|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
|Assumed office |
November 5, 2009
|Preceded by||Ellen Tauscher|
|Constituency||10th district (2009–2013)|
3rd district (2013–present)
|46th Lieutenant Governor of California|
January 8, 2007 – November 3, 2009
|Preceded by||Cruz Bustamante|
|Succeeded by||Mona Pasquil (acting)|
|1st and 5th Insurance Commissioner of California|
January 6, 2003 – January 8, 2007
|Preceded by||Harry Low|
|Succeeded by||Steve Poizner|
January 7, 1991 – January 2, 1995
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Chuck Quackenbush|
|1st United States Deputy Secretary of the Interior|
August 15, 1995 – April 1998
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||David J. Hayes|
|Member of the California Senate|
December 3, 1976 – December 3, 1990
|Preceded by||Al Alquist|
|Succeeded by||Patrick Johnston|
|Constituency||13th district (1976–1984)|
5th district (1984–1990)
|Member of the California State Assembly|
from the 7th district
December 7, 1974 – December 2, 1976
|Preceded by||William Bagley|
|Succeeded by||Norman S. Waters|
John Raymond Garamendi
January 24, 1945
Camp Blanding, Florida, U.S.
|Residence||Walnut Grove, California, U.S.|
|Education||University of California, Berkeley (BA)|
Harvard University (MBA)
John Raymond Garamendi (//; born January 24, 1945) is an American businessman, politician, and member of the Democratic Party who has represented areas of Northern California between San Francisco and Sacramento, including the cities of Fairfield and Suisun City, in the United States House of Representatives since November 2009. Garamendi was previously the California Insurance Commissioner from 1991 to 1995 and 2003 to 2007, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Interior from 1995 to 1998, and the 46th Lieutenant Governor of California from 2007 until his election to Congress.
Garamendi was born in Camp Blanding, Florida, and raised in Mokelumne Hill, California. He earned a B.A. in business from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, then served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia from 1966 to 1968. He was elected to the California State Assembly in 1974, serving a single term before being elected in 1976 to the California State Senate, where he served for four terms until 1990. During this time he had a spell as Majority Leader and ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nominations for Governor of California in 1982 and for California State Controller in 1986.
In 1990, he became the first elected California Insurance Commissioner, serving from 1991 to 1995. He ran for governor in the 1994 election, losing in the Democratic primary. He left public office and served as President Bill Clinton's Deputy Secretary of the Interior from 1995 to 1998, then worked for the Peace Corps again. He was elected insurance commissioner again in 2002 and briefly ran for governor again in the 2003 recall, before dropping out to support Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante. In 2006, he was elected lieutenant governor to succeed the term-limited Bustamante.
Garamendi had planned to run for governor for a fourth time in 2010, but after Democratic U.S. Representative Ellen Tauscher of California's 10th congressional district resigned to become Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Garamendi won a November 2009 special election to succeed her.
Early life and education
Garamendi was born in Camp Blanding, Florida, and was raised in Mokelumne Hill, California, the son of Mary Jane (née McSorley) and Raymond V. Garamendi. His paternal grandparents were Basque immigrants from Spain and his mother was of half Irish and half Italian ancestry. Garamendi received a Bachelor of Arts in business from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was both a football player and wrestler, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School. He served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia from 1966 to 1968. Garamendi is an Eagle Scout. Garamendi is also a member of Sigma Chi, as a brother of the Alpha Beta Chapter at Berkeley.
California legislature (1977–1991)
In 1974, Garamendi decided to run for California's 7th State Assembly district. Six-term Republican incumbent William T. Bagley did not stand for re-election, instead running for California State Controller. In the election to succeed Bagley, Garamendi faced Republican State Assemblyman Douglas F. Carter. Carter had won a special election in the 12th Assembly district in July 1973 to succeed Republican Robert T. Monagan. In the general election, Garamendi defeated Carter in a landslide, by 60,380 votes (64.08%) to 33,842 (35.92%) as the Democrats won a supermajority in the California State Assembly for the first time since the 1800s.
