Kathleen Maura Rice (born February 15, 1965) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the United States representative for New York’s 4th congressional district. She is a member of the Democratic Party. Before serving in Congress, Rice served as the Nassau County district attorney, and, before that, she served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia and as an assistant district attorney in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in New York City.

On January 29, 2014, Rice announced that she would run for Congress in New York’s 4th congressional district to replace retiring Democratic incumbent Carolyn McCarthy.[1] Rice defeated Republican nominee Bruce Blakeman on November 4, 2014,[2] and took office in January 2015.

On February 15, 2022, Rice announced that she would not seek reelection in 2022.[3]

Early life, education, and career

Rice was born in Manhattan, New York, to Laurence and Christine Rice. She grew up in Garden City, on Long Island, as one of 10 siblings. Rice graduated from Garden City High School. She received a B.A. degree from the Catholic University in 1987 and a J.D. degree from the Touro Law Center in 1991.[4]

In 1992 Rice began her career as an assistant district attorney in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, under District Attorney Charles J. Hynes. She prosecuted cases involving burglaries, robberies and sexual assaults and was the first member of her class to be promoted to the homicide bureau.[5]

In 1999, Rice was appointed assistant United States Attorney in Philadelphia by then-Attorney General Janet Reno. As a federal prosecutor, she prosecuted white-collar crimes, corporate fraud, gun and drug cases, and public corruption.[6]

Nassau County District Attorney

Rice with Gary Ackerman in 2010

Rice was elected Nassau County District Attorney in 2005, winning by 7,500 votes to become the first woman to hold the position.[7] She defeated 30-year incumbent Denis E. Dillon, who had generally won reelection easily, even after switching his affiliation from Democratic to Republican in 1989. Rice was the first serious opponent Dillon had faced since his first run in 1974.[8] Rice was reelected in 2009 and 2013.

Tenure and issues

Impaired driving

In 2006, Rice declared her first major policy initiative to be an “assault on the drunk driving epidemic”. She lowered the blood-alcohol level at which plea bargains were offered,[9] supported Leandra’s Law, and charged a man with murder after a 2005 accident that killed a limo driver and a child.[10]

Reform efforts

In September 2011, Rice’s office arrested seven students after uncovering an SAT cheating ring on Long Island.[11] When this case led to the discovery of a wider-spread cheating scandal, Rice worked with the College Board, which administers the test, to update security standards to halt cheating in the future. This effort sparked other test administrators, like that which gives the ACT, to update their standards as well.[12]

Rice has also received credit for teen education programs geared toward cyberbullying, drug use, texting and dangerous driving.[13][14][15][16]

In 2007, Rice’s office, Nassau County and Hempstead police led a counter-assault on Terrace Avenue, a major drug haven and crime-ridden street in Long Island‘s Hempstead Village. Through a combination of zero-tolerance enforcement for repeat and violent offenders, and social-service based jail diversion for nonviolent and first time offenders, crime was reduced in the area.[17]

In 2008, following the trampling death of a Walmart employee at one of its Black Friday sales events, Rice encouraged Walmart to upgrade its security protocols at its nearly 100 New York stores.[18]

In 2012, Rice came out in favor of decriminalizing small amounts of “plain view” marijuana.[19] She has also supported efforts to allow some citizens to seal prior low-level, non-violent convictions in the hopes of improving their chances of obtaining employment.[20]

In the same year, then-Governor Andrew Cuomo chose Rice to be a member of the Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response, a panel tasked with investigating the failures of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) after Hurricane Sandy. The panel recommended that LIPA be replaced by a private, investor-owned company and that the Public Service Commission, which has regulation authority, be given more power to penalize and fine poor-performing utility companies.

Rice supports the “Raise the Age NY” initiative to treat nonviolent teen offenders as juveniles in the criminal justice system.[21]

Guns, gangs, and violent crime

Kathleen Rice at a press conference, announcing the arrest of four ticket vending machine scammers (2013)

Rice implemented gun buyback programs in some of the county’s most crime-plagued areas, which removed more than 2,000 guns from the streets.[22] She also spoke out in favor of then-Governor Cuomo’s gun control legislation[23] and created the office’s first ever gun prosecution unit.[24]

In 2011 Rice announced a major prosecution of nine gun dealers and gun store employees police arrested in an undercover operation investigating alleged illegal assault weapons.[25] This was the second arrest for Martin Tretola, one of the gun shop owners. He was previously arrested on firearms-related violations in 2007. In 2012, a federal jury delivered a verdict rejecting Nassau County’s and Rice’s charges for the 2007 arrest and awarded Tretola $3 million in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages.[26] This judgment was reduced to $1.3 million in total upon appeal.[27]

Questions on Rice’s early prosecution cases

The Kings County district attorney’s prosecution of Antowine Butts for double homicide imploded and ended in an acquittal in 2000, but not before Butts spent two years in a Rikers Island jail cell. After the case unraveled, Butts alleged that he was a victim of prosecutorial misconduct in a civil rights lawsuit that was settled with New York City.

