U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman to receive the Barbara Boggs Sigmund Award


U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman will be presented with the Barbara Boggs Sigmund Award at Womanspace’s 28th annual awards dinner May 30.

Watson Coleman, who is a Democrat, has represented New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District since 2015.

The 12th Congressional District includes Princeton, Montgomery Township, Rocky Hill Borough and West Windsor Township.

It also includes Cranbury, Hopewell Borough, Hopewell Township and Pennington Borough.

The annual awards dinner is one of Womanspace’s key fundraising events. The nonprofit group, which is based in Lawrence Township, offers counseling and other resources for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Watson Coleman is being honored for her leadership and accomplishments in making life better for women and children in her district, as well as nationwide, Womanspace officials said.

Watson Coleman introduced the Improving Diaper Affordability Act of 2023 that would make the purchase of diapers tax-free at the state or local level. It also makes diapers qualified as a medical expense.

In 2023, Watson Coleman re-introduced the Healthy Maternal and Obstetric Medicine (MOM) Act, which expands healthcare options for pregnant women. It would allow them to enroll in, or change, their health insurance coverage.

Also in 2023, Watson Coleman introduced the End For-Profit Prisons Act. It would phase out existing federal Bureau of Prisons and U.S. Marshals Service contracts with private companies for correctional facilities and half-way houses.

Before serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Watson Coleman served eight terms in the New Jersey State Legislature. She represented the 15th Legislative District, which included Princeton and Lawrence Township, among other municipalities.

When Watson Coleman picks up the Barbara Boggs Sigmund Award, she will join a list of recipients that includes Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped in 2002 and released after nine months. Smart is a child abduction prevention advocate.

Previous award winners include Cokie Boggs Roberts, Sigmund’s sister and a journalist who worked for ABC News and National Public Radio (NPR), and Tony Porter, CEO of A Call to Men, for his efforts to prevent violence against women.

Womanspace has its roots in the Mercer County Commission on Women, which was created in 1976. The topic of domestic violence came to the forefront during early public meetings, according to www.womanspace.org.

The meeting resulted in a proposal to provide services to women in crisis. The effort was spearheaded by the late Barbara Boggs Sigmund, who was serving on the then-Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders (now known as the Mercer County Board of County Commissioners).

Sigmund later became the mayor of the former Princeton Borough. She died in 1990.

Sigmund, who is considered to be the founder of Womanspace, signed the original certificate of incorporation in 1977, along with co-signers Deborah Metzger, Mary Ann Cannon, Ellen Belknap and Valorie Caffee.