Suzanne Bonamici grew up in a small town in Michigan. Her father worked for a local bank and her mother was a small business owner and piano teacher. Many of her strongest childhood memories are of family camping trips with her two brothers.
After graduating from high school, Suzanne moved to Oregon with friends and fell in love with the state. She put herself through college, first at Lane Community College and then at the University of Oregon, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Following college, she went on to law school at the University of Oregon and earned her J.D. degree.
Suzanne has dedicated her entire career fighting for accountability, fairness and putting middle class families, consumers and small businesses first.
During college, Suzanne worked as a legal assistant at Lane County Legal Aid in Eugene. It was there that she discovered her interest in and passion for consumer rights.
After graduating, she worked as a consumer protection attorney for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. She was assigned to the financial services division that works to protect consumers from predatory or discriminatory lending practices.
Suzanne met her husband Michael while living in Washington, D.C., and in 1986, they moved to Washington County. In Oregon, she entered private law practice, where she specialized in representing small businesses.
After six 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 like the Classroom Law Project, Beaverton Education Foundation, and several theaters. Her school advocacy work is what first took her to the Oregon State Capitol, attending rallies in support of education and leading her to a decision to serve publicly.
Suzanne started as a legislative assistant in the Oregon House of Representatives in 2001, followed by her first campaign in 2006 when she was elected to serve House District 34 of Washington County.
After only one term in the Oregon House, her leadership and hard work was recognized and led to her appointment, and then election, to the Oregon Senate in 2008. She was reelected for a second term in 2010.
Suzanne took her dedication to making a difference in peoples’ lives as a consumer rights attorney and advocate for education to the Oregon legislature. She was chair of the Consumer & Small Business Protection Committee and a member of the Education & Workforce Development Committee. She is recognized as the leading voice for mortgage reform, introducing legislation that ensures homeowners facing foreclosure receive timely information about how to request a loan modification and provides them recourse if there is a violation.
Suzanne was elected to the US Congress on January 31, 2012, in a special election. She serves on the Budget Committee and the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Suzanne will be on the November 2012 ballot for a full term.
Suzanne and Michael have been married for twenty-seven years. Their children, now grown, attended school in the Beaverton School District. Suzanne, Michael and their cocker spaniel named Charley still live in the family’s home in Washington County.