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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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United States

U.S. House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 53

Photo of Susan A. Davis

Susan A. Davis

Member, United States House of Representatives
198,988 votes (67%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Improve the educational system and make college affordable.
  • Strengthen the economy and guarantee equal pay for equal work for women and everyone in the workplace.
  • Ensure military families and veterans are receiving the services, benefits and justice they earned serving our country.



Profession:Member, United States House of Representatives
U.S. Representative, U.S. House of Representatives — Elected position (2001–current)
Assembly Member, California State Assembly — Elected position (1994–2000)
Member, San Diego Board of Education (Vice President, 1984-85; Preside, San Diego Board of Education — Elected position (1983–1992)
Development Associate, KPBS-TV (1977–1983)
Community Producer, KPBS Radio (1977–1977)


University of North Carolina M.A,, Social Work (1968)
UC Berkeley B.A., Sociology (1965)

Community Activities

Co-Creator & Executive Director, Aaron Price Fellows - A program that teaches multi-ethnic high school students leadership and citizenship skills. (1990–1994)
President , League of Women Voters of San Diego (1977–1979)


Congresswoman Susan A. Davis has served the heart of San Diego in Congress since 2000, when she was one of only four Democratic challengers in the nation to defeat a Republican incumbent. Since then, she has consistently won re-election with over two thirds of the vote. 

The strength of support that Congresswoman Davis enjoys can be attributed to her willingness to stand up for San Diegans, her responsiveness to their concerns, and her ability to solve problems. Susan listens carefully and is known locally and in Washington as a thoughtful, deliberative legislator who works to build consensus with her colleagues on both sides of the aisle, while staying true to her core values. 

Listening to San Diego 

Susan’s advocacy in Congress stems from her belief that San Diego families must have a strong voice in Washington. She has never forgotten the words: “we the people” and believes her job is to listen to her constituents and take their problems, concerns and good ideas to Congress. Susan brings government to her busy constituents by holding Neighborhood Day listening sessions in each San Diego community, by hosting regular telephone town hall meetings and by responding to hundreds of thousands of constituent letters. 

Susan’s legislative priorities reflect San Diego’s priorities: strengthening our local and national economy, improving education, fighting for the military and the families who fight for us and ensuring that San Diego gets its fair share of federal funding. 

Getting Our Economy Moving 

To get our economy moving again, Susan has called for fiscal responsibility paired with thoughtful job creation. She believes small businesses are the key to creating jobs and has supported tax incentives to help them grow. But Susan also recognizes the need for assistance to those who are still struggling to pay bills and take care of their family while looking for work. She has supported efforts to extend unemployment benefits for those who have been victims of the recession. 

Susan has stood up to Wall Street, big corporate special interests and credit companies and supported numerous bills calling for transparency, consumer protection, and equal pay for equal work. Susan strives for an economy that rewards those who work hard and play by the rules. 

Susan has also supported pay-as-you-go spending in Congress and a Bipartisan Fiscal Commission to help restore fiscal discipline. 

The economy has begun to show signs of renewal. In the past two years, more than 8,000 jobs have been created or saved in San Diego, including 2,900 education jobs, 2,000 jobs for the construction of a new federal courthouse downtown, 1,400 construction jobs for improvements to California State Highway 905, and about 1,800 other jobs around the region. For Susan, this is only the beginning of restoring our economy to what it once was. 

Preparing Our Kids for the Global Economy 

Susan also serves on the Committee on Education and Labor, where she has been a tireless advocate for improving education at all levels – from early childhood education until the time our students graduate from college. She is working to improve science and math teaching in our schools so our kids get the world-class education they deserve and be better prepared to complete in the global economy. Susan has also fought to improve student loan programs so college can be more affordable for middle class families. 

Fighting for Military Families and Veterans 

With our region’s large military presence, her work also includes a focus on supporting military families. Susan currently serves on the Armed Services Committee, where she is a Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Personnel. In this capacity, her priority has been making sure our soldiers, veterans and their families receive the services, benefits and justice they deserve. 

Susan has been a leader in Congress to repeal the discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that prohibits gays and lesbians 

Improving San Diego’s Infrastructure 

Her work on behalf of her constituents has resulted in many local economic development efforts throughout the San Diego region. These include major infrastructure projects and support for our local universities and research facilities. Susan has played a key role in expanding the San Diego Trolley, obtaining a new San Diego Courthouse downtown securing NIH funding of which San Diego biotech companies are the greatest recipients. 

