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Suzan DelBene
Suzan DelBene, official portrait, 115th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 1st district
Assumed office
November 13, 2012[1]
Preceded byJay Inslee
Personal details
Suzan Kay Oliver

(1962-02-17) February 17, 1962 (age 58)
Selma, Alabama, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
(m. 1997)
EducationReed College (BS)
University of Washington (MBA)
WebsiteHouse website

Suzan Kay Oliver DelBene /ˌdɛlˈbɛn/[2] (born February 17, 1962) is an American politician and businesswoman who has been the United States Representative from Washington's 1st congressional district since 2012.

DelBene was the 2010 Democratic nominee for U.S. Representative for Washington's 8th congressional district and was narrowly defeated by incumbent Republican Dave Reichert.[3] In the 2012 she won the general election in Washington's redrawn 1st district against Republican John Koster,[4][5] while simultaneously winning the election for the remainder of the term in the vacant 1st district under the pre-2012 boundaries, a seat left vacant by the resignation of Jay Inslee.

Early life and education

DelBene was born in Selma, Alabama, the daughter of Barry and Beth Oliver. She is the fifth child in her family. At a young age, her family moved to Newport Hills, now Newcastle, Washington. Later, they moved to Mercer Island. In an autobiographical video, DelBene described her family's trouble paying bills and the hardship they faced after her father, a longtime airline pilot, lost his job.[6] After fourth grade, her family moved all over the country in search of work.

After graduating from The Choate School, a prep school in Wallingford, Connecticut, DelBene went to Reed College in Portland, Oregon where she earned a bachelor's degree in biology. DelBene then continued her education at the University of Washington to earn a Master's degree in Business Administration.[7]

Business career

DelBene worked at Microsoft from 1989 to 1998 where she was director of marketing and business development for the Interactive Media Group, marketing and sales training for Microsoft's Internet properties, and other business development and product management roles with Windows 95 and early versions of the Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browser software. In 1998 she left to help found and serve as a vice president. In 2000, she went on to be the CEO of Nimble Technology,[8] leading it through its acquisition by Actuate in 2003. In 2004, she returned to Microsoft to be Corporate Vice President of the Mobile Communications Business, until 2007.[9] From 2008 to 2009, she was a management consultant and strategic advisor to Global Partnerships, a non-profit supporting microfinance and sustainable solutions in Latin America.[10][11] DelBene was named as the director for the Washington State Department of Revenue on November 30, 2010, to replace outgoing director Cindi Holmstrom.[12]

Congressional campaigns

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene with a vendor at a Kirkland, WA farmer's market.
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene with a vendor at a Kirkland, WA farmer's market.


In 2010 DelBene ran for election to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat against the incumbent in the 8th Congressional District, Dave Reichert, a Republican. According to DelBene's campaign website, the economy was her top priority.[13] DelBene earned the endorsements of the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer,[14][15] as well as several Democratic politicians.[16]

DelBene faced Reichert in the general election, after coming in 2nd in the primary voting. In Washington, the top two advance. DelBene lost to Reichert in the general election on November 2. She was subsequently named Washington State Revenue Director by Governor Christine Gregoire on November 30, 2010.


DelBene ran for Congress again in 2012. DelBene won the Democratic nomination for the redrawn 1st District, previously represented by Jay Inslee, which became more competitive due to redistricting. Inslee had resigned in March to focus on his ultimately successful campaign for governor.[17] DelBene ran in two elections that day against Republican John Koster—a special election for the last two months of Inslee's seventh term (and held in the boundaries of the old 1st), and a regular election for a full two-year term. She defeated Koster in both elections, winning the special election with 60 percent of the vote and the regular election with 54 percent of the vote. Her victory margin in the regular election was wider than expected, considering[clarification needed] that the district was about six points less Democratic than its predecessor.[4][5] On November 13, 2012, she was sworn in as the district's representative for the remainder of the 112th Congress,[1] giving her a leg up in seniority over all but a few other representatives first elected in November 2012 for the upcoming 113th Congress.

DelBene spent $2.8 million of her own money in a race in which she raised over $4 million, in a Congressional race that became the most expensive in Washington state history.[18]


DelBene ran for Congress again in 2014 and won against Republican Pedro Celis.[19] Delbene earned 55% of the vote to hold on to her seat.[20]

Committee assignments

Policy positions

DelBene sports an extensive legislative record that focuses heavily on technology, health care, and the economy.

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene speaking at the 2019 Forum Global Data Privacy Conference.
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene speaking at the 2019 Forum Global Data Privacy Conference.


Making sure our nation's tech and privacy laws remain updated has been one of DelBene's chief concerns in Congress. In 2019, she reintroduced legislation that would protect consumer privacy by requiring companies to present their privacy policies in “plain English” while also having consumers “opt in” before companies can use consumers’ private information.[21]

She's helped introduced several other bills that would help update our nation's privacy laws, including the Email Privacy Act, the Secure Data Act, and the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad (LEADS) Act.[22] Legislation similar to the LEADS Act, the CLOUD Act, was passed into law in the 115th Congress.

