Charles Jeremy Lewis (born October 21, 1934) is the U.S. Representative for California's 41st congressional district, and previously the 40th, 35th and 37th, serving since 2003. He is a member of the Republican Party. He is a former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, serving in the role during the 109th Congress.
Early life, education and career
Lewis was born in Seattle, Washington. In 1952 he graduated from San Bernardino High School in San Bernardino, California, where he captained the swim team and was a basketball star; his basketball jersey was later retired. In 1956 he received a B.A.
from UCLA. Lewis served as a Coro Foundation fellow in San Francisco. After college, Lewis was in the insurance business.
Early political career
He was a member of the San Bernardino School Board from 1964 to 1968. He was on the staff of Congressman Jerry Pettis in 1966. He was a member of the California State Assembly from 1969 to 1978.
In January 1974, he ran in a special election for the California State Senate, losing to Democrat Ruben Ayala. In the campaign, Ayala noted that two-thirds of the $130,000 that Lewis raised came from 43 donors — 22 of whom were Sacramento lobbyists.
In November 1978, Lewis was elected as a Republican to the 96th United States Congress, in what was then the 37th Congressional district, with 61 percent of the vote. He has been re-elected every two years since then.
Lewis was chair of the House Republican Conference from 1989 to 1992. In January 1995, he became chairman of the Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development and Independent Agencies Appropriations subcommittee. In January 1999, he became chairman of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee.
In January 2005 he became chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. In October 2006, Lewis dismissed 60 contract employees, who made up the majority of investigators for the Appropriations Committee and its subcommittees. An Appropriations spokesman said the dismissals were part of a "bipartisan review" undertaken because the team's recent work "has not been that good", but later acknowledged that Lewis did not seek the approval of the committee's top-ranking Democrat, David R. Obey of Wisconsin, nor had he consulted with other committee Republicans.
Rep. Lewis served as the chairman of appropriations during the 109th Congress.
In the 110th and 111th, he served as Ranking Member on the committee. He sought the chairmanship for the 112th Congress, but it was instead given to Harold Rogers (R-KY).
Lewis is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership and supports stem-cell research.
Lewis considers himself pro-life, opposes most public funding of abortions, but encourages family planning efforts which are opposed by many Catholics.
He thinks gun-control efforts should center on stiff prison terms for repeat criminals who use firearms, but is open to considering requiring trigger locks and other child safety measures for law-abiding gun owners.
The American Conservative Union gave Lewis' 2008 voting record 84 out of 100 points. The liberal Americans for Democratic Action gave him 0 out of 100 for 2005 (most recent available).
Lewis is a signer of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
Between 1980 and 1998, Lewis received at least 60 percent of the vote at each election. In 2000 he won with 80 percent of the vote, running against two minor party candidates. In 2002, he won with 67 percent, with his Democratic opponent reported no campaign spending.
In 2004 he again had no Democratic opponent in the general election.
In 2006, Lewis ran against Louie Contreras, the owner of an insurance brokerage company. In October 2006 it was reported that Lewis had more than $800,000 of his campaign funds to pay Los Angeles-based law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, for the services of its lawyers. Lewis is connected to a 4-year federal investigation (see below).
In 2008, Lewis received his strongest challenge in decades from San Bernardino attorney Tim Prince, who won a 4-candidate Democratic primary. Lewis put up campaign signs all over the district and was forced to spend over a million dollars to retain his seat. He declined Prince's challenges for a debate. In 2010, Lewis easily defeated Democrat Pat Meagher.
Lewis employs his wife, Arlene Willis, as the chief of staff in his office. Before they were married, Willis was her husband's top aide when he came to Capitol Hill in 1979. Lewis and Willis have four children of their own and three children from prior marriages.
September 21st, 2011