John Garamendi (D-CA-10)

John Garamendi California District 10

John Garamendi, Biography from

Biography of Congressman John Garamendi

John Garamendi joined the U.S. House of Representatives on November 5, 2009. He brings nearly four decades of public service to the House Armed Services and Natural Resources committees.

He has been a tireless proponent of job creation, quality and affordable health care, education, environmental protection, and scientific research, while always working to ensure the stability and success of the state he has always called home.

Garamendi was raised on his family’s cattle ranch in Mokelumne Hill. He graduated with a BA in business from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Garamendi and his wife started their married life as Peace Corps volunteers teaching and doing community development work in Ethiopia. Patti is now the Assistant Manager at the California Exposition and State Fair and previously served as Assistant Director of the Peace Corps. John and Patti live in Walnut Grove and have six children and ten grandchildren.

As California’s 46th Lieutenant Governor, Garamendi was Chair of the Commission for Economic Development, where he transformed this important body into a powerhouse to advocate for workforce development, vocational education, and research. As a Regent of the University of California and Trustee for the California State University System, Garamendi fought to hold the line on student fee increases and excessive administrator salaries. As Chair of the California State Lands Commission, he led the fight against new offshore oil drilling.

John was elected to the California legislature in 1974, where he served for 16 years, attaining the position of Senate Majority Leader. His laws established California’s emergency medical system, expanded community health clinics, created a work-oriented welfare program, protected Lake Tahoe and Mono Lakes, and developed an overall state agenda for competitiveness and scientific advancement. He authored the Senior Center Bond Act and a proposition that brought $18 billion to public transit and highways.

In 1991, Garamendi became California’s Insurance Commissioner. He successfully implemented Proposition 103, reforming the auto and homeowner insurance industry. He delivered over $1 billion in rebates to insurance consumers and lowered homeowner and auto insurance rates, saving consumers over $24 billion. Under his leadership the Department protected homeowners devastated by the Oakland Hills Fire, forcing insurers to fully pay for rebuilding. His Department earned a reputation as the best consumer protection agency in the nation.

In 1995, President Bill Clinton appointed Garamendi as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Interior Department. John spearheaded efforts to resolve water disputes in California and to protect the Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta. He negotiated the purchase of the Headwaters Forest, coordinated research on global warming, and established habitat conservation plans in California.

Reelected California’s Insurance Commissioner in 2002, he set about rebuilding the Department. His work culminated in new laws that led to a 58% reduction in workers compensation costs. His Home Owners Bill of Rights added protections for homeowners and reduced their premiums by over $500 million. He reestablished an aggressive anti-fraud task force, sponsored legislation to prevent senior insurance scams, improved protections for disabled consumers, and stopped insurance brokers from overcharging business consumers. He developed a comprehensive health care report analyzing California’s health care system with 43 concrete recommendations.

One of Garamendi’s passions is a commitment to international service. He led a group of returned Peace Corps volunteers on a peace mission during the Ethiopian-Eritrea war in 1998-2000, helping to negotiate a peace treaty. Garamendi created a similar team that assisted in peace negotiations in the Congo Civil War.

Rep. Garamendi has forged a reputation as a fierce defender of consumers and a visionary, effective leader. He possesses the unique wealth of knowledge and experience necessary to tackle today’s complex challenges.

Biography from Garamendi for Congress

On November 5th, 2009, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi swore John Garamendi into office as the representative of California’s 10th Congressional district. As a member of the House of Representatives, he seeks to address the fundamental issues that face all Americans: access to affordable health care, fixing a broken economy, cleaning up Wall Street, and inciting new job creation. He currently serves on the Armed Services Committee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Committee on Science and Technology. He authored his first bill in 2010 that, if passed, would effectively ban new offshore oil and natural gas leases in the federal waters off the west coast, protecting all Americans from further environmental catastrophe. He also introduced a bill that would establish a technology transfer center at the Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Laboratories, fighting for necessary federal funding inside the district. His voting record has been unwavering in protecting his constituent’s right to affordable health care and education, employment, and a flourishing coastal environment. His months in office have been short, but his experience advocating for California as a public servant has been long. As he seeks reelection in November, he makes it his solemn promise to continue fighting for his constituents, the people of California’s 10th district, and for the American people.

Lieutenant Governor of California

On January 8, 2007, John Garamendi became the 46th Lieutenant Governor of California, bringing to the office more than 32 years of public service. He built the Lieutenant Governor’s office into a powerful advocate for families and hard-working Californians, improving higher education, health care, and the environment, all while boosting job creation figures. As the Lieutenant Governor, John served as the President of the State Senate, a regent of the University California, a Trustee of the California State University system, a member of the California State Lands Commission, and the Chairman of the California Commission for Economic Development. In addition, he also served as acting Governor whenever the Governor left the state or was, for whatever reason, unable to serve.

California Insurance Commissioner

In 2002, more than a decade after selecting him California’s first elected Insurance Commissioner, California voters again chose John Garamendi to lead the Department of Insurance and continue his mission to build the best protection agency in the nation. As California’s first elected Insurance Commissioner, John earned a reputation among state and national consumer organizations as the most effective protector of consumer interests in the nation. He successfully forced insurance companies to honor their enumerate commitments to consumers. In his second four-year term in this office he reduced homeowner, auto, and worker’s compensation rates, and significantly curtailed insurance fraud.

Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior

Following President Clinton’s appointment, the US Senate confirmed and swore John into office on August 15, 1995 as Deputy Secretary of the Interior. As second in command, he and Secretary Babbitt formulated and coordinated the policy and strategy for the Interior’s eight bureaus. Garamendi quickly became the Department’s troubleshooter.

Headwaters: Garamendi was the government’s lead negotiator in the effort to save Headwaters, a 7,500-acre ancient redwood forest in California. He brought to an end the decade long battle between the Pacific Lumber Company and the environmental community in this region.

Endangered Species: Garamendi brought the Riverside Habitat Conservation Plan to successful closure after it had floundered for ten years. The Riverside plan, which protects 66,000 acres of rare habitat in the rapidly urbanizing region, is now a national model.

Water Wars: John led the U.S. government’s CALFED negotiating team in a long-term process to restore the environment in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River basins and their deltas while meeting the improved water needs of farmers and the region’s rapidly growing cities. In what came to be known as the “Garamendi Process,” city leaders, farmers, fishing interests and environmentalists systematically worked to resolve their differences and adopt mutually acceptable plans and policies to implement the Central Valley Improvement Act.

Guam: President Clinton appointed John to be the Special U.S. Negotiator in resolution of the long-debated issue of the status of the Island of Guam, a U.S. Territory. He conducted two years of talks with the Guamanian government in an effort to settle the disputes on the nature of the island’s relationship to the United States.

Tourism and Travel: He also lead the Department of the Interior’s tourism initiative to integrate the many natural, historic, and cultural resources within the department into the tourism and recreation sector of the economy, fulfilling the goals of the White House Conference on Travel and Tourism.

Interior Workforce: Garamendi created and implemented a Department-wide program to improve employment opportunities for minorities and women within the Department. He commissioned a diversity taskforce to develop a strategic plan, and he oversaw its implementation in the eight bureaus and 70,000 person workforce of the Department of the Interior.

State Senator and Member of the Assembly

During his fourteen years as a State Senator and two years in the Assembly, Garamendi chaired the Joint Committee on Science and Technology, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee, and served as the Senate Majority Leader. His laws protected Lake Tahoe and Mono Lake. He wrote laws that reformed health care delivery, established a work oriented welfare program, revised the State’s tax code, and developed a State agenda for economic competitiveness and scientific advancement. His ballot proposition provided $18 billion for mass transportation and highways.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Mission for Peace in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the Congo Wars

As returned Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Ethiopia, John and Patti were distraught when war broke out between Ethiopia and its former province, Eritrea. In 1998, John organized a team of five returned volunteers to undertake a two-year mission to assist in securing peace in the region. The team traveled to both Ethiopia and Eritrea to meet with their Ambassadors, Foreign Ministers, and political leaders. The team also met with President Clinton and top U.S. officials. In the fall of 2001, the team conducted numerous meetings in America with expatriate groups from both countries, helping them to reconcile their differences and urging them to send a cooperative message of peace to their homeland. The team was invited to the Peace Signing Ceremony in Algiers at which time both leaders praised the team for its work and the key role it played in the peace process. Building on that success, John formed a new team that is actively engaged in negotiating a peace settlement in the Congo Civil War.