In 1976, he decided to retire after one term to run in California's 13th State Senate district. He defeated Republican Bob Whitten 53%-47%. He won re-election in 1980 (60%), 1984 (69%), and 1988 (69%).
While in the California Senate, he served as Majority Leader. He was Chairman of the Joint Committee on Science and Technology, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, and the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee.
1982 gubernatorial election
1986 controller election
Insurance commissioner (1991–1995)
He ran for California Insurance Commissioner for the first time in 1990. He won the Democratic primary with a plurality of 36% of the vote. His closest challenger was radio talk show host Bill Press, who got 28% of the vote. In the general election, he defeated Republican Wes Bannister 52%-38%.
In 1991, while serving as the newly instituted California Insurance Commissioner, Garamendi seized Executive Life, a failing life insurance company, and resold it to French investors who turned out to be fronts for a government-owned French bank. They made billions of dollars selling off the company's portfolio of junk bonds while the Californians with Executive Life policies were very negatively affected. This situation erupted into a scandal in both the U.S. and France, with the U.S. government filing criminal charges, because it was illegal for a government-owned bank to own a U.S. insurer. Policyholders blamed Garamendi for putting them in this position.
Eventually the U.S. government reached a settlement with the French bankers, and in 2005 Garamendi too agreed to a settlement, the terms of which further angered Executive Life policyholders, who, according to the Sacramento Bee, "had been damaged to the tune of perhaps $5 billion." A leader of the policyholders' interest group, Sue Watson, said, "We are shocked and outraged that the largest financial fraud in California history would be settled for so little and without even a fight." The Bee editorialized that "Garamendi cannot simultaneously assert that the sale was a good deal and a multibillion-dollar fraud, and then defend a cents-on-the-dollar settlement that left the buyers with billions of dollars in windfall profits. It just does not make sense."
1994 gubernatorial election
After his tenure as insurance commissioner, President Bill Clinton appointed Garamendi to serve as Deputy Secretary of the Interior, the second-highest post in the U.S. Department of the Interior. He resigned in 1998 and worked with the Peace Corps. He then spent time in the private sector.
Insurance commissioner (2003–2007)
He ran for California insurance commissioner for a second time in 2002. He won the Democratic primary with 39% of the vote. In the general election, he defeated Republican Gary Mendoza 46%-42%.
2003 gubernatorial election
On August 7, 2003 Garamendi announced his candidacy for governor a third time in the gubernatorial recall election, but dropped out two days later to endorse Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante.
Lieutenant governor (2007–2009)
On July 16, 2004, Garamendi announced his candidacy to run for Lieutenant Governor of California. Garamendi's endorsers included former Vice President Al Gore, Sierra Club, the California Teachers Association, the California League of Conservation Voters, the Peace Officers Research Association of California, the California Professional Firefighters Association, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, and former U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. Garamendi won the Democratic primary by defeating state senators Jackie Speier and Liz Figueroa 43%-40%-18%. In the general election, he defeated Republican State Senator Tom McClintock 49%-45%.
U.S. House of Representatives (2009–present)
Despite living outside of California's 10th congressional district, Garamendi announced his intention to run for the 2009 special election in the 10th district, where Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher had vacated her seat. There was some confusion about the location of Garamendi's residence. Garamendi said: "My front yard is in the district, our bedroom is not." Garamendi continued to fuel speculation about the location of his residence when he made similar comments to The New York Times in July, stating the same thing. The Sacramento Board of Elections later confirmed that no portion of Garamendi's property lies within the 10th congressional district.
In the September election, no candidate reached the 50% threshold to avoid a run-off election. Garamendi ranked first among Democrats with 26% of the vote, defeating State Senator Mark DeSaulnier (18%) and Assemblymember Joan Buchanan (12%). In the November run-off special election, Garamendi defeated Republican nominee David Harmer 53%-43%. After winning the special election on November 3, Garamendi was sworn in as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives on November 5, 2009.
Garamendi won re-election to his first full term defeating Republican nominee Gary Clift 59%-38%.
