Raul Ruiz (politician)

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For other people of the same name, see Raúl Ruiz (disambiguation).
Raul Ruiz
Raul Ruiz, official portrait, 113th congress.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 36th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Janice Hahn
Personal details
Born (1972-08-25) August 25, 1972 (age 41)[1]
Zacatecas, Mexico
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Monica Rivers
Residence Palm Desert, California[2]
Alma mater University of California,
Los Angeles
Harvard University
(M.D.; M.P.H.; M.P.P.)
Profession Emergency room physician
Religion Seventh-day Adventist[3]
Website ruiz.house.gov

Raul Ruiz (born August 25, 1972) is an American medical doctor and politician. He is a member of the United States House of Representatives and a member of the Democratic Party.[4] In what was considered a major upset,[5] Ruiz defeated redistricted, incumbent Republican representative Mary Bono Mack in the November 2012 general election in California's 36th congressional district. Ruiz is running for re-election in 2014, in what is considered one of the most competitive congressional races in the country.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Ruiz was born in Zacatecas, Mexico[7] and raised in Coachella, California.[8] His parents were migrant farmworkers.[9] He graduated from Coachella Valley High School at age 17, and went to UCLA in 1990, graduating magna cum laude before attending Harvard Medical School.[8] He was the first Hispanic to receive three graduate degrees from Harvard University: an M.D. from the Harvard Medical School; an M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government; and an M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health.[8]

In 1997, while attending Harvard as a medical student, Ruiz participated in an annual Thanksgiving protest in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Ruiz was one of 25 people arrested at the event. The charges were later dropped as part of a deal that also dismissed claims of police brutality.[10]

Two years later, in 1999, Ruiz took part in another Thanksgiving protest at which he read a letter of support for Leonard Peltier, who was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment for first degree murder in the shooting of two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agents during a 1975 conflict on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. During the 2012 congressional campaign, the incident was used as an attack by his opponent, Mary Bono Mack. In response, Ruiz' campaign stated that he had not supported Peltier.[10]

Medical career[edit]

After graduating from Harvard University, Ruiz spent time working abroad in Mexico, El Salvador, and Serbia, before taking a job as an emergency physician at the Eisenhower Medical Center, a nonprofit hospital in the Coachella Valley. He founded the Coachella Valley Healthcare Initiative in 2010. In 2011, he became senior associate dean at the School of Medicine at University of California, Riverside.[8][11]

In 2012, he received a Commander's Award for Public Service from the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division for his humanitarian efforts for victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.[8]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



Ruiz ran for the United States House of Representatives in 2012 as a first-time candidate in California's 36th congressional district. The district had previously been the 45th, represented by 15-year incumbent Mary Bono Mack. While Ruiz was initially regarded as a long shot to win,[12] he gained traction in the polls in the months before the November election, attacking Bono Mack for not doing enough to court the Latino community in the district.[citation needed] He was elected with 52.9% of the vote, to Bono Mack's 47.1%. Upon taking office in January 2013, Ruiz became the first Democrat to represent the Coachella Valley since John V. Tunney was elected, in 1971.[13]


Ruiz is running for re-election in 2014. He is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbent members of the House of Representatives. He will compete in the blanket primary on June 3, 2013. The general election takes place November 4, 2014.[14]


In May 2013, Ruiz voted against repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act but later supported other legislation that undermined the law.[15][16] During his 2012 campaign for Congress, Ruiz consistently reaffirmed his support for the Affordable Care Act and made the issue one of the cornerstones of his campaign. As full implementation of the law began in late 2013, its popularity with the public plummeted as many Americans had their policies canceled due to lacking coverage requirements mandated by the law,[17] and the federal health care online exchange had many technical problems that delayed the ability to sign up to new plans.[18]

Ruiz proceeded to vote for two bills in the US House of Representatives that undermined the foundation the Affordable Care Act which he previously supported.[19] Ruiz first voted for a bill that would reduce the number Americans purchasing insurance through the new online exchanges[20] and later voted to suspend the individual mandate which was key provision for allowing people with pre-existing medical conditions to purchase insurance when the law original passed in 2010.[21] Ruiz was criticized by his fellow Democrats in Congress for reversing his position for political reasons.[22]

Committee assignments[edit]


Ruiz married Monica Rivers in 2014.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kondracke, Morton (1972-08-25). "Raul Ruiz, D (Calif.-36)". Roll Call. Retrieved 2013-07-22. 
  2. ^ a b Newkirk, Barrett (2014-05-19). "Congressman Raul Ruiz gets married". The Desert Sun. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  3. ^ The Next America, National Journal, Updated: December 3, 2012.
  4. ^ Nocera, Kate (2012-11-18). "Raul Ruiz win tells story of Election 2012". Politico. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  5. ^ Raul Ruiz unseats Mary Bono Mack in upset Riverside Press-Enterprise, November 7, 2012.
  6. ^ Freking, Kevin (2014-3-3). "Congressional freshmen face tough challenges". Washington Times. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  7. ^ Honore, Marcel (12-9-2012). "A look into Raul Ruiz". The Desert Sun. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Profile Raul Ruiz, first Hispanic to receive 3 degrees from Harvard
  9. ^ "About". Dr. Raul Ruiz for Congress. Retrieved 7 November 2012. 
  10. ^ a b McGinty, Kate (12 October 2012). "Mary Bono Mack and Raul Ruiz: A fact check on the congressional debate -". MyDesert.com. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  11. ^ "Raul Ruiz". The Washington Times. Retrieved 7 November 2012. 
  12. ^ "Fmr Pres. Clinton Endorses Ruiz for Congress". KESQ-TV. 23 October 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2012. 
  13. ^ Bezis, Jason A. "CalPolitiCal: Riverside County - For Obama in 2012, First Democrat Ever to Win Twice". 
  14. ^ Blumenthal, Paul (2013-07-16). "Vulnerable House Incumbents Raising Big Money For 2014 Races". Huffington Post. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  15. ^ Sam Baker (11 June 2013). "NRCC hits Calif. Dems over ObamaCare rates". The Hill. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  16. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 154". House.gov. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  17. ^ http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/07/politics/obama-obamacare-apology/
  18. ^ http://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthompson/2013/12/03/healthcare-gov-diagnosis-the-government-broke-every-rule-of-project-management/
  19. ^ http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/05/us-hold-usa-healthcare-penalty-idUSBREA2429B20140305
  20. ^ http://voices.mydesert.com/2013/11/15/rep-raul-ruiz-joins-republicans-in-backing-keep-your-health-plan-act/
  21. ^ http://blog.pe.com/political-empire/2013/11/15/affordable-care-act-raul-ruiz-votes-for-gop-bill/
  22. ^ http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/314697-liberals-slam-dems-who-voted-to-delay-obamacare-mandate

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Janice Hahn
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 36th congressional district

January 3, 2013 – present
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Keith Rothfus
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Brad Schneider