ENG: John Raymond Garamendi (born January 24, 1945) is an American politician and the U.S. Representative for California's 3rd congressional district. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Garamendi was the California State Insurance Commissioner from 1991 to 1995, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Interior from 1995 to 1998, and the California State Insurance Commissioner again from 2003 to 2007. He then served as the 46th Lieutenant Governor of California from January 8, 2007 until he was elected to Congress in November 2009.
Garamendi was temporarily a candidate for Governor of California in the 2010 election after announcing his candidacy on July 31, 2008.
However, he suspended his candidacy on April 29, 2009, to run for Congress in the 10th congressional district. This seat was vacated by Ellen Tauscher, who resigned to become Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. Garamendi won the Democratic Party nomination in the primary election for the seat on September 1 and then won the special election on November 3, 2009. Garamendi was re-elected to a full term in 2010 and 2012.
Early life and education
Garamendi was raised in Mokelumne Hill, California, the son of Mary Jane (née McSorley) and Raymond V. Garamendi.
His paternal grandparents were Basque immigrants and his mother was of half Irish and half Italian ancestry. Garamendi received a B.A. 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) - Elections
In 1974, Garamendi decided to run in California's 7th State Assembly district. He defeated incumbent Republican State Representative Douglas Carter 64%-36%.
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 was the Senate Majority Leader. His sponsored legislature reformed health care, welfare, and the state tax code.
He also protected Lake Tahoe and Lake Mono.
He was Chairman of the Joint Committee on Science and Technology, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee.
Latter political career (1991-2009) - Insurance Commissioner (1991-1995)
His early years in the office that brought him much controversy due to the state seizure of Executive Life Insurance Company, a bankruptcy that was coincidental with the creation of the state Department of Insurance. In addition to this had a number of other accomplishments. He successfully implemented Proposition 103, reforming the auto and homeowner insurance industry. Under his leadership, the department protected homeowners from the Oakland Hills Fire by forcing insurance companies to fully pay for rebuilding. His department earned a reputation as the best consumer protection agency in the nation.
After his tenure as Insurance Commissioner, he spent four years in the private sector.
He led groups of Peace Corps volunteers that helped negotiate peace in the Eritrean–Ethiopian War and Congo Civil War. In 1999, 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.
Insurance Commissioner (2003-2007)
He created a Home Owners Bill of Rights. This helped create laws that reduced workers compensation costs 58% and reduced premiums by over $500 million. He re-established an anti-fraud task force. He also developed a report analyzing California’s health care system with 43 recommended improvements.
Lieutenant Governor (2007-2009)
While being Lieutenant Governor of California he was the De Facto President of the State Senate, regent of the University California, Trustee of the California State University System, member of the California State Lands Commission, Chairman of the California Commission for Economic Development, and acting Governor.
U.S. House of Representatives (2009-Present) - Elections - 2009
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 Democrat 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 NYT in July, stating the same thing. The Sacramento Board of Elections later confirmed that no portion of Garamendi’s property lies within Congressional District 10.
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 State Representative 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 US House of Representatives on November 5, 2009.
Garamendi won re-election to his first full term defeating Republican nominee Gary Clift 59%-38%.
After redistricting, Garamendi filed papers in March 2012 to run in the newly redrawn California's 3rd congressional district.
He currently represents just 23% of the district. While his current 10th Congressional District traditionally favors Democrats, the new 3rd District is now considered swing district by some.
During the 111th Congress, Garamendi voted with his party 98% of the time.
While Democrats had the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2009 to 2010, Garamendi voted for most of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's agenda. Some key votes include his support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010.
John Garamendi has voted with the Democratic party 93% of the time. Garamendi also voted against the balanced budget amendment.
Garamendi is married and has six children.
January 24, 2013