Ami Bera

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Ami Bera
Ami Bera official portrait.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 7th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded byGeorge Miller
Personal details
Born (1965-03-02) March 2, 1965 (age 56)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
Janine Bera
(m. 1991)
Children1
ResidenceElk Grove, California, U.S.
EducationUniversity of California, Irvine (BS, MD)
WebsiteHouse website

Amerish Babulal "Ami" Bera (/ˈɑːmi ˈbɛrə/; born March 2, 1965) is an American physician and politician serving as the U.S. Representative for California's 7th congressional district since 2013.[1] A member of the Democratic Party, his district encompasses most of Sacramento's eastern and southern suburbs, including Elk Grove, Folsom and Rancho Cordova.[2][3][4]

Bera serves as the vice chair of outreach for the New Democrat Coalition.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Bera's father, Babulal Bera, immigrated to the United States from India in 1958.[5][6] Two years later, Babulal Bera was joined by his wife, Kanta.[7] Ami Bera was born in Los Angeles and raised in the Orange County city of La Palma. He attended John F. Kennedy High School while living there.[8] Bera's parents are from Rajkot, Gujarat, and he can understand Gujarati.[1]

Nera has a bachelor's degree in biological sciences from the University of California, Irvine, also earning his Doctor of Medicine degree there in 1991.[8][9] From 1997 to 1999 he was the Medical Director of Care Management at the Mercy Healthcare for Sacramento. He served as the chief medical officer for the County of Sacramento and later as the associate dean for admissions at the UC Davis School of Medicine.[10] From 2005 to 2012, he served as a clinical professor at the University of California Davis School of Medicine.[citation needed]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

2010
Bera at an October 2010 rally for Jerry Brown

Bera challenged three-term Republican incumbent Dan Lungren in the general election for California's 3rd congressional district. He ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination.[11] He raised more money than Lungren for the five quarters through mid-2010,[12][13] making him the only Democratic challenger with more cash than a sitting Republican member of the House.[14] Bera was one of 17 candidates the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee targeted to take over Republican-held or open seats in 2010.[15]

Lungren was the only incumbent Republican whose race was rated a "tossup" by CQ Politics, but it was rerated "Lean GOP" in the campaign's final days,[16] and the race was considered competitive by both parties. Polling by Daily Kos in September showed Lungren leading Bera, 46%–38%.[17][18] Bera cited health care, education and economic recovery among his top legislative priorities. In November, Lungren was reelection, defeating Bera 51%–43%.[19]

In 2010, after Bera accepted a $250 donation from Basim Elkarra, Executive Director of the Sacramento chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the California Republican Party called on him to return the money. Bera returned the money after these concerns were raised.[20]

2012

Bera announced a rematch against Lungren in 2012. The district had been renumbered the 7th district, and made somewhat more compact. It lost all of its territory outside of Sacramento County, making it slightly friendlier to Democrats.

On November 13, 2012, Bera attended freshman orientation as congressman-elect while votes were still being counted.[3] Candidates in these tight races sometimes attend the orientation by the Committee on House Administration, whose chairman was Bera's opponent, Lungren.[21]

On November 15, 2012, the Associated Press called the race for Bera, who won 51%–49%.[22][23]

2014

Bera ran for reelection in 2014, facing former Republican congressman Doug Ose, who had represented what was then the 3rd from 1999 to 2005.[24] The Rothenberg Political Report rated the 7th district "Lean Democratic," but The Sacramento Bee reported that Bera was "viewed by both parties as one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the country."[2][3] Bera was a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Frontline program, designed to support vulnerable candidates.[25] In June 2014, Politico reported that the DCCC planned to support Bera with $1.7 million in ads throughout fall 2014, and the House Majority PAC, a political action committee designed to support Democratic candidates, reserved $200,000 for late-election television ads.[26]

The Hill reported that Bera's campaign received donations from parents of another Democratic candidate, Kevin Strouse, only to have Bera's parents then donate a similar amount to Strouse's campaign. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, "The donations appear legal, campaign finance experts say, though two said any agreement among the parents to trade donations could be viewed as an attempted end run around contribution limits."[27][28] In May 2016, Bera's father, Babulal, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of elections fraud.[29]

