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Donald S. Beyer, Jr.

Congressman Don Beyer is serving his fourth term as the U.S. Representative from Virginia’s 8th District, representing Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, and parts of Fairfax County.

Don chairs Congress’s Joint Economic Committee, and serves on the essential House Committee on Ways and Means. He also sits on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, where he chairs the Space Subcommittee. He is a member of the New Democrat Coalition’s Climate Change Task Force and the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and founded the Congressional Fusion Caucus.

Don’s public service began in 1986 when Governor Gerald Baliles appointed him to the Commonwealth Transportation Board, responsible for overseeing the Virginia Department of Transportation and allocating highway funding to specific projects. From 1990 to 1998, Don served as Lieutenant Governor of Virginia where his signature work included advocacy for Virginians with disabilities and ensuring protections for Virginia’s most vulnerable populations as Virginia reformed its welfare system. He was also Virginia’s Democratic nominee for Governor in 1997.

After leaving office, Don served in a variety of leadership roles. He spent 15 years as chair of Jobs for Virginia Graduates, a highly successful high school dropout prevention program. Don continues to serve on the National Board for Jobs for America’s Graduates.

He was also active for a decade on the board of the DC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. As chair of the Virginia Economic Recovery Commission, he helped pass permanent pro-business reforms and was co-founder of the Northern Virginia Technology Council. Don was founding chair of Alexandria Community Trust (ACT), where he served in leadership for five years. He was also president and a member of the American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA), where he represented 10,000 international nameplate automobile dealers.

An active leader in Democratic politics, Don served as the Virginia chair of the Clinton-Gore and Kerry-Edwards presidential campaigns and was the treasurer and Virginia chair for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign. He chaired the DNC’s Democratic Business Council in 2005 and was finance chair of Sen. Mark Warner’s “Forward Together” presidential exploratory committee in 2006. For Pres. Obama, Don served as mid-Atlantic finance chair for the campaign and later acted as Transition Team Leader for the Department of Commerce.

In 2009, Pres. Obama nominated Don to serve as ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein. He used his position to advocate for stricter sanctions to compel Iran to begin nuclear disarmament discussions. As ambassador, Don was integral to US Department of Justice efforts to halt the abuses of Swiss bank secrecy by wealthy Americans.

For four decades, Don helped build his family’s business in Northern Virginia following a summer job at the dealership in 1974. He sold the business in 2019.

Don, born in the Free Territory of Trieste, is the son of U.S. Army officer Donald Sternoff Beyer Sr., and his wife, Nancy McDonald. His grandmother, Clara Mortenson Beyer, was a pioneer in labor economics and workers’ rights and instrumental in implementing minimum wage legislation via the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Don’s grandfather, Otto S. Beyer Jr. was Chairman of the National Mediation Board.

Don is a graduate of Williams College and of Gonzaga College High School in Washington, DC. He was named a Presidential Scholar by President Lyndon Johnson. Don has four children and two grandchildren. He and his wife Megan live in Alexandria, Virginia.

Climate Change and the Environment

From the launch of my first congressional campaign in 2014, the issue at the forefront of my mind has been climate change. It is the most significant existential threat of our time, with a cost in lives and financial loss that grows higher every year. The climate crisis requires comprehensive action on a grand scale.

In Congress, I serve as Co-Chair of the Congressional Safe Climate Caucus, a group of over 70 Democrats pushing solutions to move the country away from carbon pollution.

Carbon pricing is one of the most important tools available that can help us meet the speed and scale with which we need to respond. For that reason, I am the sponsor of the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act, a carbon cap and dividend bill that would auction carbon pollution credits and return the proceeds electronically every quarter to every American. I also support a Green New Deal.

We must facilitate research and innovation to decarbonize sectors and build upon our current successes. My bipartisan SEA FUEL Act to help the military capture carbon and use it to create fuels was signed into law in the previous session of Congress. I am also a co-lead of the ARPA-E Reauthorization Act to develop truly transformational clean energy technologies. I founded the Congressional Fusion Caucus earlier to educate Members about the science behind fusion energy, dispel any misconceptions, and advocate for increased funding through private-public partnerships.

My legislation to use tax incentives to spur widespread adoption of mid-size electric vehicles is a key piece of the climate provisions of the Build Back Better Act, President Biden’s signature climate legislation. That bill also contains provisions I led, including the NET Zero Act to scale up the development of direct air capture legislation, which would remove carbon pollution directly from the air, as well as legislation to incentivize the reduction of emissions in commercial buildings, increased production of domestic solar and green hydrogen.

