Brian Baird

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Brian Baird
Brian Baird.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Linda Smith
Succeeded by Jaime Herrera Beutler
Personal details
Born (1956-03-07) March 7, 1956 (age 58)
Chama, New Mexico
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Rachel Nugent
Residence Edmonds, Washington
Alma mater University of Utah, University of Wyoming
Occupation Psychologist, College Professor
Religion Non-denominational Protestant

Brian Norton Baird (born March 7, 1956) is president of Antioch University Seattle and an American politician who was the United States Representative for Washington's 3rd congressional district from 1999 to 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party. His district comprised the counties of Thurston, Lewis, Pacific, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Clark, and Skamania.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Baird was born in Chama, New Mexico to Edith S. and William N. (“Bill”) Baird, a town councilman and mayor.[1] Dr. Baird received his B.S. from the University of Utah, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1977. He continued on to the University of Wyoming, receiving his M.S. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology.[2] Dr. Baird is the former chairman of the Department of Psychology at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, and a licensed clinical psychologist. He has published a number of journal articles and has authored three books. He regularly teaches professional development courses to attorneys and judges on the topics of communications, ethics and the psychology of persuasion.[3]

Dr. Brian Baird was named President of Antioch University Seattle on May 21, 2013 and took office on July 1, 2013.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

  • Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus (co-founder)
  • Congressional Caucus to Control and Fight Methamphetamine (co-founder)
  • Congressional National Parks Caucus (co-founder)
  • Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus
  • Community College Caucus
  • Community Health Centers Caucus
  • Congressional Boating Caucus
  • Congressional Brain Injury Task Force
  • Congressional Caucus on Intellectual Property Promotion and Piracy Prevention
  • Congressional China Caucus
  • Congressional Coast Guard Caucus
  • Congressional Coastal Caucus
  • Congressional Diabetes Caucus
  • Congressional Fire Service Caucus
  • Congressional Fitness Caucus
  • Congressional Mental Health Caucus
  • Congressional Native American Caucus
  • Congressional Port Security Caucus
  • Congressional Rural Caucus
  • Congressional Ski and Snowboard Caucus
  • Democratic Caucus
  • Friends of New Zealand Caucus
  • Hellenic Caucus
  • House Education Caucus
  • House Science, Technology, Engineernig and Math Education Caucus
  • International Conservation Caucus
  • Medical Malpractice Caucus
  • New Democrat Caucus
  • Northwest Energy Caucus
  • Prochoice Caucus Democratic Task Force
  • Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus
  • U.S. China Working Group
  • Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus
  • Mountain West Caucus
  • Middle East Economic Partnership Caucus

He had previously been a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the House Science Committee, the House Budget Committee, and the House Select Committee on Continuity in Government.

He served as a senior regional whip and on the Democratic Steering Committee. He was elected president of the 1998 Democratic Freshman Class.

Baird was a member of the New Democrat Coalition.

During his time in Congress, he flew home nearly every weekend and hosted more than 300 town hall meetings.[4] He visited every high school, port, hospital and countless businesses and organizations in Southwest Washington.[2]

Baird held over 300 town halls, or one for approximately every week and a half he was in office. Although they usually had around 50 participants, when held during passionate debates, they had up to 3000.


Baird infuriated environmental constituents in 2006 when he publicly dressed down Oregon State University graduate student Daniel Donato at a field hearing over Donato’s use of statistics in a $300,000 federal study. The study,[5] published in one of the most respected academic journals Science, concluded salvage logging had impeded forest regeneration on the massive Biscuit Fire in Oregon’s Siskiyou National Forest. At the time, Baird and U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., were co-sponsors of a bill that aimed to speed salvage logging on burned forests.

Baird insisted that his doctorate (in clinical psychology) qualified him to challenge Donato’s use of statistics, and even submitted his own rebuttal to the journal that had published Donato’s study. Bill Lunch, a political commentator and head of the political science department at OSU, has followed Baird’s career. He found the incident telling. “In an academic setting, one could imagine a fairly civil and enlightened discussion” about the use of statistics in the study, he said. “But of course, it was played out in a congressional committee.” Baird’s public grilling of Donato “has to have been calculated,” Lunch said. “It helped him in the more rural, natural resource-dependent areas of his district. He’s a professor of psychology, a student of human nature. He figured out what he needed to do early on.”


