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Diana DeGette

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Diana DeGette
Official portrait, 2016
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's 1st district
Assumed office
January 3, 1997
Preceded byPat Schroeder
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
from the 6th district
In office
January 13, 1993 – January 3, 1997
Preceded byGerald H. Kopel[1]
Succeeded byDan Grossman[2]
Personal details
Diana Louise DeGette

(1957-07-29) July 29, 1957 (age 66)
Tachikawa, Japan
Political partyDemocratic
Lino Lipinsky
(m. 1985)
EducationColorado College (BA)
New York University (JD)
WebsiteHouse website

Diana Louise DeGette (/dɪˈɡɛt/ dih-GET; born July 29, 1957) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the U.S. representative for Colorado's 1st congressional district since 1997. A member of the Democratic Party, her district is based in Denver. DeGette was a Chief Deputy Whip from 2005 to 2019 and is the dean of Colorado's congressional delegation; she served as the Colorado State Representative for the 6th district from 1993 until her election to the U.S. House.

Early life, education and career[edit]

A fourth-generation Coloradan, DeGette was born in Tachikawa, Japan, the daughter of Patricia Anne (née Rose) and Richard Louis DeGette.[3] Her parents were American, and at the time of her birth her father was serving in the armed forces. She graduated from Colorado College, where she earned a B.A. in political science and was elected to the Pi Gamma Mu international honor society in 1979.[4] She earned a Juris Doctor degree from New York University School of Law in 1982. She then returned to Denver and began a law practice focusing on civil rights and employment litigation.[5]

Colorado Legislature[edit]

Long active in Denver politics, DeGette was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 1992. She was reelected in 1994 and chosen as assistant minority leader. She authored a law that guarantees Colorado women unobstructed access to abortion clinics and other medical care facilities, also known as the Bubble Bill. The United States Supreme Court found the Bubble Bill constitutional in Hill v. Colorado, 530 U.S. 703 (2000). DeGette also authored the state Voluntary Cleanup and Redevelopment Act, a model for similar cleanup programs.[citation needed]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



Longtime 1st district Representative Pat Schroeder chose not to run for a 13th term in 1996, prompting DeGette to run. Her principal opponent in the primary election was former City Council member Tim Sandos, whom Denver Mayor Wellington Webb endorsed shortly before the primary. DeGette won the primary with 55% of the vote, all but assuring her of election in the heavily Democratic district (the 1st has been in Democratic hands for all but four years since 1933). Schroeder, who stayed neutral during the primary, endorsed DeGette once DeGette became the nominee. DeGette won with 57% of the vote and has been reelected 13 times since.


DeGette defeated Green Party nominee Tom Kelly.


DeGette defeated Republican nominee George Lilly, Libertarian nominee Martin Buchanan, and Independent Gary Swing.


DeGette defeated Republican nominee Mike Fallon, Green nominee Gary Swing, American Constitutional Party nominee Chris Styskal, and Libertarian nominee Clint Jones.


DeGette defeated Republican nominee Danny Stroud, Libertarian nominee Frank Atwood, and Green Party nominee Gary Swing. She won 68.23% of the vote.


DeGette defeated Republican nominee Martin Walsh, Libertarian nominee Frank Atwood, UNA nominee Danny Stroud, and two write-in candidates. She won 65.81% of the vote.[6]


DeGette defeated Republican nominee Charles "Casper" Stockham, and Libertarian nominee Darrell Dinges. She won 257,254 votes, 67.87% of the total.[7]


DeGette defeated Republican nominee Charles Stockham and Libertarian nominee Raymon Doane. She won 272,886 votes, 73.8% of the total.


DeGette defeated Republican nominee Shane Bolling, Libertarian nominee Kyle Furey, Unity nominee Paul Noel Fiorino, and Approval Voting nominee Jan Kok. DeGette won 331,621 votes, 73.6% of the total.


DeGette defeated Republican nominee Jennifer Qualteri, Libertarian nominee John Kittleson, and Green nominee Iris Boswell. DeGette won 226,929 votes, 80.3% of the total.


DeGette serves as the co-chair of both the Congressional Diabetes Caucus and Pro-Choice Caucus, and she is Vice Chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus. With the Democrats' victory in the 2006 midterm elections, DeGette briefly considered running for House Majority Whip, but bowed out in favor of Jim Clyburn of South Carolina.

DeGette sat as speaker pro tempore and presided over the debate on December 18, 2019, the day United States House of Representatives voted on the first impeachment of President Donald Trump.

