The Info List - Bonnie Watson Coleman

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Bonnie Watson Coleman (born February 6, 1945) is an American Democratic Party politician, who has served as the U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 12th congressional district since 2015. She previously served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1998 to 2015 for the 15th Legislative District.[1] She is the first black woman in Congress from New Jersey.[2]


1 Early life and career 2 U.S. House of Representatives

2.1 Election 2.2 Tenure 2.3 Committee assignments 2.4 Advocacy

3 See also 4 References 5 External links

Early life and career[edit] Watson Coleman was born in Camden, New Jersey. She received a B.A. from Thomas Edison State College in 1985, and attended Rutgers University.[1] Raised Baptist,[3] she currently resides in Ewing Township.[4] She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.[5] In 1974, she established the first Office of Civil Rights, Contract Compliance and Affirmative Action, in the New Jersey Department of Transportation and remained the Director of that office for six years. In 1980, Watson Coleman joined the Department of Community Affairs, where she held a number of positions including, Assistant Commissioner, responsible for Aging, Community Resources, Public Guardian and Women Divisions. She served on the Governing Boards Association of State Colleges from 1987 to 1998 and as its chair from 1991 to 1993. Watson Coleman was a member of the Ewing Township Planning Board from 1996 to 1997. She was a member of The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Board of Trustees from 1981 to 1998 and was its chair from 1990 to 1991.[1] Watson Coleman became the first African American woman to lead the State party when she was elected Chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, on February 4, 2002. Watson Coleman served as the Majority Leader of the New Jersey General Assembly from 2006 to 2010, as well as the New Jersey Democratic State Chairwoman from 2002 to 2006. U.S. House of Representatives[edit] Election[edit] Following the announcement that Congressman Rush Holt would not be seeking another term in office, Bonnie Watson Coleman announced her intention to run for New Jersey's 12th congressional district.[6] Assemblywoman Watson Coleman is the first African -American woman elected to represent a New Jersey district in the United States House of Representatives[7] and is currently the only female member of New Jersey's congressional delegation.[8] On June 3, 2014, she won the Democratic primary for the 12th congressional district.[9] She won the general election on November 4, 2014, defeating Republican candidate Alieta Eck.[10] She won 60.9% of the vote.[11] Tenure[edit] On March 3, 2015, Coleman participated with fellow Democrats in the boycott of the speech delivered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Congress.[12] In March 2016, Coleman, along with Rep. Robin Kelly and Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, founded the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls.[13] "Black women and girls are disproportionately affected by myriad socioeconomic issues that diminish their quality of life and threaten the well-being of their families and communities. The Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls gives black women a seat at the table for the crucial discussion on the policies that impact them while also providing a framework for creating opportunities and eliminating barriers to success for black women," they announced in a press release at the time.[14] They were inspired by the #SheWoke Committee, a group of 7 activists that reached out to lawmakers and staffers to start.[15] She co-sponsored the International Megan's Law, to combat child exploitation and other sex crimes abroad. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law in February 2016.[16] Committee assignments[edit]

Committee on Homeland Security

Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency (Ranking Member)

Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Subcommittee on Health Care, Benefits and Administrative Rules Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets

She is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus,[17] the Congressional Black Caucus,[18] and the Congressional Arts Caucus.[19] Advocacy[edit]

Coleman speaking at the 2017 Women's March in Trenton, New Jersey

Watson Coleman has been a strong supporter of programs allowing criminal offenders to reenter society. As a New Jersey Assemblywoman, she sponsored a bill that bars companies with more than 15 employees from conducting criminal background checks on candidates during the interview process. Watson Coleman's two sons, William Carter-Watson and Jared C. Coleman, were sentenced to seven years in jail after holding up the Kids-R-Us store at Mercer Mall with a rifle as it was about to close on March 12, 2001. Watson-Coleman refuses to discuss the incident.[20] Watson Coleman has also introduced legislation to restrict the ownership of weapons such as the ones used by her sons during their crime. See also[edit]

List of African-American United States Representatives Women in the United States House of Representatives


