

Forbes remains involved as a volunteer, board member, and committee member of the not-for-profit Camp Agawam, an alumni-owned summer camp in Raymond, Maine which he first attended in 1965.[2]


In 1994, Forbes ran on three ballot lines for the House of Representatives: Republican, Conservative, and Right to Life. Campaigning as a fiscal conservative, he defeated incumbent George Hochbrueckner by six percentage points. Forbes got a seat on the powerful Appropriations committee, unusual for a freshman Representative, due to his ties with new House Speaker Newt Gingrich. In December 1996, after Gingrich was cited for gross campaign irregularities,[3] Forbes became the first Republican to announce he was not going to vote for Gingrich for speaker.[4] Forbes voted for moderate Republican Jim Leach instead. Despite his record of support for a number of President Bill Clinton's programs, Forbes voted to impeach Clinton in 1998.[5]

Party switch

On July 17, 1999, Forbes switched to the Democratic Party after chastising national Republicans for being "tone deaf" to the needs of average Americans. While embraced nationally by President Bill Clinton, House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt, U.S Senators Ted Kennedy and Max Cleland and other Senate and House Democrats, New York's liberal Democrats (particularly chairwoman Judith Hope) refused to welcome Forbes into the Democratic Party because he would not change his long-held belief in prohibiting abortion.[6]

Activists in the Suffolk County Democratic Party recruited a 71-year-old librarian, Regina Seltzer, to challenge Forbes in the 2000 Democratic primary. Seltzer won a court ruling halting state Democratic Party ads for Forbes.[7]

Lost primary

Seltzer won the 2000 primary election by 35 votes after national and state Republicans funneled $250,000 to the Seltzer effort. Seltzer was then defeated by Republican Felix Grucci in the November election. Grucci served a single term in Congress, being defeated in 2002 by Democrat Tim Bishop, who served until 2015.

Career after Congress

Forbes is married to Barbara Ann (Blackburn) Forbes and has four children and six grandchildren. In his post-Congress years, Forbes worked as a public relations executive, opening his own firm in 2001. His clients included defense industry contractors, financial services, Internet payment providers, non-profit children's home, and other small businesses seeking Federal appropriations. He has also blogged for the Huffington Post.[8]

In 2007, Forbes and his wife moved to Round Rock, Texas.[9] In 2008, he entered five years of formation and theological study to become a permanent deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. He was ordained clergy in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin by Bishop Joe S. Vásquez on April 13, 2013. He serves at Saint William Catholic Church in Round Rock.[10]

In 2016, Forbes earned both ecclesiastical and civil degrees in canon (Church) law (the iuris canonici licentiate (J.C.L.) and a Masters in Canon Law (M.C.L.) from Saint Paul University and the University of Ottawa, respectively.[9] He is a full-time judge on the ecclesiastical court of the Diocese of Austin. Forbes is a member of the Canon Law Society of America, the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland and the Canadian Canon Law Society.

See also


  1. ^ "Michael Forbes". Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Agawam Council". Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-06. Retrieved 2017-02-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Henneberger, Melinda (30 December 1996). "L.I. Republican Urges Gingrich To Step Down". New York Times. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  5. ^ Thomas M. DeFrank & William Goldschlag (December 16, 1998). "Vote Swells for a Clinton Trial: Republican Moderates Join House Push to Kick Out Prez". New York Daily News.
  6. ^ " Rep. Michael Forbes May Switch Parties". Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Party Switcher Loses House Seat". Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  8. ^ "Michael P. Forbes - HuffPost". Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  9. ^ a b Karl Grossman, From Congress to Catholic deacon: Mike Forbes reinvents himself, again, April 14, 2016).
  10. ^ "Permanent deacons will be ordained April 13 - Catholic Diocese of Austin Texas". Archived from the original on 18 September 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
George J. Hochbrueckner
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 1st congressional district

January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2001
Succeeded by
Felix Grucci
This page was last edited on 20 November 2020, at 23:11
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