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Don Beyer
Don Beyer, official 114th Congress photo portrait.jpeg
Chair of the Joint Economic Committee
Assumed office
February 3, 2021
Preceded byMike Lee
Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee
In office
January 16, 2020 – February 3, 2021
Preceded byCarolyn Maloney
Succeeded byMartin Heinrich
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 8th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded byJim Moran
United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein
In office
September 8, 2009 – May 29, 2013
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byPeter Coneway
Succeeded bySuzan G. LeVine
36th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
In office
January 13, 1990 – January 17, 1998
GovernorDouglas Wilder
George Allen
Preceded byDouglas Wilder
Succeeded byJohn Hager
Personal details
Donald Sternoff Beyer Jr.

(1950-06-20) June 20, 1950 (age 71)
Trieste, Free Territory of Trieste
Political partyDemocratic
Carolyn McInerney
(m. 1972; div. 1986)

(m. 1987)
ResidenceAlexandria, Virginia
EducationWilliams College (BA)
WebsiteHouse website

Donald Sternoff Beyer Jr. (/ˈb.ər/; born June 20, 1950), is an American businessman, diplomat and politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Virginia's 8th congressional district since 2015. A member of the Democratic Party, his district is located in the heart of Northern Virginia and includes Alexandria, Falls Church and Arlington.

Beyer owns automobile dealerships in Virginia and has a long record of involvement in community and philanthropic work. From 1990 to 1998 he served as the 36th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia during the gubernatorial administrations of Democrat Doug Wilder (1990–1994) and Republican George Allen (1994–1998). His party's nominee for Governor of Virginia in 1997, he lost to Republican Jim Gilmore, who was then the Attorney General of Virginia. From 2009 to 2013, he served as United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.[1]

In 2014, Beyer announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives seat for Virginia's 8th congressional district held by the retiring Jim Moran. Beyer won the June 2014 Democratic primary with 45% of the vote and defeated Republican Micah Edmond 63% to 33% on November 4, 2014.[2]

Early life

Beyer was born in the Free Territory of Trieste, the son of a U.S. Army officer, Donald Sternoff Beyer Sr., (1924–2017) and his wife, Nancy McDonald (d. 1999).[3][4] His grandmother Clara Mortenson Beyer was a pioneer in labor economics and workers' rights, and worked in the United States Department of Labor under Frances Perkins during the New Deal era.[5] The oldest of six children, he was raised in Washington, D.C., where his father founded a chain of car dealerships. In 1968, he graduated from Gonzaga College High School, where he was salutatorian of his class; in 1972 he graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College, magna cum laude, in economics. Beyer was a Presidential Scholar in 1968, and was a National Merit Scholarship winner. He graduated from a winter Outward Bound course at Dartmouth College in January 1971, and attended Wellesley College that year as part of the "12 College Exchange" program.[6][7]

Business career

After college Beyer began working in his father's Volvo dealership. In 1986, Beyer and his brother Michael bought the business from their parents, and as the Beyer Automotive Group, the business expanded to nine dealerships, including the Volvo, Land Rover, Kia, Volkswagen and Subaru brands.

Beyer is a past chairman of the National Volvo Retailer Advisory Board. In 2006, he served as chairman of the American International Automobile Dealers Association.[8]

He served as a member of the board of Demosphere International, Inc., a leading soccer registration software provider.[9] He was also a board member of History Associates, which bills itself as "The Best Company in History."[10] He has served on the Virginia Board of First Union National Bank, the board of Shenandoah Life Insurance Company, and the board of Lightly Expressed, a fiber optic lighting design and manufacturing firm.

Civic activism

During nearly two decades of community activism, he has taken leadership roles on the boards of many business, philanthropic and public policy organizations, the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and the American Cancer Society. He has received numerous awards and honors, including the Grand Award for Highway Safety from the National Safety Federation; the James C. Wheat Jr. Award for Service to Virginians with Disabilities;[11] the Earl Williams Leadership in Technology Award; and the Thomas Jefferson Award for 2012 from American Citizens Abroad.[12] In 2017, he was given the Leaders for Democracy Award by the Project on Middle East Democracy. In April 2017, he was also awarded the Community Integration Leadership Award for Community and Public Service by the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia, and the Community Engagement Award from Phillips Programs for Children and Families.

He chaired the board of the Alexandria Community Trust, Alexandria's community foundation,[13] and the board of Jobs for Virginia Graduates, the state's largest high school dropout prevention program.[14]

He is a former president of the board of Youth for Tomorrow, Washington Redskins' coach Joe Gibbs' residential home for troubled adolescent boys and girls.[15] He also served on the board of the DC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.[16] He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Jobs for America's Graduates.

