David Bonior

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David Bonior

David Bonior is a socialist former U.S. Congressman from Michigan. In late 2008 Bonior was appointed to Barack Obama's - Transition Economic Advisory Board.

Political career

David Bonior was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976. He served as Democratic Party whip in the House from 1991 to 2002, during which time Democrats were in both the majority (1991-1995) and minority (1995-2002), making Bonior the third and second highest-ranking Democrat in the House, respectively.

The Chile letter

On August 1 1979 Thirty-five U.S. Congressmen signed a letter[1]to President Jimmy Carter demanding that private bank loans to Chile be barred unless the Chilean government chose to extradite three military officials, including the former director of the Chilean intelligence service. The three had been indicted for complicity in the assassination of marxist Unidad Popular government member and KGB agent Orlando Letelier and the killing of Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) staffer Ronni Moffitt in 1976.

In May 1978 the Chief Justice of the Chilean Supreme Court rejected the U.S. request for extradition.

Chief sponsor of the letter was Rep. Tom Harkin (D-IA), who was joined by Congressmen John Burton (D-CA), John Conyers (D-MI), Robert Kastenmeier (D-WI), Ron Dellums (D-CA), Berkley Bedell (D-IA), Richard Ottinger (D-NY), Fred Richmond (D-NY), Robert Drinan (D-MA), Leon Panetta (D-CA), Don Edwards (D-CA); Norman Mineta (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA}, Anthony Beileson (D-CA) George Brown (D-CA), Toby Moffett (D-CT), Dale Kildee (D-MI), Eugene Atkinson (D-PA), Michael Barnes (D-MD), David Bonior (D-MI), Adam Benjamin (D-IN), William Brodhead (D-MI), Robert Carr (D-MI), Tom Daschle (D-SD), Tom Downey (D-NY), Harold Hollenbeck (R-NJ), Pete Kostmayer (D-PA), Stewart McKinney (R-CT), Edward Markey (D-MA), Andrew Maguire (D-NJ) Richard Nolan (DFL-MN), Gerry Studds (D-MA), Bruce Vento (DFL-MN) and Howard Wolpe (D-MI).

The Harkin letter characterized the Chilean government as "an enemy of the American people" and urged the President to "take strong action against this terrorist government." The letter was released (9 A.M. on August 1 1979) at the same time a press statement from the Washington, DC, Chile Legislative Center of the National Coordinating Center in Solidarity with Chile, staffed by veterans of the Venceremos Brigade and the Communist Party USA, supported the Congressional letter and urged pressure so that the State Department does not accept a military trial of the three Chileans in Chile as a substitute for extradition and trial in the US.

Supporting "Veteran's fast for life"

David Bonior addresses the press conference

On September 1st, 1986, four veterans began a water-only "fast for life" on the Capitol steps in Washington, D.C. They wanted to to draw attention to, and to protest, President Reagan's "illegal and extraordinarily vicious wars against the poor of Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala."


The veterans were;

The veterans believed that the President's explicit policy of directing the contra terrorists in Nicaragua to commit wanton murder and destruction, enabled by appropriations passed by a majority of members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, amounted to grotesque, unconscionable violent behavior in violation of both U.S. Constitutional and international law, and the egregious breach of the human rights of virtually all Nicaraguan citizens. The veterans believed that the President was clearly vulnerable to Constitutional impeachment, and that all members of the Senate and House of Representatives should have been subjected to criminal prosecution under international law as well, whether they were re-elected or not.

On October 7 several U.S Congressmen and Senators spoke at a press conference in support of the faster's cause. They included Senator Charles Mathias (R-MD), Claiborne Pell (D-RI), Don Edwards (D-CA), Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Leon Panetta (D-CA), Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Senator John Kerry (D-MA), David Bonior (D-MI), Lane Evans (D-Illinois), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT).[2]

Linder letter

In 1987, the death of Benjamin Linder, the first American killed by U.S.-backed Nicaraguan Contras -- ignited a firestorm of protest and debate.