Rice was among those named in that suit, but has largely escaped attention for starting her career in an office in which prosecutors are alleged to have put some innocent people behind bars with coerced confessions, bogus witness statements, coached lineup identifications and other tactics.[28]

In April 2013, Rice announced the arrest of 18 members of the “Rollin’ 60’s” gang, an “ultra-violent” subset of the Crips. Rice charged these defendants with crimes ranging from attempted murder of a police officer to assault and robbery to gun and drug sales.[29]

Public corruption

Among those Rice has charged and convicted of corruption include a deputy police commissioner,[30] a Long Beach City Council member,[31] former Nassau County legislators,[32] and several town building department employees.[33]

Rice in 2013

In July 2013, Cuomo appointed Rice to be one of three co-chairs of the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption. The commission’s work is ongoing.[34]

Rice formed Nassau’s first-ever Medicaid and public assistance fraud unit, which has since secured millions of dollars in restitution for Nassau taxpayers.[35]

Jesse Friedman case

In 2010, Rice ordered the review[36] of a 1987 case in which Arnold Friedman and his son, Jesse,[37] pleaded guilty to sexually abusing young boys in their Great Neck, Long Island home. Rice formed a panel of outside experts—including the Innocence Project‘s Barry Scheck (who spoke out against the review)[38]—to examine whether Jesse Friedman had wrongfully confessed. In a 172-page report released in July 2013, investigators found that Friedman had not been wrongfully convicted.[39]

President of DAASNY

In July 2013, Rice was inducted as President of the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York (DAASNY).[40]

U.S. House of Representatives


In an August 2017 tweet, Rice referred to both the National Rifle Association and its spokeswoman, conservative political commentator and author Dana Loesch, as national security threats under President Donald Trump.[41] Loesch reacted to Rice’s tweet by calling for her resignation.[42]

As of September 2021, Rice had voted in line with Joe Biden‘s stated position 100% of the time.[43]

Rice was one of three House Democrats on the Energy Committee to vote against a provision that would lower prescription drug prices.[44]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Electoral history

2005 Nassau County District Attorney election

In 2005, Rice returned to Nassau County and declared her candidacy for District Attorney on the Democratic line. She challenged 30-year incumbent Denis E. Dillon. Throughout the campaign, Rice provided an alternative to Dillon, pledging to cut plea bargaining and touting her would-be zero tolerance policy for drunk driving. She also committed herself to modernizing the office’s approach to domestic violence and crimes of sexual abuse. Rice edged out Dillon, 51%–49%.[7]

2005 Nassau County District Attorney General Election[47]
DemocraticKathleen Rice151,81951.35
RepublicanDenis Dillon (inc.)143,82748.65
Total votes295,646 100

2009 Nassau County District Attorney election

In 2009, Rice was challenged by law clerk Joy Watson. She defeated Watson, 54%–46%.

2009 Nassau County District Attorney General Election[48]
DemocraticKathleen Rice (inc.)129,50854.2
RepublicanJoy Watson109,52645.8
Total votes239,034 100

2010 New York State Attorney General Democratic primary

In May 2010, Rice announced that she would seek the Democratic nomination for New York State Attorney General. The race pitted Rice against four Democratic opponents: then-State Senator Eric Schneiderman, former prosecutor Sean Coffey, former State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, and former insurance commissioner Eric Dinallo. Though originally considered a long shot, she lost the five-way primary to Schneiderman by just two points, 34% to 32%.[49]

2010 New York State Attorney General Democratic Primary[50]
DemocraticEric T. Schneiderman227,20334.36
DemocraticKathleen Rice210,72631.87
DemocraticSean Coffey108,18516.36
DemocraticRichard L. Brodsky65,6839.93
DemocraticEric R. Dinallo49,4997.49
Total votes661,296 100

2013 Nassau County District Attorney election

In 2013, Rice was challenged by Law Secretary Howard Sturim. Rice defeated Sturim, 59%–41%.

2013 Nassau County District Attorney General Election[51]
DemocraticKathleen Rice (inc.)164,80558.88
RepublicanHoward Sturim114,99341.08
Total votes279,888 100

2014 U.S. House of Representatives New York’s 4th District election

In June 2014, Rice won the Democratic primary election for the U.S. House of Representatives in New York’s 4th congressional district, defeating Nassau County Legislator Kevan Abrahams, 56%–44%.[52] In November, she was elected, defeating Republican nominee Bruce Blakeman, 53%–47%.[53]

2014 U.S. House of Representatives (NY-04) General Election[53]
DemocraticKathleen Rice85,29452.66
RepublicanBruce Blakeman76,51547.24
Total votes161,976 100

2016 U.S. House of Representatives New York’s 4th District election

Rice was reelected, defeating Republican nominee David Gurfein, 59.6%–40.4%, a margin of about 60,000 votes.[54]

2016 U.S. House of Representatives (NY-04) General Election[54]
DemocraticKathleen Rice (inc.)186,42359.6
RepublicanDavid Gurfein126,43840.4
Total votes312,861 100

2018 U.S. House of Representatives New York’s 4th District election

Rice was reelected, defeating Republican nominee Ameer Benno, 61.3%–38.7%.[55]

2018 U.S. House of Representatives (NY-04) General Election[56]
DemocraticKathleen Rice (inc.)159,53561.3
RepublicanAmeer Benno100,57138.7
Total votes260,106 100

2020 U.S. House of Representatives New York’s 4th District election

Rice was reelected, defeating Republican nominee Douglas L. Tuman and Green nominee Joseph R. Naham 56.1% to Tuman’s 43.0% and Naham’s 0.8%.[55]

2020 U.S. House of Representatives (NY-04) General Election[57]
DemocraticKathleen Rice (inc.)199,76256.1
RepublicanDouglas L. Tuman153,00743.0
GreenJoseph R. Naham3,0240.8
Total votes355,912 100

Personal life

Rice has never married and has no children.[58]