DeGette received national attention in 2005, when the House of Representatives passed legislation she cosponsored to lift President George W. Bush's limits on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. DeGette, who had been working on the measure since 2001, enlisted the support of Representative Michael N. Castle (Republican from Delaware), who became DeGette's principal Republican cosponsor of the legislation. The DeGette-Castle bill passed the Senate on July 18, 2006. President Bush vetoed the bill the next day — his first veto.[8]

In 2007, DeGette served as the House Democrats' designated whip on the bill reauthorizing the State Children's Health Insurance Program (HR 3162). Although President Bush announced his opposition to the legislation, the House passed the bill on August 1, 2007, by a vote of 225 to 204. The Senate adopted a different version of the legislation the next day.

DeGette was also a cosponsor for the Udall Amendment to the House Energy Bill, which the House approved by a vote of 220 to 190 on August 4, 2007. The Amendment creates a national Renewable Energy Standard that requires electric suppliers to produce 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources, 4 percent of which can come from efficiency, by the year 2020.[citation needed]

On September 12, 2007, DeGette announced that she would introduce the Colorado Wilderness Act of 2007 in Congress. The bill was unsuccessful and did not pass the committee level.[9] She reintroduced the bill in 2009.

DeGette is a cosponsor of legislation to provide the District of Columbia voting representation.[10] On January 24, 2007, Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed Representative DeGette to the House Page Board.

On November 26, 2007, DeGette announced her endorsement of Senator Hillary Clinton for president and was named national co-chair of Clinton's Health Care Policy Task Force and adviser on stem-cell research.[11] DeGette was a superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August 2008.

DeGette was strongly critical of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which places limits on taxpayer-funded abortions (except in the case of rape, incest, or life of the mother) in the context of the November 2009 Affordable Health Care for America Act.

On January 12, 2021, DeGette was named an impeachment manager (prosecutor) for the second impeachment trial of President Trump.[12]

Committee assignments[edit]

For the 118th Congress:[13]

Caucus memberships[edit]

  • Congressional Arts Caucus[14]
  • Arts Caucus
  • Pro-Choice Caucus (co-chair)
  • Privacy Caucus (co-chair)
  • Children's Caucus
  • Congressional Brain Injury Caucus
  • Congressional Children's Health Caucus
  • Congressional Cystic Fibrosis Caucus
  • Congressional Multiple Sclerosis Caucus
  • Diabetes Caucus (co-chair)
  • Down Syndrome Caucus
  • Food Safety Caucus
  • French Caucus
  • Internet Caucus
  • LGBT Equality Caucus (vice chair)
  • National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) Caucus
  • Natural Gas Caucus
  • Public Broadcasting Caucus
  • Recycling Caucus
  • Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus
  • Women's Caucus
  • Congressional Progressive Caucus[15]

Party leadership[edit]

Political positions[edit]

DeGette voted with President Joe Biden's stated position 100% of the time in the 117th Congress, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis.[16]


Diana DeGette denouncing a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, 2005

DeGette is pro-choice and the co-chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. DeGette and her former fellow co-chair, Louise Slaughter, are the sponsors of the Prevention First Act.[17] This act aims to decrease the number of unintended pregnancies, abortions and sexually transmitted diseases through better women's healthcare. The NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC endorsed DeGette and gave her a 100% approval rating based on her positions.[18][19] DeGette also received a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood.[19] The National Right to Life Committee gave her a 0% rating due to her strong pro-choice stance.[19]

Embryonic stem cell research[edit]

DeGette has consistently voted in favor of the use of embryonic stem cell research.[20] DeGette says "we must pass common-sense embryonic stem cell research legislation, placing these regulations into statute and once and for all, ensuring this critical life-saving research can be conducted for years to come, unimpeded by political whims or naysayers."[21] DeGette and Charlie Dent introduced the bipartisan Stem Cell Research Act of 2011, which would provide lasting support for stem cell research.[22]

Gun control[edit]

DeGette supports bans on semi-automatic firearms like those used in the 2012 Aurora, Colorado shooting, which happened in a movie theater near her district. DeGette has stated that "the sole purpose of these guns and these magazines is to kill people."[23] DeGette and Carolyn McCarthy introduced the Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act of 2012.[24] The Brady Campaign endorsed DeGette's reelection in 2008, 2010, and 2012.