In the summer of 1983, the 23-year-old supporter of the Marxist Sandinista government, arrived in Managua with a newly earned degree in engineering. In 1986, Linder moved from Managua to El Cuá, a village in the Nicaraguan war zone, where he helped form a team to build a hydroplant to bring electricity to the town. He was ambushed and killed by the Contras the following year while surveying a stream for a possible hydroplant.

Despite testimony from the ambushers that Linder was armed and wearing a Sandinista military uniform at the time of the ambush, many Sandinista sympathizers tried to portray Linder's death as the deliberate murder of an unarmed civilian.

US Reps Ed Markey, Les AuCoin, George Crockett, David Bonior, Peter Rodino, Peter DeFazio, Ron Wyden, wrote an April 29. 1987 letter to Secratary of Stae George Schultze, the day after Linder's death, repeating the story that Linder was reportedly, unarmed, and asking questions as to the circumstances of Linder's death, including if the killing was committed by US backed "Contra" rebels.[3]

Voted against support for "Contras"

The Congressional Record of February 3, 1988 shows that the following leading Democratic Party Congressmen voted against aid to the Nicaraguan Freedom Fighters - the "Contras"- then fighting against the Marxist-Leninist Sandinista government of Nicaragua:

IPS connections

David Bonior also has connections to the radical Washington D.C. "think tank" Institute for Policy Studies.

Representative David E. Bonior (D-Michigan), House Democratic Whip, presented the 1997 Letelier-Moffitt Memorial Human Rights Domestic Award to Carlos Marentes and Alicia Marentes from Sin Fronteras, during a "joyful and moving ceremony held at the historic Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C., on Saturday September 27, 1997"... The Institute for Policy Studies ... organizes this event to honor the memory of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt, who where murdered in 1976 when a bomb exploded in their car near Sheridan Circle in Washington, D.C. Moffitt and Letelier, a former Chilean ambassador to the Unites States and a Cuban intelligence agent, were at that time working in the IPS.[4]

Protecting Islamic extremists

During the first Gulf War, John Conyers fought FBI outreach efforts in the Arab and Muslim community in Detroit that were designed to gather intelligence on potential cells and protect the home front. Conyers and other Detroit-area Democrats at the time, David Bonior and John Dingell, threatened to hold hearings unless the FBI stopped counterterrorism interviews.[5]

Opposing NAFTA

During his time in the House, Bonior was the public face of Democratic opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement

Detroit newspaper strike

Rep. David Bonior's addressed before the House on June 24, 1997 on the Detroit newspaper strike. One of six addresses he made on the strike.

The text of his speech was published in Democratic Socialists of America's Democratic Left, Issue 6 1997, page 4, on the Detroit newspaper strike. Watson had been the co-editor of the Detroit Sunday Journal, the strikers' newspaper and was a long-time columnist for the Detroit Free-Press before the strike.[6]

Mr. Speaker, tonight I want to take a few moments to pay tribute to some of the bravest and the strongest people that I know, those 2,000 men and women who are taking on two of the largest and the wealthiest and the most powerful corporations in our country, those 2,000 men and women who are standing strong in Detroit against Gannett and Knight-Ridder, those 2,000 men and women who have put their lives on hold for two years, been challenged economically, physically, emotionally, but are fighting for fairness and for justice and for what they believe in.
They are people like Kate DeSmet and Sandra Davis. They are people like Frank Brabenec and Stephen Olter, Mark Naumoff and Ben Solomon. They are the people that I met with last weekend when we held a rally and a march and did a civil action against those who would deny the over 2,000 men and women in Detroit their jobs at these newspaper?.

Bonior was arrested in July 1997 for action in support of the striking workers[7]

Clinton/Pinochet letter

On October 21, 1998, many Members of Congress wrote a letter to President Bill Clinton, urging him to release information to a Spanish judge investigating former Chilean President Pinochet for alleged crimes committed during and after the overthrow of the Marxist Allende government.

