|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Washington's 1st district
November 13, 2012
Suzan Kay Oliver
February 17, 1962
Selma, Alabama, U.S.
Kurt DelBene (m. 1997)
|Education||Reed College (BS)|
University of Washington (MBA)
Suzan Kay Oliver DelBene  (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, but was defeated by incumbent Republican Dave Reichert. The 2012 general election race in Washington's newly drawn 1st district, in which she faced Republican John Koster, the race was called in her favor by various media organizations soon after the polls closed. She also won 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.
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. After fourth grade, her family moved all over the country in search of work.
After graduating from The Choate School, an elite 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.
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 drugstore.com and serve as a Vice President. In 2000, she went on to be the CEO of Nimble Technology, 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. 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. DelBene was named as the director for the Washington State Department of Revenue on November 30, 2010, to replace outgoing director Cindi Holmstrom.
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. DelBene earned the endorsements of the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, as well as several Democratic politicians.
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 newly drawn 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. 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 that the district was about six points less Democratic than its predecessor. On November 13, 2012, she was sworn in as the district's representative for the remainder of the 112th Congress, 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.
DelBene sports an extensive legislative record that focuses heavily on technology, health care, and the economy.
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.
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. 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.
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.
In the 116th Congress, DelBene has introduced the following legislation:
Congresswoman DelBene is a champion of women's reproductive rights. She is one of the leaders of the Pro-Choice Caucus 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.
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.
She introduced H.R. 4027, the Women's Small Business Ownership Act, which is aimed at improving access to capital and increasing business counseling and training services for women entrepreneurs.
In the 116th Congress, DelBene has introduced:
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, and has a leadership role in the Pro-Choice Caucus.
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.
Her husband, Kurt DelBene, is Chief Digital Officer and EVP of Corporate Strategy, Core Services Engineering and Operations at Microsoft Corporation, and led the effort to fix the Healthcare.gov website at the request of President Barack Obama.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 1st congressional district
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority