Terri E. Bonoff (born August 1, 1957) is an American politician from the state of Minnesota. She is a member of the Minnesota Senate and a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Minnesota's 3rd congressional district. A member of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL), she represents District 44, which includes portions of Minnetonka, Plymouth and Woodland in Hennepin County in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Early life, education, and career

Bonoff grew up in Edina, Minnesota and later attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, earning a degree in psychology and sociology. She began her business career at Jackson Graves, a family-owned women's specialty store. Bonoff then spent five years in the toy and video game business with Tonka Toys and 13 years as Director of Merchandising for the Computer Products Division of the publicly held, New Hope-based Navarre Corporation. After 18 years in business, Bonoff stepped down from Navarre in 1999 to spend time with her husband and four children.

Before being elected to the Senate, Bonoff served on the Minnetonka Planning Commission and as a volunteer for the Hopkins Legislative Action Commission. She eventually became president of the Hopkins Legislative Action Coalition, a guide at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and president of Babe Ruth Baseball in Hopkins/Minnetonka.[1]

Minnesota Senate

Bonoff's career as an elected official began when she won a 2005 special election against Plymouth mayor Judy Johnson to fill the Minnesota Senate seat being vacated by David Gaither. She won a second race against Johnson in the 2006 general election. Bonoff's slogan for all her campaigns has been "Uniting the Middle." She was elected to a second term in 2010 and a third in 2012.[2]

In 2011, Bonoff was elected Deputy Minority Leader of the DFL Senate caucus. “I am honored to have the support of my colleagues in the Senate DFL Caucus ... While we know we face many difficult decisions in the upcoming session, our caucus shares the Governor's vision for growing jobs, improving government, and positioning Minnesota for long-term prosperity,” she said.[3]

In 2013, Bonoff became the Chair of the Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee.[4] In that capacity, she has overseen an investment of more than $400 million over four years in Minnesota’s higher education infrastructure, particularly the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) and the University of Minnesota.[5][6][7] She also created the MN PIPELINE (Private Investment, Public Education Labor Industry Experience) Project,[8] which has received national and international recognition.[9]

On April 16, 2016, Bonoff announced at the Minnesota Senate District 44 Convention that she is leaving the State Legislature to run for U.S. Representative in Minnesota's Third Congressional District.[10]

Voting record


Bonoff supports the South West Light Rail Train.[11] She also leveraged her relationships with the Minnesota DOT to have a study conducted for improvements to I-494.[12]

Health care

Bonoff has been a supporter of Minnesotacare, a partnership between private industry and government to provide health care to low-income families and individuals. To be enrolled in MinnesotaCare people must first apply and then pay what they can afford for health insurance. Bonoff has said, "Frankly, I thought our MinnesotaCare program and our subsequent reform efforts to enhance quality while keeping costs down should have been the backbone of the Affordable Care Act"[13] and "Minnesota should establish a health insurance exchange that complies with the minimum requirements under federal law and provides exchange consumers the ability to shop based on provider quality as well as cost."[14] In order to do that Bonoff has said the legislature should "evaluate the cost-effectiveness of new and existing health benefits and eliminate barriers to flexible, innovative insurance products, purchasing and finance options."[14]


Bonoff voted in favor of alternative teacher licensing (2012 SF 40, SJ 339). After her vote, she explained, "I would never support anything that threatens the integrity of the teaching profession... Alternative licensure is working. Those states -- there are 35 of them -- that have alternative licensure have strong records of the success."[15]

Bonoff also voted in favor of teacher layoff reform (LIFO, 2012 SF 1690 SJ 3968). After that vote she explained, "School districts should use performance and not just seniority when making layoff decisions."[16]

And Bonoff supported paying down the debt owed to school districts with 2012 HF 2083.[17]


  • Voted against raising taxes on top earners.[18]
  • Voted in favor of the 2007 transportation finance bill, which increased the sales tax by .5%,[19][not in citation given] and amounted to an increase in the gas tax by less than 7.5 cents/gallon (2007 HF 946).
  • Voted in favor of the business-supported sales tax from e-retailers with “affiliate nexus” (out-of-state sellers, 2011 SF 27 SJ 1192)[20]
  • Voted to provide $120 million in tax relief to businesses and families (2012 SF 872 SJ 7588).