Dear Mr. President:
The October 17 arrest of General Augusto Pinochet in London is a good example of how the goals you outlined in your anti-terrorism speech at the United Nations can be put into practice. Indeed, when the rule oflaw is applied to combat international lawlessness,humanity's agenda gains...we call upon you to ensure that the U.S. government provides Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon material related to Pinochet's role in international terrorism -- material and testimony that the U.S. government has thus far withheld.

Signatories included Rep. David Bonior.[8]

Communist inspired letter to Defund Colombian military

Sam Farr had been a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia, and was contacted by the communist dominated Colombia Support Network in 1997. Efforts by Colombia Support Network were instrumental in getting a letter sent to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, with the 19 other members signing on. The January 30, 1998 letter called for the continued suspension of funding to the Colombian military then engaged in a bloody civil war against communist guerillas.

Dear Secretary Albright :
We are writing to express our concern with the worsening human rights situation in Colombia and urge you to take steps to address this matter.
News reports and first-hand accounts indicate that violence in Colombia is escalating, particularly in the country's northern most regions and the southern coca growing regions. Many different groups and individuals have been implicated in the violence, but an increasing number of human rights abuses are being instigated by paramilitary groups --armed civilians who torture, evict, kidnap and murder Colombian civilians.
There is also evidence of links between paramilitaries and local drug lords, who rely on paramilitary groups to undertake violent activities on their behalf. The Peasant Self-Defense Group of Cordoba and Uraba, a paramilitary group lead by Carlos Castano, is considered one of the most powerful paramilitary groups in Colombia. Reports indicate that last yeqar Castano's group killed hundreds, if not more than a thousand, peasants it accused of helping rebels.

As concerned Members of Congress, we urge you to place the issue of human rights and the problem of paramilitary groups in the forefront of your priority list in your dealings with Colombia. We understand that aid to the Colombian army is currently on hold because of human rights concerns and urge you to continue to withhold funding.

Signatories were;Sam Farr, John Porter, Ron Dellums, David Bonior, Marty Meehan, Marcy Kaptur, Scott Klug, James McGovern, Elizabeth Furse, Jim Oberstar, Peter DeFazio, Maurice Hinchey, Gerald Kleczka,John Conyers, Pete Stark, Robert Wexler, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Lane Evans, David Price, Sherrod Brown, [9]

Arab American Political Action Committee

The second annual Arab American Political Action Committee dinner was held in 1999 and was attended by over 800 people. Osama Siblani welcomed the audience and introduced Samer Jaafar the Chairman of the Endorsement Committee. AAPAC's president Abed Hammoud delivered the organization's message and plans for the future. Congressman David Bonior, the House Minority Whip and U.S Senator Spencer Abraham delivered their addresses. Dr. Mohamad Khansa chaired the Dinner Committee.

Prominent Michigan public officials in attendance included US Senator Spence Abraham and his wife Jane Abraham, US Congressman David Bonior and his wife Judy Bonior, US Congressman John Dingell and his wife Debbie Dingell, US Congressman Sander Levin and his wife Vicki Levin, US Congressman John Conyers, Jr., US Congresswoman Debbie Stabenow, US Congressman Joe Knollenberg, US Congresswoman Lynn Rivers, Wayne County Sheriff Robert Ficano and Eunice Confer representing U.S. Senator Carl Levin.[10]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

In 1998 David Bonior Democrat was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[11]

Progressive Caucus SOTU Address

On Thursday, January 27 2000, from 3:30pm to 5:00pm in 2253 of RHOB, the Congressional Progressive Caucus held its 3rd Annual Congressional Progressive Caucus' State of the Union Address. This event was also sponsored by the Institute for Policy Studies' Progressive Challenge coalition whose Fairness Agenda for America is endorsed by 200 public interest groups nationally.

Caucus Chair Rep. Peter DeFazio(D-OR) stated "The Progressive Caucus Alternative State of the Union will provide a much needed reality check to politicians who would rather ignore the priorities of Americans left out of the economic boom -- priorities like access to quality health care and education, repairing crumbling schools, addressing the growing gap between the rich and poor, and creating a sustainable global economy that works for everyone, not just the corporate architects."

