Joe Baca (D-CA-43)
Joe Baca California District 43
Joe Baca, Biography from House.gov
Biography of Congressman Joe Baca
Rep. Joe Baca has served in Congress since winning a special election in 1999. Rep. Baca represents the 43rd District of California, which includes the cities of Colton, Fontana, Rialto, Ontario and San Bernardino, as well as the areas of Bloomington and Muscoy.
Rep. Baca serves on the House Agriculture Committee, and he is the Ranking Democratic Member of the Subcommittee on Nutrition and Horticulture. He also is a member of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry. He also serves on the House Financial Services Committee, where he is a member of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, and also the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
In November 2006, the members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) elected Congressman Joe Baca (D-California) to serve as its next Chair. Rep. Baca led the group, which includes all Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate of Hispanic descent, during the 110th Congress (2007-2008).
During his time as Chair of the CHC, Rep. Baca successfully led efforts to fight back harmful English-only and anti-immigrant amendments offered in the House. He also guided the CHC in their successful efforts to ensure the contributions of Latino and Native America veterans were recognized in the PBS documentary “The War.” In addition, Rep. Baca used his leadership position to help pass record breaking funding levels for food stamps and nutrition programs to feed over 38 million hungry Americans; and helped secure record levels of funding for Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Tribal Colleges, and Historically Black Serving Colleges and Universities including over $200 million in new grant funding. He currently serves as chair of the CHC Corporate America Task Force, which focuses on increasing diversity and Latino recruitment and retention in board rooms and industries across the nation. As an active Member of the House Native American Caucus, Rep. Baca has served as a strong advocate for tribal sovereignty and has worked to promote nutritional programs on reservations.
In the 111th Congress (2009-2010), Rep. Baca introduced two bills that were successfully passed by both the House and Senate and signed into law by the President. The first, the Native American Heritage Day Act, recognizes the Friday after Thanksgiving as Native American Heritage Day 2009 – a day to pay tribute to the heritage and contributions of Native Americans everywhere. The second, the Arnold Palmer Congressional Gold Medal Act, awards golfing icon Arnold Palmer the Congressional Gold Medal for his contributions to the nation in promoting good sportsmanship and through his numerous philanthropic activities. In addition, Congressman Baca has served as lead sponsor of the PROUD Act, legislation that puts responsible immigrant high school graduates on an expedited path to U.S. Citizenship. The PROUD Act was successfully included in H.R. 4321, the comprehensive immigration reform bill that will introduced in the House in the 111th Congress. He also sponsored a resolution, which passed the House, recognizing the importance of Tribal Elders to ensure an accurate Census count in Indian Country in 2010.
Joe was born in Belen, New Mexico, the youngest of 15 children in a house where little English was spoken. His father was a railroad laborer. When Joe was a young boy his family moved to Barstow, California. Joe worked shining shoes at age 10, delivered newspapers, and later worked as a laborer for the Santa Fe Railroad until he was drafted in 1966. He served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper with both the 101st and the 82nd Airborne Divisions from 1966-68.
Following military service, Joe earned his associates degree from Barstow Community College in 1970, and his bachelor’s degree in sociology from California State University – Los Angeles in 1971. He worked for 15 years in community relations with General Telephone and Electric. In 1979, he was the first Latino elected to the Board of Trustees for the San Bernardino Valley College District. He was elected to the State Assembly in 1992, where he became the first Latino Speaker pro Tempore, and was elected to the State Senate in 1998.
Joe and his wife, Barbara, began their own business, Interstate World Travel, in San Bernardino in 1989. They have four children – Joe Jr., Jeremy, Natalie and Jennifer. Joe Baca Jr. recently completed service as state assemblyman for California’s 62nd district, marking the first time a father and son have served alongside from the same district.
Rep. Baca has received many honors for his public service. Recent awards include the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President’s Achievement Award, the National Farmers Union Presidential Award for Leadership, the Walter Kaitz Foundation Diversity Advocate Award, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Coalition of Minority Employees Award of Excellence. In both 2009 and 2010, Latino Leaders Magazine listed Rep. Baca as one of the top 100 most influential Hispanic leaders in America. In addition, Rep. Baca ranked twelfth on the list of the top 42 Hispanics on the “Who’s Hot” list. He has also had two local parks named after him: the Joe Baca Senior Field at the Empire Center in Fontana and the Joe Baca Field at the Rialto Boys and Girls Club. In addition, the Colton Joint Unified School District recently broke ground on the “Joe Baca Middle School” at 1640 S. Lilac Avenue in Rialto, California. The school is expected to open for the 2012-2013 school year.
Biography from Friends of Joe Baca
Born in Belen, New Mexico, in 1947, the youngest of 15 children in a house where little English was spoken, Joe Baca learned at an early age that education, hard work, and public service are the fundamental building blocks of success and empowerment.
The son of a railroad laborer, Joe and his family moved to Barstow, California when he was a young boy. To support his family and contribute to the household Joe worked shining shoes at age 10, delivered newspapers, and later, like his father, worked as a laborer for the Santa Fe Railroad. After graduating from Barstow High School In 1966, Joe was drafted to the U.S. Army where he served as a paratrooper with both the 101st and the 82nd Airborne Divisions from 1966-68.
While serving in the military, Baca never lost sight of his desire to pursue higher education and attend college. After he returned from military service he enrolled in the California State University – Los Angeles where he earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Baca worked with students early in his career as a counselor, mentor, and baseball coach while raising a family with his wife Barbara. Joe also worked as a community relations representative for General Telephone and Electric for more than 15 years, further strengthening his ties to the community and education.
In 1976 he founded the Youth Education and Motivation Program (YEMP), a program which strives to motivate students to stay in school and to inform them of career and work options. The organization is still operating in the Inland Empire in both Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
In 1979, Baca’s desire to close the higher education gap took him to the San Bernardino Valley College District where Baca served as the first Latino ever elected to the Board of Trustees. While serving as a Board of Trustees member, Baca initiated measures that continue to help students obtain scholarships and government funding while receiving vocational and technical training that has helped many students move into local jobs.
At the state and federal levels, Baca continues to leave his mark on education. First elected to the California State Assembly in 1992 and the California State Senate in 1998, and serving in Congress since 1999, Baca continually votes for measures that will improve our education system, make higher education affordable, lower tuition costs, and increase federal financial aid. Baca believes in fully funding Head Start Programs and opposes private school vouchers and tuition tax subsidies for private schools because he believes all children have a right to the best programs public school can afford.
Joe and his wife Barbara have four children – Joe Jr., Jeremy, Natalie, and Jennifer, and each of them, including his wife Barbara, have obtained higher education degrees from public institutions or initiated coursework in local community colleges.
Rep. Baca serves on the House Agriculture Committee, and he is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Departmental Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry. He also is a member of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry. He also serves on the House Financial Services Committee where he is a member of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, and the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. In addition, Rep. Baca serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and as a member of the Water and Power Subcommittee.
Rep. Baca has received many honors for his public service. Recent awards include the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President’s Achievement Award, the National Farmers Union Presidential Award for Leadership, the Walter Kaitz Foundation Diversity Advocate Award, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Coalition of Minority Employees Award of Excellence. A 2009 report released by Latino Leaders Magazine, listed Rep. Baca as one of the top 100 most influential Hispanic leaders in American. In addition, Rep. Baca ranked twelfth on the list of the top 42 Hispanics on the “Who’s Hot” list. He has also had two local parks named after him: the Joe Baca Senior Field at the Empire Center in Fontana and the Joe Baca Field at the Rialto Boys and Girls Club.
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