Congresswoman McCollum's Biography

Betty McCollum is a Democrat serving her eighth term in the United States House of Representatives, representing the families of Minnesota’s Fourth District. In 2000, Congresswoman McCollum made history as only the second Minnesota woman elected to serve in Congress since statehood in 1858. McCollum represents the residents of Minnesota's capital city, St. Paul, as well as all of Ramsey County and most of Washington County.

Throughout her career in public service, Congresswoman McCollum has been a champion for excellence in education, protecting the environment, expanding health care access, fiscal responsibility, and robust international engagement that prioritizes diplomacy, development, along with a strong national defense.

Education, health care, and investments in transportation infrastructure are top policy priorities for Minnesota families and the Congresswoman. With over 20 institutions of higher learning located in the Fourth District, keeping higher education affordable, accessible, and high-quality is important. A strong proponent of public education, she supports keeping our schools accountable to parents and local officials.  McCollum is a champion for universal health coverage for all Americans and a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act. Following a decade of work and almost $1 billion of federal investment, she welcomed the opening of the “Green Line” light rail corridor between St. Paul and Minneapolis, along with the restoration of the historic Union Depot as a multi-modal transit hub.

In the 114th Congress, Congresswoman McCollum brings a common sense, Minnesota perspective to her work as a member of the House Appropriations Committee where she serves as the ranking Democrat on the Interior-Environment Subcommittee and as member of the Defense Subcommittee.

Protecting clean air and water, wild lands, and our nation’s natural treasures for future generations are among McCollum’s top priorities as she leads the Interior-Subcommittee.  In 2015, the subcommittee appropriated over $30 billion. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Interior Department the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, the Smithsonian Institution, and several other related agencies were among those funded by the subcommittee. 

As a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, McCollum believes national security starts by ensuring that the women and men of the Armed Forces are the most skilled and best trained and equipped fighting force in the world.  McCollum has focused on giving priority to military health care, ending military sexual assault, and supporting international military-to-military cooperation to prevent conflicts.  In 2015, the subcommittee appropriated more than $500 billion for the Departments of the Army, Navy (including Marine Corps), Air Force, National Guard, Office of Secretary of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and other related national security agencies.

Prior to Congress, Congresswoman McCollum served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1993 to 2000 and was elected Assistant Leader three times by her Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party colleagues. From 1987 to 1992, she served her neighbors on the North St. Paul City Council.

In addition to elected office, Congresswoman McCollum's career has included teaching high school social science, as well as, 25 years in retail sales and management. She is a graduate of the College of St. Catherine, and the mother of two adult children. Congresswoman McCollum is a Minnesota native who grew up in South St. Paul, raised her family in North St. Paul, and now lives in St. Paul.