Anticipated speakers included: Peter DeFazio (D-OR), House Minority Whip David Bonior (D-MI), Earl Hilliard (D-AL);Dennis Kucinich (D-OH); Cynthia McKinney (D-GA);. Major Owens (D-NY)Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Tammy Baldwin (D-WI);. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY);Barbara Lee (D-CA); Jerrold Nadler (D-NY); and Lynn Woolsey(D-CA). John Cavanagh, director of the Institute for Policy Studies also made some remarks regarding public interest groups support of a progressive agenda.[12]

The Congressional Progressive Caucus, Chaired by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), consists of over a quarter of the House Democrats, one Independent and Senator Paul Wellstone. The Caucus will be releasing position papers on Health Care and Income Inequality, with reports on the Alternative Federal Budget, Social Security, Minimum Wage, Education and the Global Economy.

Democratic Socialists of America connections

In the keynote of the 1991 Democratic Socialists of America Health Care Speakers Tour, Audrey McLaughlin, Leader of the New Democratic Party, met with members of Congress, trade unionists, and media in Washington, D.C. Democratic Socialists of America, AFSCME, and the American Solidarity Campaign organized a Congressional breakfast, press luncheon and labor reception for McLaughlin. They also set up meetings with House Majority Whip David Bonior, Congressman Marty Russo, UMWA President Richard Trumka, and AFSCME President Gerald McEntee.[13]

"Living Wage, Jobs for all Act"


In 1995, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, David Bonior, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Cynthia McKinney, Maurice Hinchey, Major Owens, Nydia Velasquez, John Conyers, Bob Filner, Alcee Hastings, Lane Evans, Edolphus Towns, Jim McDermott, supported Democratic Socialists of America member rep. Ron Dellums' "Living Wage, Jobs for all Act"

DSA endorsement

In July 1996, the Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee endorsed David Bonior, Michigan 10, in that year's Congressional elections.[14]

In 2000 David Bonior was keynote speaker[15]at Detroit Democratic Socialists of America annual Frederick Douglass-Eugene V. Debs fundraising dinner honoring Detroit City Council member (and DSA member) Maryann Mahaffey and UAW Vice President Richard Shoemaker.

In 2002 Detroit DSA supported Bonior's unsuccessful campaign for governor of Michigan-even drafting in Chicago DSA member Congressman Danny Davis to help.[16]

Detroit DSA remains active in the electoral arena. Over the spring and summer, its work focused on Rep. David Bonior’s gubernatorial campaign. The local endorsed Rep.Bonior almost eighteen months ago.
DSA helped with the early fundraising for his campaign, collecting signatures for his nominating petitions, distributing literature at Detroit churches, and walking door to door in Macomb County on his behalf on the weekend before the primary.
On the weekend of July 20-21, the local brought Rep. Danny Davis (an African-American congressman and DSA member from Chicago) to Detroit to campaign for Bonior. Detroit DSAers chauffeured Rep. Davis to a Trade Union Leadership Council picnic and other campaign stops including four different Detroit churches.
Democratic Left, Fall 2003, page 5

In 2003 Bonior was a keynote speaker at the Democratic Socialists of America national conference in Detroit. his presentation was entitled "Towards a North American Parliamentary Union". The speech called for a political forum, or Parliament to address US/Canada/Mexico relations.

Bonior greeted the assembled DSA members;

And to David Green and all the leaders, thank you for what you do.This organization has been just absolutely tremendous in the Detroit area in [the] living wage campaign’s great, great success—they have been one of the stalwarts in it—fighting for a singlepayer healthcare plan, and, of course, global justice.And I couldn’t be more thrilled to be here with you today and to be associated and to make some comments.[17]

In June 2006 Bonior addressed a Detroit DSA fund-raiser for Bernie Sanders. Hosts included John Conyers, Richard Shoemaker and Saundra Williams.[18]

On June 25th, DSA PAC held a fundraising reception at UAW Local 909 in Warren on behalf of Representative Bernie Sanders who is running for an open Senate seat in Vermont. Over 140 people attended. The event raised over $12,000 for the Sanders for Senate campaign. Hosts for the event included former U.S. Representative and former House Minority Whip David Bonior, U.S. Representative John Conyers, Jr., UAW Vice-President Richard Shoemaker, and Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO President Saundra Williams.

