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Bonamici Elected to Leadership Role on Education and the Workforce Committee

January 31, 2017
Press Release

Congresswoman Plans to use Vice Ranking Member Role to Fight for Working Families and Public Education

WASHINGTON, DC [01/31/17] — Today the House Education and the Workforce Committee Democrats unanimously elected Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) to serve as Vice Ranking Member. In this position, Bonamici will join committee leadership in advancing the policy priorities of the Committee’s Democrats and in finding bipartisan solutions to the challenges ahead.

“It’s an honor to be elected Vice Ranking Member by my Democratic colleagues on the House Education and the Workforce Committee,” said Congresswoman Bonamici. “There are challenges ahead, but I know we can make meaningful progress for American workers and students by staying true to our values and, when possible, finding common ground with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle. We must be unwavering in our support for giving workers the opportunity for living wage jobs and making sure that students have access to well-rounded public education that prepares them for college or career.

“Our economy relies on an educated and innovative workforce to create and fill the jobs of the 21st century. I came to Congress five years ago with the goal of strengthening public education. We made progress last year with the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced No Child Left Behind. ESSA curbs the high-stakes testing that stifled teaching and learning, and it upholds the civil rights legacy of the original Elementary and Secondary Education Act. We must build on that success and advance the promise that an equal, world-class public education is available to every child in this country.

“I worked my way through community college, college, and law school and was able to graduate with a manageable amount of debt. Too many students today lack access to an affordable higher education; costs have skyrocketed since I graduated. As the Committee considers higher education policies, I look forward to working with all of my colleagues to make college affordable and available and to make it easier for struggling student loan borrowers to repay their loans.

“The Great Recession may be over, but too many people in Oregon and across the country are struggling to recover, get ahead, and create opportunities for their families,” Bonamici continued. “As Vice Ranking Member, I’ll fight for an economy that works for everyone. Our workplace policies must keep pace with our changing workforce. When workers can take time to care for a new child, a sick family member, or themselves without losing their paycheck or their job, our economy is stronger. To support America’s working families, I’m committed to strengthening collective bargaining rights, raising stagnant wages, helping workers save for a secure retirement, providing affordable child care, funding public schools, and making higher education affordable."

Bonamici has been a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee since 2013. Her legislation to reduce high-stakes testing in schools played a key role in building support for the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act. She defended the Department of Labor’s Conflict of Interest Rule, which helps workers save for retirement and be secure in their investments. Last year, Bonamici took a lead role in helping Congress pass a bipartisan update to the Older American Act to support social services designed to help seniors live independently in their communities. She has introduced bills aimed at making child care affordable for working families, helping struggling student loan borrowers avoid default, and giving all workers the tools necessary to save for retirement and carry savings from job to job.

Bonamici will also continue to serve on the Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee and the Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee.