Mark James DeSaulnier (// də-SOH-nee-ay; born March 31, 1952) is an American politician who has served as the U.S. Representative for California's 11th congressional district since 2015. The district includes most of Contra Costa County, a suburban county in the East Bay. He has been a member of the Democratic Party since 2000; before that, he was a Republican.
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from California's 11th district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||George Miller|
|Member of the California State Senate|
from the 7th district
December 1, 2008 – January 2, 2015
|Preceded by||Tom Torlakson|
|Succeeded by||Steve Glazer|
|Member of the California State Assembly|
from the 11th district
December 4, 2006 – November 30, 2008
|Preceded by||Joe Canciamilla|
|Succeeded by||Tom Torlakson|
|Member of the |
Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors
from the 4th district
January 29, 1994 – December 4, 2006
|Preceded by||Sunne McPeak|
|Succeeded by||Susan Bonilla|
Mark James DeSaulnier
March 31, 1952
Lowell, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Political party||Democratic (2000–present)|
|Republican (before 2000)|
|Spouse(s)||Melinda Clune (divorced)|
Virginia Ann Burke
|Residence||Concord, California, U.S.|
|Education||College of the Holy Cross (BA)|
Before serving in the House of Representatives, DeSaulnier was a member the Concord City Council (1991–94), a Contra Costa County Supervisor (1994–2006), and a member of the California State Legislature, representing the 11th State Assembly district from 2006 to 2008 and the 7th State Senate district from 2008 to 2015.
Early life and educationEdit
DeSaulnier was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, to Edward Joseph DeSaulnier Jr. and Virginia Ann DeSaulnier (née Burke). He was raised in a Roman Catholic family. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from the College of the Holy Cross.
After his father, a Massachusetts Superior Court judge, became involved in a scandal in the early 1970s, DeSaulnier relocated to California, settling in Concord. He worked as a probation officer, truck driver, and hotel services employee. He later owned and operated several restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Early political careerEdit
DeSaulnier was appointed to the Concord Planning Commission in 1988. In 1991, he was elected to the Concord City Council and served as mayor of Concord in 1993. He was also a member of the University of California Toxic Substances Research and Teaching Program Advisory Committee.
Contra Costa County Board of SupervisorsEdit
In early 1994, Governor Pete Wilson appointed DeSaulnier, then a fellow Republican, to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, filling a vacancy caused by the resignation of Supervisor Sunne McPeak. He was elected in 1994 and reelected in 1998 and 2002. In 1998, he received 98.4% of the vote against write-in candidates. In 2002, he received 79% of the vote against challenger Dione Mustard.
During DeSaulnier's tenure on the Board of Supervisors, he sponsored the Industrial Safety Ordinance and the Refinery Flare Rule for local refineries and chemical facilities. He served on the executive boards of the Association of Bay Area Governments, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. He was appointed to represent the Bay Area on the California Air Resources Board by the Air District (1997–2006).
As a member of the Air Resources Board, DeSaulnier supported strong environmental regulations, including cleaner-burning gasoline, lower-emission vehicles (LEVs), the identification of diesel exhaust as a toxic air contaminant, dioxin monitoring in the Bay Area, the banning of methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) in gasoline, the identification of secondhand smoke as a carcinogen, the reduction of emissions from dairy farms, the phase-out of rice straw in the central valley, and the reduction of emissions from cruise ships.
On a county level, DeSaulnier introduced a Women's Health Program to serve the health-care needs of Contra Costa County. He also established the annual Children and Families' Budget, a separate county budget that reviews and measures the effectiveness of county programs in these areas. His other projects for children include AfterSchool4All, the Future Fund and the Children and Families Committee of the Board of Supervisors.
The Contra Costa Times editorial board was critical of DeSaulnier's record as county supervisor. A 2009 editorial read: "Many of the financial problems that afflict Contra Costa County today stem directly from decisions DeSaulnier championed while he was supervisor. Most notably, in 2002, at a time when the county faced a $31.5 million shortfall, was already laying off workers and was already experiencing increased public employee pension costs, DeSaulnier supported unsustainable pension increases that hiked benefits for public safety workers by as much as 50 percent. The plan allowed public safety workers to retire at age 50 with a pension worth 3 percent of their salary for each year served. Such excessive public employee union benefits have strained some local jurisdictions to the brink of bankruptcy."
California State AssemblyEdit
In the June 2006 Democratic primary, DeSaulnier won 52% of the vote against Pittsburg School Board Trustee Laura Canciamilla and two other opponents. He was endorsed by the San Francisco Chronicle, the Contra Costa Times, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer and California Senator Tom Torlakson. DeSaulnier won the general election against Republican Arne Simonsen and Libertarian Cory Nott with 66% of the vote.
In the Assembly, DeSaulnier chaired the Committee on Transportation and the Select Committees on Growth Management and Air Quality. He was also a member of the Assembly Committees on Appropriations, Human Services, Rules and Labor and Employment. He authored or co-authored over 40 bills during the 2007–08 legislative session. His bills addressed truancy among schoolchildren, preschool access, suicide prevention, childhood obesity, reducing air pollution, smoke-free workplaces, and opportunities for at-risk youth.