2001 trip to Cuba

In May 2001, Erich Pfuehler from the office of Congressman David Bonior spent seven days in Havana, Cuba, for the purpose of "fact finding". The trip cost $2,004.43 and was paid for by the Christopher Reynolds Foundation.[19]

21st Century Democrats support

21st Century Democrats is a Political Action Committee that has stood for Progressive causes for over 20 years. Founded in 1986 by Institute for Policy Studies affiliate, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, Democratic Socialists of America affiliates, former Texas Agriculture Secretary Jim Hightower, and former Illinois Congressman Lane Evans. Its three main goals are to help elect progressive candidates, train young people about grassroots organizing, and lastly, to continue to support our elected officials after Election Day "through our comprehensive progressive network".

Long time Board chair was Democratic Socialists of America member Jim Scheibel, a former Mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The mission of 21st Century Democrats is to build a "farm team" of progressive populists who will be the future leaders of the Democratic Party.

In each election cycle, we endorse a diverse array of candidates who exemplify our values and show unusual promise to advance our progressive goals. We invest in some of the most competitive races as well as in some of the most challenging – those in which the candidates are outstanding but the traditional Democratic supporters are most reticent. We back candidates in primaries as well as general election races, and we focus the bulk of our resources on electing challengers and protecting vulnerable incumbents.[20]

Bonior was endorsed by 21st Century Democrats in the 2002 election cycle.[21]

Fact-finding in Iraq

Photograph taken from Spring 2003 FAAIR Newsletter

In 2002 Bonior and two other Democratic Congressmen Jim McDermott and Mike Thompson traveled to Iraq on a fact-finding mission. It was later revealed that Iraqi intelligence had funded the trip through a Michigan based Muslim group headed by Muthanna Al-Hanooti.

Before he was indicted for allegedly spying for Saddam Hussein, Muthanna Al-Hanooti's charity work and political activism provided him with access to the highest echelons of government.

Iraqi intelligence agents had reportedly had confidence that Al-Hanooti would be able to persuade Congress to lift economic sanctions against Iraq. A federal indictment unsealed in mach 2008 accuses him of using his work with the Michigan-based Life for Relief and Development (LIFE), formerly known as the International Relief Association, Inc., to become an Iraqi agent.

According to the indictment, Al-Hanooti drafted a plan to undermine the sanctions for the Iraqis, listing members of Congress who would support the move. He then led tours to Iraq, indirectly funded by the Iraqi government, with congressional leaders including Democrats David Bonior of Michigan, Jim McDermott of Washington and Mike Thompson of California[22].

LIFE issued a statement in advance of a 2002 trip, saying it was designed to help the representatives "gain a better understanding of the humanitarian plight faced by innocent Iraqi civilians still suffering from the destruction caused by the 1991 Gulf War and the continuation of the 12-year embargo." Photos of the junket in question were included in a 2003 newsletter published by an organization called Focus on American & Arab Interests & Relations (FAAIR), of which Al-Hanooti was President.

According to the indictment, an intermediary for the Iraqis gave Al-Hanooti $24,000 in September 2002 to cover trip expenses, the indictment alleges. The next month, Al-Hanooti received $10,000 more. The indictment also claims he also was given the right to buy 2 million barrels of oil under Iraq's Oil for Food program.

FBI agents interviewed Al-Hanooti in 2007. He denied knowingly meeting with any Iraqi intelligence officials and denied being offered the oil contract. That led to three counts in the indictment of providing false statements to federal agents[23].

