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April has a unique set of life experiences that will make her a hands-on, effective, thoughtful and compassionate Member of Congress. Drawing on a blend of public and private sector work, April is committed to addressing challenges through a “common sense, common ground” approach.
April has four daughters, so she can relate to the issues families face. She has worked in media and tech for over 30 years, and knows how to help small businesses connect and market globally. Given her 15-year leadership role at the non-profit Common Sense Media, she is an expert on matters related to kids’ online safety and the impact of media on children’s health and well-being. And, as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications in President Biden’s Commerce Department, she most recently worked locally, nationally and globally to expand broadband access and digital equity, to address on-line harassment and abuse, to further US competitiveness through innovation and to support efforts underpinning the security and resiliency of our nation’s networks (including that of the First Responder Network).
But…who is April McClain Delaney and what makes her tick?
Let’s start with April being born and raised in Buhl, Idaho – the second daughter of an Idaho potato farmer. In that rural, close-knit community, April watched both her Grandfather Chet and her dad Tom work long farming hours. She learned life lessons about working hard, setting goals, the importance of education, and giving back to your local community. In short, April is not afraid of “digging in” and doing all the work needed to finish a job.
April was given the opportunity to attend college in Illinois at Northwestern University and go on to enroll at Georgetown Law Center. That education changed the trajectory of her life, and she remains ever thankful and willing to “pay it forward.” She pursued a career in communications law and went on to work at Orion Network Systems based in Rockville, Maryland, where she oversaw legal and regulatory issues related to global satellite services. Her experience at this Maryland start up paved the way to a long career focused on the intersection of communications, innovation and tech policy and the impact, both positive and negative, on families and communities.
April often speaks about her Grandma Rose’s “attitude of gratitude.” Her upbringing of faith and community has long motivated her to give back to others – a primary motivation behind her non-profit and government service. April understands that community and private sector efforts are sometimes not enough and that there is a substantial and critical role for government in creating opportunity.
April married John Delaney, a fellow Georgetown law student, who later became a young businessperson in Montgomery County (and future Congressperson representing the 6th District). Their marriage of 34 years has been remarkably fulfilling – both of them working in different fields, both engaged in their local community and both united in raising their four daughters.
Raising her kids, April witnessed firsthand the pervasive impact of Big Tech on the health and well-being of our nation’s youth. This led her to join Common Sense Media, a non-profit dedicated to ensuring that our youth thrive as learners, leaders and citizens in the digital age. April adheres to the mission that together we can build a digital world where our kids can thrive – which includes not only closing the digital divide but also providing digital skills and literacy to make the best use of connectivity. It also means advocating for privacy protections and holding Big Tech accountable in the creation of an open, trustworthy and healthy internet for all of us. As the organization’s Washington Director, April built the Washington office from the ground up and championed a shift in focus towards policies related to K-12 digital literacy education. To get a sense of Common Sense Media’s impact, you can visit their website at www.commonsense.org.
When John ran for Congress in 2012, April traveled across the 6th District as a spouse and surrogate. She got to know the District and fell in love with its incredible diversity – from its close-to-D.C. suburbs and growing cities to its close-knit small towns and scenic farm communities. April was energized by her experiences in the District because she loves people, hearing their stories, sharing moments and doing what can be done to connect and help.
Beyond her work with Common Sense Media, April has been engaged in many volunteer and charitable efforts throughout her life and career. Some of the charitable organizations that are closest to her heart include Innocents at Risk, the Children’s National Hospital Foundation, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Washington Metropolitan Area, Georgetown Law Center (and its pro bono and public service clinics) and the International Center for Research on Women.
Of course, April joined in the historic effort – along with millions of others – to elect Joe Biden as President of the United States. And, in January 2022, she had the honor of joining his Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information in the Department of Commerce and as Deputy Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. (Wow, that’s a mouthful.)
This agency serves as the principal advisor on communications matters to the President; it is also responsible for the rollout of the multi-billion dollar bipartisan infrastructure grant program to connect all Americans to the internet. Over the past two years, she worked to expand access to affordable, high-speed internet for all Americans, to strengthen privacy and internet governance and to bolster public safety communications. A few of the major issues she also worked on include:
April knows she didn’t do this all alone, but was part of a team led by President Biden and under the leadership of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Assistant Secretary Davidson and supported by a staff that was willing to work 24/7.
April cares about Maryland’s families and communities, and she wants to put her experience to work to make sure that the tech revolution strengthens our communities so that they thrive. She appreciates technology’s potential but also recognizes the critical importance of ensuring tech and AI tools are trustworthy, do no harm and have sufficient privacy protections in place. And she knows that this cannot happen through just hope and reliance on industry promises – but rather, it will take intentional focus and action. It demands understanding the issues and building a coalition to tackle these issues in a smart way.
April specifically wants to leverage technology – and the changes it will bring about – to drive economic development across the 6th District. Her work with the Biden Administration on broadband is part of the answer, but so much more needs to be done through strategic investments and leveraging the District’s unique research and education assets. By bringing together the Biden Administration’s economic development efforts and climate legislation and combining them with the spirit of local entrepreneurs and businesses, as well as the power of the private sector, she will work to create opportunity and jobs across the District.
Finally, April believes we need to rebuild trust in our Democracy to create a stronger nation for our children and communities. To do that, we need to rebuild trust, engage in open dialogue and lift up the greater good. That is what America has always done… and is who we are at our core. America has long been a beacon of light, hope and possibility. It is incumbent on all of that it remains ever so.
Trump has fueled a fracturing of our country. We must unite to take on key challenges, including the economy, technology, reproductive freedom, climate change, crime and better education outcomes. At her core, April believes we must seek “common sense, common ground” solutions and build coalitions of the willing to get things done for the families of the 6th District.