Rep.-elect Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.-12)

DATE OF BIRTH: Feb. 6, 1945
RESIDENCE: Ewing Township, N.J.
OCCUPATION: Member of the New Jersey General Assembly
EDUCATION: B.A., Thomas Edison State College; Rutgers University
PREVIOUS OFFICE HELD: New Jersey Democratic state chairwoman
FAMILY: Husband, William; three children

Bonnie Watson Coleman has made history three times in her political career. She was the first African-American majority leader in the New Jersey State Assembly and the first African-American woman to lead the state Democratic Party.

Now, she’s New Jersey’s first African-American representative in Congress, replacing retiring Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.). But she faced a tough primary fight in the heavily Democratic district, edging past state Sen. Linda Greenstein for the nomination.

Outside of political life, Watson Coleman is a deaconess at Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton.