Susan Davis (politician)

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Susan Davis
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from California
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 3, 2021
Preceded byBrian Bilbray
Succeeded bySara Jacobs
Constituency49th district (2001–2003)
53rd district (2003–2021)
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 76th district
In office
December 5, 1994 – November 30, 2000
Preceded byMike Gotch
Succeeded byChristine Kehoe
Personal details
Susan Carol Alpert

(1944-04-13) April 13, 1944 (age 80)[1]
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Steven Davis
(m. 1972)
EducationUniversity of California, Berkeley (BA)
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (MSW)

Susan Carol Davis (née Alpert; born April 13, 1944) is a former American politician who served as the U.S. representative for California's 49th congressional district for one term and California's 53rd congressional district for nine terms from 2001 to 2021. She is a member of the Democratic Party.

Her district included central and eastern portions of the city of San Diego, as well as eastern suburbs such as El Cajon, La Mesa, Spring Valley, and Lemon Grove.[2]

Early life, education and career[edit]

Davis was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[3] She has spent most of her life in California. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley where she was a member of Delta Phi Epsilon sorority.[4] She earned a master's degree in social work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her husband Steve Davis was a doctor in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. After returning to California, she became a social worker in San Diego.[5]

Early political career[edit]

Davis became active in politics through her membership in the local branch of the League of Women Voters, of which she became president in 1977. She was elected to the board of the San Diego Unified School District in 1983. She served there until 1992, including two years as president of the body.[6][7]

In 1994, she was elected to the California State Assembly, and was reelected in 1996 and 1998. In the Assembly, Davis chaired the Committee on Consumer Protection, Government Efficiency and Economic Development. She authored a state law giving women direct access to their OB/Gyn doctors without requiring a referral from their primary care physicians. Other legislation she authored established the right of a patient to obtain a second medical opinion and allowed frail senior citizens to remain in their homes while receiving state-funded nursing care. She introduced laws to reward high-achieving teachers and to establish after-school programs at public schools.[7]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Susan Davis marching in the 2014 San Diego LGBT Pride Parade

In 2000, Davis challenged three-term Republican incumbent Brian Bilbray in what was then the 49th district, winning with 50 percent of the vote. Her district was renumbered the 53rd district after the 2000 census redistricting and made somewhat more Democratic than its predecessor. Following the redistricting, she was reelected eight times without much difficulty. She is the first Democrat to represent what is now the 53rd district for more than one term in over half a century. The only other Democrat to represent this district since the Harry Truman administration, Lynn Schenk, was toppled by Bilbray in the 1994 Republican wave.

Davis introduced a federal version of the California OB/Gyn law she authored at the start of every Congress from 2001 to 2009. Provisions of her OB/Gyn bill were included in the health care reform bill enacted into law.

Susan Davis stands behind President Barack Obama as his signs the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell

In 2011, Davis voted for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 as part of a controversial provision that allows the government and the military to indefinitely detain American citizens and others without trial.[8]

Davis was a member of the New Democrat Coalition[9] and she portrayed herself as someone who was willing to work across party lines. She served on the House Armed Services Committee. She also served on the Education and Workforce Committee, where she was the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development.

In 2012, Davis filed a lawsuit to recover over $150,000 in campaign funds from her former campaign treasurer, Kinde Durkee.[10] Durkee was later sentenced to eight years in prison for fraud after pleading guilty to stealing seven million dollars from more than fifty people.[11]

On September 4, 2019, Davis announced that she would not seek re-election in 2020.[12]

Earlier photo of Davis

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]


Davis was inducted into the San Diego Women's Hall of Fame in 2020.[3] On November 29, 2022, the House passed a bill to name a post office in Rolando, San Diego after Davis.[19] President Joe Biden signed the bill into law on December 27, 2022.[20] On July 7, 2023, a ceremony was held to rename the former Andrew Jackson Post Office in Rolando after Davis.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Susan Davis at Curlie
  2. ^ "District 53" (PDF). California Redistricting Commission certified map. Healthy City. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Congresswoman Susan Davis". Women's Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
  4. ^ "Distinguished DPhiEs". Delta Phi Epsilon. Archived from the original on August 18, 2007. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
  5. ^ "Congresswoman Susan Davis - Biography". Archived from the original on October 8, 2009. Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  6. ^ "Politics, accidentally". San Diego Jewish Journal. January 2, 2015. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Bill Text - HR-68". House Resolution, California Legislature. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  8. ^ "NDAA Bill: How Did Your Congress Member Vote?". International Business Times. December 16, 2011. Retrieved December 27, 2020.
  9. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  10. ^ McCutcheon, Michael; Barone, Chuck (2013). 2014 Almanac of American Politics. The University of Chicago Press.
  11. ^ "Campaign treasurer gets 8 years for fraud". Los Angeles Times. November 28, 2012. Archived from the original on September 10, 2015. Retrieved December 27, 2020.
  12. ^ Duster, Chandelis; Byrd, Haley (September 4, 2019). "Rep. Susan Davis is latest Democrat not seeking reelection". CNN. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  13. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  14. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  15. ^ "Members of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus". Veterinary Medicine Caucus. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  16. ^ "Members". Afterschool Alliance. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  17. ^ "Members". Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  18. ^ "Members". U.S. - Japan Caucus. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  19. ^ "November 29, 2022 - Issue: Vol. 168, No. 183 — Daily Edition". November 29, 2022.
  20. ^ "Biden OKs renaming of Rolando post office after former Rep. Susan Davis". ABC 10 News San Diego KGTV. Scripps Media Inc. December 27, 2022. Archived from the original on December 28, 2022. Retrieved January 1, 2023.
  21. ^ Sullivan Brennan, Deborah (July 7, 2023). "Rolando post office renamed for longtime San Diego lawmaker Susan Davis". San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on July 8, 2023. Retrieved December 1, 2023.

External links[edit]

California Assembly
Preceded by Member of the California Assembly
from the 76th district

Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 49th congressional district

Succeeded by
New constituency Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 53rd congressional district

2003– 2021
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