Political career

One of Beyer's automotive dealerships in Fairfax County, Virginia
One of Beyer's automotive dealerships in Fairfax County, Virginia

Beyer was the northern Virginia coordinator of the successful Gerald L. Baliles campaign for governor in 1985. In 1986 Baliles appointed Beyer to the Commonwealth Transportation Board. (The Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) is responsible for overseeing the Virginia Department of Transportation and allocating highway funding to specific projects. It consists of 17 members, including the Secretary of Transportation, Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner, Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, and 14 citizen members who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Virginia General Assembly.)[citation needed]

Beyer was elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 1989, beating Republican state senator Edwina P. Dalton. He was re-elected in 1993, beating Republican Michael Farris 54-46 percent, as Republicans George Allen and Jim Gilmore were elected on the same ballot as Governor and Attorney General, respectively.

Farris's close connection to conservative leaders such as Jerry Falwell of the Moral Majority, Pat Robertson of the Christian Coalition and Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum, as well as his adherence to the Quiverfull movement[17][18] stirred deep-seated feelings and led some prominent Virginia Republicans such as U.S. Senator John Warner to support Beyer rather than Farris.[citation needed]

During his tenure as lieutenant governor, Beyer served as president of the Virginia Senate. He chaired the Virginia Economic Recovery Commission, the Virginia Commission on Sexual Assault, the Virginia Commission on Disabilities, the Poverty Commission and was co-founder of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, an outgrowth of the Chamber of Commerce.[19] He was active in promoting high-tech industries, and lead the fight to eliminate disincentives in the Virginia Tax Code to high-tech research and development.[20]

He is also credited with writing the original welfare reform legislation in Virginia.[21]

Beyer was the Democratic nominee for governor in 1997, losing in the general election to Republican Jim Gilmore. He served as Finance Chairman for Mark Warner's Political Action Committee, "Forward Together"[22] and as the National Treasurer for the 2004 presidential campaign of former Vermont Governor Howard Dean.[23] Following Dean's withdrawal from that race, he served as chairman of the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign in Virginia.[24]

Beyer as Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein
Beyer as Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein

During 2007–2008, he endorsed and campaigned extensively for presidential candidate Barack Obama.[25] He served as chairman of the Mid Atlantic Finance Council of Obama for America campaign,[26] and served on the campaign's National Finance Council.

He was appointed by the Democratic National Committee to serve at the 2008 DNC Convention on the Credentials Committee.[27]

Following the 2008 election, President-elect Obama asked Beyer to head up the transition team at the Department of Commerce.[28]

Obama nominated Beyer for the post of United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein on June 12, 2009.[29] In December 2010 Beyer attracted public attention when it was reported that he had warned the Swiss government against offering asylum to WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.[30] In March 2013 Beyer received the Thomas Jefferson Award from American Citizens Abroad. The award is presented annually by ACA to recognize State Department individuals who have rendered outstanding service to Americans overseas. Beyer was recognized for organizing a series of town hall meetings where American citizens overseas could voice concerns and opinions to officials of the State Department. He resigned as ambassador in May 2013.

During the run-up to the 2020 primaries, he endorsed Pete Buttigieg for president. He then endorsed Joe Biden on Super Tuesday.[31]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Don Beyer voluntarily self-quarantined himself and his wife Megan at their home. Beyer had been in contact with a friend earlier in the year who contracted the coronavirus. As a precaution, Beyer self-quarantined with his wife. Beyer had not contracted the virus as of July 2020.[32]

U.S. House of Representatives



On January 24, 2014, Beyer announced that he was running for Virginia's 8th congressional district in the 2014 elections to succeed retiring Democratic incumbent Jim Moran.[33] It was his first partisan race since losing the 1997 gubernatorial election. He won the June 10 Democratic primary with 45.7 percent of the vote.[34]

On November 4, 2014, Beyer faced and defeated Republican nominee Micah Edmond and three others in the general election receiving 63.1% of the votes. For all intents and purposes, however, he had effectively clinched a seat in Congress in the primary. At the time, the 8th was the second-most Democratic district in Virginia, with a Cook Partisan Voting Index of D+16 (only the 3rd district was more Democratic).

He is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[35]


On November 9, 2016, Beyer defeated Republican challenger Charles Hernick with 68.6% of the vote to Hernick's 27.4%.[36]


On November 6, 2018, Beyer defeated Republican challenger Thomas Oh with 76.3% of the vote to Oh's 23.7%.[37]


On November 3, 2020, Beyer defeated Republican challenger Jeff Jordan with 75.8% of the vote to Jordan's 24.0%.[38]


Beyer was a frequent critic of the Trump administration. On April 13, 2017, Beyer was the first lawmaker to call for senior White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner to lose his security clearance after it was revealed that he had omitted numerous contacts with foreign nationals from his security clearance application.[39] In June 2017, Beyer renewed his call, sending a letter signed by more than 50 other House Democrats demanding the White House immediately revoke Kushner's clearance, citing national security concerns.[40]

Beyer wrote the Cost of Police Misconduct Act, which proposed to create a publicly accessible federal database over police misconduct allegations and settlements.[41]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships


Beyer and his wife, Megan, have two children, Clara and Grace. In addition, he has two children, Don and Stephanie, from a previous marriage,[48] and two grandchildren.[49]


