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Biography Sam Farr

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Sam Farr Sam Farr
Sam Farr
U.S. Representative for California (since 1993) - member of the Democratic Party.


Sam Farr Biography

ENG: Samuel Sharon "Sam" Farr (born July 4, 1941) is the U.S. Representative for California's 20th congressional district, serving in Congress since 1993. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He was elected to Congress in a 1993 special election when longtime Democratic Rep. Leon Panetta resigned to become Director of the Office of Management and Budget.


Early and Personal Life

Farr was born in San Francisco, the son of Janet E. (née Haskins) and Frederick Sharon "Fred" Farr. One of his maternal great-grandfathers was acting mayor of Los Angeles William Hartshorn Bonsall, and one of his paternal great-great-grandfathers was the brother of Nevada Senator William Sharon. He grew up in Carmel, where he still lives. His father was a California state senator for many years. Farr was educated at Willamette University, Santa Clara University and the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

He is married to Shary and has one daughter, Jessica. He is grandfather to two: Ella and Zach.


Peace Corps service

Farr joined the Peace Corps in 1964 and served for two years as a volunteer in Colombia. He spent his time in a poor barrio near Medellin, teaching community development skills.

While he was serving in Colombia, Farr’s mother died from cancer. Following her death, his father visited with Farr’s sisters. While riding horses, one of his sisters (Nancy), was thrown and hit her head. She died on the operating table in a Colombian hospital.

Since his Peace Corps service ended, Farr has visited Colombia several times. He took his wife for their honeymoon and has returned several other times for both personal and official business. During a trip in 2007, Farr spoke in front of the Colombian Congress and was awarded the Orden del Congreso de Colombia.


State and local political career

Farr’s public service career began in the California Assembly, where he worked as a staffer on budget issues for a decade. In 1975, he ran for and won a seat on the Monterey County Board of Supervisors.

In 1980 he was elected to the California State Assembly, where he became a champion for the organics industry and wrote one of the country’s strictest oil spill liability laws. He served in the Assembly until his election to Congress in 1993.


House of Representatives

Farr was elected to the House of Representatives in 1993 through a special election when former Congressman Leon Panetta resigned to become President Clinton’s budget director. Farr was elected to his first full term in 1994.



Farr introduced the “Oceans Conservation, Education, and National Strategy for the 21st century Act” (H.R. 21) in January 2007. The bill would consolidate national management of oceans, creating a system of regional governance; make the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration the chief oceans agency; creates an ocean advisor in the president’s Cabinet; creates regional and national ocean advisory committees; and create an Oceans and Great Lakes Conservation Trust Fund. It received a subcommittee markup in April 2008 and passed by a vote of 11–3.

Farr's "Reconstruction and Stabilization Civilian Management Act of 2008" (H.R. 1084) was approved by the House but stalled in the Senate. The bill would create capacity within the State Department to quickly deploy civilian expertise and coordinate the government response to crises abroad. President [George W. Bush] supports the program and approved initial creation of the group. Farr participated in a rollout of the group with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in July 2008.


Caucus work

Farr is active in several congressional caucuses, including the House Oceans Caucus, the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus, the Congressional Bike Caucus, the Congressional Organic Caucus, the International Conservation Caucus, and the Unexploded Ordnance Caucus.

He serves as co-chair of the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus with Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri). Farr has taken an active role in supporting the travel industry, boosting membership in the caucus to more than 100 and hosting caucus events, including a June 2008 gathering of travel executives and congressional leaders, the Economic Roundtable: Travel’s Significance to the U.S. Economy.

Farr is also active as co-chair of the House Oceans Caucus, which he co-chairs with four other members of Congress. Each year the caucus helps sponsor Capitol Hill Oceans Week, known as CHOW, which draws hundreds of ocean experts from across the country. He is also co-chair of the Congressional Organic Caucus and the Unexploded Ordnance Caucus.


Other leadership positions

Farr serves on the House Democracy Assistance Commission, a group established by the House of Representatives mandated to work with emerging democracies throughout the world. The group engages in “peer-to-peer cooperation to build technical expertise in partner legislatures that will enhance accountability, transparency, legislative independence, access to information, and government oversight.”

Farr is also the former chairman of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation, the largest state delegation in Congress.





January 24, 2013

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