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.”