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Kathleen Matthews

Kathleen Ann Matthews (née Cunningham; born August 9, 1953) is the former chief communications and public affairs officer for hotel company Marriott International. Prior to joining Marriott International, she was a reporter for 25 years at WJLA-TV. She was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives for Maryland's 8th congressional district in the 2016 elections. She is the former chair of the Maryland Democratic Party.

Kathleen Matthews
Kathleen Matthews' Headshot.jpg
Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party
In office
March 2, 2017 – December 1, 2018
Acting: March 2, 2017 – May 6, 2017
Preceded byBruce Poole
Succeeded byMaya Rockeymoore Cummings
Personal details
Kathleen Ann Cunningham

(1953-08-09) August 9, 1953 (age 66)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Chris Matthews (m. 1980)
EducationStanford University (BA)

Early life and educationEdit

Matthews was born in San Francisco, California.[1] She is a 1975 graduate of Stanford University. In 2004 she was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She has honorary degrees from the University of South Carolina and Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia.

Early careerEdit


Matthews began working at ABC's Washington DC affiliate WJLA in 1976 as a production assistant. She worked her way up to producer and then she was a writer/reporter from 1982 to 1991.[2] In 1991 she began anchoring. She was an anchor for 15 years through 2006 when she retired. She hosted and executive produced the nationally syndicated Working Woman television show from 2001 to 2006. She hosted political show Capital Sunday on Sundays. She was named a 2002 Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian magazine, and a "Woman Who Means Business" by the Washington Business Journal. She has also been awarded nine local Emmys and an Edward R. Murrow Award, among other top honors during her journalism career.

Corporate CommunicationsEdit

In July 2006 Matthews was named Executive Vice President – Global Communications and Public Affairs at Marriott,[3] responsible for the company’s external and internal communications, including global brand and corporate public relations, corporate social responsibility, and government affairs. She also co-chaired Marriott’s Executive Green Council.

In March 2015 she resigned from Marriott.[4]

Public sectorEdit

Matthews served on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board to the Secretary of Commerce, as well as the boards of the U.S. Travel Association, the International Tourism Partnership, and the Economic Club of Washington. She is active in the World Economic Forum Policy Councils.

2016 U.S House of Representatives electionEdit

On June 3, 2015, Matthews officially announced that she was a Democratic Party candidate for Maryland's 8th congressional district, where incumbent Chris Van Hollen was relinquishing his House seat in order to run for the United States Senate.[5] On March 16, 2016, the editorial board of The Washington Post endorsed Matthews, writing, "Our preference for Ms. Matthews boils down to our belief that in Congress, she would be more pragmatic and less doctrinaire than the left-leaning State Senator Jamie Raskin, whose passionate liberalism is unsurpassed in Annapolis. Both candidates support gun control, clean energy, campaign finance reform and greater investment in education and health research. Ms. Matthews has greater potential, following the Van Hollen model, to move the ball forward in those areas."[6] On April 26, 2016, Matthews was defeated by Raskin in the Democratic primary.[7]

Democratic politicsEdit

On March 1, 2017, Bruce Poole resigned as Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, and on March 2, Matthews was chosen to be the interim Chair.[8] On May 6, she was elected to a four-year term as state party Chair.[9] Matthews promised to renew a state party infrastructure that has deteriorated in recent years, especially outside traditional Democratic strongholds in Baltimore City and Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. She promised to pursue an “all-Maryland strategy” to recruit and support candidates. In December, 2018 she was replaced as Chair by Maya Rockeymoore Cummings.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

Since 1980 she has been married to Chris Matthews, host of Hardball and The Chris Matthews Show. They live in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and have three children: Michael (1983), Thomas (1986), and Caroline (1989).[3] Matthews is active in her community and industry, and has served on the boards of the U.S. Travel Association, Catholic Charities, the Black Student Fund, Suited for Change, Ford’s Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Nantucket Film Festival and Nantucket Dreamland Theater.


  1. ^ Turque, Bill (April 6, 2016). "After anchor desk and corporate suite, Matthews wants a third act in Congress". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 23, 2017. Matthews grew up in the San Francisco Bay area
  2. ^ Maynard, John (July 11, 2006). "WJLA Anchor Signals Her Nov. Sign-Off". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Kathleen Matthews Named Executive Vice President - Global Communications and Public Affairs for Marriott International". Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  4. ^ Turque, Bill (May 20, 2015). "Kathleen Matthews quits Marriott, edging closer to Congressional run". The Washington Post.
  5. ^ Bowman, Bridget (June 3, 2015). "Kathleen Matthews Joins Race for Van Hollen's Seat". Roll Call.
  6. ^ Editorial Board. "Kathleen Matthews, our choice in Maryland's 8th District". Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  7. ^ Turque, Bill (April 27, 2016). "Raskin wins Md.'s 8th Congressional District primary". The Washington Post.
  8. ^ "Matthews voted interim chair of Maryland Democratic Party". WTOP-FM. Associated Press. March 2, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  9. ^ Turque, Bill (May 6, 2017). "Kathleen Matthews elected Maryland Democratic Party chair". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
  10. ^ Wiggins, Ovetta (December 1, 2018). "Maryland Democrats elect Maya Rockeymoore Cummings as state party chair". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 10, 2019.

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by
Bruce Poole
Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party
Succeeded by
Maya Rockeymoore Cummings