Susan Davis (D-CA-53)

Susan Davis California District 53

Susan Davis, Biography from

Biography of Congresswoman Susan Davis

Congresswoman Susan Davis proudly represents California’s 53rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Her interest in public affairs and service grew out of her experiences as a social worker, parent, youth mentor, and military spouse. Through these life experiences, Susan developed an understanding of and deep commitment to improving her community and country.

Susan attended public school in northern California.  She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in sociology.  After college she worked with at-risk youths in Israel and also lived on a kibbutz.  When Susan returned to the United States, she earned a master’s degree in social work at the University of North Carolina.  When her husband Steve honored his military service, the family joined him in Japan. Afterward, the family settled in San Diego in 1972.  Today, Susan and Steve are the proud grandparents of Henry and Jane.

Prior to Congress, Susan served in the California State Assembly (1994-2000).  She served three terms and focused on what would become her signature issues – education, health care, and consumer protection.  She chaired the Committee on Consumer Protection, Government Efficiency, and Economic Development.

In the House, Susan has approached legislating as a bipartisan consensus builder achieving successes in education, military families and veterans support, health care, and election reform.

Education – In addition to her state legislative experience, Susan also brought to Congress nine years of experience as a member of the San Diego Unified Board of Education (1983-1992).  As a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, Susan has played a key role in bringing reforms and improvements to primary, secondary and higher education.  She wrote the law to provide flexibility to college students receiving work-study funds during natural disasters such as the recent fires in Southern California.   Plus, she made work-study funds available to college students who work to educate the community in civic education and disaster preparedness.

Susan has long promoted the virtues of positive role models and passed legislation promoting youth mentoring.  In the early 90’s, she was the Executive Director of the Aaron Price Fellows program designed to teach multi-ethnic high school students leadership and citizenship skills.  She has mentored many young people instilling in them a sense of community involvement and participation.

Health Care – Susan has worked to build on the foundation of her success in giving California women direct access to their OB/GYN and providing patients the option of a second medical opinion.  This experience and her position on the Education and Labor Committee, will be influential as she joins her colleagues in reforming health care to lower costs, prevent the denial of care, and give all Americans a choice of private or public health care coverage.  As a former medical social worker, Susan recognizes the need for accessible and affordable quality health care.

During the debate in how to re-invest in America’s priorities, Susan led an effort in the House to include billions of new funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R.1) to promote research, innovation and discovery to find new ways to fight and cure diseases such as AIDS and cancer.

Election Reform – As a former president of the San Diego League of Women Voters, Susan understands the importance of fairness and integrity in our election process.  In Congress, she has emerged as a leader in election reform.  As a member of the House Administration Committee, which has jurisdiction over federal elections, Susan has led the effort in Congress to make no-excuse absentee balloting available to all Americans in every state and territory.  She also wants to raise the integrity level of our elections by allowing voters to track their absentee ballots and by blocking any chief state election official from working or serving on a federal campaign while overseeing a federal election.

National Defense and Military Families – Representing San Diego, with its large military presence, Susan has been a strong advocate for military families.  She also draws on her experience living overseas as her husband served in Japan in the Air Force during the final years of the Vietnam War.  As Chairwoman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, she has been at the forefront on issues that directly impact service members and their families, such as increases in pay and benefits, improved housing and a health care system worthy of their service and sacrifice.

When Susan learned from a constituent that some service members are blocked from having the Supreme Court review their legal cases within the military justice system, she introduced legislation to correct this injustice.  The Equal Justice for Our Military Act will give all service members access to the Supreme Court.  Our nation’s men and women in uniform should not be denied access to the very judicial system they fight to protect.

In 2008, Susan was presented with the Colonel Arthur T. Marix Congressional Leadership Award by the Military Officers Association of America for her work on behalf of military families.

Veterans – Susan’s father served as a medic in World War II.  In addition to these experiences and San Diego’s large veteran population, Susan is keenly aware of the needs and concerns of our nation’s veterans.  She had the honor to serve on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs for three years.  She still influences veterans policy on the all the committees she serves.  She wrote the laws that increased home loan limit guarantees for veterans, included veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the Cal-Vet home loan program, and expanded education benefits.  She has also been a consistent supporter for increasing health care funding and overall benefits for veterans.