In 2013, DeGette drew national attention after making an erroneous statement at a public forum about firearm magazine restrictions.[25] She stated, "[t]hese are ammunition, they're bullets, so the people who have those now, they're going to shoot them, so if you ban them in the future, the number of these high-capacity magazines is going to decrease dramatically over time because the bullets will have been shot and there won't be any more available." (Id.) The comment, failing to take into account the fact that these magazines are designed to be reloaded, fueled long-running complaints by gun-rights groups that lawmakers trying to regulate firearms do not understand the issue. (Id.)

In June 2016, DeGette and other Democratic lawmakers, led by John Lewis (D-GA) took part in a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives to protest the Republican leadership's decision to not put several proposed gun control bills up for a vote.[26]


DeGette voted to provide Israel with support following 2023 Hamas attack on Israel.[27][28]

Personal life[edit]

DeGette is married to Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Lino Lipinsky. They live in Denver[29] and have two daughters together. DeGette sings in her church choir.[30]


  • Diana DeGette, Sex, Science, and Stem Cells: Inside the Right Wing Assault on Reason, The Lyons Press (August 4, 2008), ISBN 978-1-59921-431-3

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Our Campaigns - CO State House 06 Race - Nov 03, 1992". www.ourcampaigns.com.
  2. ^ "Our Campaigns - CO State House 06 Race - Nov 08, 1994". www.ourcampaigns.com.
  3. ^ "Degette". Ancestry. Ancestry.com. Archived from the original on 2014-12-23. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
  4. ^ "Diana DeGette's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  5. ^ "Diana DeGette". Colorado Encyclopedia. 9 June 2020.
  6. ^ "Colorado Secretary of State". Retrieved 2015-08-18.
  7. ^ "Colorado Secretary of State". Retrieved 2017-07-19.
  8. ^ "U.S. Senate: Vetoes by President George W. Bush". www.senate.gov. Retrieved 2022-12-10.
  9. ^ "H.R. 3756 [110th]: Colorado Wilderness Act of 2007". GovTrack.us. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  10. ^ H.R. 2043 ("To establish the District of Columbia as a Congressional district for purposes of representation in the House of Representatives, and for other purposes.") Archived 2016-07-04 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette Endorses Clinton". Archived from the original on 2008-03-18.
  12. ^ "Pelosi Names Impeachment Managers". Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 2021-01-12. Archived from the original on 2021-02-11. Retrieved 2021-01-13.
  13. ^ "Diana DeGette". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved 16 April 2023.
  14. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  15. ^ "Caucus Members". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Retrieved 2021-03-29.
  16. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron; Wiederkehr, Anna (2021-04-22). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2023-11-15.
  17. ^ "Pro-Choice Caucus Co-Chairs U.S. Reps. Slaughter and DeGette Applaud Family Planning Funding in Obama's Budget". Degette.house.gov. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
  18. ^ "Elections". NARAL Pro-Choice America. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
  19. ^ a b c "Diana DeGette - Ratings and Endorsements". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
  20. ^ "Representative Diana DeGette - Stem Cell Research Voting Records". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
  21. ^ "DeGette and Dent Introduce Stem Cell Legislation". Degette.house.gov. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
  22. ^ Lillis, Mike (2010-08-24). "DeGette calls for legislation overturning court's stem cell ruling". The Hill's Healthwatch. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
  23. ^ "Representative DeGette on Gun Control". C-SPAN Video Library. 2012-08-02. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
  24. ^ "DeGette and McCarthy Introduce Legislation to Effectively Ban Online Ammo Sales". Degette.house.gov. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
  25. ^ "Representative DeGette on High-Capacity Magazines". Denver Post. 2013-04-03. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  26. ^ "Colorado Democrats Taking Part in House Sit-In". Denverite. 2016-06-22. Retrieved 2017-06-12.
  27. ^ Demirjian, Karoun (2023-10-25). "House Declares Solidarity With Israel in First Legislation Under New Speaker". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-10-30.
  28. ^ Washington, U. S. Capitol Room H154; p:225-7000, DC 20515-6601 (2023-10-25). "Roll Call 528 Roll Call 528, Bill Number: H. Res. 771, 118th Congress, 1st Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved 2023-10-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  29. ^ Helfrich, Jesse (25 October 2013). "DeGette". The Hill.
  30. ^ "Diana Degette bio". The Denver Post. 28 October 2006.

External links[edit]

Colorado House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jerry Kopel
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
from the 6th district

Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's 1st congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by