John and Patti Garamendi have six children and nine grandchildren. They make their home in California. They began their 30 years of public service as Peace Corps volunteers in Ethiopia. President Clinton appointed Patti to be Associate Director of the Peace Corps and Deputy Administrator in the Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service. After serving with the Peace Corps, Patti was Assistant Secretary of International Trade and Investment to the California Technology, Trade, and Commerce Agency. Currently, Patti is the Assistant Manager of Programs for the California Exposition & State Fair. John Garamendi was born in 1945, raised on his family’s California cattle ranch. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a Bachelors Degree in Business from the University of California. He was an outstanding scholar-athlete in college where he was a second team All-American offensive guard, a two-time member of the All-Pacific Coast Conference team, and the 1964 West Coast heavyweight wrestling champion.

Boards and Commissions

University of California, Regent (2007-2009): One of the 26 members of the Board of Regents. The Board of Regents operates through eight committees: audit, compensation, educational policy, finance, grounds and buildings, health services, investments, and oversight of the Department of Energy laboratories to govern the ten UC campuses across California.

California State University, Trustee (2007-2009): Governs 23 CSU campuses. Lieutenant Governor Garamendi has demanded transparency on executive compensation, opposed increases in student fees and tuition, and demanded a fair contract for CSU faculty. He started a “Listening Tour” Program to better understand the role education system plays in preparing California’s future workforce, through a series of town hall meetings on all CSU campuses.

Commission for Economic Development, Chair(2007-2009): Oversees and directs Commission responsible for fostering economic growth in California . Helps develop and implement strategies for attracting new business to the state, increasing state exports, creating new jobs and stimulating industries statewide.

California Emergency Council (2007-2009): Member of the Council that is briefed on all current needs and matters regarding emergency preparedness and administrative matters that require action by the Governor.

Ocean Protection Council (2007-2009): Member of Council that coordinates efforts to improve protection of California’s ocean and coastal resources.

State Lands Commission, Chair and Member (2007-2009): This three-member commission issues permits, monitors and regulates all of the State’s land holdings and navigable waterways. The Lieutenant Governor and the Controller serve as Chair in alternating years. The Lieutenant Governor began his term as Chair in 2007.

University of California, Don Bren School of Management, Advisory Board (1998-2009): Member of the board that advises the graduate school, located on five U.C. campuses.

University of California, Merced Foundation Chairman (1999-2009): As a board member and vice chair, Mr. Garamendi is active in assisting the new campus in its development of physical and financial resources.

National Park Foundation (1998-2001): Presidential appointment to the board of this Congressionally authorized support organization for the National Parks.

Operation Respect (1998-2002): Board Member of this national organization that Peter Yarrow (Peter Paul and Mary) established to use music and art together with an elementary school curriculum of social/emotional education to address violence, bullying, taunting and disrespect among children.

International Fund for Animal Welfare (1998-present): Board Member of the foundation of a worldwide organization dedicated to the conservation and care of animals.

National Association of Service and Conservation Corps (1998-2001): Board member of this national organization that represents 100 state and local service and conservation corps.

Natural Heritage Institute (1998-2002): Board member of the non-profit environmental consulting organization that advocates protection of the environment and equitable solutions to complex environmental problems.

California State Summer School for the Arts: Board Member of the public/private organization that provides a four-week summer program for artistically gifted high school students in California.

Do you know where you still on the political spectrum? See “Political Beliefs, Where Are You” to find out where you stand.

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