Bonnie Watson Coleman

Born:February 6, 1945 (age 79)

U.S. House of Representatives, 2015-present
New Jersey General Assembly, 1998-2014

State:New Jersey

Bonnie Watson Coleman assumed office in the U.S. House of Representatives for New Jersey's 12th Congressional District in January 2015, becoming the first woman of color elected to represent a New Jersey district in the U.S. House and the only female member of New Jersey's congressional delegation.

Watson Coleman was born on February 6, 1945, in Camden, New Jersey. She received a B.A. from Thomas Edison State College in 1985. She has received honorary doctorate degrees from the College of New Jersey, Rider University, and Stockton University.

In 1974, Watson Coleman established the Office of Civil Rights, Contract Compliance, and Affirmative Action in the New Jersey Department of Transportation and was the director of that office for six years. In 1980, she joined the Department of Community Affairs, where she held a number of positions, including Assistant Commissioner. From 1981 to 1998, she was a member of the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Board of Trustees and was its chair from 1990 to 1991. She served on the Governing Boards Association of State Colleges from 1987 to 1998 and as its chair from 1991 to 1993. She served on the Ewing Township Planning Board from 1996 to 1997. She served as New Jersey Democratic State Chairwoman from 2002 to 2006.

Watson Coleman served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1998-2014, where she represented the 15th Legislative District. In 2002, she became the first African American woman to lead the New Jersey state Democratic Party, and she served as the majority leader of the New Jersey General Assembly from 2006 to 2010. In her time in the assembly, she served on the Legislative Services Commission, Appropriations Committee (as chairwoman from 2002 to 2006), Budget Committee and Joint Budget Oversight Committee.

In 2016 Watson Coleman co-founded the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls with Congresswoman Robin Kelly and Yvette D. Clarke.

For information on Watson Coleman's policy subject areas, committee appointments and sponsored/co-sponsored legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, please visit her profile on


America 250 (n. d.). “Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman” America 250. Retrieved August 22, 2022.

Bonnie for Congress (n.d.). “Meet Bonnie” Bonnie for Congress. Retrieved August 22, 2022.

Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls (n.d.). “Leadership”. Retrieved August 22, 2022.


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