^ a b c Assemblywoman Watson Colemans's legislative web page, New Jersey Legislature; accessed June 5, 2011. ^ "2014: Not a Landmark Year for Women, Despite Some Notable Firsts", Center for American Women and Politics, November 5, 2014. Accessed November 5, 2016. "Love and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) are the first African American women in Congress from their states." ^ http://www.nationaljournal.com/almanac/2014-new-members/new-jersey-12-bonnie-watson-coleman-d-20141104 ^ Assembly Member Bonnie Watson Coleman, Project Vote Smart; accessed August 10, 2007. ^ Schaller, Thomas F.; King-Meadows, Tyson (2006). Devolution and Black state legislators : challenges and choices in the twenty-first century. Albany: State University of New York Press. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-7914-6729-9.  ^ http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2014/02/assemblywoman_bonnie_watson_colemans_congressional_campaign_endorsed_by_top_mercer_county_officials.html ^ D'Amico, Diane. "Civil rights struggle still alive in US, Watson Coleman tells Stockton symposium", The Press of Atlantic City, October 6, 2015. Accessed June 4, 2017. "The first black woman to represent New Jersey in Congress, Watson Coleman said Congress has not addressed the country’s economic divide and does not even seem willing to step up to the plate." ^ Shipkowski, Bruce for Associated Press. "For women in NJ politics, still a long way to go", Courier-Post, July 25, 2016. Accessed June 4, 2017. "In New Jersey, Democrat Bonnie Watson Coleman's election in 2014 made her the first woman to represent the state in Congress in more than a decade and only 36 of 120 seats in the state Legislature are held by women." ^ Davis, Mike. "Watson Coleman wins Democratic primary for 12th congressional district". NJ.com. Retrieved June 4, 2014.  ^ http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2014/11/next_step_mercer_and_hunterdon_democrats_to_find_assembly_replacement_for_watson_coleman_after_congr.html ^ "New Jersey Election Results". New York Times. Retrieved June 3, 2017.  ^ "WHIP LIST: 56 Democrats to skip Netanyahu speech to Congress". The Hill. March 3, 2015. Retrieved March 4, 2015.  ^ Helm, Angela (March 26, 2016). "3 Black Congresswomen Create 1st Caucus on Black Women and Girls". The Root.  ^ "Reps. Watson Coleman, Kelly, Clarke, Announce Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls". U.S. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman. watsoncoleman.house.gov. Archived from the original on January 12, 2017. Retrieved June 3, 2017.  ^ Grimaldi, Christine (April 29, 2016). "#SheWoke Fuels First Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls Event". rewire.news. Retrieved June 3, 2017.  ^ "Congress.gov". Retrieved June 3, 2017.  ^ "Caucus Members". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Retrieved 30 January 2018.  ^ "Membership". Congressional Black Caucus. Retrieved 7 March 2018.  ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Retrieved 21 March 2018.  ^ "Mercer County hires Bonnie Watson Coleman's son to entry-level parks position". NJ.com. Retrieved 2017-01-19. 

External links[edit]

Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman official U.S. House site Bonnie Watson Coleman for Congress

Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress Profile at Project Vote Smart Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress Appearances on C-SPAN

Political offices

Preceded by Joseph J. Roberts Majority Leader of the New Jersey General Assembly 2006 – 2010 Succeeded by Joseph Cryan

Preceded by Leonard Lance Chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee 2002 – 2006 Succeeded by Nellie Pou

Party political offices

Preceded by Joseph J. Roberts Chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee 2002 – 2006 Succeeded by Joseph Cryan

U.S. House of Representatives

Preceded by Rush D. Holt Jr. Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey's 12th congressional district January 3, 2015 – present Incumbent

Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)

Preceded by Mimi Walters R-California United States Representatives by seniority 364th Succeeded by Bruce Westerman R-Arkansas

v t e

New Jersey's current delegation to the United States Congress


Bob Menendez (D) Cory Booker (D)

Representatives (ordered by district)

1: Donald Norcross (D) 2: Frank LoBiondo (R) 3: Tom MacArthur (R) 4: Chris Smith (R) 5: Josh Gottheimer (D) 6: Frank Pallone (D) 7: Leonard Lance (R) 8: Albio Sires (D) 9: Bill Pascrell (D) 10: Donald Payne Jr. (D) 11: Rodney Frelinghuysen (R) 12: Bonnie Watson Coleman (D)

Other states' delegations

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

Non-voting delegations

American Samoa District of Columbia Guam Northern Mariana Islands Puerto Rico U.S. Virgin Islands

v t e

Current Members of the United States House of Representatives

Presiding Officer: Speaker Paul Ryan (R)

Majority party

v t e

Current Republican Party conference

Majority Leader: Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip: Steve Scalise

