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 42)
Zacatecas, Mexico
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Monica Rivers
Residence Palm Desert, California[1]
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[2]
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.[3] In what was considered a major upset,[4] Ruiz defeated redistricted, incumbent Republican representative Mary Bono Mack in the November 2012 general election in California's 36th congressional district. Ruiz was reelected to Congress in the 2014 elections, after what was considered one of the most competitive congressional races in the country.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Ruiz was born on August 25, 1972[6] in Zacatecas, Mexico[7] and raised in Coachella, California.[8] His parents were 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's campaign stated that he had not supported Peltier.[10][11]

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][12]

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] Ruiz's background as a physician has gained him attention for several incidents in which he has provided medical aid to fellow airline passengers, including conservative columnist Lisa De Pasquale.[13]

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,[14] he gained traction in the polls in the months before the November election.[citation needed] He was endorsed by Bill Clinton in October 2012.[14] He was elected with 52.9% of the vote, to Bono Mack's 47.1%.[15] Upon taking office in January 2013, Ruiz became the first Democrat to represent the Coachella Valley since John V. Tunney was elected, in 1971.[16][better source needed]


Ruiz is running for re-election in 2014. He is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbent members of the House of Representatives. He competed in the blanket primary on June 3, 2014, finishing first with 50.3% of the vote.[17][18] Ruiz will face Republican nominee and state assemblyman Brian Nestande in the general election, which takes place November 4, 2014.[19]

The Washington Post wrote in late 2012 that Ruiz would be one of the 10 most vulnerable incumbents in the 2014 election season.[20] Ruiz is a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Frontline Program. The program is designed to help protect vulnerable Democratic incumbents heading into the 2014 election.[21]


In April 2013, Ruiz introduced his first bill, the SelectUSA Authorization Act of 2013. The bill would incentivize international corporations to invest in creating manufacturing jobs in the United States rather than overseas.[22] The bill has not been voted on by the House.[23]

In April 2013, Ruiz voted for CISPA, which would allow for the sharing of Internet traffic information between the U.S. government and technology and manufacturing companies.[24]

In May 2013, Ruiz voted against repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[25][26] During his 2012 campaign for Congress, Ruiz stated his support for the Affordable Care Act. 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,[27] and the federal health care online exchange had many technical problems that delayed the ability to sign up to new plans.[28]

Ruiz voted against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions that take place 20 or more weeks after fertilization.[29]

In August 2014, a family emergency prevented Ruiz from casting votes on two immigration bills.[30]

Committee assignments[edit]


Ruiz married Monica Rivers in 2014.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Newkirk, Barrett (2014-05-19). "Congressman Raul Ruiz gets married". The Desert Sun. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  2. ^ The Next America, National Journal, Updated: December 3, 2012.
  3. ^ Nocera, Kate (2012-11-18). "Raul Ruiz win tells story of Election 2012". Politico. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Raul Ruiz unseats Mary Bono Mack in upset Riverside Press-Enterprise, November 7, 2012.[dead link]
  5. ^ Freking, Kevin (2014-3-3). "Congressional freshmen face tough challenges". Washington Times. Retrieved 27 May 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ Kondracke, Morton (1972-08-25). "Raul Ruiz, D (Calif.-36)". Roll Call. Retrieved 2013-07-22. 
  7. ^ Honore, Marcel (12-9-2012). "A look into Raul Ruiz". The Desert Sun. Retrieved 27 May 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  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. ^ Clarke, Chris (16 October 2012). "Coachella Valley Congress Race Turns Nasty". KCET. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  12. ^ "Raul Ruiz". The Washington Times. Retrieved 7 November 2012. [dead link]
  13. ^ http://dailycaller.com/2014/07/18/dem-lawmaker-rushes-to-save-conservative-journo-during-seizure/
  14. ^ a b Terlecky, Megan (23 October 2012). "Fmr Pres. Clinton Endorses Ruiz for Congress". KESQ. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  15. ^ "Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.)". Roll Call. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  16. ^ Bezis, Jason A. "CalPolitiCal: Riverside County - For Obama in 2012, First Democrat Ever to Win Twice". 
  17. ^ "Statement of Vote". Secretary of State's Office. State of California. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  18. ^ Cahn, Emily (4 June 2014). "Primary Results: California House Races (Updated)". Roll Call. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  19. ^ Blumenthal, Paul (2013-07-16). "Vulnerable House Incumbents Raising Big Money For 2014 Races". Huffington Post. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  20. ^ Blake, Aaron (7 December 2012). "House Democrats face long odds in 2014". Washington Post. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  21. ^ "DCCC Chairman Steve Israel Announces 2013-2014 Frontline Members". Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  22. ^ http://www.kesq.com/news/Rep-Raul-Ruiz-introduces-his-first-bill-in-Washington/19682182
  23. ^ "H.R.1413: SelectUSA Authorization Act of 2013". New York Times. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  24. ^ "H R 624". Washington Post. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  25. ^ Sam Baker (11 June 2013). "NRCC hits Calif. Dems over ObamaCare rates". The Hill. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  26. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 154". House.gov. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  27. ^ Obama apologizes for insurance cancellations due to Obamacare - CNN.com
  28. ^ HealthCare.gov Diagnosis: The Government Broke Every Rule Of Project Management - Forbes
  29. ^ "House Vote 251 - Approves New Abortion Restrictions". New York Times. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  30. ^ Felci, Erica (8-5-2014). "Raul Ruiz not elaborating on missed immigration vote". Desert Sun. Retrieved 10 September 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

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