A history of service to San Diego 

No stranger to service in the community, prior to her election to Congress, Susan began her career as a social worker, after obtaining her undergraduate degree at the University of California at Berkeley, and her Masters in Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

In 1982, she was elected to the San Diego City School Board, where she served for nine years. In 1984, she was selected President of the Board. In addition to her service on the board, Susan proudly served as the Executive Director of the Aaron Price Fellows, a program that brought high school students from various socio-economic backgrounds together to pursue community involvement and leadership skills. 

In 1994, Susan continued her legislative service, after being elected to the California State Assembly, where she served for six years, focusing on education, healthcare and consumer protection. 

Susan and her husband Steven have lived in San Diego since 1972. Married for over 40 years, they have two children, Jeffrey and Benjamin, and three grandchildren, Henry, Jane and Theo.

Questions & Answers

Questions from The League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and California Counts, a public media collaboration. (4)

Should immigration laws be changed?  What changes would you support?  Please explain why.
Answer from Susan A. Davis:

America’s success is not in spite of our diversity; it’s a key factor of that success. Immigration has been a conveyor of that diversity. It’s to be celebrated. Of course, we want immigration to be legal. Our current immigration system is not achieving that objective. We need comprehensive immigration reform to encourage legal immigration and humanely address the status of undocumented immigrants already in the country with a focus on keeping families together.


Independent studies show that enacting comprehensive immigration reform will be a boost to the economy, creating job and raising wages. Everyday that goes by without reforming our immigration system our country loses out on the economic benefits that go along with it.    

The political climate in Washington, D.C. has been extremely partisan in recent years. In that kind of atmosphere, what would you do to get things done while in office?
Answer from Susan A. Davis:

It's my constant interest to facilitate relationships on both sides of the aisle that focus on problem solving. Aside from committee work, I've striven to engage colleagues on following:


·      I brought together Democrats and Republicans in support of my bill to protect children and combat sex trafficking.


·      Led our bipartisan San Diego congressional delegation to secure $5 million to expand Sweetwater Authority’s ability to process more drinking water.

·      Democrats and Republicans are joining my effort in Congress to ensure door delivery of mail.

What, if anything, does the U.S. need to do in order to address national security and terrorism? Please explain your answer in detail.
Answer from Susan A. Davis:

We have the most powerful and capable military in the world.  The all-volunteer force of men and women who dedicate their lives in support of our national defense is proof of our nation’s strength. As recent conflicts have shown us, we must continue to advance our military strategy to protect both our citizens and our national interests.  To be clear, there are areas where we must fill in the gaps in order to provide greater global capability to protect the people at home. We need to improve intelligence gathering while building trust with community groups to look for signs of self-radicalization. It will always be hard to anticipate but every effort must be made.    

The Federal Government plays a part in California water allocation and use through a variety of laws.  What, if any, legislation would you support in an effort to handle water shortages caused by the current and any future drought?
Answer from Susan A. Davis:

1: The Federal Government plays a part in California water allocation and use through a variety of laws.  What, if any, legislation would you support in an effort to handle water shortages caused by the current and any future drought?


Increasing sources of reliable drinking water and our region’s water independence must be a priority. California is in the grips of a historic drought and improving our water infrastructure will be key to surviving this drought and any future water shortages.


I have been leading efforts in San Diego to increase drinking water. I helped to secure over $5 million in federal funding for the Sweetwater Authority to nearly triple the ability of the desalination facility to process drinking water. The water produced by the facility provides drinking water to residents of Bonita, Chula Vista and National City. The City of San Diego is partnering with the Sweetwater Authority in the expansion and will receive half of the water produced.


I am also an original cosponsor of a comprehensive water bill in the House to upgrade California’s water infrastructure. Using the Reclamation Fund, which is flush with a $10 billion surplus, the Drought Relief and Resilience Act would fund wastewater-recycling projects, provide a $2,000 tax credit to homeowners for the purchase and installation of water-capturing systems, increase water use efficiency, and provide relief to farming communities. 

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $488,420

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

Qualcomm and employees
Border Health PAC
Ernst & Young
General Atomics
Honeywell International
National Apartment Association
New Democrat Coalition
Northrop Grumman

More information about contributions

By State:

District of Columbia 30.06%
California 27.44%
Virginia 18.83%
Illinois 4.00%
Other 19.67%

By Size:

Large contributions (94.75%)
Small contributions (5.25%)

By Type:

From organizations (72.40%)
From individuals (27.60%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.

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