Grace Napolitano

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Grace Napolitano
Rep-Napolitano.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 32nd district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded byJudy Chu
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 38th district
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2013
Preceded bySteve Horn
Succeeded byLinda Sánchez
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 34th district
In office
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2003
Preceded byEsteban Edward Torres
Succeeded byLucille Roybal-Allard
Personal details
BornGraciela Flores Napolitano
(1936-12-04) December 4, 1936 (age 77)
Brownsville, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Frank Napolitano
ResidenceNorwalk, California, U.S.
Alma materCerritos College
Texas Southmost College
OccupationLegal Secretary
ReligionRoman Catholicism
 
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Grace Napolitano
Rep-Napolitano.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 32nd district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded byJudy Chu
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 38th district
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2013
Preceded bySteve Horn
Succeeded byLinda Sánchez
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 34th district
In office
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2003
Preceded byEsteban Edward Torres
Succeeded byLucille Roybal-Allard
Personal details
BornGraciela Flores Napolitano
(1936-12-04) December 4, 1936 (age 77)
Brownsville, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Frank Napolitano
ResidenceNorwalk, California, U.S.
Alma materCerritos College
Texas Southmost College
OccupationLegal Secretary
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Graciela Flores "Grace" Napolitano (born December 4, 1936) is the U.S. Representative for California's 32nd congressional district, serving in Congress since 1999. She is a member of the Democratic Party. She previously served in the California State Assembly and the Norwalk City Council.

Napolitano previously represented the 34th district from 1999 to 2003, and the 38th district from 2003 to 2013. Due to redistricting, Napolitano ran for, and won re-election in the 2012 United States elections in California's 32nd congressional district against Republican candidate David Miller.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Napolitano was born and raised in Brownsville, Texas. After high school, she married and moved with her husband to California where they raised five children.

Napolitano began her political career as a member of the Norwalk City Council, winning her first election in 1986 by a mere 28 votes. Four years later she won re-election by the highest margin of votes recorded in city history. In 1989, Napolitano was elevated by her council colleagues to serve as Mayor. During her council tenure, she focused much of her attention on providing access to constituents and on redevelopment and transportation issues to address the city's need for jobs and a more diversified economic base.

Napolitano made her way up through the ranks of Ford Motor Company for 21 years. Following her retirement in 1992, she was elected to the California Assembly, and became a leader on international trade, environmental protection, transportation and immigration. In 1996 she requested and received the creation of the first new California State Assembly Standing Committee in nine years, the Committee on International Trade, which she chaired until being termed out in 1998. In her six years in the Assembly, she also served as chair of the Women's Caucus and vice-chair of the Latino caucus.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus Memberships[edit]

Natural Resources Committee[edit]

Napolitano has been a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources since the 106th Congress and was selected the Chair of the Water and Power Subcommittee for the 110th Congress. She has promoted conservation, water recycling, desalination, and sound groundwater management and storage to address Southern California's need for adequate water quality and supply. She is proud of her legislative efforts on a number of fronts — assisting in the implementation of the CALFED Bay-Delta Program, a water management plan for the State of California, protection of the ecosystem in the Bay-Delta and promotion of the use of advanced technologies. She is also a member of the Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus.

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee[edit]

At the start of the 110th Congress, Napolitano became the most senior new member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, with jurisdiction over America's surface transportation, freight and passenger rail, the inland waterway system, international maritime commerce, the Economic Development Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' support of the nation's water resources, and the federal clean water program. Napolitano's experience includes 6 years on the California State Assembly Transportation Committee, and current work on rail safety and congestion relief in the San Gabriel Valley.

Congressional Mental Health Caucus[edit]

Statistics showing one in three Latina adolescents contemplated suicide prompted Napolitano to spearhead a school-based Latina adolescent mental health program in three local middle schools and one high school. She co-chairs the Congressional Mental Health Caucus with Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA). The bipartisan caucus included more than 70 members during the 108th Congress and over 90 members during the 109th Congress. As co-chair, Napolitano has hosted congressional briefings on children and on veteran's mental health needs, working on proposals to improve VA mental health services. A key priority is legislation to provide mental health parity in health insurance.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus[edit]

During the 109th Congress, Napolitano served as Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which continues to address national education, immigration, health, and civil rights issues, and the impact these policies have on the Hispanic community.

In the district[edit]

She claims responsibility for a $2.8 million Labor Department grant for precision and computer numeric control (CNC) machinists, $4 million to spur reuse and redevelopment of the Northrop Grumman B-2 facility in Pico Rivera, $1 million for upgrades to Cal Poly Pomona's Aerospace Engineering Laboratory Facilities, and $1 million for Central Atmospheric Monitoring Systems in Navy Submarines. These programs support research and development, helping expand the reach of local academic institutions and enhancing the local economy.

Napolitano is also concerned with suicide prevention among Latina adolescents noting that nearly one-out-of-three has seriously contemplated suicide, the highest rate for any ethnic or racial group in the country. In 2001, she claimed responsibility for getting funds included in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill for a pilot project supporting school-based, mental health services in her district. To date, $1.6 million has been secured for this program now operating in 4 local schools.

