Garamendi to sit on resources, armed services



Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, has lost his seat on the House Transportation Committee and will serve instead on the Natural Resources and Armed Services panels.

The shift is in response to the reduction in the number of seats Democrats hold on committees under Republican leadership in addition to the GOP’s overall cuts in committee sizes.

Garamendi is a good fit for resources. He served in President Bill Clinton’s Interior Department and his congressional district includes vast portions of the Delta. It also means the East Bay will regain representation on the key committee after neighboring Congressman George Miller, D-Martinez, also lost his seat on Natural Resources. Miller is ranking member of the Educaiton and Workforce Committee and could not hold both positions.

Garamendi’s predecessor, Ellen Tauscher, served on Armed Services and the district includes Travis Air Force Base and two national laboratories.

Nonetheless, Garamendi expressed disappointment over losing the transportation seat, a policy area he views as critical to his commuter-heavy home district. Congress must reauthorize the federal transportation spending blueprint soon, and Garamendi had hoped to play a more fundamental role in its development.

But with fewer seats to hand out, the Democratic leadership in the House faced tough choices and much of it is based on seniority. Despite his 35-plus years in public office in California, Garamendi was just re-elected to a second term in Congress. He is a relative newbie in the House of Representatives.

Read on for Garamendi’s official statement.

Congressman Garamendi Honored to Serve on Armed Services
& Natural Resources Committees in New Congress

Garamendi Believes Northern California Needs

Representative on Transportation & Infrastructure Committee

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA), a former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Interior Department, has been chosen by the House Democratic Caucus to serve on the Armed Services and Natural Resources committees. While he looks forward to serving on both committees, Garamendi, who served on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee in the last 111th Congress, is concerned that Northern California, one of the nation’s most congested regions, will lack a representative on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee for the first time in recent memory.

Garamendi issued the following statement:

“I am honored to be chosen by my peers to serve on two committees critical to the future of our country.

“On the Armed Services Committee, I will focus on making sure that America’s military is both efficient and capable of meeting the defense requirements of our nation. I will also do everything in my power to make sure that we meet the needs of the people whose livelihoods depend on our district’s largest employers – Travis Air Force Base and the Livermore labs. I will also continue asking the tough questions that need to be asked about the conflict in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history.

“On the Natural Resources Committee, I bring decades of experience fighting to preserve America’s vital natural treasures, both a leader in California and as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Interior Department under President Clinton. I will fight for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, champion job-creating clean energy, and resist any efforts to weaken our protections for wildlife and habitats.

“Armed Services and Natural Resources are great committees, and I will be fully engaged in the debates and deliberations on the committees that determine how policies are crafted.

“Northern California needs a representative on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where I served in the previous Congress. The Bay Area has the second worst traffic conditions in America, and we need someone fighting for our region on the committee that determines America’s transportation priorities. I’ve asked Democratic leadership to make Transportation & Infrastructure my third committee if there is a vacancy.”

Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • John Garamanedi was not the only East Bay congressman to undergo a committee reshuffle.

    Rep. Jerry McNerney lost his seat on the powerful Energy & Commerce Committee (http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?q=membership) and has returned to the Science, Space & Technology Committee (http://science.house.gov/Members/Default.aspx). He remains on the Veterans Affairs committee (http://democrats.veterans.house.gov/about/members.shtml).

  • ralph hoffmann

    The way to preserve fossil fuels, protect the environment, reduce traffic congestion in the Bay Area, balance the Federal Budget and meet the defense needs of our nation is simple. WE MUST RAISE THE GASOLINE TAX FROM 10 CENTS TO $6 / GALLON. TAXES ON ALL FOSSIL FUELS MUST BE RAISED AN EQUIVALENT AMOUNT. DOES GARAMENDI HAVE THE GUTS TO PROPOSE THIS, AND DOES CONGRESS HAVE THE GUTS TO PASS IT. KEEP TUNED!

  • ralph hoffmann

    The way to generate cheap, clean electricity is from nuclear power. People who like the wind and sun should go fly a kite!

  • Elwood

    Re: #2

    Do pigs fly in tight formation?

  • ralph hoffmann

    Donkeys or Elephants win. Kites fly. Pigs lose.

  • John W

    Looks like the Democratic House leadership is being a bit more generous to Garamendi on committee assignments, even though McNerney has more seniority.

  • John W., that’s not the right read of the situation.

    McNerney got to stay on a committee, Veterans’ Affairs, that in terms of size got cut significantly by the GOP leadership, surely leapfrogging a few other more senior members who had other committee assignments. VA offers a lot of opportunities for constituent services, especially in a district like CA-11.

    Energy & Commerce, which McNerney served on for 1 term, is arguably more sought-after than transportation, which is what Garamendi got booted from in favor of Natural Resources, which probably was done only to fill the hole left by George Miller. Sci/Space/Tech gives McNerney a perch with a bit more seniority than he had last time he served on the committee, unlike Garamendi who starts out at square one on Natural Resources.

    I’d bet that both Garamendi and McNerney wish one of them had a transportation seat . . . that’s the real loss for the East Bay region and especially CA10 and CA11.

  • ralph hoffmann

    Note the front page article by Denis Cuff in today’s Times.