Biography from Susan Davis for Congress

Congresswoman Susan A. Davis has served the heart of San Diego in Congress since 2000, when she was one of only four Democratic challengers in the nation to defeat a Republican incumbent. Since then, she has consistently won re-election with over two thirds of the vote.

The strength of support that Congresswoman Davis enjoys can be attributed to her willingness to stand up for San Diegans, her responsiveness to their concerns, and her ability to solve problems. Susan listens carefully and is known locally and in Washington as a thoughtful, deliberative legislator who works to build consensus with her colleagues on both sides of the aisle, while staying true to her core values.

Listening to San Diego

Susan’s advocacy in Congress stems from her belief that San Diego families must have a strong voice in Washington. She has never forgotten the words: “we the people” and believes her job is to listen to her constituents and take their problems, concerns and good ideas to Congress. Susan brings government to her busy constituents by holding Neighborhood Day listening sessions in each San Diego community, by hosting regular telephone town hall meetings and by responding to hundreds of thousands of constituent letters.

Susan’s legislative priorities reflect San Diego’s priorities: strengthening our local and national economy, improving education, fighting for the military and the families who fight for us and ensuring that San Diego gets its fair share of federal funding.

Getting Our Economy Moving

To get our economy moving again, Susan has called for fiscal responsibility paired with thoughtful job creation. She believes small businesses are the key to creating jobs and has supported tax incentives to help them grow. But Susan also recognizes the need for assistance to those who are still struggling to pay bills and take care of their family while looking for work. She has supported efforts to extend unemployment benefits for those who have been victims of the recession.

Susan has stood up to Wall Street, big corporate special interests and credit companies and supported numerous bills calling for transparency, consumer protection, and equal pay for equal work. Susan strives for an economy that rewards those who work hard and play by the rules.

Susan has also supported pay-as-you-go spending in Congress and a Bipartisan Fiscal Commission to help restore fiscal discipline.

The economy has begun to show signs of renewal. In the past two years, more than 8,000 jobs have been created or saved in San Diego, including 2,900 education jobs, 2,000 jobs for the construction of a new federal courthouse downtown, 1,400 construction jobs for improvements to California State Highway 905, and about 1,800 other jobs around the region. For Susan, this is only the beginning of restoring our economy to what it once was.

Preparing Our Kids for the Global Economy

Susan also serves on the Committee on Education and Labor, where she has been a tireless advocate for improving education at all levels – from early childhood education until the time our students graduate from college. She is working to improve science and math teaching in our schools so our kids get the world-class education they deserve and be better prepared to complete in the global economy. Susan has also fought to improve student loan programs so college can be more affordable for middle class families.

Fighting for Military Families and Veterans

With our region’s large military presence, her work also includes a focus on supporting military families. Susan currently serves on the Armed Services Committee, where she is the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Personnel. In this capacity, her priority has been making sure our soldiers, veterans and their families receive the services, benefits and justice they deserve.

Susan has been a leader in Congress to repeal the discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that prohibits gays and lesbians

Improving San Diego’s Infrastructure

Her work on behalf of her constituents has resulted in many local economic development efforts throughout the San Diego region. These include major infrastructure projects and support for our local universities and research facilities. Susan has played a key role in expanding the San Diego Trolley, obtaining a new San Diego Courthouse downtown securing NIH funding of which San Diego biotech companies are the greatest recipients.

A history of service to San Diego

No stranger to service in the community, prior to her election to Congress, Susan began her career as a social worker, after obtaining her undergraduate degree at the University of California at Berkeley, and her Masters in Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In 1982, she was elected to the San Diego City School Board, where she served for nine years. In 1984, she was selected President of the Board. In addition to her service on the board, Susan proudly served as the Executive Director of the Aaron Price Fellows, a program that brought high school students from various socio-economic backgrounds together to pursue community involvement and leadership skills.

In 1994, Susan continued her legislative service, after being elected to the California State Assembly, where she served for six years, focusing on education, healthcare and consumer protection.

Susan and her husband Steven have lived in San Diego since 1972. Married for over 40 years, they have two children, Jeffrey and Benjamin, and three grandchildren, Henry, Jane and Theo.

Do you know where you still on the political spectrum? See “Political Beliefs, Where Are You” to find out where you stand.

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