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Suzanne Bonamici


Suzanne Bonamici

Suzanne Bonamici
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oregon's 1st district
Assumed office
January 31, 2012
Preceded by David Wu
Member of the Oregon Senate
from the 17th district
In office
May 19, 2008 – November 21, 2011
Preceded by Brad Avakian
Succeeded by Elizabeth Steiner Hayward
Member of the Oregon House of Representatives
from the 34th district
In office
January 2, 2007 – May 19, 2008
Preceded by Brad Avakian
Succeeded by Chris Harker
Personal details
Born (1954-10-14) October 14, 1954
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Michael Simon
Residence Beaverton, Oregon
Alma mater University of Oregon (B.A, J.D)
Religion Episcopalian
Website Official website

Suzanne Bonamici (born October 14, 1954) is a Democratic politician from the U.S. state of Oregon. She is the U.S. Representative for Oregon's 1st congressional district and was first elected in a special election on January 31, 2012. The district includes most of Portland west of the Willamette River, as well as all of Yamhill, Columbia, Clatsop, and Washington counties.

Bonamici previously represented District 17 in the Oregon State Senate from 2008 to 2011.[1] She was first elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 2006.

Early life, education, and law career

Bonamici was born in Detroit and raised in a small Michigan town. Her father worked for a local bank and her mother was a small-business owner and piano teacher. She earned an A.A. from Lane Community College, a B.A. in journalism from the University of Oregon, and a J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law.

During college, she was a legal assistant at Lane County Legal Aid in the city of Eugene. After getting her law degree, she became a consumer protection attorney for the Federal Trade Commission in the nation's capital. She went into private practice in Portland and represented small businesses.[2]

Oregon legislature


In 2006, incumbent Democratic State Representative Brad Avakian decided to retire to run for the Oregon Senate. She ran for the open seat in Oregon's 34th House District and defeated Republican Joan Draper 62%-36%.[3]

On April 30, 2008 Bonamici was appointed by Commissioners from both Washington and Multnomah counties to represent Oregon's 17th Senate District. The seat became vacant when Avakian was appointed Commissioner of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.[4] She was sworn in on May 19, 2008.

Bonamici was unopposed in the November 2008 special election for the balance of Avakian's four-year term, and was elected with 97 percent of the vote.[5] In 2010, she won re-election with 64% of the vote.[6]

Committee assignments

In the 2009 Legislative Session, Bonamici served as the Chair of the Senate Consumer Protection and Public Affairs Committee and as a member of the Senate Judiciary and Education Committees.

U.S. House of Representatives


Special election

In early 2011, Bonamici's name was floated as a possible successor to then-Congressman David Wu after The Oregonian and Willamette Week reported Wu exhibited odd behavior and clashed with his staff in the midst of apparent mental illness during the 2010 election cycle.[7] Following Wu's resignation from Congress, Bonamici announced her candidacy for the special election to replace him,[8] touting endorsements from former Governor Barbara Roberts, former Congresswoman Elizabeth Furse, and incumbent Oregon Attorney General John Kroger, among others.[9]

On November 8, 2011, Bonamici won the Democratic Party of Oregon's nomination, winning an outright majority of the vote in every county in the district and capturing 66% of the vote overall, with a 44-point margin over second-place finisher Brad Avakian. She faced Republican nominee Rob Cornilles in the special election on January 31, 2012,[10] winning by a 14-point margin.[11] Prior to her election to Congress, Bonamici resigned from the Oregon Senate on November 21,[12] and was replaced by Elizabeth Steiner Hayward in December.[13]

2012 regular election

In November 2012, Bonamici won re-election to her first full term with over 60% of the vote.[14]


On July 31, 2014, Bonamici introduced the Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2014 (H.R. 5309; 113th Congress) into the House.[15] The bill would authorize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to spend $27 million a year for three years on their on-going tsunami warning and research programs.[16] Bonamici said that "the coastlines of the United States already play an integral role in the economic prosperity of this country and we must strengthen their preparedness and resiliency so they can continue to play that role going forward."[16] Bonamici also said that the bill "will improve the country's understanding of the threat posed by tsunami events" because it will "improve forecasting and notification systems, support local community outreach and preparedness and response plans, and develop supportive technologies."[17]

Committee assignments

Personal life

She is married to Michael H. Simon, a federal judge.[18] They have two children, Andrew and Sara. Bonamici was raised Episcopalian and Unitarian, and now attends synagogue with her Jewish husband, and children.[19]


  1. ^ "Suzanne Bonamici makes legislative resignation official".  
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Bonamici named to replace Avakian in state Senate". Beaverton Valley Times. May 1, 2008. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Oregon Democratic leaders say they hope Wu gets help, put off talk of his political future". The Oregonian. OregonLive. 19 February 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  8. ^ "Bonamici announces bid for Wu's seat in Congress".  
  9. ^ "Endorsements". Bonamici for Congress. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  10. ^ "Oregon - County Vote Results". Associated Press. November 9, 2011. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Representative in Congress, 1st District Unofficial Results". Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved February 1, 2012. 
  12. ^ Staff (December 22, 2011). "Physician to sit in state seat".  
  13. ^ Mapes, Jeff (December 21, 2011). "A Washington County commissioner at sea casts decisive vote to fill Oregon Senate seat". The Oregonian. Retrieved December 22, 2011. 
  14. ^ Brown, Kate. "2012 election results". OR STATE SEC OF STATE. 
  15. ^ "H.R. 5309 - All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
  16. ^ a b Marcos, Cristina (8 September 2014). "House passes bill to authorize tsunami forecasting programs". The Hill. Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
  17. ^ "Representative Bonamici Introduces Bipartisan Tsunami Warning Bill". Safer Coastlines. Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
  18. ^ Duin, Steve (August 6, 2011). "In the wake of David Wu case, accusations fly in Oregon's First District". The Oregonian. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  19. ^ "Suzanne Bonamici". The Oregonian. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 

External links

Oregon House of Representatives
Preceded by
Brad Avakian
Member of the Oregon House of Representatives from the 34th District
Succeeded by
Chris Harker
Oregon Senate
Preceded by
Brad Avakian
Member of the Oregon State Senate from the 17th District
Succeeded by
Elizabeth Steiner Hayward
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
David Wu
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oregon's 1st congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Mark Amodei
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Ron Barber
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