BioU. S. Representative Bobby L. Rush is a Member of the House of Representatives and a senior member of the Illinois delegation where he represents the state’s first congressional district. He is a senior Member of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee and, after serving two consecutive terms as Chairman of the committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection in the 110th and 111th Congresses, Rush was elected by his peers to serve as the Ranking Member of the Energy and Power subcommittee in the 112th Congress. Rush is also a member of the Communications and Technology subcommittee and the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade subcommittee. In addition, Rush was elected by his Democratic colleagues to serve as the Illinois representative on the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee — a group that recommends House Members for leadership positions while also playing a leading role in shaping national Democratic policies.
In addition to effectively shepherding the bipartisan adoption of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-314), a bill that was signed into law by President George W. Bush, Rush also played a leading role in helping to craft historic health insurance reform legislation that was adopted in the last Congress. Rush secured important provisions in the new legislation including landmark policy provisions that advance women’s health in the treatment of postpartum depression. The language of the Melanie Blocker Stokes Mom’s Opportunity to Access Health, Education, Research and Support for Postpartum Depression Act, originally authored by Rush and advanced in the Senate by Senator Robert Menendez, was adopted, in its entirety, into the final health care reform legislation (P.L. 111-148) that was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010
In the last Congress, Rush introduced a landmark piece of IT commerce legislation, the “Building Effective Strategies to Promote Responsibility Accountability Choice Transparency Innovation Consumer Expectations and Safeguards Act,” or the BEST PRACTICES Act. This legislation has been widely praised by leading online privacy experts for its comprehensive, balanced approach to creating a private right of action for online consumers while preserving the free flow of commerce by online Internet content providers many of whom provide largely ‘free’ global consumer services. In October, 2010, three industry leaders—eBay, Intel and Microsoft—sent a letter of support to Rush and other House leaders where they said, in part, “We support the bill’s overall framework, which is built upon the Fair Information Practices regime. We appreciate that the BEST PRACTICES Act is technology neutral and gives flexibility to the Federal Trade Commission to adapt to changes in technology. The bill also strikes the appropriate balance by providing businesses with the opportunity to enter into a robust self-regulatory choice program.” Rush has re-introduced this legislation in the 112th Congress and is seeking bipartisan support for its passage.
With respect to trade, Rush is actively engaging the full scope of the committee’s powers to help identify new international markets to expand America’s trade interests throughout the world. In April, 2009, Rush traveled to Cuba as part of a historic Congressional Black Caucus delegation that met with Cuban President Raul Castro and the island nation’s reclusive former President, Fidel Castro. This meeting was followed by a subcommittee hearing on the opportunities associated with expanding America’s trade relationship with Cuba and the introduction of his bill, H.R. 2272, the “The United States-Cuba Trade Normalization Act of 2009,” with 47 original co-sponsors in the 111th Congress.
Congressman Rush was born on November 23, 1946 in Albany, Georgia. His family later moved to Chicago and lived on the near north and west sides. Rush attended Marshall High School and, at the age of 17, enlisted in the United States Army. He served in the military from 1963 until 1968, receiving an honorable discharge.Following his military service, Rush attended Roosevelt University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in general studies, with honors, in 1973. In 1994, he received a master’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Congressman Rush received his second master’s degree, in 1998, in theological studies from McCormick Seminary and soon, thereafter, he became an ordained Baptist minister.
During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, Congressman Rush worked to secure basic civil and human rights for African Americans, women and other minorities. He was a member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) from 1966 to 1968. Congressman Rush also co-founded the Illinois Black Panther Party in 1968.
Prior to his election to Congress, Congressman Rush was an Alderman in the Chicago City Council. He represented the 2nd Ward on Chicago’s South Side for eight years. As an Alderman, Rush helped pass significant environmental protection, gun control and neighborhood development legislation.
Congressman Rush received an honorary doctorate degree from the Virginia University of Lynchburg and, in 2007, he was the proud recipient of an honorary doctorate degree in humane letters from Roosevelt University, Chicago. He is the pastor of Beloved Community Christian Church and has been married to his wife, Carolyn, for 30 years. They have six children including a son who was murdered in 1999.