A brief biography.
Maria Cantwell was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in a predominately Irish American neighborhood. She attended Emmerich Manual High School and was inducted into the Indianapolis Public Schools Hall of Fame in 2006. After high school, Cantwell went to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration.
In 1983, Cantwell moved to Seattle Washington to help campaign for Senator Alan Cranston for the 1984 election (which he failed to be nominated.)
She then moved to a small suburb in Seattle and had a succesful campagin to build a new library.
In 1986, she was elected to the house of representatives, where she remained until 1993, and lost the 1994 election.
In 2000, after much urging from her supporters, Cantwell ran for the position of senator and won, and has won the 2006 and 2012 elections, remaining as senator for thirteen years.
She typically votes in favor of the typical norms for the democratic party, however in certain aspects she has leaned in favor of things that would be typical for a Republican.
She was a proponent for the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill of 2002 and cosponsored the Clean Money, Clean Elections Act of 2001.
On the Iraq war, she voted favor of the Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq, however she was quoted later on as saying, "... Mr. President, my vote for this resolution does not mean that I am convinced of the Administration has answered all the questions. I believe the following issues must be addressed before the U.N. or the U.S. move forward with military action." Cantwell detailed six specific areas in which her questions and concerns had yet to be satisfactorily addressed at the time of her vote to authorize war: "First: Continued Multilateral Approach ... Second: Successful Military Strategy ... Third: A Postwar Commitment Strategy ... Fourth: Fighting the Broader War on Terrorism ... Fifth: Maintaining Middle East Stability ... Sixth: Protecting Iraqi Civilians."
She is a proponent of immigration, the health care reform act and is "100% pro-choice" on the viewpoint of abortion, and she expresses her belief that Plan B contraceptives should be available for girls 16 and under.
Cantwell's biggest stance is on the environment, in which she attempts to pass many laws concerning environmental reform.