Bruce Braley was born in Grinnell, Iowa, in 1957 and grew up in nearby Brooklyn, Iowa.
His father, Byard Braley, enlisted in the Marine Corps during World War II when he was 17 years old and fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima. When he returned home, he met Bruce’s mother, Marcia, at a Farm Bureau youth club meeting.
When Bruce was 2, his father was injured at the grain elevator where he worked. Bruce’s mother went back to school so she could help support the family, earning her teaching degree in one of the first classes to graduate from the University of Northern Iowa. Although she’s now officially “retired,” Marcia’s still teaching school in Brooklyn as a substitute.
Bruce Braley took his first job in the 2nd Grade delivering newspapers for the Des Moines Tribune, and he’s been working ever since. Bruce put himself through college (Iowa State) and law school (University of Iowa) building roads and bridges for the Poweshiek County Roads Department, waiting tables, and tending bar.
Bruce met his wife, Carolyn, at an Eagles concert in 1976. They got married in 1983, and moved to Waterloo, where Bruce went to work as an attorney, representing people against some of the most powerful corporations in the world. Bruce represented factory workers challenging unsafe company policies and stood up for people who lost their jobs and pensions when no one else would. He also represented small businesses struggling with government red tape.
With no prior political experience, Braley ran for the US House of Representatives in 2006 to stand up for middle class families who didn’t have a voice in Washington. He was re-elected in 2008, 2010 and 2012.
Bruce Braley has become known for his work on behalf of veterans, his outspoken advocacy for strengthening the middle class and creating jobs, and his relentless work ethic. The Des Moines Register said Bruce “sets the standard for what Iowans should expect from their representatives.” The Quad City Times said Bruce is a “meticulous student…and extraordinarily responsive to constituents.”
Bruce and Carolyn still live in Waterloo. Their three children – Lisa, David, and Paul – all attended West Waterloo High School, where Carolyn works as a social studies teacher.
Bruce and Carolyn have been recognized for their community involvement. In 1995, Bruce and Carolyn were named “Couple of the Year” by Big Brothers / Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa. Bruce has served on the Iowa Legal Aid Board of Directors, on the Board of Waterloo Dollars for Scholars, volunteered as a mentor for Waterloo Partners in Education, and served on the Waterloo Historic Preservation Commission. Bruce is also an elder in his church and has volunteered as a football coach.