Other members: Abraham Aderholt Allen Amash Amodei Arrington Babin Bacon Banks Barletta Barr Barton Bergman Biggs Bilirakis M. Bishop R. Bishop Black Blackburn Blum Bost Brady Brat Bridenstine M. Brooks S. Brooks Buchanan Buck Bucshon Budd Burgess Byrne Calvert B. Carter J. Carter Chabot Cheney Coffman Cole C. Collins D. Collins Comer Comstock Conaway Cook Costello Cramer Crawford Culberson Curbelo Curtis Davidson Davis Denham Dent DeSantis DesJarlais Diaz-Balart Donovan Duffy Je. Duncan Ji. Duncan Dunn Emmer Estes Faso Ferguson Fitzpatrick Fleischmann Flores Fortenberry Foxx Frelinghuysen Gaetz Gallagher Garrett Gianforte Gibbs Gohmert Goodlatte Gosar Gowdy Granger G. Graves S. Graves T. Graves Griffith Grothman Guthrie Handel Harper Harris Hartzler Hensarling Herrera Beutler Hice Higgins Hill Holding Hollingsworth Hudson Huizenga Hultgren Hunter Hurd Issa E. Jenkins L. Jenkins B. Johnson M. Johnson S. Johnson Jones Jordan Joyce Katko M. Kelly T. Kelly P. King S. King Kinzinger Knight Kustoff Labrador LaHood LaMalfa Lamborn Lance Latta Lewis LoBiondo Long Loudermilk Love Lucas Luetkemeyer MacArthur Marchant Marino Marshall Massie Mast McCaul McClintock McHenry McKinley McMorris Rodgers McSally Meadows Meehan Messer Mitchell Moolenaar Mooney Mullin Newhouse Noem Norman Nunes Olson Palazzo Palmer Paulsen Pearce Perry Pittenger Poe Poliquin Posey Ratcliffe Reed Reichert Renacci Rice Roby Roe H. Rogers M. Rogers Rohrabacher Rokita F. Rooney T. Rooney Ros-Lehtinen Roskam Ross Rothfus Rouzer Royce Russell Rutherford Sanford Schweikert Scott Sensenbrenner Sessions Shimkus Shuster Simpson A. Smith C. Smith J. Smith L. Smith Smucker Stefanik Stewart Stivers Taylor Tenney Thompson Thornberry Tipton Trott Turner Upton Valadao Wagner Walberg Walden Walker Walorski Walters Weber Webster Wenstrup Westerman Williams Wilson Wittman Womack Woodall Yoder Yoho Da. Young Do. Young Zeldin

Delegates: González Radewagen

Minority party

v t e

Current Democratic Party caucus

Minority Leader: Nancy Pelosi, Minority Whip: Steny Hoyer, Assistant Minority Leader: Jim Clyburn

Other members: Adams Aguilar Barragán Bass Beatty Bera Beyer Bishop Blumenauer Blunt Rochester Bonamici Boyle Brady Brown Brownley Bustos Butterfield Capuano Carbajal Cardenas Carson Cartwright Castor Castro Chu Cicilline Clark Clarke Clay Cleaver Cohen Connolly Cooper Correa Costa Courtney Crist Crowley Cuellar Cummings D. Davis S. Davis DeFazio DeGette Delaney DeLauro DelBene Demings DeSaulnier Deutch Dingell Doggett Doyle Ellison Engel Eshoo Espaillat Esty Evans Foster Frankel Fudge Gabbard Gallego Garamendi Gomez González Gottheimer A. Green G. Green Grijalva Gutiérrez Hanabusa Hastings Heck Higgins Himes Huffman Jayapal Jeffries E. Johnson H. Johnson Kaptur Keating Kelly Kennedy Khanna Kihuen Kildee Kilmer Kind Krishnamoorthi Kuster Langevin Larsen Larson Lawrence Lawson B. Lee S. Lee Levin Lewis Lieu Lipinski Loebsack Lofgren Lowenthal Lowey Luján Lujan Grisham Lynch C. Maloney S. Maloney Matsui McCollum McEachin McGovern McNerney Meeks Meng Moore Moulton Murphy Nadler Napolitano Neal Nolan Norcross O'Halleran O'Rourke Pallone Panetta Pascrell Payne Perlmutter Peters Peterson Pingree Pocan Polis Price Quigley Raskin Rice Richmond Rosen Roybal-Allard Ruiz Ruppersberger Rush Ryan Sánchez Sarbanes Schakowsky Schiff Schneider Schrader D. Scott R. Scott Serrano Sewell Shea-Porter Sherman Sinema Sires Smith Soto Speier Suozzi Swalwell Takano B. Thompson M. Thompson Titus Tonko Torres Tsongas Vargas Veasey Vela Velázquez Visclosky Walz Wasserman Schultz Waters Watson Coleman Welch Wilson Yarmuth

Delegates: Bordallo Norton Plaskett Sablan

115th United States Congress Acts of the 115th United States Congr