One bill DeSaulnier introduced, AB 1617, would have restricted tobacco smokers from purchasing tobacco products online. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill. Another DeSaulnier bill, AB 2235, would have required that a biometric feature be incorporated into all new handguns sold in California.
California State SenateEdit
DeSaulnier was elected to the California State Senate in 2008, representing the 7th Senate district, which includes most of Contra Costa County. He received early support from the Contra Costa Central Labor Council, the Contra Costa Building Trades Council and the California League of Conservation Voters. He received 98% of the vote in the June Democratic primary election against write-in candidates; former Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla initially was to challenge DeSaulnier, but dropped out of the race. In the general election, DeSaulnier received 66.6% of the vote against Republican Christian Amsberry.
In the Senate, DeSaulnier chaired the Labor and Industrial Relations committee and was a member of the Health, Transportation and Housing, and Appropriations committees. He also chaired the select committees on Constitutional Reform and Growth Management.
DeSaulnier authored over 20 bills addressing workers' ability to designate their treating physician before an injury, providing for greater prescription drug safety, supporting increased funding for alcohol-abuse programs, and expanding electronic recycling and funding for climate protection. He supported Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 3 to propose to California voters the question whether to call a convention to reform the state constitution.
In September 2009, DeSaulnier amended SB 88 to attempt to restrict local governments' ability to shed pension programs through bankruptcy protection.
In 2012, DeSaulnier proposed a bill, SB1366, that would require gun owners whose guns are stolen or lost to report the fact to police within 48 hours. Failure to comply would result in fines on the first and second offenses, with higher fines and possible jail on the third. The bill was endorsed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the California Police Chiefs Association and opposed by the California Rifle and Pistol Association.
U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit
In 2009, DeSaulnier announced his candidacy for the United States House of Representatives in the special election in California's 10th congressional district after the resignation of Ellen Tauscher, who endorsed him. In the September 1 Democratic primary, DeSaulnier came in second, behind John Garamendi.
In 2014, after George Miller announced his retirement from the U.S. House of Representatives, DeSaulnier announced his candidacy for California's 11th congressional district to succeed him. He won the general election and took office on January 3, 2015.
DeSaulnier and Representative David Cicilline introduced legislation to create a pathway for local newspapers to operate as nonprofits. They attributed the loss of local ad revenue to the shift in media consumption habits: "As consumers have turned to online platforms like Facebook and Google to read the news, advertisers have followed, taking away a vital source of revenue local publications need to maintain their staffing levels. Local news organizations do not get a cut of the financial benefit when their stories are shared online". The bill grants local news companies a 48-month safe harbor from anti-trust laws to negotiate with prominent online platforms for ad profits to address the shortage of journalists.
In May 2019, DeSaulnier introduced the Bots Research Act (H.R. 2860), a bill to establish a task force of experts at the Federal Trade Commission to determine the impact of bots on social media, public discourse, and elections.
- Committee on Education and Labor
- Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
- Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
- Committee on Rules
- Congressional Innovation and the Human Condition Caucus (Chair)
- Congressional Friends of Jesuit Colleges and Universities Caucus (Co-Chair)
- Congressional Cancer Survivors Caucus (Co-Chair)
- Congressional Caucus on Urban Regional Studies (Co-Chair)
- American Sikh Congressional Caucus
- Innovation and the Human Condition Caucus
- Congressional Progressive Caucus
- Gun Violence Prevention Task Force
- Out of Poverty Caucus
- Humanities Caucus
- Animal Protection Caucus
- Safe Climate Caucus
- Medicare for All Caucus
|California 11th Assembly District Democratic Primary Election, 2006|
|Democratic||Emmanuel Gbenga Ogunleye||1,811||4.6|
|Democratic||Gerold Lee Gorman||1,788||4.5|
|California 11th Assembly District Election, 2006|
|California 7th Senate District Election, 2008|
|California 7th Senate District Election, 2012|
|California's 10th congressional district special primary, 2009|
|American Independent||Jerome Denham||309||0.29|
|Peace and Freedom||Mary McIlroy||272||0.25|
|Democratic||Tiffany Attwood (write-in)||2||0.00|
|California's 11th Congressional District Primary Election, 2014|
|American Independent (Write-in)||Virginia Fuller||140||0.1|
|California's 11th Congressional District Election, 2014|
|California's 11th Congressional District Primary Election, 2016|
|Republican||Roger A. Petersen||43,654||24.7|
|California's 11th Congressional District Election, 2016|
|Republican||Roger A. Petersen||83,341||27.9|
|California's 11th Congressional District Primary Election, 2018|
|California's 11th Congressional District Election, 2018|
|California's 11th Congressional District Election, 2020|
A member of the Concord Chamber of Commerce and the Contra Costa Council, DeSaulnier lives in Concord, California, where he raised his two sons. He is an avid runner and has completed 21 marathons.