Baird initially voted against giving the president the authority to go to Iraq War, but came to support a continued U.S. effort in 2007 after a visit to the region. He continued to maintain that the war in Iraq was "one of the worst foreign-policy mistakes in the history of our nation," but also stated a belief in an op-ed published in The Seattle Times that Iraq "at long last begun to change substantially for the better" as a result of the surge. Baird advanced the argument that withdrawal timetables at this time would embolden insurgents, discourage cooperation between Iraqi political factions, and abdicate America's moral obligation to maintain order in the region.[5]

On August 27, 2007, a capacity crowd of approximately 550 filled an auditorium at Fort Vancouver High School for a town hall meeting, with the many attendees voicing passionate disagreement with his stance.[6] Baird requested police protection for the event, the first time he did so for an event of this type,[7] and Baird also brought along a private bodyguard.[6] The event continued well after the scheduled 9 p.m. conclusion,[7] ultimately passing four hours of discussion.[6]


During the 2009 Congressional recess, Baird held 5 town halls and 6 "tele-town halls" focused on health care. At the August 18 Vancouver town hall Baird was subjected to intense criticism of his support of and previous comments about his opposition to the bill by (among others) David Hedrick, a disabled (veteran) Marine. The video of Hedrick's remarks — remarks described as a "rant" by the Vancouver Columbian — had attracted over 1.3 million views on by February 18, 2010.[8]

Visit to Gaza Strip[edit]

On February 19, 2009, Congressman Brian Baird, together with fellow congressman Keith Ellison, (D-MN-05), visited Gaza to view firsthand the destruction from the Gaza War, and to meet with international and local relief agencies. Others in the visit included Senator John Kerry (D-MA). This visit, which did not have the official sanction of the Obama Administration, is the first time anyone from the U.S. government entered Gaza in more than three years.[9] The Congressman had this to say about Gaza:

After Baird's third visit to Gaza in February 2010, he called on the U.S. to end the blockade and to deliver humanitarian supplies, which could include withholding military aid from Israel.[10] he said that the U.S. needed to be more serious about getting Israel to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Political campaigns[edit]

Baird challenged Republican incumbent Linda Smith in 1996 and lost by only 887 votes. Smith gave up the seat to make an unsuccessful bid for the United States Senate in 1998. Baird jumped into the race and defeated State Senator Don Benton with 54.7 percent of the vote. He never faced another race even that close, and was re-elected five times.

On December 9, 2009, Baird announced he would not run for re-election in 2010.[11]

Electoral history[edit]

Washington's 3rd congressional district: Results 1996–2008[12]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1996 Brian Baird 122,230 50% Linda Smith 123,117 50%
1998 Brian Baird 120,364 55% Don Benton 99,855 45%
2000 Brian Baird 159,428 56% Trent R. Matson 114,861 41% Erne Lewis Libertarian 8,375 3%
2002 Brian Baird 119,264 62% Joseph Zarelli 74,065 38%
2004 Brian Baird 193,626 62% Thomas A. Crowson 119,027 38%
2006 Brian Baird 147,065 63% Michael Messmore 85,915 37%
2008 Brian Baird 216,701 64% Michael Delavar 121,828 36%

The stock act[edit]

Brian Baird introduced the STOCK Act which would prohibit members of Congress, their employees, and Executive Branch staff members from profiting from nonpublic information they obtain through their positions. They would be prohibited from buying or selling securities, swaps, or commodity futures based on nonpublic information they obtain through their jobs; prohibited from sharing non-public information about legislative action for purposes of investing or profiting from investment; and required to report investment transactions valued in excess of $1,000.

“It is not explicitly stated in Congress’ ethics code,” said Baird. “And we exempted ourselves from reporting requirements that apply to hedge fund managers and corporate CEOs. They have to report within 48 hours if they make a significant trade. We have to report once a year, retroactively. In fact if you make a trade in January, it doesn’t have to be reported until the following May.”

Baird changed his bill to allow for reporting to be delayed for 90 days. "Really, it should be 48 hours," he said.[13]


Personal Life[edit]

Baird is a second cousin of Nirvana bass player Krist Novoselic[14]


  1. ^ 1
  2. ^ a b Congressman Brian Baird :: Washington's 3rd Congressional District :: Biography Section
  3. ^ The Professional Education Group
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Post-Wildfire Logging"Salvage Logging Hinders Regeneration and Increases Fire Risk", Science, published January 5, 2006. Retrieved October 2,2012
  6. ^ a b c Westneat, Danny. "The lone, and lonely, optimist", The Seattle Times, published August 29, 2007. Retrieved August 29, 2007.
  7. ^ a b Brettman, Allan, and Jeff Mapes. "Crowd pounds Baird's Iraq stance", The Oregonian, published August 28, 2007. Retrieved August 29, 2007.
  8. ^ Durbin, Kathie. "Hedrick's rant at Baird health care forum goes viral", The Columbian, Vancouver WA, published August 26, 2009. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  9. ^ Brian Views Destruction in Gaza – Calls for Immediate Relief and Change in Policy
  10. ^ “”. "US Congressman wants Gaza blockade gone". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  11. ^ Durbin, Kathie. "Baird won’t seek re-election", The Columbian, Vancouver WA, published December 9, 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  12. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ Novoselic, Krist.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help);

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Linda Smith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Jaime Herrera Beutler