|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2005
|Preceded by||Cal Dooley|
|Constituency||20th district (2005–2013)|
16th district (2013–present)
|Member of the California Senate|
from the 16th district
December 5, 1994 - November 30, 2002
|Preceded by||Phil Wyman|
|Succeeded by||Dean Florez|
|Member of the California State Assembly|
from the 30th district
December 4, 1978 - November 30, 1994
|Preceded by||Kenneth L. Maddy|
|Succeeded by||Brian Setencich|
James Manuel Costa
April 13, 1952
Fresno, California, U.S.
|Residence(s)||San Joaquin Valley, California, U.S.|
|Education||California State University, Fresno (BA)|
James Manuel Costa (born April 13, 1952) is an American politician serving as the U.S. representative for California's 16th congressional district. Serving as a Democrat in Congress since 2013, he represented California's 20th congressional district from 2005 to 2013. The district includes most of Fresno. Costa served in the California State Assembly from 1978 to 1994 and in the State Senate from 1994 to 2002. At the time of his election to the California State Legislature, he was the youngest member of the legislature at the age of 26. During his time in the California State Assembly, he served as the Majority Caucus Chair. Costa chaired the Blue Dog Coalition and was ranking member of the United States House Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture.
Early life and education
Born in Fresno, Costa is a third-generation family farmer. His grandparents emigrated from the Azores in the early 20th century. He graduated from San Joaquin Memorial High School (1970) and from Fresno State (1974), where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. He worked as a Special Assistant to Congressman John Krebs (1975–76) and as Administrative Assistant to Assemblyman Rick Lehman (1976–78).
Costa represented part of Fresno County in the state legislature for 24 years, serving in the State Assembly (1978–94) and the State Senate (1994-2002). In 1986, he was cited for soliciting prostitution after being arrested with a 19-year-old prostitute to whom Costa paid $50. Calling the incident "an error of judgment", he pleaded no contest to the charge.
U.S. House of Representatives
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. Dooley endorsed his chief of staff, Lisa Quigley, as his successor, but most of the state's Democratic Party establishment, including Senator Dianne Feinstein, endorsed Costa, who won the bruising primary and faced Republican state senator Roy Ashburn in November.
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". Costa won the election with 54% of the vote to Ashburn's 46%. Ashburn kept the margin within single digits by winning heavily Republican Kings County.
Costa ran unopposed for reelection in 2006. The Democrats won control of the House in that election, and Costa became chair of the Natural Resources Committee's Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee. He is a member of the House Agriculture Committee.
Costa was reelected in 2008 with 74% of the vote, the highest percentage for a Democratic incumbent outside Sacramento, the Bay Area, and Southern California.
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, with the unofficial final tally standing at 45,806 votes (51.8%) for Costa and 42,773 (48.2%) for Vidak.
For his first four terms, Costa represented a district including most of the majority-Latino portions of Fresno and Bakersfield. Redistricting after the 2010 census renumbered his district as the 21st and made it slightly more Republican. In February 2012, Costa announced that he would run in the newly formed 16th district, a much more compact district that included most of Fresno as well as most of Merced. That district had previously been the 19th, represented by freshman Republican Jeff Denham. Denham's home had been drawn into the neighboring 10th district (formerly the 18th district), and he sought reelection there. While most of Costa's old territory remained in the 21st, the new 16th absorbed most of the old 20th's share of Fresno County, including his home.
Costa 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, but had the district existed in 2008, Barack Obama would have carried it with 57% of the vote.
Costa faced an unexpectedly close race against Republican Johnny Tacherra, a dairy farmer from rural Fresno County. On election night, Tacherra led by 736 votes, a margin that grew to 1,772 a few days later. Tacherra's lead narrowed as counting continued, and Costa ultimately defeated him by 1,319 votes. While Tacherra carried the district's portions of Merced and Madera counties, Costa defeated him in Fresno County by 9,600 votes.
On June 7, 2016, Costa was the sole Democratic candidate in the 2016 "top two" primary, and was ahead on June 28, with 50,917 votes (55.9%). In the general election he again faced Tacherra, who had received 30,342 votes (33.1%). Costa was reelected with 58% of the vote to Tacherra's 42%.
Costa and Republican challenger Kevin Cookingham, a former Clovis Unified School District educator, advanced through the "top two" primary, besting two Democratic challengers. Costa then defeated Cookingham with 59.4% of the vote to Cookingham's 40.6%.
- Committee on Agriculture
- Committee on Natural Resources
- American Sikh Congressional Caucus
- Beef Caucus Specialty
- Blue Dog Coalition
- Congressional Organ Donation Caucus (co-founder)
- Congressional Soils Caucus
- Congressional Victims' Rights Caucus (co-founder and co-chair)
- Congressional Water Caucus (co-founder)
- United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus
- Methamphetamine Caucus
- New Democrat Coalition
- Congressional Hispanic Caucus
- Veterinary Medicine Caucus
- Problem Solvers Caucus
Costa co-sponsored the bipartisan Agricultural Certainty for Reporting Emissions (ACRE) Act. The act would strip provisions from Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), which was responsible for ensuring cleanup of industrial toxic waste dumps, oil spills, and chemical tank explosions environmental regulations on farmland. If enacted, the act would reduce transparency by protecting livestock farmers from changes to waste storage and disposal methods. Another provision would protect farmers from strict water laws, regulated under the Clean Water Act.
District of Columbia rights
In May 2016, Costa was one of two Democrats to support the unprecedented step of overturning a District of Columbia referendum. The measure, passed by a vast majority of D.C. voters, would allow the District to spend its own tax dollars without congressional approval.
