Betty McCollum (born July 12, 1954) is an American politician and member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. She is currently a member of the United States House of Representatives representing Minnesota's 4th Congressional District (map), which includes St. Paul, Minnesota's capital city.
McCollum was born in South St. Paul, Minnesota. She first got involved in politics in 1986, when her daughter got hurt on a slide in a North St. Paul city park. The city council wouldn't do anything to fix the slide, so McCollum's neighbors encouraged her to run for a spot on the council herself. She won that November and served three terms. She then won an upset victory over longtime state representative Rick O'Conner, and served four terms in the state house.
After 4th District Congressman Bruce Vento decided not to seek a 13th term due to illness in 2000 (he died before the election), McCollum won the DFL nomination to succeed him. The district is heavily Democratic, and Democrats have held the seat since 1949. However, McCollum's main concern wasn't Republican Linda Runbeck, but Independence Party candidate Tom Foley. Foley had previously been county attorney for Ramsey County (almost all of which is in the 4th District) as a Democrat. Many thought that Foley could siphon off enough votes from McCollum to allow Runbeck to sneak up the middle and end the long run of Democratic dominance in the district. However, in the end McCollum defeated Runbeck by a solid 17-point margin, with Foley in a distant third place. She is the first Minnesota woman elected to Congress since Coya Knutson in the 1950s. However, it appears that the 2000 race wasn't even that close, as McCollum was reelected in 2002 and 2004 without serious opposition.
McCollum gained notereity in 2004 when she called for Secretary of Education Rod Paige to resign for calling the National Education Association "a terrorist organization."