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Civil Rights

 

Education and Labor

A quality public education is a powerful force for economic and social mobility. As Chair of the Education and Labor Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services, I am working to expand opportunities for people of all backgrounds. We must close the equity gap for students of color, who continue to face disparate outcomes in our public education system.

 

The Trump administration has been undermining, rather than protecting, the civil rights of students and workers. I take seriously the obligation of Congress to advance equity, hold institutions accountable, and provide meaningful oversight of the Department of Education, the Department of Labor, and the Trump administration. I will fight for all students and workers so they can learn and work in safe, inclusive, and welcoming environments.

LGBTQ Equality

All Americans should be free from discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. I have long advocated for LGBTQ rights. I challenged Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to reinstate protections for transgender students, and I’m leading the Ruthie and Connie LGBT Elder Americans Act, which would update the Older Americans Act to strengthen safeguards for LGBT elders.

 

I am an enthusiastic supporter of the Equality Act, H.R. 5, to amend our civil rights laws to clarify that prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of sex includes prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.


Elections and Access to Voting

The right to vote is the core of our democracy, and it is critical that all Americans who qualify to vote have the opportunity to make their voices heard at the polls. For too long our nation did not allow minorities to vote; even after that right was afforded to all Americans, many jurisdictions engaged in shameful practices that effectively made it impossible for many citizens to exercise their rights.

 

In the 1960’s, the Voting Rights Act gave all citizens equal access to our election process, regardless of race. In the 1970’s, The Federal Election Campaign Act brought a new era of transparency and accountability in campaign finance, and thirty years later Congress passed the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act to rid the system of unchecked corporate soft-money. 

 

But the right of all citizens to fully participate in our democracy is under threat in ways we haven’t seen since the civil rights and post-Watergate eras. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision undermined that intent. There is no question that Citizens United has harmed our democracy, and it must be overturned. The Supreme Court further undermined voting rights by overturning key provisions of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, making it easier for states and localities to implement discriminatory practices that block access to the ballot box.

 

Voter suppression efforts and voter identification laws often restrict access for minority, military, disabled, and low-income voters, as well as seniors and college students. I am also deeply concerned about potential foreign interference in elections.

 

I am a strong supporter of H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which addresses campaign finance reform, voting rights, election security, accountability for government officials, and more. It includes many of the voting provisions that Oregonians have already adopted and appreciate, helping states across the country follow Oregon’s lead by expanding automatic voter registration, online registration, having paper ballots, and vote-by-mail to make it easier for millions of people to exercise their right to vote.

 

Access to Justice  

Our democracy relies on an accessible and effective justice system to adjudicate rights and wrongs. When I was in law school, I helped low-income families access quality legal advice through Legal Aid. More than 60 million Americans qualify for legal assistance programs, and these attorneys assist the most vulnerable in our society, including military veterans seeking disability benefits, women seeking protection from their abusers, and families facing unlawful evictions. I have fought hard for full funding for Legal Aid, and I oppose efforts to eliminate funding for these vital programs.

More on Civil Rights

June 24, 2021 In The News

“My home state of Oregon has one of the most rapidly aging populations in the country, and I have heard from many workers, particularly those in the technology industry, who believe they have been dismissed or denied employment because of their age,” Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Beaverton, said in comments on the House floor Wednesday. Bonamici was among those who introduced the legislation.

June 21, 2021 In The News

"What really helps is to make the vaccine available and accessible and come to the community. So we are here in a large parking lot in Tektronix," said Congresswoman Bonamici.

June 21, 2021 In The News

The Protecting Our Students in School Act would prohibit corporal punishment in schools that receive federal funding, and establish a grant program to help improve school climate and culture. It was introduced June 10 in the U.S. House and Senate by a trio of Democrats: U.S. Reps. A. Donald McEachin of Virgina and Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon, along with U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

June 21, 2021 In The News

On June 10, Reps. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) recently reintroduced the Protecting Our Students in School Act of 2021, which takes steps to eliminate the harmful, antiquated practice of hitting children in public schools. In addition to removing corporal punishment in public institutions, the bill puts in place measures to create supportive school climates with positive discipline strategies that are backed by science.

May 24, 2021 In The News

They described Johnson's work as "a great mixture of contemporary and traditional techniques," according to a press release by the office of U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, a Beaverton Democrat. Johnson received an honorable mention for the competition in 2019. "I appreciate that Clara's piece thoughtfully examines anti-immigrant bias and the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, and is beautifully executed," said Bonamici in a statement. "She is incredibly talented, and I'm glad she has shared her excellent work by participating in the Congressional Art Competition."

May 18, 2021 Press Release
The recent spike in violence, bias, and hate crimes against members of our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities is heartbreaking and infuriating.
May 14, 2021 Press Release
As a mom and a policymaker, I know how important it is to protect the health, well-being, and economic security of pregnant workers and their families.
May 10, 2021 In The News

As several speakers at the rally noted, that figure is likely a vast undercount as many incidents go unreported. Among those who spoke virtually at the rally were Oregon’s U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici and Gov. Kate Brown.

April 29, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC [04/29/21] – During Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Don Young (R-AK), Jared Huffman (D-CA), and Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR) introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) response to sexual assault and sexual harassment, and to secure more resources for survivors.

April 22, 2021 In The News

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, also a Democrat, said she called for the investigation and was reviewing it’s findings and recommendations. “The Trump Administration flamed tensions and sparked fear among the people of Portland for months,” she said in a statement.