Linda T. Sánchez (born January 28, 1969) is the U.S. Representative for California's 39th congressional district, serving since 2003. She is a member of the Democratic Party.
Early life, education and career
Sánchez was born in Orange, California and grew up with six siblings, raised by Mexican immigrant parents in Anaheim. She earned her BA in Spanish in 1991 at the University of California, Berkeley and her Juris Doctor degree in 1995 at the UCLA School of Law, where she was an editor of the Chicano-Latino Law Review. Sánchez was an attorney specializing in labor law prior to her public service career. In 1998, she joined the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 441 and became a compliance officer. In 2000 she was unanimously elected to the position of Executive Secretary/Treasurer of the Orange County Central Labor Council.
U.S. House of Representatives
She has two committee assignments in the House: the Judiciary Committee and the United States House Committee on Ways and Means. In 2005, she was appointed Assistant Minority Whip. She is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and is Co-Chair of the Congressional Labor and Working Families Caucus (she co-founded this caucus).
Following Hurricane Katrina in late August 2005, President George W.
Bush suspended the Davis-Bacon Act, a 1934 law that requires government contractors to pay prevailing wages. Linda Sánchez was a very vocal critic of the suspension, and led the fight to reverse it. Sánchez eventually won, as Bush reversed himself on October 26, 2005.
In 2008 and again in 2009, Linda Sanchez introduced the "Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act," H.R. 1966, a bill which would criminalize the use of electronic communications if "the intent is to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person." This bill is a response to the suicide of Megan Meier, a 13 year old girl whose 2006 suicide was attributed to cyber-bullying through the social networking website MySpace. The bill has drawn criticism from members of the on-line community, legal scholars, and others who have contended that the bill would infringe the constitutional right of freedom of speech.
After the Arizona State Legislature passed State Senate Bill 1070 and after Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed it into law, Linda Sanchez generated controversy when she claimed that the law, and similar laws throughout the United States, were the product of white supremacists: "There's a concerted effort behind promoting these kinds of laws on a state-by-state basis by people who have ties to white supremacy groups.
It's been documented. It's not mainstream politics." Rep. Gary Miller called Sanchez's comments "an outrageous accusation." Her comments were also condemned by Steve Poizner.
Sánchez started her political career after a new 39th congressional district was created following the 2000 Census (the old 39th district had very different boundaries). She finished first in a six person primary for the Democratic Party nomination in March 2002. She won the primaries with 33.5% of the vote, with the second place candidate receiving 29.3%.
She went on to win the general elections against Republican Tim Escobar by a 54.9% to 40.8% margin. She ran unopposed in the Democratic primaries in 2004, and faced Escobar again in the general elections. She defeated Escobar by a margin of 60.7% to 39.3%. For the 2006 elections, she defeated two challengers in the primary with 77.8% of the vote, and defeated attorney James L. Andion in the general election.
Sánchez is married to Jim Sullivan, whom she married on April 13, 2009, in the district office of Congressman John B. The Colbert Report. The segment was aired on Comedy Central on March 9, 2006. Sánchez delivered the Spanish version of the Democratic Radio Address on May 6, 2006. In September 2006 Linda Sanchez won the contest "Funniest Celebrity in Washington" during a charity fundraiser.
Larson, who introduced the two about two years prior to the wedding. The marriage is the second for Sanchez, and Sullivan has three children from a previous marriage. On May 13, 2009, she became the 8th woman to have given birth while serving in Congress when she gave birth to her first son, Joaquin Sánchez Sullivan. Sánchez's father, Ignacio, suffers from Alzheimer's disease, which Sánchez has cited as a motivation for finding a cure for the disease. She is the younger sister of 47th District Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, who is nine years her senior, making them the first and to date only sister pair to serve in Congress. Linda Sánchez is considered to be more Progressive than her older sister. While Loretta began her political career as a moderate Republican before becoming a Democrat, Linda has always been a Democrat. Also, while Loretta is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition and the New Democrat Coalition, Linda is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Stephen Colbert interviewed Sánchez for his 434-part series "Better Know A District" on
Linda Sánchez, Loretta Sánchez and Richard Buskin, Dream in Color: How the Sánchez Sisters Are Making History in Congress, Grand Central Publishing (September 2, 2008) ISBN 978-0446508049, foreword by Nancy Pelosi
In 2008 sister congresswomen Loretta Sanchez and Linda Sanchez published the joint memoir Dream in Color: How the Sanchez Sisters Are Making History in Congress. Publishers Weekly reviewed the book and wrote: "Linda and Loretta Sanchez present their compelling story—noteworthy not only for their history-making achievements (including first sisters or women of any relation to serve together in Congress, first woman and person of color to represent a district in Orange County, first Latina on the House Judiciary Committee and first Head Start child to be elected to Congress) but also for its “American Dream” aspect—their parents immigrated from Mexico and despite lacking a formal education managed to send their seven children to college. Interweaving childhood vignettes with accounts of serving in Congress, both from California, this refreshing book evades many of the tropes of the typical political memoir—perhaps because these two women are not typical politicians."
September 20th, 2011