We must prepare our communities to adapt. I am a co-lead of the bipartisan RECLAIM Act, which helps coal-mining regions shift their local economy to create jobs in other sectors, including clean energy. Via the bipartisan National Oceans and Coastal Security Improvements Act, I helped create a fund to build coastal resilience and help communities like Alexandria proactively deal with nuisance flooding, which is worsening with climate change.

It is important to remember that climate change is a global crisis and requires global solutions that will not occur unless the world’s largest economy is fully committed to rising to the challenge. I was proud to represent the United States at the 2021 United Nations COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.


One of the great promises of our democracy is the idea that everyone can have access to quality education. Children with special needs or those living in poverty should be able to receive the same level of education as those most fortunate and have the chance to develop to their fullest potential. Pandemic schooling has made us all more grateful for public education, especially given the strength of our K-12 schools, colleges, and universities in Northern Virginia.

I support major federal initiatives and programs for public education, including Title I, which helps school systems with large percentages of low-income students, and IDEA, which supports programs and provides resources for students with special needs. The school lunch and breakfast program provides food for over 30 million students daily, which is a critical piece of our nation’s anti-poverty work. During the pandemic, I have supported funding for schools to respond to COVID-19 and operate safely.

Equity in education is a civil rights issue. I am pushing to strengthen the Office of Civil Rights within the Department of Education, especially as it pertains to sexual assault prevention on college campuses. I support initiatives to support teachers and other public school personnel, who I believe are still largely underappreciated and underpaid.

Education policy doesn’t affect just K-12 schools. I support universal preschool and greater access to higher education at a lower cost. I have fought for student loan refinancing efforts and expanding access to Pell Grants. We need to make education accessible to all, from pre-K to college and beyond.

I also introduced the Keeping All Students Safe Act to ban seclusion and create federal standards limiting restraint of students across the country, a major education reform of an issue that is also deeply important to many parents in Northern Virginia.

Federal Workforce

Federal employees keep this country moving. They are the backbone of national security, safe transportation, safe food, and clean water. In my stints as a federal employee — my first job as a ranger with the National Park Service, my four years as ambassador to Switzerland, and my time since 2015 as a member of Congress — I have been deeply impressed by the intelligence and work ethic of so many of my colleagues and staff.

Yet federal employees in the modern era — and many government contract employees as well — suffer through government shutdowns, furloughs, and pay freezes. Too many people and politicians make a sport of denigrating “feds” — criticizing the government, rather than working constructively for wise policies. With such juvenile approaches to government, we not only hurt the morale and retention of today’s feds, but we risk not being able to recruit America’s best and brightest for this work in the future.

Virginia’s 8th congressional district is rich with feds: It is home to more federal employees than any other congressional district. I am proud to have cosponsored bills to give federal employees pay raises, and to have championed the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act. Thanks to those efforts, we successfully secured 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for all federal employees.

During the pandemic, I advocated for maximum telework, vaccine distribution directly to federal employees, and paid time off to receive the vaccine, and I will continue to fight for government employees and government contract employees.

Foreign Policy

Our nation must be a leader in exemplifying the highest standards of human rights, climate security, election security, and democracy. As a former ambassador, I know the importance of building collaborative international relationships firsthand.

While I believe in maintaining a strong military, I will always see diplomatic engagement as the first, second, and third option, with force as a true last resort. We have been too quick to deploy US troops abroad, often on ill-conceived missions where a lack of strategic planning and clear goals limit their chance of success.

On human rights, we must not only exemplify the highest ideals but also maintain the US legacy of mercy and outreach to the world’s refugees and those who flee danger in their homeland. Foreign assistance should remain a central piece of our foreign policy toolkit, both for its strategic value and because we have a moral imperative to help the less fortunate.

Climate change is another key area of international cooperation, a global crisis, and requires global solutions that will not occur unless the world’s largest economy is fully committed to rising to the challenge. I was proud to represent the United States in 2021 at the United Nations COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

One of the biggest challenges in my first term was helping secure President Obama’s Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action with Iran. I was a strong proponent of the Iran deal, working to build support for it in the House. Today I continue to strongly support renewing the multilateral accord to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

I supported President Biden’s commitment to bring all troops home from Afghanistan, which finally ended our two-decade presence in that country, which cost thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars. I continue to support ending US involvement in the war in Yemen, which has seen horrific losses of civilian lives.

Gun Violence Prevention

We are beyond a crisis point with guns in America. Mass shootings in Las Vegas, Florida, Virginia Beach, and so many other American communities cause horrific tragedies that we have sadly come to expect. Yet, most gun violence does not get that level of attention. Every day, more than 124 people in the U.S. die by gunshot, totaling over 38,000 a year, many of them by suicide.

Halting gun violence has been a major focus of my work in Congress. I am a lead cosponsor of the bipartisan Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, legislation that would encourage states to temporarily remove access to firearms from people in crisis with a petition from law enforcement or family members.

I proudly voted for the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which would expand background checks to cover nearly every gun sale. I also voted for legislation to close the Charleston loophole, which allowed prohibited persons to acquire firearms if their background check is not completed within three days, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which closed the “boyfriend loophole” on gun sales to abusive partners or stalkers. Firm in my belief that weapons of war have no place in American communities, I am a long-time co-sponsor of the Assault Weapons Ban, and of measures to ban high capacity ammunition magazines and bump-stocks.


I have long advocated for healthcare legislation that makes universal, affordable care a reality. President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, marked the biggest step forward in US healthcare in decades: tens of millions of uninsured Americans received coverage for the first time. Insurance companies had to accept applicants for health coverage, regardless of preexisting conditions, and they could not charge women more for the same coverage, as had been common practice. Recent Medicaid expansion by the Virginia General Assembly and Governor Northam brought healthcare coverage to hundreds of thousands of Virginians, and today, thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to boost signups, more Americans are insured than ever before.

I am working with the Democratic Caucus to build on that progress and make affordable, accessible health care fully universal. I introduced the Choose Medicare Act to do just that, and am a proud co-sponsor of Medicare for All. I have also championed legislation to lower prescription drug costs and, in the midst of COVID-19, successfully introduced and passed legislation to ensure vaccines would be available for free. I also introduced legislation to study long-term COVID effects, legislation requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test before boarding a domestic flight, and a separate bill to drastically increase Americans’ access to free at-home rapid testing.

Mental health has been an area of particular focus for my work in Congress. The spike in suicides and mental illness during the COVID-19 pandemic makes this issue even more pressing. The rate of suicide is at a 30-year high, and it is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and 2nd in people under 35, with half of the 47,000 reported annual suicides caused by firearms. I am the founding co-chair of the House Suicide Prevention Task Force, which works to increase funding for suicide prevention programs. I helped establish the 3-digit suicide prevention lifeline phone number and expand mental health education campaigns, and my bipartisan legislation to educate the public about this important forthcoming resource passed in the House last year.


It’s no secret that there’s an affordable housing crisis in this country and this is certainly the case in Virginia’s 8th District. In Virginia alone, there is a shortage of 148,720 rental homes that are affordable and available for extremely low-income renters. We know that when people have adequate access to housing, that leads to stronger and more productive communities, greater economic mobility and job growth, and better educational and health outcomes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the housing crisis. That’s why I was a strong supporter of both the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan, which provided historic investments in emergency rental assistance, the Homeowner Assistance Fund, emergency housing vouchers, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, housing counseling programs, and the Fair Housing Initiatives Program. I proudly voted for the passage of these bills to provide immediate and direct relief to help Americans remain housed during the pandemic.

Additionally, I have spearheaded efforts on the federal level to bring down the cost of housing. I am a co-lead of H.R. 2573, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, which would build more than two million new affordable housing units nationwide over the next 10 years and better meet the needs of at-risk groups. I also co-lead the Save Affordable Housing Act, which would protect the 30-year affordability commitment of housing financed by the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.

Now is the time to expand and improve our programs to tackle America’s affordable housing crisis in a meaningful way and I will continue to work in Congress to better meet the needs of the American people.


In Virginia’s 8th congressional district, we thrive on diversity. The previous president’s nativism and racist treatment of immigrants and refugees was a national embarrassment which I strongly opposed in Congress. He believed in using intentional cruelty and abuse to prevent would-be immigrants from wanting to come to this country, a policy informed by bigotry, but also by ignorance of the dire conditions that cause so many to seek a better life for themselves and their families in the United States.

I have traveled to the Northern Triangle of Central America and met with leaders there. I’ve met with community leaders, business leaders, and immigration advocates in Northern Virginia, so many of whom talk about the contributions we depend on from immigrants in our region, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. I’ve met with (and fought for) a mother who was separated from her children and deported for a minor infraction, and spoken with tearful fathers who had their children ripped out of their arms at the border. I believe there are better, smarter ways to address immigration that do not betray our core values as Americans.

That is why I support a humane approach to immigration that treats people with dignity while advancing our national interest. That should begin with comprehensive immigration reform, which I have long supported. In the House, I voted for H.R. 6, to enable many Dreamers to get lawful permanent resident status for 10 years. That bill would also protect those who have Temporary Protective Status, which includes many Northern Virginians. I also helped pass the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act in the House, legislation which would remove per-country caps for employment-based visas, and instead issue them on a first-come, first-serve basis. And I voted for the Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act, which ensures appropriate medical and health standards for individuals in Customs and Border Protection care.

I will continue working toward reasonable and compassionate solutions as we continue to recover from the awful immigration policies of the previous president.

