|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Georgia's 7th district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2021
|Preceded by||Rob Woodall|
|Born||June 3, 1970|
Roanoke, Virginia, U.S.
|Residence(s)||Suwanee, Georgia, U.S.|
|Education||Yale University (BA)|
University of Southern California (MPA)
Syracuse University (DPA)
Carolyn Jordan Bourdeaux (born June 3, 1970) is an American politician serving as the U.S. representative from Georgia's 7th congressional district since 2021. The district is based in Gwinnett County, an affluent suburban county northeast of Atlanta. A member of the Democratic Party, she was a professor at the Andrew Young School of Public Policy at Georgia State University from 2003 to 2021.
In 2018, Bourdeaux ran for Georgia's 7th congressional district, coming within 433 votes of defeating the incumbent Republican, Rob Woodall, in the closest congressional race in that cycle. On February 7, 2019, Woodall announced he would retire at the end of his current term. That same day, Bourdeaux announced her intention to once again seek the seat. She won the 2020 election, defeating Republican Rich McCormick.
Bourdeaux is from Roanoke, Virginia and is the daughter of Robert "Bob" Montgomery Bourdeaux, IV, and Jerry Jordan (nee Ellis) Bourdeaux. In Roanoke, she attended Northside High School. She graduated from Yale University with a bachelor's degree in history and economics. She earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California and a Doctor of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 2003.
Bourdeaux worked as a political aide to Ron Wyden for four years, when he served in the United States House of Representatives and then in the United States Senate. In 2003, she became an associate professor at Georgia State University. From 2007 to 2010, she served as director of Georgia's Senate Budget and Evaluation Office. After her time there, she returned to the Andrew Young School and founded the Center for State and Local Finance.
In 2021, Bourdeaux was selected to become a member of the US National Academy of Public Administration.
In 2018, Bourdeaux ran for the United States House of Representatives in Georgia's 7th congressional district. She faced a six-way primary for the Democratic nomination. She came in first place in the May primary and earned a spot in the July 24 runoff. She won the runoff and the Democratic nomination. She faced Republican Rob Woodall in the November 6 general election. Bourdeaux was endorsed by Barack Obama.
The race was considered a sleeper, but it received more attention later in the campaign as Bourdeaux continued to outraise Woodall and as Democrats picked up momentum nationwide. In the third quarter of 2018, Bourdeaux outraised Woodall by a margin of more than 3-1, raising over $1 million. On election night, the race was too close to call. Just a few hours after it was filed on November 15, U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May denied an emergency motion to force Gwinnett County to count previously rejected absentee ballots in the race. On November 21, after a recount, Bourdeaux conceded.
On February 7, 2019, Bourdeaux announced that she would run for the same seat in 2020. She was endorsed by a number of Georgia politicians, including Congressman John Lewis. In the first week of her campaign, she announced raising over $100,000. In the first quarter of 2019, she outraised all other congressional challengers in the country, with a total of over $350,000, but she still attracted challenges from local activists and community leaders in the Democratic primary. Bourdeaux won the primary, narrowly avoiding a runoff with 52.7% of the vote.
Woodall did not seek reelection in 2020. Bourdeaux defeated Rich McCormick in the general election. Aside from Deborah Ross and Kathy Manning in North Carolina, who won seats that were redrawn to become safely Democratic, Bourdeaux was the only Democratic House candidate in 2020 to flip a seat previously held by a Republican.
Bourdeaux was sworn in on January 3, 2021. She is the first Democrat to represent this district since its creation in 1993 as the 4th district; it became the 11th in 1997 and has been the 7th since 2003. John Linder held the seat from its creation until handing it to Woodall, his former chief of staff, in 2011. Bourdeaux is the only Democrat since 1994 to win as much as 40% of the vote in the district. She is also the first white Democrat to represent a district based in the Atlanta suburbs since Buddy Darden left office in 1995.
On August 12, 2021, Bourdeaux and eight other House Democrats signed a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying, "We will not consider voting for a budget resolution until the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passes the House and is signed into law." She said her support for the Democrats' $3.5 trillion budget resolution would be withheld if the timeline did not change for passage of the budget. Bourdeaux ultimately voted for the $3.5 trillion budget.
As of August 2021, Bourdeaux had voted in line with President Joe Biden's stated position 100% of the time.
Bourdeaux is married to Jeffrey Skodnik, a sales manager at LexisNexis. They live in Suwanee, Georgia, and have a son. Her sister Margaret Bourdeaux is a researcher at Harvard University and is married to astronomer David Charbonneau.
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