In May 2016, DeSaulnier announced that he had been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 2015 and had undergone chemotherapy. While the cancer was described as incurable, DeSaulnier said he would still seek reelection.
On March 13, 2020, DeSaulnier was hospitalized in Washington, D.C., for a rib fracture sustained during a run, as well as for pneumonia. On March 21, it was announced that his health had declined, and he was reported as being in critical condition. He steadily recovered, and was released from the hospital on May 4.
- "DeSaulnier meditates on political journey". September 12, 2013.
- Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (June 18, 2015). "Congressman DeSaulnier Celebrates LGBT Pride Month 2015". YouTube. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 5, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Feathers, Todd. "Calif. congressman's political seed sown in Lowell area – Lowell Sun". Lowellsun.com. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
- "Mark DeSaulnier: Personal tragedy and public service". Capitol Weekly. August 20, 2013. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
- "Supervisor Goes From Saloon Keeper to Key Power Broker / Mark DeSaulnier, owner of TR's, pours himself into politics". SFGate. September 10, 1998. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
- Erin Hallissy, "McPeak's Successor Appointed: Concord Mayor to Join Contra Costa Board," San Francisco Chronicle, January 29, 1994, p. A17.
- "Election Results Frame". Ca-contracostacounty.civicplus.com. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- "Mark DeSaulnier – Publication Details". Cms.markdesaulnier.com. Archived from the original on October 27, 2007. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- "Editorial: John Garamendi is our recommended choice for the 10th Congressional District". Contracostatimes.com. August 24, 2009. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- "CA Secretary of State – Primary Election- State Assembly District 11 – Districtwide". sos.ca.gov. Archived from the original on February 7, 2012. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- "Mark DeSaulnier – Publication Details". Cms.markdesaulnier.com. Archived from the original on October 23, 2007. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 11, 2007. Retrieved July 10, 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- DeSaulnier (February 23, 2007). "AB 1617 Assembly Bill – INTRODUCED". Leginfo.ca.gov. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- DeSaulnier. "AB 1617 Assembly Bill – Bill Analysis". Leginfo.ca.gov. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- "Bill List". Leginfo.ca.gov. February 21, 2014. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- <"Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 8, 2007. Retrieved July 10, 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)>
- "Senator Tom Torlakson -- Senator Torlakson's Committee Membership". July 8, 2007. Archived from the original on July 8, 2007. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- "Bill List". Leginfo.ca.gov. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- "Our View: Cities' last real line of defense threatened - cities, pay,…". Appeal-democrat.com. July 22, 2012. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- "Important Alert – OPPOSE SB 1366!". Archived from the original on December 20, 2012.
- "Bill would mandate quick reporting of stolen guns". Sacramento Bee. May 14, 2012. Archived from the original on May 17, 2012.
- "Bill would mandate quick reporting of stolen guns". May 14, 2012.
- Payton, Allen (January 2015). "Meuser is first to jump into special State Senate election, Bonilla will also run". Herald. Antioch, California. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
- "Garamendi Tops Dem Primary, Favored To Succeed Tauscher In Congress : It's All Politics". NPR. September 2, 2009. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
- Cadelago, Christopher; Rosenhall, Laurel (January 13, 2014). "George Miller to retire from Congress; DeSaulnier to run". Sacbee.com. The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
- "There are LOTS of new members of the House. Here's the one sentence you need to read about each of them". The Washington Post. December 2, 2014. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
- "DeSaulnier: Why Congress needs to help save local journalism". The Mercury News. April 9, 2019. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
- "H.R.2860 - To direct the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission to establish a task force for the purpose of studying the effects of automated accounts on social media, public discourse, and elections". USA.gov. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
- Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (October 22, 2021). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". Retrieved October 29, 2021.
- "Caucus Members". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
- "Caucuses". Congressman Mark DeSaulnier. April 7, 2015. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
- "Special Primary Election - September 1, 2009" (PDF). Elections.cdn.sos.ca.gov. September 1, 2009. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
- "Presidential Primary Election - Statement of Vote, June 7, 2016" (PDF). June 7, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
- "Statement of Vote - November 8, 2016, General Election" (PDF). November 8, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
- "California Election Results: 11th Congressional District". The New York Times. December 7, 2020. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
- Gartell, Nate (March 21, 2020). "Rep. Mark DeSaulnier's condition worsens, now listed as critical". East Bay Times. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
- Sarah D. Wire (May 6, 2016). "U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier says blood cancer won't keep him from seeking another term". Los Angeles Times.com. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
- Hurd, Rick (March 16, 2020). "Congressman Mark DeSaulnier hospitalized in running fall". The Mercury News. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
- White, Jeremy B. (March 21, 2020). "Rep. Mark DeSaulnier declines to 'critical condition' in pneumonia fight". Politico. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
- Borenstein, Daniel (May 4, 2020). "Rep. Mark DeSaulnier released after nearly two months in hospital". The Mercury News. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
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