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Don Bonker


Don Bonker

Don Bonker
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1989
Preceded by Julia Butler Hansen
Succeeded by Jolene Unsoeld
Personal details
Born (1937-03-07) March 7, 1937
Denver, Colorado
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Clark College,
Lewis & Clark College,
American University

Don Leroy Bonker (born March 7, 1937, in Denver, Colorado) is an American former congressman for the state of Washington and a Democrat. He served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1975 to 1989, representing Washington's third Congressional district.

He is a resident of Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Bonker attended public schools in Westminster, Colorado. He received his Associate of Arts degree from Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, in 1962; his Bachelor of Arts from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, in 1964; and completed graduate work at American University in Washington, D.C. Bonker served in the United States Coast Guard as first class yeoman from 1955 to 1959.

He served as aide to United States Senator Maurine Brown Neuberger from 1964 to 1965, Clark County auditor in Vancouver from 1966 to 1974, and as a delegate to Washington State Democratic conventions from 1968 to 1970.

Bonker ran for Washington Secretary of State in 1972, but was defeated by incumbent Republican Lud Kramer. Bonker was elected as a moderate Democrat to the 94th and to the six succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1975–January 3, 1989). He did not run for reelection in 1988 so he could run for nomination to the United States Senate, where he narrowly lost in the primary to Democrat Mike Lowry, who was defeated in the general election by Republican Slade Gorton. In 1992, Bonker again ran for a U.S. Senate seat, but was defeated in the primary by the eventual winner, Democratic Senator Patty Murray. In 2000, he ran for Secretary Of State again, winning the party nomination in the primary, but losing in the general to Sam Reed.

During his time in the House, Bonker was a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and chairman of the Subcommittee on International Economic Policy and Trade. He also served on the President's Export Council and headed former House Speaker Tip O'Neill's Trade Task Force, which led to passage of the 1988 Omnibus Trade Act. During his tenure in Congress, Bonker authored and was a principal sponsor of significant trade legislation, such as the Export Trading Company Act and the Export Administration Act.

He helped establish the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge and the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, added Protection Island to the National Wildlife Refuge system, preserved the Point of Arches in the Olympic National Park, added 250,000 acres (1000 km²) to the 1984 Washington Wilderness Act, and banned

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