Garamendi was running in a district that was over 77 percent new to him. While the old 10th district traditionally favored Democrats, the new 3rd was somewhat more of a swing district. However, the bulk of its vote was located in Democratic-leaning territory between the Bay Area and Sacramento, Garamendi's base. Garamendi defeated Republican Kim Vann 54.2%-45.8%.
Garamendi was re-elected.
Garamendi was critical of President Donald Trump, suggesting in December 2016 that because of his international real-estate business, Trump was weighed down with conflicts of interest. He also said he was disturbed by the placement of "generals, ex-generals in every one of the key positions dealing with the military, dealing with international affairs."
In July 2017, Garamendi said that during recent visits to Vietnam, South Korea, and Australia, he had encountered "angst, worry and concern about what's happening in America."
Garamendi said in January 2018 that he was "angry" when President Trump referred to certain Third World nations as "shithole countries."
In January 2018, he called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 a "tax scam" that would primarily benefit the so-called "1 percent." He asserted that House "deficit hawks" wanted to "cut out the social safety net" to pay for tax bill.
In a January 2018 interview, Garamendi said of the U.S. treasury: "There's no money. They gave it all away." He complained that current economic policies, including the large 2017 tax cuts, benefited the rich and corporations, not the middle class.
Commenting in January 2018 on illegal immigration, he expressed the desire to "make sure every person is identified" and charged that E-Verify, a system intended to curtail undocumented employment, had "not really been enforced." He said that it was possible to come up with some compromise on the issue between conservative and progressive House members, and expressed concern about the fate of "undocumented immigrants who are not considered Dreamers."
In May 2011, by a vote of 60–1, the House Armed Services Committee approved a $553 billion military-funding bill that would increase pay and fund new aircraft, ships, and submarines. The sole "no" vote was cast by Garamendi. In the same month, Garamendi introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would withdraw 90 percent of troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2013. Along with eight other members of Congress he wrote a letter to President Obama asking him to end the war.
With Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Garamendi sponsored the Due Process Guarantee Act, a 2012 bill pushed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), that would bar the military from indefinitely detaining U.S. citizens or residents within the country without charge or trial.
Garmendi actively opposed a GOP-backed construction of a missile defense site on the East Coast, saying it was fiscally irresponsible to be "spending up to $5 billion in the next three years on a missile defense system that doesn't work."
In a May 2011 article, Garamendi stated that "our national security is much more dependent on ending desperate poverty, funding good schools, and empowering women in the developing world while eradicating international terrorist networks like al Qaeda. With bin Laden dead and al Qaeda in Afghanistan largely extinguished, it's time we revisited the wisdom of continuing the war in Afghanistan."
In April 2018, he expressed opposition to building a border wall and said, "If you want to go where the problem is, fund the Coast Guard."
In the fall of 2017, Garamendi and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) co-introduced H.R. 4001, the Student Loan Refinancing and Recalculating Act. "For many Americans, the price of a college education is too high," he said.
Garamendi voted on November 19, 2015, for HR 4038, legislation that would effectively halt the resettlement of refugees from Syria and Iraq to the United States.
On March 31, 2018, he described Trump's approach to Syria as "helter-skelter" and "chaos."
He expressed opposition in April 2018 to a military strike on Syria. "You have to have a strategy. This president doesn't have a clue about how to build a strategy."
- Committee on Armed Services
- Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
- House Democratic Caucus
- American Sikh Caucus (Co-Chair)
- Air Force Caucus
- Alzheimer's Task Force
- Military Families Caucus
- Peace Corps Caucus (Co-Chair)
- Shipbuilding Caucus
- Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition
- United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus
- Veterinary Medicine Caucus
- Wine Caucus
|Office||Type||Location||Elected||Term began||Term ended|
|State assemblyman||Legislature||Sacramento||1974||December 7, 1974||December 2, 1976|
|State senator||Legislature||Sacramento||1976||December 2, 1976||December 8, 1980|
|State senator||Legislature||Sacramento||1980||December 8, 1980||December 3, 1984|
|State senator||Legislature||Sacramento||1984||December 3, 1984||December 5, 1988|
|State senator||Legislature||Sacramento||1988||December 5, 1988||December 3, 1990|
|Insurance commissioner||Executive||Sacramento||1990||January 7, 1991||January 2, 1995|
|Insurance commissioner||Executive||Sacramento||2002||January 6, 2003||January 8, 2007|
|Lieutenant governor||Executive||Sacramento||2006||January 8, 2007||November 3, 2009|
|U.S. Representative||Legislative||Washington, D.C.||2009||November 3, 2009||January 3, 2011|
|U.S. Representative||Legislative||Washington, D.C.||2010||January 3, 2011||Present|
|California State Legislature service|
|Peace and Freedom||Tom Condit||281,276||3.9|
|Democratic win (new seat)|
|Green||David Ishmael Sheidlower||277,667||3.9|
|Libertarian||Dale F. Ogden||236,688||3.3|
|Natural Law||Raul Calderon||192,001||2.7|
|American Independent||Steven A. Klein||148,893||2.1|
|Green||Donna J. Warren||239,107||2.8|
|American Independent||Jim King||68,446||0.8|
|Peace and Freedom||Tom Condit||43,319||0.5|
|American Independent||Jerome Denham||309||0.29|
|Peace and Freedom||Mary McIlroy||272||0.25|
|Democratic||Tiffany Attwood (write-in)||2||0.00|
|Peace and Freedom||Mary McIlroy||1,846||1.34|
|American Independent||Jerome Denham||1,591||1.15|
|Democratic||John Garamendi (incumbent)||137,578||58.9|
|California's 3rd Congressional District Primary election, 2012|
|Democratic||John Garamendi (incumbent)||59,546||51.5|
|Democratic||John Garamendi (incumbent)||126,882||54.2|
|Congressional 3rd Congressional District election, 2014|
|Democratic||John Garamendi (incumbent)||79,224||52.7|
|California 3rd Congressional District primary election, 2016|
|Democratic||John Garamendi (incumbent)||98,430||63.1|
|California 3rd Congressional District general election, 2016|
|Democratic||John Garamendi (incumbent)||152,513||59.4%|
Garamendi is married to Patricia Wilkinson, who has worked as agriculture specialist for the California Exposition and State Fair and as deputy secretary of California's Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. In 1993, she was appointed by President Clinton to serve as associate director of the Peace Corps and in 1998 as deputy administrator in the Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service. They live in Walnut Grove and have six children and thirteen grandchildren.
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- "Garamendi for Congress". Garamendi.org. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- Stephen D. Cummings; Patrick B. Reddy (2009). California After Arnold. p. 182. ISBN 9780875867403. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- "Tauscher accepts State Department post - San Jose Mercury News". Mercurynews.com. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
-  Archived July 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- "NationalJournal". NationalJournal.com. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
-  Archived May 26, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- "John Garamendi ancestry". Freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- "Biography". US House of Representatives. Archived from the original on January 6, 2011. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
- "Work for the World". www.peacecorps.gov. Archived from the original on September 29, 2006.