  1. ^ End of term reflections with U.S. Ambassador Beyer, World Radio Switzerland, May 27, 2013.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ The Virginian-Pilot, September 21, 1997
  4. ^ Schudel, Matt (December 31, 2017). "Don Beyer Sr., Army officer and Northern Virginia auto dealer, dies at 93". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 29, 2019. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  5. ^ The Living New Deal Archives. Clara Beyer (c. 1892-1990).
  6. ^ 12 College Exchange program manual Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Rosenfeld, Megan (January 18, 1990). "Don Beyer, Fresh Off The Lot". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on February 15, 2020. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  8. ^ American International Automobile Dealers Association press release, June 1, 2006 Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Demosphere website
  10. ^ "History Associates website". Archived from the original on July 31, 2020. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  11. ^ "Virginia Board for People with Disabilities Newsletter, August 2001" (PDF). May 23, 2009. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 1, 2011. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  12. ^ American Citizens Abroad[dead link], March 4, 2013.
  13. ^ "The Connection Newspapers". Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  14. ^ Jobs for Virginia Graduates website Archived July 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Youth for Tomorrow website Archived August 27, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "DC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy website". Archived from the original on October 8, 2007. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  17. ^ "Bio for Mr Farris". Archived from the original on March 20, 2007. Retrieved April 20, 2007.
  18. ^ Farris, Vickie (2002). A Mom Just Like You. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group. ISBN 0-8054-2586-1.
  19. ^ Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, 1990s Archived July 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ Virginia Business magazine, July 1997 Archived October 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ The Virginian-Pilot, February 16, 1995
  22. ^ The Virginian-Pilot, December 7, 2005 Archived August 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ RaisingKaine blog, May 3, 2007 Archived April 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "More Dean Endorsements". Burnt Orange Report. January 31, 2005. Archived from the original on May 4, 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  25. ^ "WTOP radio news". WTOP News. April 21, 2007. Archived from the original on October 8, 2007. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  26. ^ "Linked In profile". LinkedIn. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
  27. ^ Armstrong, Jerome. "Blogger report, 2008". Archived from the original on September 26, 2011. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  28. ^ "State Department biography". Archived from the original on October 7, 2011. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  29. ^ Bellantoni, Christina (June 12, 2009). "Big Obama donor picked as envoy to Switzerland". Washington Times. Archived from the original on June 21, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2009.
  30. ^ "Der Sonntag - Politiker Wollen Wikileaks-Chef Helfen: Asyl Für Assange!". Archived from the original on August 31, 2011. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  31. ^ "Pete Buttigieg Lands First Endorsement From Member of Congress". The Associated Press. April 24, 2019. Archived from the original on April 24, 2019. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  32. ^ "Rep. Beyer describes life under self-quarantine". Archived from the original on March 15, 2020. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  33. ^ Emily Cahn (January 24, 2014). "Democrat Don Beyer Will Run to Replace Jim Moran in Virginia". Roll Call. Archived from the original on January 25, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
  34. ^ "Beyer wins Va. Democratic Primary". Associated Press. June 10, 2014. Archived from the original on June 12, 2014. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  35. ^ "Caucus Members". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Archived from the original on April 27, 2019. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  36. ^ "Virginia U.S. House 8th District Results: Don Beyer Jr. Wins". Archived from the original on January 29, 2017. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  37. ^ "Virginia Election Results: Eighth House District". Archived from the original on November 6, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  38. ^ "2020 November General Official Results". Virginia Department of Elections. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
  39. ^ Levy, Gabrielle (April 13, 2017). "Dems: Suspend Kushner's Security Clearance". U.S. News & World Report. Archived from the original on November 8, 2020. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  40. ^ Cheney, Kyle (May 31, 2017). "House Democrats: Revoke Kushner's security clearance". POLITICO. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  41. ^ Collins, Sean (December 15, 2020). "A new bill would make all police misconduct allegations and settlements public". Vox. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
  42. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  43. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  44. ^ "90 Current Climate Solutions Caucus Members". Citizen´s Climate Lobby. Archived from the original on May 15, 2019. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  45. ^ "Macedonia Caucus". United Macedonian Diaspora. August 6, 2012. Archived from the original on May 8, 2018. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  46. ^ "Members". U.S. - Japan Caucus. Archived from the original on December 21, 2018. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  47. ^ "Caucus Members". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Retrieved March 29, 2021.
  48. ^ "From the Potomac to the Aare" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on April 25, 2012. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  49. ^ "Belle Haven newsletter" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2012.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Douglas Wilder
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by
John Hager
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mary Sue Terry
Democratic nominee for Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by
Mark Warner
Business positions
Preceded by
Don Hicks
Chair of American International Automobile Dealers Association
Succeeded by
John Hawkins
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Peter Coneway
United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein
Succeeded by
Jeffrey Cellars
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jim Moran
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 8th congressional district

Preceded by
Mike Lee
Chair of the Joint Economic Committee
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Brian Babin
United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Mike Bost
This page was last edited on 3 July 2021, at 14:22
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