Posted by: sweeneyblog | July 25, 2013

Rep. Suzan DelBene – Covert Progressive Champion

Last year, when the battle for the 1st Congressional District was heating up, Whatcom County had to choose between a wonderful slate of candidates representing all sides of the political spectrum. The two front-runners, former Microsoft Executive Suzan DelBene and liberal blog champion Darcy Burner, appeared to represent opposite ends of the Democratic continuum. I had the pleasure of interviewing both Burner and DelBene and found them to be articulate, passionate and solid choices for Congress.

Gary Jensen with Suzan Delbene in 2012

Gary Jensen with Suzan DelBene in 2012

Suzan DelBene prevailed, both in the primary and against John Koster in the general. Since arriving in DC, I feared she would start representing the more conservative wing of the Democratic party – similar to our own Rep. Rick Larsen – yet it seems my fears were ungrounded.

In the last year, she has cut her own path, voting for some fiscally conservative measures (her first vote was for a congressional pay freeze) but also stepping out and voting against the CISPA, which would have granted the U.S. government the authority limit or shut down large swaths of websites (Rep. Larsen voted for CISPA). DelBene voted for closing Guantanamo Bay, against new abortion limitations and most recently, she voted to limit the NSA from their massive data-collection efforts, providing legal oversight and strong restrictions (naturally Rep. Larsen voted to let them keep doing what they were doing)

I am so relieved and thrilled that we have such a strong advocate in Congress. While I don’t agree with all of her votes, she is consistently voting a strong moral voice for the values of Whatcom County. She is really living up to that early description as a workhorse, not a showhorse.

If you are free this Saturday, show up at the Ferndale Settler’s Parade. Rep. DelBene will be walking in the parade and probably talking to voters right after. I know I will be proud to thank her for her solid voting record and apologize for this headline which is probably making her media team wince a little bit. But just a little.



  1. Yup, she’s surprised a lot of people, from progressives who are delighted to the right-wingers who are going totally bat-shit crazy and plotting to get her. She is way up there on the Teabagger hit list.

  2. Riley~FYI: We have confirmed Senator Kevin Ranker as our guest speaker at this years picnic, Aug 4th, Cornwall Park, 3-6pm. Our MC this year will be Mayor Kelli Linville. Candidates are getting revved up to enter their favorite dessert in the contest. The prize this year is XX hours of phoning for that candidate. Please put this info into your blog in the next few days if possible. We’re not getting much of a RSVP response from the cards we mailed out, or the notes we posted. Any help from you would be appreciated. Many thanks! Judy Anderson


  3. Wouldn’t exactly call her covert… I would say that she is surprising a lot of people, myself included, who saw her running to the right of Darcy Burner. I think she understood the political requirements of her district a little more thoroughly than Darcy (who I’d LOVE to see challenge Larsen in the 2nd CD).

    I worry a little bit about her reelection chances in such a fiercely swing district, but her work on the Farm Bill helps. And it appears there is A LOT of bi-partisanship around clawing back the Surveillance State among libertarians left and right.

    • it was a most interesting vote , just 12 shy of passing.


  4. “Suzan DelBene prevailed, both in the primary and against John Koster in the general.” She did poorly at every forum compared to the other candidates BTW.
    No Riley! She “bought the primary” knocking off one of our only chances to go after lobbyists with Darcy Burner. Prevailed against Koster maybe that’s the right word. Maybe she will start talking about real issues as a US congressional Rep should but Being a member of the New Democrat/DLC creeps is not good for her resume. If you want to get the money out of politics you better end the hypocrisy of your own party. She also did noty walk in the parade she rode in a convertible and I did not see one democrat walking around her vehicle. When I asked her to come out to Ferndale and talk to her base she said she did many times. I find that a real stretch or stench . Believe me if she came to Ferndale many times the Chair of the 42nd would know about it unless, as I suspect, she is afraid to meet with people she knows were heavy Burner supporters.

    BTW her record so far isn’t very impressive and you can’t compare Rick Larsen’s at all. He has been a sell-out conman for years. Candy coating this Rep will come back to bite you Riley I promise. Have a great Day.

    • Let me speak to the issue about the parade. Rep. DelBene was in the car at the front of the parade because that is where all the elected officials where placed. She did come over to the Whatcom Dems tent and talk to us for quite a while before the parade.

      • Well its good for you that she came over and talked to YOU but for those of us who were watching the parade or in our seats waiting didn’t do us much good. Talking to a couple of people at the Dem tent is not addressing the base in Ferndale many of us would enjoy a visit to a listening forum or a Q&A fron this freshman congressional rep.

      • BTW

  5. I am eagerly awaiting her perspective on GPT. That is an issue she has evaded a position on numerous times in the past. I do credit her for voting against further funding of NSA surveillance (Amash-Conyers amendment). Her colleague, Larson, has office staff who talked both sides of the issue in response to telephone calls to his office prior to the vote and, of course, he voted for continued funding of the agency.

    • I am eagerly awaiting her perspective and what she is going to do about Jobs and the H1B visa disaster.Her position on the Amash-Conyers vote is what I expect from all Democrats especially a Freshman. Larsen will always pull this kind of stuff. He is a DINO.

      • Worse, his staff is either dishonest or deliberately misleading (or both). When I called and clearly expressed my support for Amash-Conyers, they simply noted my opinion. When my wife called (immediately afterward) and was somewhat more “temperate”, the staff member answering the telephone assured her (in so many words) that Larson supports Fourth Amendment rights (or words to that effect, implying a “yes” vote) but thereafter…

  6. Yes. he has trouble with staff doesn’t he? He had fire a few a couple of years ago because they sat around drinking telling the truth about Larsen being a dork or something even more telling. We call him Mr. Photo Op around here.

  7. […] the redistricting put you into the “not his problem” folder. Rep. DelBene has built a reputation for smart moderate votes but she is just a freshman legislator, and let’s face it, there aren’t that many […]

  8. […] Koster for the newly redrawn 1st Congressional district. Since being elected, she has carved out an impressive niche in the last year, using her technological expertise to push for oversight on the NSA and her position on the House […]

  9. […] spent on this race, I don’t see it going red this year. Rep. DelBene has shown herself to be an effective Congresswoman, staying in regular contact with her district, but in a tough year, it might turn […]

  10. […] in the running but it looks like DelBene can relax a bit, her hard work tackling bipartisan issues like reining in the NSA and immigration reform is paying off and her opponents just can’t seem to get their act […]

  11. […] advocate for farmers and an accessible legislator voting for a wide range of good legislation. I wrote about some of her accomplishments here. Pedro Celis should offer no competition but show your support for a job well done. Vote […]

  12. […] racial backlash impact Pedro Celis’ votes or did Rep Suzan DelBene’s impressive work as a representative peel off some conservative voters? It is impossible to tell for sure but either way, the 42nd is […]

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