Jim Costa

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James Manuel "Jim" Costa
Jimcosta.jpeg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 16th district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Zoe Lofgren
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 20th district
In office
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by Cal Dooley
Succeeded by Sam Farr
Personal details
Born (1952-04-13) April 13, 1952 (age 62)
Fresno, California
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) single
Residence Fresno, California
Alma mater California State University, Fresno
Occupation Rancher, political assistant
Religion Roman Catholic

James Manuel "Jim" Costa (born April 13, 1952) is the U.S. Representative for California's 16th congressional district, serving in Congress since his initial election in 2004. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district takes in large and predominantly Latino portions of Fresno.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Fresno, Costa is a third-generation family farmer. His grandparents emigrated from Portugal's Azores Islands in the early 20th century. He attended San Joaquin Memorial High School and graduated in the class of 1970. He then graduated in 1974 from Fresno State, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.[citation needed] He worked as a special assistant to Congressman John Krebs from 1975 to 1976, and as administrative assistant to Assemblyman Richard Lehman from 1976 to 1978.

California Legislature[edit]

Costa represented part of Fresno in the state legislature for 24 years, serving in the California State Assembly from 1978 until 1994, and in the California State Senate from 1994 until 2002.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

  • Beef Caucus Specialty
  • Congressional Organ Donation Caucus (Co-Founder)
  • Congressional Soils Caucus
  • Congressional Victims' Rights Caucus (Co-Founder and Co-Chair)
  • Congressional Water Caucus (Co-Founder)
  • Methamphetamine Caucus

Tenure[edit]

Like most Democrats from the Central Valley, Costa is somewhat more conservative than is typical for Democrats from California. He is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition.

Health care

Costa was reportedly a holdout vote on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March 2010. He ultimately voted in favor of the legislation.[1] In order to gain Costa's vote, House leadership reportedly promised Costa and Dennis Cardoza funding for a medical school for California’s Central Valley.[2]

High-speed rail

Costa has been an advocate of creating a high-speed rail system that would go up and down California as well as across the nation at speeds of 225 miles-per-hour. He has introduced many bills supporting these rails; so far, none have passed. Miller has compared rail projects to Eisenhower's highway expansion and pleaded to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and President Obama for help in with this project.[3]

In April 2008, Costa wrote a piece in Capitol Weekly calling for high-speed rail in California.[4]S.

Lao- and Hmong-Americans, Laos Memorial & Veterans Burial Honors Bill

Tens of thousands of minority Laotian- and Hmong-American veterans and their refugee families reside in Congressman Costa's district, having been resettled as political refugees in California-- when they fled persecution from the Marxist regime in communist Laos following the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 and the military takeover of the Kingdom of Laos by the Pathet Lao and communist forces from Vietnam. Rep. Costa has garnered support from this significant Lao- and Hmong-American community in California, in large part, because of his leadership and support for S. 200, "The Lao Hmong Veterans Burial Honors Bill," co-introduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, which would grant burial honors to Lao and Hmong Veterans of the U.S. Secret War in Laos.[5][6] [7] [8] [9] Each year, the Fresno-based Lao Veterans of America, Inc. Lao Veterans of America and The Centre for Public Policy Analysis organizes delegations from the Central Valley, and Rep. Costa's district, that travel to Washington, D.C., and Arlington National Cemetery to play sacred homage at the Laos Memorial and honor the Lao- and Hmong-American veterans, and their American advisers, who served and died with U.S. CIA Central Intelligence Agency clandestine and military forces during the Vietnam War.[10][11][12]

Political campaigns[edit]

2004

In 2004, Costa entered the Democratic primary for the 20th District, which was opened up by the retirement of its seven-term incumbent, Cal Dooley. While Dooley endorsed his chief of staff, Lisa Quigley, as his successor, nearly all of the state Democratic establishment, including Senator Dianne Feinstein, endorsed Costa. Costa won a bruising primary and faced Republican Party state senator Roy Ashburn in November.

On paper, Costa was an overwhelming favorite. The 20th district is a heavily Democratic, 63% Latino-majority district; it gave Al Gore his highest vote total outside the state's two large conurbations (Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area in the north and Los Angeles and San Diego to the south). Nonetheless, the Republicans spent a substantial amount of money on the race. Ashburn's campaign made plays on Costa's name, "Costa's going to cost ya," and linked him to former Governor Gray Davis, calling them "two taxing twins." Ultimately, Costa won the election with 54% of the vote to Ashburn's 46%. Ashburn only kept the margin within single digits by winning heavily Republican Kings County.

2006

Costa ran unopposed for reelection in 2006. The Democrats won control of the House in that election, and Costa became chairman of the Natural Resources Committee's Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee. He is also a member of the House Agriculture Committee.

2008

Costa was reelected in 2008 with 74 percent of the vote, the highest percentage for a Democratic incumbent outside Sacramento, the Bay Area and Southern California.

2010

Costa was challenged for reelection by Republican nominee Andy Vidak. In his closest race yet, the race was officially called for Costa nearly three weeks after Election Day,[13] with the unofficial final tally standing at 45,806 votes (51.8%) for Costa and 42,773 votes (48.2%) for Vidak.[14]

2012

For his first four terms, Costa represented a district including most of the majority-Latino portions of Fresno and Bakersfield. However, redistricting following the 2010 Census renumbered his district as the 21st district and made it slightly more Republican. In February 2012, Costa officially announced that he would run in the newly formed 16th District, a much more compact district including most of Fresno, as well as most of Merced.[15] He faced Republican Brian Whelan in the general election. After the new districts were announced, it was reported that the NRCC considered Costa vulnerable to defeat.[16]

In November 2011, the League of Conservation Voters ran a series of TV ads in Costa's district criticizing his environmental record.[17]

Costa was reelected in 2012 with 54% of the vote.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Costa a yes". Politico. 10 March 2010. 
  2. ^ "Side deals stack up as health bills move along". The Hill. 23 November 2009. 
  3. ^ "Jim Costa". Political Profile. The Washington Post. 
  4. ^ "High speed rail: a viable transportation system for California". Capitol Weekly. 
  5. ^ Doyle, Michael, McClatchy News (28 October 2009) "Hmong, Lao veterans seek burials in national cemeteries", http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2009/10/28/77920/hmong-lao-veterans-seek-burials.html#.Ue86Em3c2E4#storylink=cpy
  6. ^ China Weekly News, (10 August 2010) "Laos, Hmong Veterans of Vietnam War Honored by Congress with National Burial Bill." http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-234438009.html
  7. ^ States News Service (14 October 2011) "COSTA INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO HONOR HMONG VETERANS." http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-269702570.html
  8. ^ China Weekly News, (19 February 2013) "Laos, Hmong Veterans Burial Honors Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate." http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-320483452.html
  9. ^ Los Angeles Times (6 February 2013) "Hmong soldiers who aided U.S. seek burial in national cemeteries" http://articles.latimes.com/2013/feb/06/nation/la-na-nn-hmong-soldier-cemeteries-20130206
  10. ^ Doyle, Michael, Modesto Bee (12 May 2013), "Central Valley Hmong among those honoring dead from war" http://www.modbee.com/2013/05/12/2712540/hmong-honor-dead-from-war.html#storylink=cpy
  11. ^ Scoop Independent News, Auckland, New Zealand, (15 May 2012) "Laos, Hmong Veterans Honored At National Ceremonies" http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1205/S00337/laos-hmong-veterans-honored-at-national-ceremonies.htm
  12. ^ Business Wire, www.businesswire.com (12 May 2013) " Laos, Hmong Veterans of Vietnam War Honored At National Ceremonies " http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20130512005048/en/Laos-Hmong-Veterans-Vietnam-War-Honored-National
  13. ^ "Costa Holds Seat, Keeps GOP Pickups at 63 : Roll Call Politics". Rollcall.com. 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2011-10-30. 
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ "Rep. Jim Costa Announces Reelection Campaign". CBS. 
  16. ^ "Republicans Tout Redistricting Gains". National Journal. 28 March 2012. 
  17. ^ "Jim Costa responds to attacks from the right, and the left". ABC News. 
  18. ^ "U.S. House: California District 16 - 2012 Election Center". 

External links[edit]

California Assembly
Preceded by
Ken Maddy
California State Assemblyman, 30th District
1978–1994
Succeeded by
Brian Setencich
California Senate
Preceded by
Phil Wyman
California State Senator, 16th District
1994–2002
Succeeded by
Dean Florez
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Cal Dooley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 20th congressional district

2005–2013
Succeeded by
Sam Farr
Preceded by
Zoe Lofgren
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 16th congressional district

2013–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Mike Conaway
R-Texas
United States Representatives by seniority
180th
Succeeded by
Henry Cuellar
D-Texas