No Labels co-founder and former George W. Bush advisor Mark McKinnon said of Bera, "He is the most important member of our Problem Solvers—of the entire group. He stepped up immediately as a freshman to take a leadership position. He was out early advocating on our big issues like No Budget, No Pay.”[30]

In response to a poll by the American Sikh Committee to Evaluate Congressional Candidates, Bera did not answer two questions about the Indian government's part in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in which 8,000 Sikhs were massacred after Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's assassination. Instead, he noted that in 2005, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had publicly apologized to the Sikh community for the government's role. Bera also stated that, while it was a tragedy, he was more focused on the treatment of Sikhs in the U.S. and could not dictate how the Indian government should approach the matter.[31] In response, some members of the Sikh-American community, and some PACs representing them, publicly withdrew their support for Bera.[32] But with the majority of the Sikh-American population coming from outside of Bera's district, the advocates acknowledged that they were unlikely to affect the outcome of the race.[31]

On election night, Bera "was down by more than 3,000 votes...but came back to win after all the absentee and mail-in ballots were in." In the end, he won 50.4% of the vote to Ose's 49.6%.[33]

2016

Bera ran for reelection in 2016. He faced Republican Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones in the general election.[34] In January 2016, the Elk Grove-South County Democratic Club, Bera's home club, voted against endorsing him, citing concerns with his record on trade and Syrian refugees.[35]

Bera's 2016 race was "one of the nastiest Congressional races with allegations and insinuations being bandied back and forth" and was also "one of the last two House races in the entire nation yet to be called." As he began his third term, he was joined by three new Indian-American House members: Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois, Pramila Jayapal from Washington, and Ro Khanna from California. Silicon Valley entrepreneur M. R. Rangaswami said Bera "was the first Indian American to be in Congress in a long time and now can actually lead a Caucus...able to shepherd Pramila, Raja and Ro and get them going during their freshman year."[33]

A coalition of dissatisfied groups prevented Bera from garnering his party's endorsement in January, but at the state Democratic convention in February, he was endorsed, with 90% of the delegates voting to endorse.[36][37][38]

During the 2016 campaign Bera's father, Babulal Bera, was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison, and fined $100,200, for federal campaign finance violations that helped fund two of his sons' campaigns.[39]

Bera narrowly defeated Jones in the general election, with 51% of the vote to Jones's 49%. The margin of victory was 4,802 votes.[40]

Since 2016, which saw the election to the House of three other Indian-Americans and to the Senate of the first Indian-American Senator, Kamala Devi Harris, Bera has been described as the "Godfather" of Indian-Americans on Capitol Hill.[41]

2018

In 2018, Bera was reelected, garnering 155,016 votes (55%) and defeating Republican Andrew Grant, a former U.S. Department of State official, who received 126,601 (45%).[42]

2020

In 2020, Bera was reelected, garnering 217,416 votes (56%) and defeating Republican Buzz Patterson, a retired United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who received 166,549 (43%).[43]

Tenure[edit]

In an interview covered in the Elk Grove Citizen, Bera said his first year in Congress "was about being focused here in the district but also building my reputation in Washington, D.C."[44]

In October 2013, Bera announced that he would give up his federal pay for the duration of the government shutdown. He also announced that in response to sequester cuts, he would donate 8.2% of his check each month to local organizations affected by sequester cuts.[45]

In a 2015 op-ed supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the Sacramento Bee, Bera copied several sentences from documents produced by the Business Roundtable and Third Way and from an Obama White House report. He received criticism, including from labor groups like the California Labor Federation, for parroting lobbying firms. Bera later wrote an apology, though he stood by the sentiment of the op-ed.[46][47]

Political issues[edit]

Environment[edit]

According to The Hill in 2014, "Bera, who faces a tough race this fall against Republican Doug Ose, is a strong advocate for tackling climate change, but global warming isn't his focus when he talks about the drought with constituents."[48]

Health care[edit]

Bera supports the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and has voted against repeal efforts .[49][50]

Syrian refugees[edit]

On November 19, 2015, Bera voted for HR 4038, legislation that would effectively halt the resettlement of refugees from Syria and Iraq to the United States.[51]

Pakistan and terrorism[edit]

In 2016, Bera called on the Pakistani government "to take responsibility and start cracking down" on terrorists based in its country, and praised the Indian government for its restraint in the face of a recent attack on an Indian air force base by Pakistan-based militants.[52]

India–U.S. relations[edit]

Bera called a June 2016 speech by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to a joint session of the U.S. Congress "the perfect speech for this moment in time" and claimed that India was becoming "a global leader and a global partner with the United States." "As an Indian American and a Gujarati American," Bera said, "I was thrilled by the prime minister's speech."[53]

Taxes[edit]

In 2017 Bera voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[54]

Committee assignments[edit]

In February 2017, Bera was elected ranking member of the House space subcommittee by House Democrats. His district includes a major Aerojet Rocketdyne facility, east of Sacramento.[55]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Bera and his wife, Janine Bera, have one child.[8] They reside in Elk Grove, California.[60]

In August 2016, Bera’s father was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison for organizing a money-laundering scheme that helped fund two of his son’s campaigns. [61]

Bera is one of only two Unitarian Universalists in Congress.[62][63][64]

Electoral history[edit]

California's 3rd congressional district election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dan Lungren (incumbent) 131,169 50.1
Democratic Ami Bera 113,128 43.2
American Independent Jerry L. Leidecker 6,577 2.5
Libertarian Douglas Arthur Tuma 6,275 2.4
Peace and Freedom Mike Roskey 4,789 1.8
Total votes 261,938 100.0
Republican hold
California's 7th congressional district election, 2012
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dan Lungren (incumbent) 63,586 52.7
Democratic Ami Bera 49,433 41.0
No party preference Curt Taras 3,854 3.2
Libertarian Douglas Arthur Tuma 3,707 3.1
Total votes 120,580 100.0
General election
Democratic Ami Bera 141,241 51.7
Republican Dan Lungren (incumbent) 132,050 48.3
Total votes 273,291 100.0
Democratic gain from Republican
California's 7th congressional district election, 2014
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ami Bera (incumbent) 51,878 46.7
Republican Doug Ose 29,307 26.4
Republican Igor Birman 19,431 17.5
Republican Elizabeth Emken 7,924 7.1
Libertarian Douglas Arthur Tuma 1,629 1.5
No party preference Phill A. Tufi 869 0.8
Total votes 111,038 100.0
General election
Democratic Ami Bera (incumbent) 92,521 50.4
Republican Doug Ose 91,066 49.6
Total votes 183,587 100.0
Democratic hold
California's 7th congressional district election, 2016
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ami Bera (incumbent) 93,506 54.0
Republican Scott Jones 79,640 46.0
Total votes 173,146 100.0
General election
Democratic Ami Bera (incumbent) 152,133 51.2
Republican Scott Jones 145,168 48.8
Total votes 297,301 100.0
Democratic hold
California's 7th congressional district election, 2018
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ami Bera (incumbent) 84,776 51.7
Republican Andrew Grant 51,221 31.2
Republican Yona Barash 22,845 13.9
Green Robert Christian "Chris" Richardson 3,183 1.9
No party preference Reginald Claytor 2,095 1.3
Total votes 164,120 100.0
General election
Democratic Ami Bera (incumbent) 155,016 55.0
Republican Andrew Grant 126,601 45.0
Total votes 281,617 100.0
Democratic hold
California's 7th congressional district election, 2020
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ami Bera (incumbent) 106,124 50.3
Republican Buzz Patterson 70,803 33.6
Democratic Jeff Burdick 15,114 7.2
Republican Jon Ivy 14,017 6.6
Green Robert Christian "Chris" Richardson 4,837 2.3
Total votes 210,895 100.0
General election
Democratic Ami Bera (incumbent) 217,416 56.6
Republican Buzz Patterson 166,549 43.4
Total votes 383,965 100.0
Democratic hold

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Haniffa, Aziz (January 29, 2015). "Modi spoke to me in Gujarati: US Congressman". Rediff.com. Washington, D.C. Modi, he said, spoke to him in Gujarati. "I could actually understand a majority of what he was saying. He knew that my parents were from Rajkot and that I was Gujarati-American."
  2. ^ a b Cahn, Emily (April 2, 2014). "Ami Bera Challenger Starts Television Ads in California are Race". Roll Call. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Tate, Curtis (February 27, 2014). "Elk Grove Democrat Ami Bera will have to fight for a second congressional term". Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on April 15, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  4. ^ Cahn, Emily (April 2, 2014). "Ami Bera Challenger Starts Television Ads in California Race (Video)". Roll Call. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  5. ^ Joseph, Drew (August 14, 2010). "Bera Hopes to Wipe Out Lungren Despite GOP Wave". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
  6. ^ Raj, Yashwant (February 16, 2013). "Yankee Doodle Desi". Hindustan Times. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  7. ^ "Rep. Bera Statement on Campaign Finance Violation". Bera for Congress. May 10, 2016. Archived from the original on August 21, 2016. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c "Amerish 'Ami' Bera". The Washington Times. Archived from the original on January 10, 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
  9. ^ "Ami Bera (CA)". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
  10. ^ "Full Biography: Congressman Ami Bera". Full Biography. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  11. ^ "Lungren Foe Avoids Primary Battle". National Journal. November 30, 2009. Retrieved September 22, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Joseph, Drew (August 14, 2010). "Bera Hopes to Wipe Out Lungren Despite GOP Wave". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
  13. ^ Joseph, Drew (July 20, 2010). "Ami Bera runs as an outsider but raises money like a pro". The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on October 11, 2010. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  14. ^ Hunt, Kasie (July 20, 2010). "Bera beats Lungren in money chase". Politico. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  15. ^ Bland, Scott (September 27, 2010). "House Republicans at risk? Districts where Democrats hope for upsets". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
  16. ^ Van Oot, Torey (September 21, 2010). "CQ Politics moves Lungren seat from leans GOP to "tossup"". The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on September 25, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
  17. ^ Trygstad, Kyle (September 23, 2010). "California: Poll Shows Lungren Ahead but Under 50 Percent". Roll Call. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  18. ^ Miller, Sean J. (September 22, 2010). "Democrat closing on California Rep. Lungren". The Hill. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  19. ^ "Senate, House and governors races". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
  20. ^ Rooney, Katie. "California's 3rd Congressional District: Dan Lungren vs. Ami Bera". Time. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  21. ^ Thompson, Krissah (November 13, 2012). "Congress welcomes freshmen, and those on the cusp of membership". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  22. ^ Whittington, Lauren (November 15, 2012). "California:-Bera-Defeats-Lungren". Roll Call. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  23. ^ "Lungren loses his House seat". San Francisco Chronicle. November 15, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  24. ^ Cadelago, Christopher (June 4, 2014). "Bera, Ose headed for a fight over 7th congressional district". Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on August 2, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  25. ^ Livingston, Abby (March 5, 2013). "DCCC Announces 26 Members on Frontline Incumbent Retention Program". Roll Call. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  26. ^ Titus, Elizabeth (June 14, 2014). "Ami Bera will face Doug Ose in Sacramento-area district". Politico. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  27. ^ Palmer, Chris (May 14, 2014). "Candidates' parents' mutual donations". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 6, 2014.
  28. ^ Taylor, Jessica (May 13, 2014). "Campaign Overnight: House of cards". The Hill. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  29. ^ "Babulal Bera's felonies complicate Ami Bera's re-election effort". The Sacramento Bee. May 10, 2016. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  30. ^ Cadelago, Christopher (September 29, 2014). "Rep. Ami Bera works to shed labels in tough re-election fight". Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  31. ^ a b Magagnini, Stephen (September 24, 2014). "Sacramento Sikhs split with Bera over Indian government's role in 1984 massacre". Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on October 13, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  32. ^ Gold, Bryan M. "Sikh PAC declines to endorse Bera". Elk Grove Citizen. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  33. ^ a b Haniffa, Aziz. "It's hard to believe a three-term Indian-American Congressman". India Abroad. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  34. ^ Miller, Jim (July 13, 2016). "Ami Bera snubbed by California labor group in endorsement list". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  35. ^ Cockerham, Sean (January 21, 2016). "Rep. Ami Bera's votes leave Democrats debating whether to support him". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  36. ^ Sohrabji, Sunita. "Rep. Ami Bera Fails to Get Democratic Endorsement in Sacramento". India West. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  37. ^ "Statewide Endorsed Candidate list" (PDF). California Democratic Party. 2016.
  38. ^ Cadelago, Christopher (March 15, 2016). "Ami Bera's Democratic critics say Elk Grove congressman disappoints". The Sacramento Bee. ISSN 0890-5738. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  39. ^ Myers, John; Bollag, Sophia. "Rep. Ami Bera's father sentenced to prison for funneling money to his son's campaigns". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  40. ^ "U.S. House of Representatives District 7 – Districtwide Results". California Secretary of State. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  41. ^ Haniffa, Aziz. "'The Godfather' Speaks". India Abroad. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  42. ^ 2018 election results
  43. ^ "November 3, 2020, General Election - United States Representative" (PDF). California Secretary of State. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  44. ^ Gold, Bryan (December 24, 2013). "Bera discusses first year in office". Elk Grove Citizen. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  45. ^ Villatoro, Carlos (October 2, 2013). "Congressman Bera Gives Up Pay Earned During Shutdown". Elk Grove Patch. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  46. ^ Cadelago, Christopher (May 5, 2015). "Ami Bera admits Bee op-ed on trade included 'widely used' statements". Sacramento Bee.
  47. ^ McMorris-Santoro, Evan. "California Democrat's Pro-Trade Op-Ed Uses Talking Points Put Out By White House, Others". BuzzFeed. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  48. ^ Swanson, Ian (August 17, 2014). "Calif. Dems balk at Obama climate talk". TheHill. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  49. ^ Baker, Sam (June 11, 2013). "NRCC hits Calif. Dems over ObamaCare rates". The Hill. Retrieved November 4, 2013.
  50. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 154". House.gov. Retrieved November 4, 2013.
  51. ^ Wire, Sarah D. (November 20, 2015). "Inside the Syrian refugee vote: California representatives explain what shaped their votes". Los Angeles Times.
  52. ^ Haniffa, Aziz (February 5, 2016). "Terror attacks: 'India can be restrained for only so long'". Rediff. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  53. ^ Haniffa, Aziz. "A new symphony in play". India Abroad. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  54. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah. "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  55. ^ Foust, Jeff (February 14, 2017). "Bera new top Democrat on House space subcommittee". SpaceNews. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  56. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  57. ^ "Members". Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  58. ^ "90 Current Climate Solutions Caucus Members". Citizen's Climate Lobby. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  59. ^ "Members". U.S. - Japan Caucus. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  60. ^ Bera, Ami. "About Dr. Ami Bera". Bera for Congress. Archived from the original on April 1, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
  61. ^ Myers, John (August 18, 2016). "Rep. Ami Bera's father sentenced to prison for funneling money to his son's campaigns". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  62. ^ Sandstrom, Aleksandra (January 3, 2019). "Religious affiliation of the 116th Congress". Pew Research Center. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  63. ^ Susskind, Jane (November 16, 2012). "Religious Diversity in Congress, A Year of "Firsts"". Independent Voter Network. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  64. ^ "Hindu Americans Fete First Hindu in Congress as Tulsi Gabbard Prevails in Hawaii". The Hindu American Foundation. November 7, 2012. Archived from the original on August 9, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2012.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
George Miller
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 7th congressional district

2013–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Joyce Beatty
United States representatives by seniority
164th
Succeeded by
Julia Brownley