2004 Take Back America Conferences

David Bonior was on the list of 114 speakers (which included George Soros) at the 2004 Take Back America conference, which was organized by the Institute for Policy Studies, and Democratic Socialists of America dominated Campaign for America's Future.[24]

He was back in 2006.

On March 19, 2008, Deepak Bhargava, The Honorable David Bonior, Anna Burger and Cecile Richards spoke in the closing plenary entitled "Taking Back America: Progressive Strategies in a New Era". [25]

America's Future Now Conferences

David Bonior was on the list of speakers at the 2009 America's Future Now conference, which was organized by the Institute for Policy Studies, and Democratic Socialists of America dominated Campaign for America's Future.[26]

DSA member

According to DSA's Democratic Left Spring 2006[27];

DSA has formed a Political Action Committee—Democratic Socialists of America PAC (DSA PAC), which will raise funds to enable activity that supports or opposes candidates for federal office. By law, DSA is not permitted to expend its resources in support of or against candidates in partisan elections; however, DSA is permitted to form a PAC for this purpose...
The PAC is a separate legal entity that will file reports of its activity with the Federal Election Commission...
Only DSA members in good standing may contribute to the PAC. Because the law is so specific, all contributions are carefully screened to make sure that they are from members...
"Only members in good standing may contribute..."

According to CampaignMoney.com[28]; David E Bonior gave $1,000 to the DSA PAC in 2006.


In 2007 Bonior was described as a Democratic Socialists of America member. Boston DSA's Yankee Radical of September 2007 wrote that John Edwards was being advised by-

former House Democratic Whip and recent DSA member David Bonior[29].

Health Care Access resolution

John Conyers promoted House Concurrent Resolution 99 (H. Con Res. 99) Directing Congress to enact legislation by October 2004 that provides access to comprehensive health care for all Americans. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES April 4, 2001.

Sponsors:John Conyers (for himself), Jan Schakowsky, John Tierney, Barbara Lee, Donna Christensen, David Bonior, Dennis Kucinich, Earl Hilliard, Maurice Hinchey, Jerry Nadler, Donald Payne Chaka Fattah, Peter DeFazio, John Lewis Tammy Baldwin, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Barney Frank, Henry Waxman, Cynthia McKinney, Jim Langevin, George Miller Alcee Hastings, Patsy Mink, John Olver , Bennie Thompson, Pete Stark, Julia Carson, and Mike Capuano submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce;[30]

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), that the Congress shall enact legislation by October 2004 to guarantee that every person in the United States, regardless of income, age, or employment or health status, has access to health care..

Maurice & Jane Sugar Law Center

In 2007, David Bonior was a member of the Honorary Host Committee for the Essential: Advocacy for Workplace Justice Reception & Silent Auction. The reception, which was held on Nov. 14, 2007 is the annual fundraising event to benefit the far left National Lawyers Guild-affiliated Maurice & Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice. The guest of honor at the reception was Andy Levin, son of Congressman Sander Levin, and Deputy Director at the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth.[31]

Detroit DSA honor

Bonior with Detroit DSA chair David Green

Detroit DSA celebrated the 10th Annual Douglass-Debs Dinner[32] November 8th 2008 Co-chairs were UAW Region 1A Director Rory Gamble and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 547 Business Manager Phillip Schloop. The Douglass-Debs Award winners were David and Judy Bonior and Judge Claudia Morcom. The keynote speaker was In These Times senior editor David Moberg.

David Bonior served in Congress for 26 years rising through the leadership to become the Democratic Caucus Whip. During his tenure in Congress, Bonior fought to raise the minimum wage, protect pensions, support unions, and extend unemployment benefits. He led the fight to oppose NAFTA in 1993.
He worked to prevent war in Central America in the 1980s and again to prevent the Iraq War in 2002. After leaving Congress, Bonior co-founded American Rights at Work, a labor advocacy and research organization, which has made passage of the Employee Free Choice Act its major legislative priority. Bonior was recently appointed to the Obama economic team.

