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 byLinda Smith
Succeeded byJaime Herrera Beutler
Personal details
Brian Norton Baird

(1956-03-07) March 7, 1956 (age 66)
Chama, New Mexico, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseRachel Nugent
RelativesMaggie Baird (sister)
Finneas O'Connell (nephew)
Billie Eilish (niece)
Residence(s)Edmonds, Washington, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Utah (BS)
University of Wyoming (MS, PhD)
  • Politician
  • psychologist
  • college administrator

Brian Norton Baird (born March 7, 1956) is an American psychologist and politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as a U.S. representative for Washington's 3rd congressional district from 1999 to 2011.

After leaving the U.S. House of Representatives, he served as the president of Antioch University Seattle from 2011 to 2015.

Early life and education[edit]

Baird was born in Chama, New Mexico, to Edith S. and William N. ("Bill") Baird, a town councilman and mayor.[1] He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Utah, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1977, and his Master of Science degree and PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Wyoming.[2]


He is the former chairman of the Department of Psychology at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, and a licensed clinical psychologist. He has published several journal articles and three books. He regularly teaches professional development courses to attorneys and judges on communications, ethics and the psychology of persuasion.[3] Baird is a member of the ReFormers Caucus of Issue One.[4]

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, Engineering 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

Baird was also 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, was elected president of the 1998 Democratic Freshman Class, and was a member of the New Democrat Coalition.

On his House of Representatives website, Baird wrote that during his time in Congress, he had flown home nearly every weekend and hosted more than 280 town hall meetings, and that he had 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.[citation needed]

Visit to Gaza Strip[edit]

On February 19, 2009, Baird, together with fellow congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), visited Gaza to view firsthand the destruction from the Gaza War and meet with international and local relief agencies. Others in the visit included Senator John Kerry (D-MA). The visit, which was not sanctioned by the Obama Administration, was the first time anyone from the U.S. government had entered Gaza in more than three years.[5] Baird said:

"The amount of physical destruction and the depth of human suffering here [in Gaza] is staggering. Entire neighborhoods have been destroyed, schools completely leveled, fundamental water, sewer, and electricity facilities hit and relief agencies heavily damaged. The personal stories of children being killed in their homes or schools, entire families wiped out, and relief workers prevented from evacuating the wounded are heart-wrenching—what went on here, and what is continuing to go on, is shocking and troubling beyond words."

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, saying the U.S. needed to be more serious about getting Israel to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.[6][7]

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 ran again and defeated State Senator Don Benton with 54.7% of the vote. He never faced another race that close, and was reelected five times.

On December 9, 2009, Baird announced he would not run for reelection in 2010.[8] After his retirement, Baird and his family moved to Edmonds, Washington, and he wrote books on American politics.[9]

Electoral history[edit]

Washington's 3rd congressional district: Results 1996–2008[10]
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%


  • Baird, Brian N.; illustrations by David Horsey (1995). Are We Having Fun Yet?: Enjoying the Outdoors With Partners, Families, and Groups. Seattle: Mountaineers Books. ISBN 978-0-89886-449-6.

Personal life[edit]

Baird is married to Rachel Nugent and they have two children together. He is the maternal uncle of singer-songwriters Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell.[11]


  1. ^ "Brian Norton Baird". Archived from the original on 2012-10-25. Retrieved 2018-07-07.
  2. ^ a b "Congressman Brian Baird :: Washington's 3rd Congressional District :: Biography Section". Archived from the original on December 28, 2007.
  3. ^ The Professional Education Group Archived 2014-04-03 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "ReFormers Caucus Members". Issue One. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  5. ^ "Brian Views Destruction in Gaza – Calls for Immediate Relief and Change in Policy". Archived from the original on February 23, 2009.
  6. ^ "Congressman Brian Baird stands up for the people of Gaza". The Seattle Times. 2010-03-30. Retrieved 2022-08-03.
  7. ^ "Rep. Baird returns from Gaza, chides White House, Israel -". Retrieved 2022-08-03.
  8. ^ Durbin, Kathie. "Baird won't seek re-election", The Columbian, Vancouver WA, published December 9, 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  9. ^ Cornfield, Jerry (June 21, 2011). "New life for Brian Baird". The Everett Herald. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  10. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Archived from the original on 2007-12-26. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
  11. ^ Reitmulder, Michael (March 26, 2022). "Review: Billie Eilish thrills Seattle crowd in Climate Pledge Arena debut". The Seattle Times. Retrieved June 1, 2022.

External links[edit]

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

Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative