DAVIS, SUSAN A. (1944– ), U.S. Democratic congresswoman representing California's 53rd Congressional District. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Davis grew up in Richmond, California. Her father was a pediatrician; her husband is also a physician. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in sociology (1965). She then earned a master's degree in social work from the University of North Carolina (1968).
Between 1990 and 1994 she was the executive director of the Aaron Price Fellows Program, a program that teaches citizenship skills to multiethnic high school students, and then served on the City School Board in San Diego for nine years between 1983 and 1992, more than half of them as president or vice president. She was also active in the League of Women Voters of San Diego, eventually serving as its president.
She was elected to the California State Assembly in 1994. Her interests were in adolescence, and she championed legislation to protect medical privacy. Term-limited out, she was forced to run for another office and moved up when she was elected to the House of Representatives in 2000. Her Committee assignments in Congress reflected both her constituency and her interests. She served on the House Armed Services Committee – San Diego has major military installations – and the Education and the Workforce Committee. She focused on the issues of defense, education, environment, health care, and veterans' affairs. Defense and veterans' affairs are important concerns for the military families of San Diego, educational and health care were long-time interests of Davis.
Her primary area of concern in Congress reflected her local involvement as an educator. Like most Democrats she opposed the school voucher program but supported educational reform, most especially in areas that would improve teaching. She also endorsed increased evaluation programs for students and their teachers. In health care she supported the Patients Bill or Rights and Medicare. She was pro-choice.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.