In the 116th Congress, DelBene is a member of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, which is committed to implementing new ways of ensuring Congress can function in a more efficient manner to help government better serve the American people.[23]

Health care

DelBene currently serves on the Ways and Means Committee and is focused on addressing a broad set of issues to improve health care across the country. She has advanced important health care legislation, including two bills in 2018 addressing the opioid crisis.[24]

In the 116th Congress, DelBene has introduced the following legislation:

  • the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2019 (H.R. 3107)[25] to improve delivery of health care by streamlining prior authorization in Medicare Advantage for routinely approved services.[26]
  • the Mental Health Telehealth Expansion Act (H.R. 1301),[27] which would expand access to health care by allowing all Medicare beneficiaries to receive mental health services from their home regardless of their geographic location.[28]
  • the Chronic Care Management Improvement Act (H.R. 3436),[29] which would remove the cost-sharing requirement for chronic care management (CCM) services, making care coordination services easier for providers and more affordable for the sickest Medicare beneficiaries.[30]

Congresswoman DelBene is a champion of women's reproductive rights. She is one of the leaders of the Pro-Choice Caucus[31] and stood up for women and access to reproductive health care by serving on the Select Committee to Investigate Planned Parenthood, which was established under former Speaker Paul Ryan in 2015. The committee convened under the veil to investigate Planned Parenthood but the majority members at that time used it as a means to attack Planned Parenthood and women's access to reproductive health care and intimidate women, doctors and researchers.[32]

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene speaking at the Lynnwood Link Extension Project Groundbreaking Ceremony in September 2019.
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene speaking at the Lynnwood Link Extension Project Groundbreaking Ceremony in September 2019.


DelBene has worked hard to advance legislation that helps give people the skills needed to access opportunities in a 21st-century economy. The 2014 farm bill included $200 million to fund her proposal to expand job-training programs for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to learn the skills they need to get a good paying job.[33]

She introduced H.R. 4027, the Women’s Small Business Ownership Act,[34] which is aimed at improving access to capital and increasing business counseling and training services for women entrepreneurs.[35]

In the 116th Congress, DelBene has introduced:

  • the Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Pilot Program Act (H.R.4016),[36] which allows temporary and contract workers to access portable benefits models, and
  • the Lifelong Learning and Training Account Act of 2019 (H.R. 4017),[37] which assists low and moderate-income workers in retraining and enhancing their skills over the course of their careers.[38]
  • the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2019 (H.R. 3077),[39] a bill that would increase the government's investment in affordable housing and provide resources to aid at-risk and underserved communities by creating a projected 1.9 million new affordable housing units over the next decade, among other things.[40] Without this legislation, only 550,000 new units would be built in the same time frame.[40]

Caucuses and coalitions

DelBene is Vice-Chair of the New Democrat Coalition, Co-Chair of the Aluminum Caucus, Co-Chair of the Caucus on Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality Technologies, Co-Chair of the Digital Trade Caucus, Co-Chair of the Internet of Things (IoT) Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Kidney Caucus, Co-Chair of the MedTech Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Dairy Farmers Caucus, Co-Chair of the Women's High Tech Coalition,[41] and has a leadership role in the Pro-Choice Caucus.[42]

DelBene is also a member of the Congressional Arts Caucus, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, the Veterinary Medicine Caucus, the LGBTQ Equality Caucus, the Diabetes Caucus, and the U.S.-Japan Caucus.

Personal life

Her husband, Kurt DelBene, is Chief Digital Officer and EVP of Corporate Strategy, Core Services Engineering and Operations at Microsoft Corporation,[43] and led the effort to fix the website at the request of President Barack Obama.[44]