Racial Justice

The unjustified deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others have brought racial justice to the front of our national political dialogue and sparked nationwide activism. I have twice voted for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which included my legislation, authored with D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, requiring all federal officers to use body and dashboard cameras. This bill was inspired by the killing of Northern Virginian Bijan Ghaisar by US Park Police.

I have also introduced legislation to require cities and counties to disclose the cost of police misconduct, which would mount pressure on police departments to reform their practices. I am a strong proponent of criminal justice reform, including banning the federal death penalty, legalizing cannabis, achieving meaningful sentencing reform, and banning private prisons. I have been a leader on bipartisan efforts to sharply limit the often-abused practice of civil asset forfeiture.

As Virginia reckons with its history of slavery, Jim Crow, and institutional racism, I have been a strong supporter of removing public symbols of white supremacy. In 2021, I announced legislation to end Arlington House’s designation as a memorial to Robert E. Lee, which had previously been enacted by Congress in 1955. I believe that being honest about our past is vital if we are to correct injustices in our present.

I also believe that racial justice cannot just be addressed in racial justice legislation; it must be addressed in all legislation, whether environmental justice, health care, education, or police reform. I am a vocal supporter of equity in health care, and proud of my strong voting record in favor of environmental justice. As Joint Economic Committee Chair, I have held hearings on Racial Disparities in Employment, Wealth, Income and Health, and on the gender pay gap’s disproportionate impacts on black women. I introduced the Keeping All Students Safe Act to ban seclusion and create federal standards limiting restraint of students across the country, a major civil rights issue.


Transportation and environmental sustainability go hand in hand. With policies to decrease traffic and streamline transportation, we can and must address the climate crisis.

The federal government plays a vital role in supporting the Metro system and sustainable transportation options in the Washington, DC area. Metro is key to many Virginians’ commutes each morning: four in every ten riders are federal workers. I have worked hard to secure funding for WMATA to keep Metro stations open and trains running. Most recently, the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which I strongly supported, secured ten years of funding with additional oversight requirements to ensure service and reliability of this vital artery through the pandemic and for years to come.

I have also made it a priority to boost other sustainable transportation options, including bus rapid transit along the Route 1 corridor, HOT lanes, the Potomac Yard Metro Station, car-sharing, as well as increases and improvements in bike lanes and bicycle and scooter sharing.

During my time in Congress, I have helped secure major investments in surface transportation infrastructure. That includes helping win the funding that renovated Arlington Memorial Bridge, which had been in danger of total closure because of serious structural problems. I have successfully pushed for safety improvements with community input for the southern portion of George Washington Memorial Parkway, and recently announced a major project to renovate GWP’s northern stretch, which currently has numerous potholes and other structural deficiencies. I also sponsored bipartisan legislation which passed into law that secured resources necessary for the construction of a new rail bridge across the Potomac, joining the Administration and Governor Northam to announce the official agreement to begin that project in May of 2021.

I strongly support climate provisions in President Biden’s infrastructure agenda and continue to work with my colleagues on ways we can make infrastructure investments that create green jobs, grow our economy, and fight climate change.


Our remarkable district, bordering the nation’s capital and the Potomac River, is home to several key military installations, including the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for tens of thousands of men and women who served our country with valor.

I feel personal ties to veterans’ issues. My dad, who lived to be 93, was a West Point graduate who served in Korea and was part of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Trieste (where I was born). My father-in-law, who lived to be 92, fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded two Purple Hearts. It is extraordinary what their generation gave us, and what the military generations following have continued to do.

We owe our troops and, after their service, our veterans, the best possible care. And when there are problems with that care, we should move in good faith – and without unnecessary partisan rancor – to remedy the situation.

We also must strive to be a nation that engages in foreign conflicts only as a last result after diplomatic options are exhausted, with deeply thoughtful consideration of all factors.

Women’s Rights

With the Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, we are facing the most serious threat in decades to women’s reproductive freedom. Abortion is health care. To deny that right is to deny fundamental human rights. I believe that gender equality does not exist without bodily autonomy. Women should be able to make the family planning decisions that work best for them and their families. They should also have the full range of reproductive health choices available to them. Access to safe and legal abortion enables people to make the decisions that are right for them.

I have long been a supporter of the economic empowerment of women. Working women make up almost half of the American labor force; yet, in 2020, women earned only 84% of what men earned. Women must be able to make their own economic decisions, including whether and when to have children, and then have the capacity to balance work and family. This delicate balance is possible only with affordable child care, workplace flexibility, paid family and medical leave, and reliable health care. Today, the United States is one of only two nations that does not guarantee paid parental leave. It is past time to give working women and families this critical tool.