-  Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- "Our Campaigns - CA State Assembly 07 1974". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
- "The Times Standard from Eureka, California · Page 18". The Times Standard. November 7, 1974. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
- "Our Campaigns - CA Senate 13". Our Campaigns. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
- "CA State Senate 13 Race - Nov 04, 1980". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- "CA State Senate 05 Race - Nov 06, 1984". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- "CA State Senate 05 Race - Nov 08, 1988". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- "Candidate - John Garamendi". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- "CA Governor - D Primary Race - Jun 08, 1982". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- "CA Controller - D Primary Race - Jun 03, 1986". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- "CA Insurance Commissioner - D Primary Race - Jun 05, 1990". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- "CA Insurance Commissioner Race - Nov 06, 1990". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- Kristof, KATHY M. "Executive Life Buyout Rejected by Garamendi". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
- Hiltzik, Michael. "Exec Life Saga Still Shadows Garamendi". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
- Walters, Dan. "Investigate a shameful insurance deal". San Diego Tribune. The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
- McMenamin, Brigid. "Executive Life". Forbes. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
- "CA Governor - D Primary Race - Jun 07, 1994". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
-  Archived April 19, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
- "CA Insurance Commissioner - D Primary Race - Mar 05, 2002". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
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- "CA Lieutenant Governor - D Primary Race - Jun 06, 2006". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
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- Marinucci, Carla (April 23, 2009). "Garamendi changes course for Tauscher's seat". SF Gate. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
- "CA - District 10 - Special Election Runoff Race - Nov 03, 2009". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
-  Archived September 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
-  Archived October 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- "CA - District 10 Race - Nov 02, 2010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- "Solano County's Congressman John Garamendi files election papers". Thereporter.com. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- "Garamendi is a candidate for new third congressional district". Woodlandrecord.com. July 15, 2009. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- "California Redistricting: The Democrats' Proposal". Swing State Project. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
- Blitzer, Wolf. "The Situation Room - Interview With California Congressman John Garamendi". CNN. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
- Ternus-Bellamy, Anne. "Garamendi talks Trump, partisan gridlock and more during Davis town hall". Davis Enterprise. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
- Bammer, Richard. "Congressman John Garamendi says feds have 'no money'". Daily Democrat. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
- Bammer, Richard. "Congressman John Garamendi says feds have 'no money'". Daily Democrat. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
- "Rep. Garamendi Says Trump 'Doesn't Have a Clue' on Syria Strategy". Bloomberg. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
- Wolf, Jim. "House panel OKs $690 billion in 2012 military spending". Reuters. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
- Hotakainen, Rob. "California Democrat Garamendi takes on Obama over taxes". McClatchy. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
- "Garamendi & Bipartisan Congressional Coalition Send Letter to President Obama Urging an End to War in Afghanistan". garamendi.house.gov. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
- Johnson, Robert. "This Is How You Can Tell Congress To Undo The NDAA". Business Insider. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
- Cassata, Donna (May 16, 2012). "Bipartisan House group wants end to indefinite detention, without trial, for terror suspects". Associated Press. Retrieved June 7, 2012.[permanent dead link]
- Cassata, Donna; Burns, Robert (May 9, 2012). "House panel OKs missile defense site on East Coast". San Diego Union Tribune: Associated Press. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
- "A 90-day extension of Patriot Act provisions | U.S. Congress Votes Database - The Washington PostThe Washington Post". Projects.washingtonpost.com. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- Garamendi, John. "Bin Laden's Death and the Future of Afghanistan". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
- Krawczyk, Kathryn. "Trump jokes about a 16-year presidency and his 'despotic tendencies'". The Week. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
- Bammer, Richard. "Congressman John Garamendi's bill to ease student loan debt awaits committee action". The Reporter. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
- "Inside the Syrian refugee vote: California representatives explain what shaped their votes". LA Times. November 20, 2015. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- "Rep. Garamendi: John Bolton is 'downright dangerous'". MSNBC. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
- Garamendi, John. "There's no green light for terrible Delta tunnels". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
- "Committees and Caucuses". Congressman John Garamendi. December 13, 2012. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on August 1, 2018. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
- "Members of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus". Veterinary Medicine Caucus. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
- "Official Canvass: United States Representative 10th Congressional District Special Primary Election, September 1, 2009" (PDF). Secretary of State of California. September 9, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 24, 2009. Retrieved September 22, 2009.
- "Official Canvass: United States Representative 10th Congressional District Special General Election, November 3, 2009" (PDF). Secretary of State of California. November 16, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 19, 2009. Retrieved November 16, 2009.
-  Archived May 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
-  Archived October 19, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
- "Official Canvass: United States Representative 3rd Congressional District Special General Election, November 8, 2016" (PDF). Secretary of State of California. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
- "Representative John Garamendi (CA)". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Garamendi.|
- Congressman John Garamendi official U.S. House website
- John Garamendi for Congress
- John Garamendi at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN