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.
Strengthening public education is one of Suzanne’s top priorities and one of the reasons she got involved in public service. Suzanne spent hundreds of hours volunteering in public schools before serving in the Oregon State Legislature, where she passed legislation to reduce testing in the state. As a member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce in Congress, she is dedicated to setting national policies that give educators and students the resources they need to succeed. Suzanne served a lead role in the passage of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaces No Child Left Behind and creates new K-12 education policies. She is also focused on making college more affordable and closing the skills gap. Suzanne is the founder and co-chair 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 also serves as a member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and she is the top Democratic member 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 science. 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 forecasting and 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, and then at the University of Oregon, where she earned her bachelor’s degree and law degree. 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 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.
Suzanne was elected to her first term in the Oregon House of Representatives in 2007 and in 2008 she was appointed and then elected to the Oregon Senate.
In January 2012, Suzanne won the special election to represent Oregon’s First Congressional District. She was elected to her first full term in November 2012 and was reelected in November 2014. Oregon’s First Congressional District includes Washington, Yamhill, Clatsop, and Columbia counties as well as part of Multnomah County.
Suzanne and Michael have been married for more than thirty years. They have two grown children and a cocker spaniel named Charley.