Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici was sworn in as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives on February 7, 2012. She represents the First Congressional District of Oregon, which comprises the Northwest portion of the state.
As a member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Suzanne focuses on making college more affordable and reforming the Early Childhood and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind. She is the founder of the bipartisan Congressional STEAM Caucus, which aims to encourage innovation and creative thinking by integrating arts and design with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education.
Suzanne is working to close the skills gap. Her legislation, the WISE Investment Act, is designed to improve communication between job training programs and local businesses to help assure that there is a trained, local workforce for available jobs in our communities.
Suzanne also serves as a member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and she is the Democratic leader on the Subcommittee on the Environment. From this position, she is working to address the causes and risks of global climate change, and to ensure that policy decisions are based on scientific evidence. As a representative of coastal Oregon, she is also working to draw attention to issues that affect this unique region, including ocean acidification, early tsunami warning systems, weather monitoring, and debris removal.
Suzanne first moved to Oregon from Michigan in the mid-1970s. She worked her way through college in Eugene, first at Lane Community College, where she earned an Associate Degree from the Legal Assistant program, and then at the University of Oregon, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts from the School of Journalism. In 1983, she received her J.D. from the University of Oregon School Of Law. During college and law school, Suzanne worked at Lane County Legal Aid Service.
After law school, Suzanne was an attorney for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington D.C., where she was in the Credit Practices Division of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. She met her husband, Michael H. Simon, in Washington, and in 1986 they settled in the Portland area. Suzanne joined a law firm and worked there until her children were born.
In 2007, Suzanne was elected to her first term in the Oregon House of Representatives, representing House District 34 in Washington County. In 2008, Suzanne was appointed and then elected to the Oregon Senate to represent District 17. In 2009, she sponsored and passed legislation protecting consumers and tenants in foreclosure, strengthening Oregon’s Lemon Law, and reducing pesticide use in schools. In 2010 she sponsored and passed the Access to Business Capital Act, which helped small businesses and entrepreneurs access loans.
In 2011, Suzanne was elected to the position of Assistant Majority Leader, a position she held until she resigned to run for the U.S House.
Suzanne and Michael have two grown children and a cocker spaniel named Charley.