Chris Coons

Chris Coons

Aspen Strategy Group Member, Senator, United States Senate

Chris Coons was elected to the United States Senate in 2010 following terms as New Castle County Council President and New Castle County Executive. In the Senate, he sits on the Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Ethics Committees.

From 2011 to 2015, Senator Coons chaired the African Affairs and Global Health Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Currently, he serves as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations that funds U.S. diplomacy, national security, global health, and life-saving humanitarian and international development efforts around the world.

Senator Coons is focused on building partnerships throughout Africa and ensuring that health programs, food aid, economic development, and security assistance reach those in need. He has marshaled into law critical legislation that has shaped U.S. foreign assistance during his tenure, including the BUILD Act, Global Fragility Act, the End Wildlife Trafficking Act, the Electrify Africa Act, the Global Food Security Act, and the African Growth and Opportunity Act Extension and Enhancement Act.

In college, Senator Coons spent a semester studying at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. He returned to the continent in the late 1980s to work with the South African Council of Churches in the growing movement to end apartheid and free Nelson Mandela from prison. He is the only U.S. Senator who can speak Swahili and he has been a leading voice on relations between the United States and countries in Africa.

Prior to serving as County Executive, Senator Coons worked as an attorney for Delaware-based W.L. Gore & Associates, using his legal expertise to direct regulatory and international efforts. He graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in Chemistry and Political Science, and earned his law degree from Yale Law School and a master’s in ethics from Yale Divinity School. A longtime Delaware resident, he lives in Wilmington with his wife, Annie, and their three children, Michael, Jack, and Maggie.