Bonnie Watson Coleman
|Bonnie Watson Coleman|
|Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 12th district
January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Rush D. Holt Jr.|
|Member of the
New Jersey General Assembly
from the 15th Legislative District
January 13, 1998 – January 5, 2015
|New Jersey General Assembly Majority Leader|
January 12, 2006 – January 12, 2010
|Preceded by||Joseph J. Roberts|
|Succeeded by||Joseph Cryan|
February 6, 1945 |
Camden, New Jersey
|Spouse(s)||William Coleman (m. 1995)|
|Residence||Ewing Township, New Jersey, U.S.|
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. She is the first black woman in Congress from New Jersey.
Early life and career
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.
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
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. Assemblywoman Watson Coleman is the first African -American woman elected to represent a New Jersey district in the United States House of Representatives and is currently the only female member of New Jersey's congressional delegation.
On June 3, 2014, she won the Democratic primary for the 12th congressional district. She won the general election on November 4, 2014, defeating Republican candidate Alieta Eck. She won 60.9% of the vote.
In March 2016, Coleman, along with Rep. Robin Kelly and Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, founded the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls. "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. They were inspired by the #SheWoke Committee, a group of 7 activists that reached out to lawmakers and staffers to start.
- Committee on Homeland Security
- Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
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. Watson Coleman has also introduced legislation to restrict the ownership of weapons such as the ones used by her sons during their crime.
- List of African-American United States Representatives
- Women in the United States House of Representatives
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- "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. 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.
- "Mercer County hires Bonnie Watson Coleman's son to entry-level parks position". NJ.com. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
- 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
Joseph J. Roberts
|Majority Leader of the New Jersey General Assembly
2006 – 2010
|Chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee
2002 – 2006
|Party political offices|
Joseph J. Roberts
|Chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee
2002 – 2006
|United States House of Representatives|
Rush D. Holt Jr.
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 12th congressional district
January 3, 2015 – present
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Representatives by seniority