In his remarks at the dinner, David Bonior stressed the importance of building social movements;

to pressure the new Obama administration for bold progressive changes such as single-payer national health insurance, significant public investment in infrastructure and green technology, fair trade, progressive taxation, massive cuts in the military budget, ending the war in Iraq, and passing the Employee Free Choice Act.

American Rights at Work

In 2008 David Bonior served on the board of directors of American Rights at Work.[33]

Michigan Coalition for Human Rights

In 2007/08 2007-08 David Bonior, Reuther Labor Library, Wayne State Univ. , served on the Advisory Board of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights.[34]

Endorsed Barack Obama

Bonior on Obama

In the 2008 presidential election cycle, David Bonior originally served as an adviser to the John Edwards campaign.

When Edwards was forced to withdraw, Bonior endorsed Barack Obama, rather than Hillary Clinton.

"Progressive" Cabinet "nominee"

In September 2008, Chicago based socialist journal In These Times asked its editors and writers to suggest their top progressive choices for a potential Obama Cabinet.[35]

We asked that contributors weigh ideological and political considerations, with an eye toward recommending people who have both progressive credentials and at least an arguable chance at being appointed in an Obama White House.

This group of people would represent at once the most progressive, aggressive and practical Cabinet in contemporary history. Of course, it is by no means a definitive list. It is merely one proposal aimed at starting a longer discussion about the very concept of a progressive Cabinet—and why it will be important to a new administration, especially if that administration is serious about change.

David Moberg suggested David Bonior for Energy Secretary:

Obama’s best choice for secretary of labor would be David Bonior, who from 1976 to 2002 served as the progressive congressman from the Macomb and St. Clair County suburbs outside Detroit — the famous district of Reagan Democrats. During his tenure, Bonior championed unions, opposed trade agreements like NAFTA, and criticized both President Reagan’s Central American counter-insurgency policies and President Clinton’s civil liberties policies.
After Michigan Republicans re-drew his district in 2000 and he lost a bid for governor two years later, Bonior became chair of American Rights at Work, a labor-sponsored coalition of non-union groups advocating worker rights, especially the freedom to organize unions.
That work bolsters his credentials for pushing one of organized labor’s top legislative goals: the Employee Free Choice Act. The measure would provide for union recognition when a majority of workers in a workplace sign cards indicating they want a union, increase penalties for labor law violations and guarantee access to arbitration to establish a first contract if employers refuse to bargain seriously.
Leaders on both sides of the AFL-CIO/Change To Win divide respect Bonior, who managed John Edwards’ presidential campaign. Bonior’s time as party whip for a decade gives him experience working with Congress for what will be a tough fight on behalf of the Employee Free Choice Act, even with a large Democratic majority. And his stature would guarantee a strong voice in Obama’s Cabinet for both unions and broader workers’ interests, from the local workplace to the global economy.

Serving Obama/re-uniting the labor movement

Bonior was touted as a likely Obama Labor Secretary but withdrew his name from contention. Obama then delegated Bonior, a member of his Transition Economic Advisory Board, to broker a re-unification of the U.S. labor movement, bringing the Change To Win grouping and the AFL-CIO back together under one banner[36].

According to the RBO blog[37];

The NYT’s David Greenhouse reported that, on January 7, the union presidents first met with Bonior, a member of Obama’s economic transition team...Bonior helped “arrange and oversee” the meeting.
The union presidents issued their joint call after the transition team for President-elect Barack Obama signaled that it would prefer dealing with a united movement, rather than a fractured one that often had two competing voices.

Council for a Livable World

On Feb. 4, 2010, the Council for a Livable World announced that David Bonior would be succeeding Patricia Schroeder as the next chair of PeacePAC, the organization’s arm that endorses candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives. At the time Bonior commented,

“I am honored to be selected as the next chairman of PeacePAC. I look forward to working with the experts on the committee’s Board of Directors to endorse and help elect strong, progressive candidates in the 2010 elections.”[38]

He has also been previously supported by the Council.[39]

Council for a Livable World, 50th Anniversary

David Bonior

On June 6, 2012, Council for a Livable World, along with its sister organizations Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and Council for a Livable World’s PeacePAC, celebrated the 50th Anniversary of their founding by Leo Szilard in 1962.

