Don Beyer was born on June 20, 1950 in Trieste, Italy. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Williams College in 1972 and has been the proprietor—through the Don Beyer Automotive Group—of a number of automobile dealerships throughout Northern Virginia since 1974. Beyer launched a political career in 1990, when he began an eight-year stint as the Democratic lieutenant governor of Virginia. He also served as the Virginia chairman of the Clinton–Gore and Kerry–Edwards presidential campaigns of the 1990s and early 2000s; a volunteer for Al Gore‘s presidential run in 2000; and the Virginia finance chair of Howard Dean‘s White House bid in 2004. From 2009-13, Beyer was President Barack Obama‘s Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and in 2012 he served as the Mid-Atlantic Finance Chair for the Barack Obama Re-Election Campaign. In 2014, the voters in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District elected Beyer to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he is also a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
To “meet our national responsibility to bring millions of immigrants out of the shadow economy,” Beyer supports “comprehensive immigration reform” that offers “a path to citizenship for the hard-working people who … help keep our economy strong and deserve the opportunity to become new Americans.” Moreover, he “fully support[s]” the DREAM Act, whose purpose, he says, is “to ensure that children who came to the United States early in life have the chance to attend college, receive in-state tuition [discounts], and work toward their dreams just like every other hard-working student.”
In April 2015, Beyer signed on to an amicus brief in support of President Obama’s recently enacted executive amnesty orders—“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) and “Deferred Action for Parental Accountability” (DAPA)—which together shielded millions of illegals from potential deportation. The congressman these executive actions as “the best way to serve and support the new Americans who live, work, and pay taxes in the United States … as we work to create the new American economy.”
In July 2015, Beyer supported the nuclear deal that the Obama administration had negotiated with Iran—an agreement allowing the Islamist regime in Tehran to enrich uranium, build advanced centrifuges, purchase ballistic missiles, fund terrorism, and have a near-zero breakout time to a nuclear bomb approximately a decade down the road. Said Beyer: “Thanks to the Obama administration’s negotiations, Iran’s nuclear program will be under lock, key and camera 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The eyes of the international community are on every centrifuge, every ounce of uranium, in all of Iran’s nuclear facilities.” Beyer’s claims were entirely false.
On December 17, 2015, Beyer introduced H.Res.569 condemning “violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States.” Keywiki.org reports that this resolution was “based on unsourced claims that there is a ‘rise of hateful and anti-Muslim speech, violence, and cultural ignorance,’ and a ‘disproportionate targeting’ of ‘Muslim women who wear hijabs, headscarves, or other religious articles of clothing … because of their religious clothing, articles, or observances’.”
After Islamic jihadist Omar Mateen used a rifle and a handgun to murder 49 people and seriously injure 53 others at a gay nightclub in Florida in June 2016, Beyer said in a press release: “We are horrified that one man targeted LGBT victims…. But we are not blameless, when we tell government contractors it is okay to discriminate against someone because they are gay or lesbian – or tell transgender school children that we will not respect their gender identity.”
In January 2017, Beyer was one of several dozen congressional Democrats who boycotted President Donald Trump’s inauguration, saying: “I will not be part of normalizing or legitimizing a man whose election may well have depended on the malicious foreign interference of Russia’s leaders, a person who lies profusely and without apology, who mimics the disabilities of others, who insults anyone who dares disagree with him, who would demonize an entire spiritual tradition, and who has demonstrated again and again a profound disrespect for women.”
In October 2017 Beyer praised the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for its “efforts in defending civil liberties, empowering American Muslims, and presenting an accurate portrayal of Islam.” “CAIR’s work,” he added, “is a true representation of what the United States democracy stands for.”
As matters of principle, Beyer believes that:
- all women should have an unrestricted right to abortion-on-demand at any stage of pregnancy – subsidized by taxpayers, in cases of economic hardship;
- employers should be legally required to implement affirmative-action hiring and promotion policies that give preference to African Americans and women, as compensation for historical injustices;
- the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is an excellent statute that can serve a strategic stepping stone toward the eventual implementation of a single-payer healthcare system;
- voucher programs designed to enable low-income parents to send their children to private schools rather than to failing public schools, constitute bad policy because they rob the public schools of vital resources;
- more guns in the hands of private citizens inevitably result in higher levels of crime, thus the availability of firearms should be restricted by whatever means are effective;
- wealthy people should be required to pay much higher tax rates than those who earn less;
- restrictions on immigration are basically racist because they tend to prevent Hispanics and other non-whites from entering the United States;
- social services should be available to all U.S. residents regardless of their immigration status;
- illegal aliens should be offered amnesty if they have been productive members of society;
- voter ID laws are, by and large, racially motivated attempts to suppress minority voting and should be eliminated; and
- an ever-increasing reliance on “green energy” sources such as wind and solar should be put in place, along with the phasing out of fossil fuels, the imposition of carbon taxes, and the raising of vehicle CAFE standards.
For details about Beyer’s voting record on a variety of key issues, click here.
Further Reading: “Don Beyer” (Ballotpedia.org, Votesmart.org, Keywiki.org); “I Fully Support the DREAM Act & a Path to Citizenship” (by Don Beyer, 10-10-2014); “The Democrats’ Strategy: Insist the Deal Doesn’t Restrict Inspections” (by Jim Geraghty, National Review, 7-14-2015); “Virginia Congressman Blames Homophobic Americans for Orlando (Daily Caller, 6-14-2016); “Congressman Don Beyer: I Am Not Attending Trump’s Inauguration” (Patch.com, 1-16-2017); Don Beyer’s Positions on Key Issues (OnTheIssues.org).
- For an overview of the DREAM Act, see: “A Sleeper Amnesty: Time to Wake Up from the DREAM Act” (Heritage Foundation, 9-13-2007).
- Beyer’s positions on immigration matters have earned him a lifetime rating of 0% from Numbers USA, an organization that seeks to end illegal immigration while reforming the rules of legal immigration to better serve the needs of the existing American citizenry.