Who Is Jeff Merkley's Wife? New Details On Mary Sorteberg

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Who Is Jeff Merkley's Wife? New Details On Mary Sorteberg

Since 2009, Jeff Merkley has served as a Democratic U.S. Senator from the state of Oregon. Before winning his seat, he served five terms in the Oregon House of Representatives for the state's 47th district. He was also Speaker of the Oregon House.

During his tenure in the Senate, he’s shown on more than one occasion that his views are progressive. When it comes to social issues, he supports same-sex marriage and voted to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He’s also a supporter of bank regulation, championed legislation that “provides nursing mothers with flexible break times at work,” and, as a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, supported legislation towards fixing the mortgage crisis.


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But Merkley is most noted for his strong opposition to the Trump administration, specifically their immigration policies. In June 2018, he visited a Texas immigration center, where children were separated from their parents and detained, but was denied entry.

In an interview with TIME, he said, “Are we really putting children through a traumatic experience here in the U.S. in order to dissuade their parents from seeking asylum? A part of this is the dehumanization of people seeking asylum in this U.S. I just don’t feel that any member of Congress should have to wait weeks or months to visit a facility to see what the hell is going on inside of it. They’re trying to wrap this in a blanket of secrecy.”

A video taken of him being denied entry went viral, leading the internet to hold the administration accountable for their inhumane policies.

But what do we know about his personal life? Does his family support his outspokenness? Specifically, who is Jeff Merkley’s wife? Here are 5 things to know about Mary Sorteberg.

1. They met in the 1980s.

Merkley met his future wife while she was working as a volunteer at a homeless shelter in a “crack ridden neighborhood” in Washington, DC, where he lived.


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2. They’ve been married for 25 years.

The two wed in 1992.

3. They have two children.

The couple are parents to one son, Jonathan, and one daughter, Brynne. Brynne appeared in a few campaign ads in 2008.

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4. She’s a nurse.

And her husband has no problem praising her for all the work she’s done over the years.

5. She’s always been extremely supportive of him.

In 2003, when Merkley was deciding if he wanted to become a Democratic governor, he asked his wife what he should do. According to him, “I said to Mary, ‘Maybe I should quit my day job. And Mary said, ‘Either way you go, I’m behind you.’ What you’d expect a spouse to say is, ‘We have two small children. Grow up!’ But Mary said, ‘We’ll make it work whichever way.’”


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Samantha Maffucci is an associate editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.