Costa accused Turkey, a NATO member, of inciting the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, saying, "Azerbaijan has continued to fuel this fire by failing to recognize the sovereignty of the Republic of Artsakh, while Turkey has helped enable this aggression." On October 1, 2020, he co-signed a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that condemned Azerbaijan's offensive operations against the Armenian-populated Republic of Artsakh, denounced Turkey's role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and called for an immediate ceasefire.
Costa was reportedly a holdout vote on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, in March 2010. He ultimately voted in favor of the legislation. To gain Costa's vote, the House leadership reportedly promised Costa and Dennis Cardoza funding for a medical school for California's Central Valley.
On November 19, 2015, Costa voted for HR 4038, legislation that would effectively halt the resettlement of refugees from Syria and Iraq to the U.S.
Infrastructure and transportation
In August 2021, Costa joined a group of conservative Democrats, dubbed "The Unbreakable Nine", who threatened to derail the Biden administration's $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package meant to tackle the nation's infrastructure.
Costa has advocated 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[who?] compared rail projects to Eisenhower's highway expansion and pleaded to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and President Barack Obama for help in with this project.
In April 2008, Costa wrote a piece in Capitol Weekly calling for high-speed rail in California.
National cemetery burials
In December 2017, Costa introduced legislation to allow some Hmong- and Laotian-American veterans to be buried in U.S. national cemeteries. The legislation applies to Hmong and Laotian veterans who fought alongside the U.S. against North Vietnamese forces in the 1960s and 1970s. The bill, which does not allow for burials at Arlington National Cemetery, applies only to veterans who pass away on or after the bill's enactment. The bill was enacted in March 2018 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018.
- "Members". Blue Dog Coalition. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
- Neill, Stephanie (September 5, 1986). "Assemblyman in Prostitute Incident Issues Apology". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
- "Costa Holds Seat, Keeps GOP Pickups at 63: Roll Call Politics". Rollcall.com. November 23, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
- "Rep. Jim Costa Announces Reelection Campaign". KGPE.
- "Republicans Tout Redistricting Gains". National Journal. March 28, 2012. Archived from the original on October 19, 2012.
- "Daily Kos Elections 2008, 2012 & 2016 presidential election results for congressional districts used in 2016 elections". Retrieved May 25, 2018.
- "Jim Costa responds to attacks from the right, and the left". ABC News.
- "U.S. House: California District 16 - 2012 Election Center". CNN.
- "Jim Costa keeps House seat, edging out Johnny Tacherra in another late-vote rally". Fresno Bee. November 19, 2014. Archived from the original on November 9, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "California House results -- 2014 Election Center -- Elections and Politics from CNN.com". Retrieved May 25, 2018.
- 16 District returns Archived July 9, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, California Secretary of State, June 28, 2016. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
- California's 16th Congressional District election, Ballotpedia. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
- California's 16th Congressional District election, Ballotpedia. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
- Taub, David (May 10, 2019). "Retired Clovis Unified Educator Is First 2020 Costa Challenger". GV Wire. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
- "STATEMENT OF VOTE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTION MARCH 3, 2020" (PDF). California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
- "November 3, 2020, General Election - United States Representative" (PDF). California Secretary of State. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
- "Members". Blue Dog Coalition. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
- "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on August 1, 2018. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
- "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
- "Members". Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Archived from the original on May 15, 2018. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Members of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus". Veterinary Medicine Caucus. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
- "Featured Members". Problem Solvers Caucus. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
- Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (October 22, 2021). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". Retrieved October 29, 2021.
- Costa, Jim (June 24, 2023). "This ruling strips women of their freedom to make their own decisions and the constitutional right to privacy. California has codified reproductive rights into law, it's long overdue for the rest of the country to do the same. (2/3)". Twitter. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
- "NCBA Hails Introduction of Bipartisan ACRE Act in U.S. House of Representatives". National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
- Liebmann, Larissa (April 23, 2018). "Don't Let CAFOs Hide Their Pollution | Dive Into Democracy". Waterkeeper's Alliance. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
- Davis, Aaron (May 25, 2016). "House Republicans take unprecedented step to upend local D.C. law". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
- Foran, Clare (January 9, 2015). "Here are the 28 House Democrats Who Voted to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
- Fuller, Matt; Ahmed, Akbar Shahid (December 12, 2018). "5 Democrats Bail Out Paul Ryan And Protect Saudi Arabia". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
- "Members of Congress Blast Azerbaijan and Turkey As Attack on Artsakh Expands to Armenia". Armenian Weekly. September 29, 2020.
- "Senate and House Leaders to Secretary of State Pompeo: Cut Military Aid to Azerbaijan; Sanction Turkey for Ongoing Attacks Against Armenia and Artsakh". Armenian Weekly. October 2, 2020.
- "Costa a yes". Politico. March 10, 2010.
- "Side deals stack up as health bills move along". The Hill. November 23, 2009.
- Wire, Sarah D. (November 20, 2015). "Inside the Syrian refugee vote: California representatives explain what shaped their votes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
- "Already, Cracks Emerge in Rep. Josh Gottheimer's "Unbreakable Nine"". August 25, 2021.
- Bouie, Jamelle (August 24, 2021). "Opinion | the 9 Democrats Making Nancy Pelosi's Life Harder Are Making a Big Mistake". The New York Times.
- "Jim Costa". Political Profile. The Washington Post. August 21, 2012. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014.
- "High speed rail: a viable transportation system for California". Capitol Weekly. Archived from the original on February 9, 2011. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
- Constante, Agnes (April 3, 2018). "Congress passes law allowing national cemetery burials for 'secret war' veterans". NBC News. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
- "Cidadãos Estrangeiros Agraciados com Ordens Portuguesas". Página Oficial das Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
- Congressman Jim Costa official U.S. House website
- Jim Costa for Congress campaign website
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Jim Costa at Curlie