See also


  1. ^ a b "House Floor Activities: Legislative Day of November 13, 2012". Washington, D.C.: Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. Archived from the original on September 24, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  2. ^ As pronounced by herself in the campaign video "Re-Elect Suzan DelBene for Congress! Archived February 16, 2017, at the Wayback Machine"
  3. ^ "Democrat Suzan DelBene concedes 8th District race". Seattle Times. November 2, 2010. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Heffter, Emily. "DelBene beats Koster in race for U.S. House". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on January 10, 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Valdes, Manuel. "DelBene wins in Wash. 1st District". Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  6. ^ Jonathan Martin DelBene faces tougher fight than expected in 1st District race Archived December 21, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Gregory Roberts, Democrats target Reichert over his no vote on stimulus Seattle Post-Intelligencer February 23, 2009
  8. ^ "Reed Magazine". Archived from the original on March 8, 2017. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  9. ^ "Suzan DelBene: Corporate Vice President, Mobile Communications Business". Microsoft. Archived from the original on May 11, 2011. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  10. ^ Suzan K. DelBene Archived October 16, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Forbes
  11. ^ "Suzan DelBene". Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  12. ^ La Corte, Rachel (November 30, 2010). "Gov. Gregoire appoints Suzan DelBene to cabinet". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  13. ^ Why I'm Running DelBene for Congress
  14. ^ "The Times endorses Suzan DelBene in the 8th Congressional District". Seattle Times. October 12, 2010. Archived from the original on October 15, 2010. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
  15. ^ "Send DelBene to Congress". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. October 13, 2010. Archived from the original on October 15, 2010. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
  16. ^ Ross Hunter endorses Suzan DelBene for Congress Archived March 14, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Bellevue Reporter Aug 3, 2009
  17. ^ Martin, Jonathan (May 12, 2012). "The race is on to fill new 1st Congressional District". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on May 16, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  18. ^ "DelBene leading Koster for Congress in 1st Dist. - – Local news". Archived from the original on October 23, 2014. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  19. ^ Press, Associated. "DelBene wins 1st District seat; Larsen wins 2nd District". Archived from the original on June 19, 2015. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  20. ^ "Congressional District 1". Archived from the original on November 6, 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  21. ^ "DelBene Introduces Legislation to Protect Consumer Privacy". U.S. Congresswoman Suzan Delbene. March 29, 2019. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  22. ^ "Science and Technology | U.S. House of Representatives". Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  23. ^ "DelBene Appointed to Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress". U.S. Congresswoman Suzan Delbene. January 29, 2019. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  24. ^ "Addressing the Opioid Crisis". U.S. Congresswoman Suzan Delbene. October 22, 2018. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  25. ^ DelBene, Suzan K. (June 5, 2019). "H.R.3107 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Improving Seniors' Timely Access to Care Act of 2019". Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  26. ^ "DelBene, Kelly, Marshall and Bera Lead Bipartisan Legislation that Helps Medicare Patients by Reducing Prior Authorization Barriers". U.S. Congresswoman Suzan Delbene. June 5, 2019. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  27. ^ "DelBene Introduces Legislation to Address Mental Health Provider Shortage". U.S. Congresswoman Suzan Delbene. September 13, 2018. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  28. ^ mHealthIntelligence (March 7, 2019). "Congress to Try Again on Medicare Coverage for Telemental Health". mHealthIntelligence. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  29. ^ DelBene, Suzan K. (June 26, 2019). "H.R.3436 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Chronic Care Management Improvement Act". Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  30. ^ "DelBene, Welch Bill to Improve Care Coordination of Seniors on Medicare Passes in Ways & Means Committee". Congressman Peter Welch. June 27, 2019. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  31. ^ "DelBene, Pro-Choice Leaders Issue Joint Statement on President Trump's Title X Domestic Gag Rule". U.S. Congresswoman Suzan Delbene. May 18, 2018. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  32. ^ Crockett, Emily (April 29, 2016). "Congress has spent 15 months "investigating" Planned Parenthood using McCarthy-like tactics". Vox. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  33. ^ "DelBene named to Farm Bill conference committee". U.S. Congresswoman Suzan Delbene. October 14, 2013. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  34. ^ DelBene, Suzan K. (November 17, 2015). "H.R.4027 - 114th Congress (2015-2016): Women's Small Business Ownership Act of 2015". Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  35. ^ "DelBene Bill Supports Women-Owned Small Businesses". U.S. Congresswoman Suzan Delbene. November 17, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  36. ^ DelBene, Suzan K. (July 25, 2019). "H.R.4016 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Pilot Program Act". Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  37. ^ DelBene, Suzan K. (July 25, 2019). "H.R.4017 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Lifelong Learning and Training Account Act of 2019". Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  38. ^ "DelBene Introduces Legislation to Help American Families Prepare for the Future of Work". U.S. Congresswoman Suzan Delbene. July 25, 2019. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  39. ^ DelBene, Suzan K. (June 4, 2019). "H.R.3077 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2019". Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  40. ^ a b "Cantwell, DelBene, Bipartisan Colleagues Introduce New Legislation to Combat Affordable Housing Crisis". U.S. Congresswoman Suzan Delbene. June 4, 2019. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  41. ^ "Honorary Congressional Co-Chairs | Womens High Tech Coalition". Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  42. ^ "DelBene Holds Press Conference Denouncing Abortion Laws Attacking Women". U.S. Congresswoman Suzan Delbene. May 28, 2019. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  43. ^ "Leadership Stories". Archived from the original on October 21, 2018. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  44. ^ "Kurt Delbene". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on April 28, 2018. Retrieved April 27, 2018.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jay Inslee
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 1st congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Suzanne Bonamici
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Thomas Massie
This page was last edited on 17 September 2020, at 20:03
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