Lawmaker Profile

Sen. Chris Coons

[D, DE]
Chris Coons has worked hard to find bipartisan solutions to the issues facing Delaware and the nation. 

As a member of the Senate Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Ethics committees, Chris is uniquely positioned to nurture American innovation. He is the senior Democrat on two subcommittees- the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. court and bankruptcy systems, and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.

Chris and Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas founded the Senate Competitiveness Caucus to support policies that promote U.S. innovation and competitiveness in the global economy.

Chris also joined with Republican Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois to create the Senate Human Rights Caucus. Along with Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, Chris founded and leads the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, which aims to strengthen local, state, and federal public safety efforts and improve police-community relations. Chris also worked with Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia to establish the Senate Chicken Caucus, through which the Senators helped persuade South Africa to eliminate longstanding barriers to U.S. poultry imports for the first time in 15 years.

Having spent eight years working in the private sector for an advanced materials manufacturing company in Delaware, Chris knows firsthand how important intellectual property protections are to promoting investments in breakthrough technologies and cures. On the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chris has fought to strengthen and modernize our nation's patent system and establish new protections for American inventions and innovations.

Chris knows that Delaware can't reach its economic potential at home if we don't maintain American leadership throughout the world. That's why he's used his position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to advocate for key foreign policy and national security priorities, from calling for Congress to declare war on ISIS to keeping rogue nations like Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Chris knows that a safe and secure world depends on clear-eyed American leadership - and he is confident that we can keep our country safe without jeopardizing our fundamental values.

A member of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, Chris has emerged as an important voice on the continent's security challenges and economic opportunities. He is focused on building partnerships throughout Africa and ensuring that health programs, food aid, economic development, and security assistance effectively reach those who need it most. Chris has worked to improve access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa; engage businesses in expanded trade and investment opportunities; end preventable maternal and child deaths; protect wildlife from trafficking; and promote peace, democracy, and human rights across the continent.

In the fall of 2015, Chris brought business and nonprofit leaders from around the world to Wilmington as part of his fourth annual "Opportunity- Africa" conference, which seeks to promote trade and investment between the U.S. and Africa. Chris' commitment to the continent stems from his interest in African affairs that began long before he became a U.S. Senator. In college, Chris spent a semester studying at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. He returned to the continent in the late 1980s to work with the South African Council of Churches in the anti-apartheid movement.

Chris' election to the Senate in 2010 capped a decade of successful service in New Castle County government. In four years as New Castle County Council President and six years as New Castle County Executive, Chris earned a reputation for delivering real results on behalf of Delawareans and supporting the county during the least stable economic climate in decades. Chris balanced six budgets by eliminating wasteful spending and created jobs through innovative public-private partnerships. His Safe Streets partnership removed dangerous parole violators from Delaware neighborhoods and cleaned up dozens of the worst county properties. He also preserved thousands of acres of open space and fought for an independent ethics commission to make county government more transparent.

Prior to serving as County Executive, Chris worked as an attorney for Delaware-based W.L. Gore & Associates, one of the 200 largest privately held companies in the United States. As a law student, Chris founded the first Delaware chapter of the "I Have a Dream" Foundation, which helps low-income students make the academic journey from elementary school through college. Shortly after receiving his law degree and clerking on the U.S. 

Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, he began working at the organization's national office, where he launched and ran its AmeriCorps program in fifteen cities. In this program, AmeriCorps members help recruit and train volunteers to mentor students participating in the Foundation's college-attainment program.

Chris graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in Chemistry and Political Science, and earned his law degree from Yale Law School and a Master's in Ethics from Yale Divinity School. A longtime New Castle County resident, Chris grew up in the Pike Creek and Hockessin areas and lives in Wilmington with his wife, Annie, and their three children, Michael, Jack, and Maggie.

Lawmaker posts coming soon.