Candidate, U.S. House California District 8
Rancher, Family Man, Public Servant
John Garamendi was raised on his family’s ranch in Mokelumne Hill, California. He received his B.A. in business from UC Berkeley where he was a Wheeler Scholar, second team All America offensive guard, two-time all Pacific Coast Conference team, and the 1964 West Coast heavy weight wrestling champion. He also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He and his wife Patti served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia before returning to the U.S and settling down in Walnut Grove, where they raised six children. They now have 13 grandchildren and continue to raise Angus cattle on their family ranch and grow pears in their Delta orchard in Walnut Grove.
Elected to the state legislature in 1974, Garamendi’s first legislation was the Rural Health Act of California to ensure that underserved residents in rural communities had access to quality health care. As a legislator, he established a work-oriented welfare program, developed a state agenda for economic competitiveness and scientific advancement, and authored legislation to fund the construction of research facilities across the UC system.
Beginning his service as California’s Insurance Commissioner in 1991, Garamendi 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 pay claims to policyholders, reduced homeowner, auto, and worker's compensation rates, and significantly curtailed insurance fraud.
Appointed Deputy Secretary of the Interior in 1995 by President Clinton, Garamendi led the U.S. CALFED negotiating team in a process to restore the environment in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River basins and the Delta, while meeting the improved water availability for 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.
Elected California Lieutenant Governor in 2007, he served as a UC and CSU Regent, where he fought for higher education funding and voted against every proposal to raise undergraduate tuition. As Chairman of the California Commission for Economic Development, he led successful efforts to expand workforce development and vocational education.
Elected to Congress in 2009, he seeks to address the fundamental issues that face all Americans: job creation, fixing a broken economy, access to affordable health care, protecting Social Security and Medicare, and cleaning up Wall Street.
Garamendi sits on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee as a senior member, working to ensure needed transportation and infrastructure investments to create American jobs and enhance domestic manufacturing. As a member of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) Conference Committee, Garamendi is part of a bipartisan bicameral delegation responsible for shaping the nation's water infrastructure policies. Working across the aisle with Republican lawmakers, Garamendi has helped secure levee funding for our region at the Shanghai Bend on the Feather River, the Marysville Ring Levee, and the J Levee in Hamilton City.
As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, Garamendi continues to protect and expand Travis and Beale Air Force bases which provide critical logistics and military intelligence programs that serve our nation in times of war and peace. A strong advocate for veterans, Garamendi has supported every bill in the House designed to help veterans and their families, including tax credits for employers who hire veterans and VA funding.
Garamendi also serves as the Chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness. In that capacity, he oversees over one-third of the Department of Defense's authorization--the largest of any Armed Services Subcommittee. He’s taken full advantage of his time as Chairman to empower our military to respond to the effects of climate change, passed legislation to provide stronger health care services to service members, and enacted a “tenants’ bill of rights” into law to provide greater legal recourse for service members who have been harmed by unhealthy conditions in privatized military housing.
With 30 years of experience in California water issues, Garamendi has become the leading advocate for a comprehenisve water plan for all California. As part of the water plan, Garamendi has developed bipartisan legislation to build Sites Reservoir, an off stream reservoir. He is a leader in the fight to stop the twin tunnels that would destroy the Delta. Instead of an expensive plumbing system that won't create a drop of new water for the state, Garamendi has called for more cost-effective investments in water recycling, conservation, and storage to help meet our water needs.
As the former Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, Garamendi became a leading Democrat shaping America's port policy, a very important role for promoting exports in manufacturing and agriculture.
Promoting policies that create jobs in Northern California, Garamendi has become the leading advocate for the Make It In America program to strengthen manufacturing. He is the author of four Make It In America bills that require that our tax money be spent on American-made equipment and jobs. His goal is to create a pathway to the middle class for thousands of hardworking Americans. Garamendi regularly hosts local job fairs to bring employers and job seekers together.
When Garamendi served as a member of the House Agricultural Committee, Garamendi helped shape a Farm Bill that gives Northern California farmers a fairer shake. He worked across the aisle to make flood insurance more affordable and has worked closely with UC Davis to bring more agricultural research to our region.