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Roll Call New Member Profiles: 113th Congress
Election: Defeated John Koster, R, to succeed Rep. Jay Inslee, D, who resigned to run for governor
Born: Feb. 17, 1962; Selma, Ala.
Family: Husband, Kurt DelBene; two children
Education: Reed College, B.A. 1983 (biology); U. of Washington, M.B.A. 1990
Career: Micro-financing nonprofit management consultant; online convenience store executive; Microsoft executive; data software company executive; health sciences researcher
Political highlights: Democratic nominee for U.S. House, 2010; Wash. Department of Revenue director, 2011-12
Suzan DelBene, D-Wash. (1st District)
Although she earned considerable wealth as a Microsoft executive, DelBene says she comes from solid, middle-class roots.
And she claims that middle-class experience - including watching her parents struggle to pay the bills after her father lost his job - is what motivated her to run for Congress and what shapes her policy positions today.
"My dad lost his job when I was young and he never got back on track financially," DelBene says. "I had the opportunity to go to college through financial aid, student loans and work study, and everyone should have access to similar opportunities."
DelBene supports higher tax rates for upper-income earners and spending on infrastructure to help bolster the economy and create jobs. She feels that a spot on the Energy and Commerce Committee would be the best place for her to help achieve those goals.
Although she does not have any legislative experience, DelBene believes her private sector work and her public sector role as director of the Washington State Department of Revenue give her a unique perspective on economic policy.
"Im a detail-oriented person, and I want to dig deeply into issues," DelBene says. "We need to have discussions about the real impacts of policy and focus on results."
A liberal on social issues, DelBene supports a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and backs abortion rights.
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Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.