See also


  1. ^ PAUL LAROCCO (January 30, 2014). “Kathleen Rice to seek Carolyn McCarthy seat in Congress”. Newsday.
  2. ^ 2014 Election Results“. New York State Board of Elections. See: “Representative in Congress“, section: 4th Congressional District. Retrieved 2017-01-24.
  3. ^ “Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice to retire from the House”. The Hill. February 15, 2022.
  4. ^ “Kathleen Rice”. Nassau County Democrats. nassaucountydems.com. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  5. ^ “Alumni of the Month Program: Kathleen Rice”. Touro Law Center. May 2008. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  6. ^ “Rep. Kathleen Rice becomes 30th House Democrat to not seek re-election”. MSN. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  7. ^ a b “A NEW DA IN TOWN Hillary to swear in Kathleen Rice in Nassau”. New York Daily News. January 8, 2006.
  8. ^ “Our Campaigns – Nassau County District Attorney Race – Nov 08, 2005”.
  9. ^ “A Harder Line on Driving While Drunk”. The New York Times. March 14, 2006.
  10. ^ “Congresswoman Kathleen Rice Proposes National Version of Leandra’s Law”. Garden City, NY Patch. December 21, 2016. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  11. ^ “SAT Cheating Ring Busted, Seven Students Arrested”. ABC News. September 27, 2011.
  12. ^ “New SAT Security Changes After N.Y. Cheating Ring”. ABC News. March 27, 2012.
  13. ^ Hackmack, Andrew (May 30, 2012). “District attorney highlights crime prevention initiatives: Rice speaks to Valley Stream business leaders”. LIHerald.com. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  14. ^ “Heroin Prevention PSA”. Nassau County District Attorney. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013.
  15. ^ “DWI Education Program at Local Schools”. Anton News. February 26, 2010. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015.
  16. ^ “Nassau County DA Attacks Cyber Crime “. FiOs1. July 25, 2013. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013.
  17. ^ “Street Known for Drug Crime Is Getting Clean”. The New York Times. January 14, 2009.
  18. ^ “Wal-Mart pays $2M to avoid charges in death probe”. USA Today. May 6, 2009.
  19. ^ “Cuomo’s Plan To Decriminalize Weed In “Public View” Has Support Of Pretty Much Everyone”. The Village Voice. June 4, 2012. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013.
  20. ^ “Debate over sealing records on old crimes”. Newsday. June 4, 2012.
  21. ^ “Advocates to state: Don’t prosecute 16-, 17-year olds as adults”. Newsday. August 20, 2013.
  22. ^ DA Rice and County Executive Mangano Announce Gun Buyback Event” [news release]. Nassau County, NY official website. January 30, 2013. The statistic for number of guns taken off the streets is cited by Nassau County executive Edward Mangano. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  23. ^ “Top law enforcement officials file in support of SAFE Act”. The Albany Times-Union. June 25, 2013.
  24. ^ “A New Approach to Gangs & Guns”. Kathleen Rice Campaign Website. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013.
  25. ^ “Nassau County undercover illegal gun bust makes nine arrests – null”. February 17, 2011. Archived from the original on October 29, 2014.
  26. ^ “GCP gun store owner awarded $5M”. The Island Now. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016.
  27. ^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on October 29, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ “Questions on Rice’s early prosecution cases – Newsday”. Newsday. October 26, 2014.
  29. ^ “Nassau officials: ‘Ultra-violent’ gang members arrested”. Newsday. April 18, 2013.
  30. ^ “Nassau Police Conspiracy Partial Verdict: Flanagan Guilty of Official Misconduct”. The Long Island Press. February 14, 2013.
  31. ^ “Jury: Long Beach City Councilman Michael Fagen guilty of larceny”. Newsday. February 5, 2013.
  32. ^ “Roger Corbin found guilty of taking bribes”. Long Island Herald. July 24, 2012.
  33. ^ “Indictments Handed Down in TNH Building Department Probe”. Anton News. October 19, 2007. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013.
  34. ^ “Cuomo Creates Special Commission to Investigate Corrupt Elected Officials”. The New York Times. July 2, 2013.
  35. ^ “Protecting Taxpayer Dollars”. Kathleen Rice Campaign Website. Archived from the original on October 23, 2013.
  36. ^ “Press Release re: Conviction Integrity Review”. freejesse.net. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  37. ^ “Statement to Conviction Integrity Review”. freejesse.net. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  38. ^ “Scheck Affidavit in Support of Jesse Friedman” (PDF). freejesse.net. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  39. ^ “Jesse Friedman is 100% guilty of sexually abusing children, reinvestigation by Nassau County district attorney concludes”. New York Daily News. June 25, 2013.
  40. ^ “Kathleen Rice to lead state district attorneys”. Newsday. July 23, 2013.
  41. ^ @RepKathleenRice (August 11, 2017). “I’m just going to say it. #NRA & @DLoesch are quickly becoming domestic security threats under President Trump. We can’t ignore that” (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  42. ^ “NRA Spokeswoman Dana Loesch Dares Rep. Kathleen Rice: ‘Come and Arrest Me’. August 12, 2017.
  43. ^ Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (April 22, 2021). “Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?”. FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved September 8, 2021.
  44. ^ “Rice votes against lower drug costs — and her party”.
  45. ^ “Members”. New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  46. ^ “Members”. U.S. – Japan Caucus. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  47. ^ “2005 Nassau Election Results”. Nassau GOP Watch. November 9, 2005.
  48. ^ “2009 Nassau Election Results”. New York Times. November 9, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  49. ^ “Schneiderman Wins Democratic Attorney General Race”. The New York Times. September 15, 2010.
  50. ^ “2010 Primary Results” (PDF). New York State Board of Elections. September 14, 2010.
  51. ^ “Voters Guide”. Newsday. Results for year: 2013; election: Nov. 5th general; race: Nassau County district attorney. There were also 90 write-in votes, accounting for .03% of the total votes. Archived from the original on June 27, 2015. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  52. ^ LaRocco, Paul (June 25, 2014). “Rice, Blakeman win 4th district primaries”. Newsday. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  53. ^ a b Nassau County Board of Elections. “2014 General Election Results”. Nassau County Board of Elections. Archived from the original on February 18, 2015. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  54. ^ a b “New York U.S. House 4th District Results: Kathleen Rice Wins”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  55. ^ a b “Election Statistics: 1920 to Present | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives”. history.house.gov. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  56. ^ Johnson, Cheryl L. (February 28, 2019). “Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 6, 2018”. Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  57. ^ Johnson, Cheryl L. (February 26, 2021). “Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 2020”. Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  58. ^ Berger, Joseph (March 20, 2014). “Raised on Politics, Kathleen Rice Seeks Carolyn McCarthy’s Seat – The New York Times”. The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2021.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York’s 4th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by

United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by