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, Beyer “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.” 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.
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. “I am proud to stand with the President and join this Brief,” said Beyer. “I fully support the President’s Executive Action on immigration—DAPA and an expanded DACA program are 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.”
Beyer is uncompromising in his stance that all forms of abortion—including the procedure commonly known as “partial-birth” abortion—should be entirely within the purview of every woman's unrestricted rights. In 2015 he voted against legislation designed to augment the requirements of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act; against a ban on federal funding for abortion services or for health insurance policies that covered such services; and against a bill that sought to prohibit abortions from being performed on any fetus that had reached the 20th week of its gestation period—except in cases where a pregnancy endangered the mother's life or was the result of rape or incest.
In addition, Beyer in 2015 voted:
- against a bill to repeal excise taxes on medical devices;
- against a bill to prohibit federal funding for state or local governments that practice “sanctuary” policies that shield illegal aliens from federal immigration laws;
- against the construction of the Keystone Pipeline, which would transport petroleum from Canadian oil sands to U.S. refineries;
- against a proposal to increase and make permanent a tax credit for private research and development;
- against a bill permitting taxpayers to deduct state and local sales taxes from their federal tax returns; and
- against legislation that would extend certain tax allowances for small businesses.
Beyer strongly supports:
- the expansion of Obamacare into a single-payer system run entirely by the federal government;
- the implementation of affirmative action policies that give preference to women and nonwhites in workplace hiring and promotion practices;
- an income-tax structure that imposes far higher rates on the wealthy than on those who earn less;
- an ever-increasing reliance on “green energy” sources such as wind and solar, coupled with a phasing out of fossil fuels;
- the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, which would likely have a disastrous effect on the U.S. economy; and
- severe restrictions on the availability of guns.
By contrast, Beyer strongly opposes the full or partial privatization of Social Security, maintaining that the program should remain forever under full federal control. He is also against voucher programs that would enable low-income parents to send their children to private schools, rather than to the often-abysmal public schools in their locales.
For additional details about Beyer's voting record and issue positions, click here and here.
Over the course of his political career, Beyer has received noteworthy support from J Street and the Council for a Livable World.