An evening celebration was held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Congressman Barney Frank acted as the Master of Ceremonies and, in the process, received a lifetime achievement award from former Rep. Tom Downey, a member of the Council’s Board of Directors. The Robert F. Drinan Peace and Human Award was presented to former Representative and PeacePAC Chairman David Bonior and the late Edith Wilkie, a longtime advocate and leader for peace and justice.[40]

"Dear Friend to the Muslim Community"

On June 24, 2010, Farhan Bhatti writing for The Muslim Observer wrote of Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero who was running for Governor of Michigan in the Democratic primary,[41]

"He has already garnered many key endorsements, including the AFL-CIO, the UAW, the Michigan Education Association, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and two individuals who are dear friends to the Muslim community, Congressman Dale Kildee and former Congressman David Bonior."

2014 WOLA Awards

The Honorary Committee for Washington Office on Latin America's 2014 Human Rights Award Ceremony and Benefit Gala, consisted of;[42]

DSA book signing


Over 40 people attended a book signing event for former Representative David Bonior’s new memoir East Side Kid at the Ferndale Public Library on Saturday, February 28th, 2015.

Co-sponsors of the event included the Greater Detroit Democratic Socialists of America, Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO, Southeast Michigan Jobs with Justice, and the Ferndale Public Library. Speakers included Metro Detroit AFL-CIO President Rick Blocker, Kae Halonen of Southeast Michigan Jobs with Justice, and Macomb County Commissioner Fred Miller who introduced Rep. Bonior.

Rep. Bonior read several passages from his book. He described growing up in an immigrant community in Hamtramck and later in East Detroit (now Eastpointe). He explained how the Civil Rights and Anti-Vietnam War movements shaped his thinking. After speaking for approximately 45 minutes,

David Bonior served in Congress from 1976-2002 rising in the leadership to become the Democratic Whip. During his time in Congress, he championed raising the federal minimum wage. He was a co-sponsor of Single Payer National Health Insurance legislation. He was an ardent opponent of NAFTA. He ran unsuccessfully for Governor in 2002 (with the endorsement of Detroit DSA). After leaving Congress, Rep. Bonior formed American Rights at Work, a labor advocacy organization which promoted the Employee Free Choice Act (legislation which would have made it easier for workers to organize).

He served on President-elect Obama’s Economic Advisory team during the Great Recession.

In that capacity, he argued in favor of the government bailout of the auto industry, increased government regulation of the financial industry, and a larger fiscal stimulus for the economy.

Rep. Bonior and his wife Judy Bonior are longtime DSA members. They received the Douglass-Debs Award from Detroit DSA in 2003. Rep. Bonior was a co-host for DSA-PAC’s successful fundraiser for Bernie Sanders in 2006.[43]



  1. Information Digest August 10 1979 p 244
  2. Ivan's Place , Veterans Fast for Life for Peace in Central America (accessed on June 2, 2010)
  3. United States Volunteers in Nicaragua, and the Death of Benjamin Linder, Hearing, Committee on Western Hemisperic Affairs, May 13, 1987
  4. http://www.farmworkers.org/let-mofi.html
  5. INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY Posted 11/9/2006
  6. [Democratic Left • Issue 6 1997. page 4]
  7. [Democratic Left • Issue 6 1997. page 26]
  8. October 21, 1998, Members Of Congress Call On Clinton To Release Key Information On Gen. Pinochet To Spanish Judge
  9. CSN, Letter of US Congressman Sam Farr and 19 other Representatives tob U.S. State Department over Colombian Human Rights Abuses
  10. AAPAC: Second Annual Dinner (accessed on Feb. 15, 2011)
  11. DSA website: Members of the Progressive Caucus (archived on the Web Archive website)
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