In 2011, Napolitano voted against the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 as part of a controversial provision that allows the government and the military to indefinitely detain American citizens and others without trial.[1]

Health Task Force[edit]

Napolitano established a 38th district Health Task Force composed of health providers, educators and experts throughout the local area. The Task Force helps keep the Congresswoman apprised of key health issues facing her constituents and works with the Congresswoman to devise programs and projects to improve health care and health outcomes for the local area. The Congresswoman also works with the Health Task Force to pursue funding options through California's Proposition 63 Mental Health Services Expansion and for additional training of nursing professionals at both the entry level (CNAs and LVNs) and RNs with advanced degrees.

Manufacturing Task Force[edit]

The Congresswoman has initiated a Manufacturing Task Force in the 38th district, composed of various small and mid-sized companies. The task force meets as needed to examine key issues and work on strategies that will foster more manufacturing jobs and create a positive climate for manufacturing retention and growth.

Local events[edit]

Napolitano hosts various events throughout the year, informing residents of the 38th District on the impact of federal legislation and policy, and honoring local constituents for their outstanding achievements. Prominent among these events are the annual Congressional Art Competition and Women of the Year recognition ceremonies.

Controversies[edit]

On February 13, 2009, Timothy J. Burger, writing on Bloomberg.com, noted that, “During a decade in Congress, California Representative Grace Napolitano has pocketed more than $200,000 of political contributions by charging as much as 18 percent interest on money she loaned to her own campaign. The Democrat made the $150,000 loan in 1998, when she was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Through Dec. 31, her campaign committee has used donations to pay Napolitano $221,780 of interest while reducing the principal by just $64,727, a review of her Federal Election Commission filings shows.” [2] The loan was completely repaid as of August 2010.[3]

In July of 2013 viral content site BuzzFeed reported that congressional staffers had added information to Wikipedia noting that the controversial loan she made to her campaign, which was being repaid with interest, had been completely repaid. [4]

In October 2013 CBS's 60 Minutes confronted Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-CA) about $150,000 she loaned to her campaign in 1998 at an astounding 18% interest rate, likening the profit margin to organized crime. The Sunday night news program showed investigative reporter Steve Kroft asking Napolitano about the loan; he responded that the banks would not lend her money because she was a Hispanic woman, so she had to withdraw $150,000 from an investment account and lend it to her campaign. Kroft later questioned why she would charge 18% interest, saying, “That’s what the Mafia gets.” “It isn’t like I’ve really profited,” Napolitano responded. “I still live in the same house. I drive a small car. I am not a billionaire, or a millionaire, for that matter.” Government Accountability Institute (GAI) President and Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Peter Schweizer also appeared on 60 Minutes, and his new book Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets, explores how  politicians like Napolitano take advantage of loopholes in campaign finance laws. “I think Napolitano’s claim that she couldn’t get a loan, because she’s Hispanic or she’s a woman is ridiculous because no politician can get a loan for their campaign. It’s against the law for banks to make those loans,” Schweizer told Breitbart News. “It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female—black, white, red, yellow, or green, you’re not going to get those types of loans. It’s complete subterfuge on her part.” Schweizer explained, “In the case of Napolitano, she went 20 years. She carried that loan for 20 years. That’s how she made so much money in interest. She was charging 18 percent in interest.” “The first loan came in 1998 and she didn’t pay it off until 20 years later, so that’s why she made hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest payments,” he added.

Similar to a political annuity, Schweizer describes the issue as a guaranteed investment. “You know you’re going to get a return on your investment, because you’re going to get contributors to give to your campaign and then you’re putting the interest in your pocket,” he says, noting that Napolitano went up to the limit one can charge for interest on a loan and could have paid off the 1998 loan already in full. “It’s ridiculous. She could have very well, if you look at the campaign records, paid off that loan in full. They chose not to, because for every one hundred dollars that her campaign took in, eighteen dollars of that was going into her pocket, that’s what was so stunning about that.” [5]

Personal life[edit]

Napolitano is married to Frank Napolitano, retired restaurateur and community activist. They have five grown children, fourteen grandchildren, and one great grandson. She is not related to former Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "NDAA Bill: How Did Your Congress Member Vote?". Ibtimes.com. 2011-12-16. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  2. ^ "California's Napolitano Makes $220,000 From 1998 Campaign Loan.". Bloomberg. 2009-02-13. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  3. ^ "Report: Members of Congress find ways to keep money in the family". The Hill. 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2012-04-02. 
  4. ^ "Report: 33 Embarrassing Congressional Edits To Members’ Wikipedia Pages". BuzzFeed. 2012-06-10. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  5. ^ "Report: CBS REPORTER CALLS CONGRESSWOMAN'S CAMPAIGN LOAN SETUP SIMILAR TO 'MAFIA' SCHEME". BuzzFeed. 2013-10-21. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Esteban Edward Torres
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 34th congressional district

1999–2003
Succeeded by
Lucille Roybal-Allard
Preceded by
Steve Horn
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 38th congressional district

2003–2013
Succeeded by
Linda Sánchez
Preceded by
Judy Chu
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 32nd congressional district

2013–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Gary Miller
R-California
United States Representatives by seniority
117th
Succeeded by
Paul Ryan
R-Wisconsin