Representative Suzanne Bonamici
Suzanne Bonamici grew up in a small town in Michigan where her father worked for a local bank and her mother ran a small business. After high school, she moved to Oregon with friends. She put herself through college, first at Lane Community College and then at the University of Oregon, where she earned BA and JD degrees. During college, Suzanne worked as a legal assistant at Lane County Legal Aid. It was there that she discovered her interest and passion for consumer rights. After graduating from law school, Suzanne worked as a consumer protection attorney for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. She was assigned to the Credit Practices Division, where she worked to protect consumers from predatory and discriminatory lending practices. Suzanne met her husband Michael in D.C., and in 1986, they moved to Washington County. She entered private law practice when she moved back to Oregon, specializing in representing small businesses. After several years of practicing law, Suzanne took a career break to raise her children. She became active in the community, volunteering for education, arts, and civic organizations. Her school advocacy work is what first took her to the Oregon State Capitol and led her to the decision to serve in public office. In 2001, she started as a legislative assistant in the Oregon House of Representatives. She was elected to serve as a member of the Oregon House in 2006 and was appointed and then elected to the Oregon Senate in 2008. In February of 2010, Senator Bonamici sponsored the Access to Business Capital Act to help small and emerging businesses in Oregon. During the 2009 Legislative session, as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Consumer Protection and Public Affairs she championed legislation to provide foreclosure assistance to homeowners and tenants, regulate unscrupulous debt collectors, protect Oregon seniors and veterans from having their exempt funds garnished, and strengthen Oregon's Lemon Law. She also serves on the Senate Judiciary and Education Committees. Suzanne was first elected to the US Congress in a special election on January 31, 2012. She was then elected to a full term in November of 2012, and reelected in November of 2014. She serves on the Education and Workforce Committee and the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, where she holds the leadership position of Ranking Member on the Environment Subcommittee. She is also a member of the Progressive Caucus and the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Bipartisan STEAM Caucus, which supports increased education and awareness about the importance of linking art and design to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. Suzanne and her husband Michael Simon have been married for over twenty-nine years. They have two grown children and a cocker spaniel named Charley.