Voter ID

Bonoff authored a bill calling for voter verification, which would create a link between the Secretary of State's voting rolls and the Department of Motor Vehicles records (2012 SF 2555). This bill did not require a constitutional amendment. Bonoff voted against placing a constitutional amendment for voter ID on the ballot (2012 SF 1577/HF 2738 SJ 4938), against legislation requiring an ID to vote (2011 SF 509 SJ 1452), against attempts to eliminate the practice of “vouching” for others’ identities at the polls (2010 SF 2388 SJ 7462), and against clarifying eligibility rules on the absentee ballot.(2010 SF 2622 SJ 7400).


Bonoff voted against placing a constitutional amendment on the ballot to define marriage as between one man and one woman (2011 SF 1308, SJ 1978), saying that the Constitution should not be used to limit people's rights and that marriage should be left to faith communities.[21]

Women's health

Bonoff has been a longtime advocate of women's health. One bill Bonoff supported was an abortion alternative grant program (SF2330/HF2676).[22]

2008 campaign for Congress

After serving in the Minnesota legislature for two years, Bonoff ran for the 3rd congressional district seat held by the retiring Jim Ramstad.[23][24]

Among the groups that supported Senator Bonoff's Congressional race were Minnesota Forward,[25]EMILY's List,[26] the Minnesota chapter of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now,[27] and AFSCME.[28][29]

On April 12, 2008, Bonoff left the race after Ashwin Madia was endorsed by the DFL party.[30]

Organizations and individuals supporting Bonoff in 2012 reelection campaign

Bonoff has received endorsements from a diverse array of people and organizations, including:

  • The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Leadership Fund
  • The TwinWest Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee
  • The National Federation of Independent Businesses[31][32][33]
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune Editorial Board
  • Minnesota Peace and Police Officers
  • Minnesota Association of Professional Employees
  • Conservation Minnesota
  • Clean Water Action.[34]
  • North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters
  • Minnesota Association of Realtors
  • Minnesota Association of Professional Employees
  • Project 515
  • Minnesota Professional Fire Fighters
  • United Transportation Union
  • WomenWinning
  • International Union of Operating Engineers – Local 49
  • Minnesota Medical Association PAC
  • Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection
  • Gov. Arne Carlson
  • Tom Horner
  • Vice President Walter Mondale

2016 campaign for Congress

In May 2016, Bonoff received the endorsement of the DFL party and began campaigning for the general election.[35] In July she announced she had raised over $620,000 for the race.[36] Bonoff has also received endorsements from Womenwinning,[37] the League of Conservation Voters,[38] and Emily's List.[39][40] Shortly after she announced her candidacy in April 2016,[41] Bonoff's campaign was highlighted by the DCCC as a nationally targeted "Red to Blue" race.[42]

Electoral history

  • Minnesota Senate 44th district election, 2012[43]
    • Terri Bonoff (DFL), 27,203 votes (55.81%)
    • David Gaither (R), 21,464 votes (44.04%)
    • Write-in, 75 votes (0.15%)
  • Minnesota Senate 43rd district election, 2010[44]
    • Terri Bonoff (DFL), 18,271 votes (51.74%)
    • Norann Dillon (R), 17,018 votes (48.19%)
    • Write-in, 22 votes (0.06%)
  • Minnesota Senate 43rd district election, 2006[45]
    • Terri Bonoff (DFL), 19,159 votes (51.93%)
    • Judy Johnson (R), 17,697 votes (47.96%)
    • Write-in, 41 votes, (0.11%)
  • Minnesota Senate 43rd district special election, 2005[46]
    • Terri Bonoff (DFL), 5,745 votes (54.44%)
    • Judy Johnson (R), 4,802 votes (45.50%)
    • Write-in, 6 votes (0.06%)


