Jim Costa (D-CA-20)

Jim Costa California District 20

Jim Costa, Biography from House.gov

Biography of Congressman Jim Costa

Jim Costa was sworn in as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing California’s 20th Congressional District in January, 2005. Raised on a dairy farm in Fresno’s Kearney Park area, Congressman Costa is a third-generation family farmer. As a Member of Congress, Costa has applied his farming background to fighting for Valley water, agriculture, and the economy.

A lifelong resident of the Valley, Costa’s committee assignments allow him to effectively advocate for the district. Costa uses his position on the Natural Resources Committee to fight for the Valley’s fair share of water. This includes securing funding for dams, working to overturn unfair federal water regulations, and increasing Valley water allocations. On the Agriculture Committee, Costa has worked to increase federal support for Valley agriculture through the Farm Bill and other programs. When a milk price crisis devastated the region’s dairy industry, Costa introduced legislation to protect Valley dairy families and local jobs. In addition to his committee assignments, Costa is a member of the fiscally-conservative Blue Dog Coalition and has worked with his colleagues to support more responsible budgeting practices.

Costa’s work to improve the Valley stretches across the district. During his first term in office, Costa put together a broad-based bipartisan coalition aimed at developing a Regional Water Plan for Central California.  He also led the negotiations between the City of Fresno and the State of California that secured the final funding necessary to complete the new Amtrak station in Fresno.  During the 109th Congress, Costa played a leading role in the bipartisan effort to secure Highway 99 funding in the infrastructure bonds approved by California voters in 2006.  Costa was also a principal in the successful effort to secure Congressional approval of plans to keep Fresno’s 144th Air National Guard Fighter Wing viable well into the future.  As the primary author of state legislation to create the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Costa continues to work with local and state officials to clean up the Valley’s air.

Costa’s efforts to strengthen Valley agriculture and the economy have been recognized by organizations like The American Farm Bureau Federation who named him a recipient of its “Friend of the Farm Bureau” award. Costa has also received the “Spirit of Enterprise” award by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Costa’s work to crack down on violent crime and advocate for victims’ rights was recognized by the National Organization for Victim Assistance, which named him recipient of the Donald E. Santarelli Public Policy Award for demonstrating outstanding public policy leadership.

A product of Fresno County schools, Costa is a graduate of San Joaquin Memorial High School and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from California State University, Fresno. Before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Costa served for 24 years in the California State Legislature.

Biography from Jim Costa for Congress

Congressman Jim Costa has been an outspoken advocate for Valley water for over 30 years.

A  third-generation family farmer and lifelong San Joaquin Valley resident, he knows that water is the lifeblood of the Valley. With a fair share, our entire local economy benefits. When our water is diverted by misguided regulations and biased scientific evaluations, everyone in our area suffers the economic consequences.

The grandson of Portuguese immigrants, Costa served in the State Senate and Assembly before his election to Congress in 2004.  He has worked personally with every town and neighborhood in the district to make things better.

Costa, who co-chairs the House Victims’ Rights Caucus, is also an advocate for Valley health and housing needs, Valley veterans and high-speed rail – a project that will significantly enhance the Valley’s job market.

But Jim’s emphasis is the Valley economy, centering on the fight for water. It always has been.

He is the Valley’s voice for increasing water supply and storage, drought-relief, groundwater management, improving flood control and providing for a reliable and clean supply of drinking water.

For example, he  authored and helped win statewide approval of four water bonds, raising over $2 billion to improve water systems and provide for safe, reliable drinking water. That includes Proposition 204 to help restore the Bay Delta and fund groundwater recharge and flood control projects and Proposition 13 that improved water quality, increased underground storage and repaired outdated water pipes and storage systems.

Costa announced recently that his efforts in Congress have helped the Valley get an increased allocation in addition to a supplemental 8-10%. Both projects provide new water that was not previously available and would not have happened without Costa’s constant pressure.

“I am an optimist.  Our Valley continues to face a real crisis. But I believe we have turned a corner. Things will get better,” Costa says. “It is a beginning. But we must keep their feet to the fire. Our very survival is at stake.”

The 20th Congressional District is made up of portions of Fresno and Kern Counties and all of Kings County. Fresno County is the nation’s number one agriculture producing county, Kern County ranks third and Kings County is ninth.

Costa serves on the House Agriculture Committee, where he is a member of the Subcommittees on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry; and Conservation, Credit, Energy and Research.  On the House Natural Resources Committee Costa is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources and is a member of the Subcommittee on Water and Power. He is also a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee where he serves on the Subcommittees on the Middle East and South Asia; and Europe.  Costa is a co-founder of the Congressional Water Caucus and a co-founder of the Congressional Organ Donation Caucus.

A product of Fresno County schools, Costa graduated from San Joaquin Memorial High School. His Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science is from California State University, Fresno.

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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