  1. ^ "Member Bio Personal". Office of the Revisor. 10/10/12.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ "Election Reporting". Minnesota Secretary of State. November 2, 2010. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  3. ^ Bonoff, Terri (January 5, 2011). "Sen. Terri Bonoff chosen as Assistant Leader of Senate DFL Caucus". Press Release. 
  4. ^ "Sen. Terri Bonoff to Chair Higher Education Division". Patch. November 20, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Higher Education Omnibus Bill Passed in House and Senate". MSCSA.org. May 2013. 
  6. ^ "Minnesota higher education spending nearly finalized, tuition hikes likely". Twin Cities Pioneer Press. May 15, 2015. 
  7. ^ "To receive full funding, Minnesota colleges must meet a tall order". MPR News. June 1, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Apprenticeship by any name is a workable idea". Star Tribune. July 14, 2014. 
  9. ^ "How apprenticeship will save the American Economy". Forbes. November 4, 2015. 
  10. ^ Bonoff, Terri (April 21, 2016). "3rd District race between Paulsen and Bonoff may come down to who’s the real moderate". MinnPost. 
  11. ^ "Sen. Bonoff Strategic Compromise is Needed Now". April 30, 2012. 
  12. ^ "SF0659". March 9, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Sen. Bonoff on Marriage Amendment". 10/11/12.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  14. ^ a b "Terri Bonoff Candidate for State Senate" (PDF). 10/11/12.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  15. ^ "Senate OKs Alternative Teacher Licensure". Retrieved 10/11/12.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  16. ^ "Sen. Bonoff sides with Republicans on LIFO". 10/11/12.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  17. ^ "Requires State Reserve Funds to be used to Reduce School Debt". 10/11/12.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  18. ^ "Income Tax Increase". 10/11/12.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  19. ^ Pawlenty, Tim. "Governor" (PDF). Veto letter 5.15.2007. State of Minnesota. Retrieved September 11, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Status of Tax Omnibus Bill". March 3, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Senator Bonoff Talks About Her Gay Brother". 10/11/12.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  22. ^ "Description SF2330". March 29, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Democrat Bonoff to run for Congress in 3rd District". Minnesota Public Radio. October 5, 2007. Retrieved November 21, 2007. 
  24. ^ "Candidates lining up in the 6th, 3rd Congressional Districts". Minnesota Public Radio. September 28, 2007. Retrieved October 1, 2007. 
  25. ^ "Bonoff: Thanks for the Endorsement but...". 8/6/10.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  26. ^ "EMILY's List Announces Endorsement of Terri Bonoff in Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District". EMILY's List. November 26, 2007. 
  27. ^ Bodell, Joe. "ACORN endorses Bonoff in 3rd district race". Tuesday, February 05, 2008 at 7:30 am. The Minnesota Independent. Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  28. ^ Demko, Paul (November 30, 2007). "AFSCME Endorses Bonoff, Tinkleberg". City Pages. Retrieved September 14, 2012. 
  29. ^ Bonoff, Terri. "Terri Bonoff and Ashwin Madia the Differences are Big". Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Democrats endorse Madia in 3rd Congressional Dist.". MPR News. December 4, 2008. Retrieved September 14, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Business Groups are Snubbing DFLers". 10/12/12.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  32. ^ "Senator Bonoff Profile" (PDF). 10/12/12.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  33. ^ O'Rigby, L.N. (9/24/12). "Terri Bonoff Leaving the Politics of Pork Behind".  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  34. ^ "Project Work Smart: Clean Water Action". Retrieved 10/13/12.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  35. ^ "DFLers back Terri Bonoff to challenge Erik Paulsen for Congress". Minneapolis Star-Tribune News. May 14, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  36. ^ "Sen. Terri Bonoff raises $620,000 in race against Rep. Erik Paulsen". Minneapolis Star-Tribune News. July 11, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  37. ^ http://www.womenwinning.org/blog/womenwinning-endorses-terri-bonoff-congress-3rd-congressional-district
  38. ^ http://www.lcv.org/media/press-releases/LCV-Action-Fund-Endorses-Terri-Bonoff-for-Congress.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/
  39. ^ http://www.emilyslist.org/candidates/terri-bonoff
  40. ^ http://www.startribune.com/emily-s-list-endorses-terri-bonoff-in-race-against-rep-erik-paulsen/384552471/
  41. ^ http://blogs.mprnews.org/capitol-view/2016/04/state-sen-bonoff-challenges-paulsen-for-congress/
  42. ^ http://dccc.org/dccc-chairman-lujan-announces-14-additions-red-blue-program/
  43. ^ "Results for State Senator District 44". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  44. ^ "State Senator District: 43". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  45. ^ "State Senator District 43". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  46. ^ "Results for State Representative District 43". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 

External links