Sam Farr

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Sam Farr

Template:TOCnestleft Sam Farr was a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 20th district of California.


Sam Farr was born on the 4th of July, 1941. He is a long-time resident of Carmel, California and is married to Shary Baldwin Farr.

Sam Farr began his career in public service in 1964 with a two-year commitment in the Peace Corps in Colombia, South America. Sam Farr graduated from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1963 and attended the Monterey Institute of International Studies and Santa Clara University. He is fluent in Spanish.[1]

Political career

Before replacing Leon Panetta the House of Representatives in 1993, Sam Farr served on the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, and then 12 and one-half years in the California State Assembly , being re-elected six times with overwhelming majorities. As a member of the Assembly, Sam Farr chaired the Assembly Local Government Committee as well as the Committee on Economic Development and New Technologies. He was also a member of the standing committees on education, natural resources, and finance and insurance. He was recognized as a leader in legislative efforts for educational excellence, environmental protection, economic development and new technologies.[2]


In Congress since 1993, Farr serves on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which oversees the distribution of the federal budget. Farr is the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development and Food and Drug Administration, as well as sits on the Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

Mr. Farr co-chairs the Congressional Organic Caucus, Congressional Travel & Tourism Caucus, Defense Communities Caucus, House Oceans Caucus, and Unexploded Ordnance Caucus.[3]

Socialist staffer

After completing a term as Mayor of Santa Cruz, Democratic Socialists of America member Don Lane chose not to run for reelection...and turned his attention to new projects. He sold his majority ownership share of the Saturn Café, took a short term position as a campaign coordinator for Representative Sam Farr, and then played a key role in initiating two new nonprofit organizations.[4]

Tribute to Mike Rotkin

Wednesday, March 28, 2001 Sam Farr placed a tribute to Democratic Socialists of America member Mike Rotkin into the Congressional Record.

Mr. FARR of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor a public servant of the highest order, a man who has given over two decades of his life to the community. Mr. Speaker, Mike Rotkin of Santa Cruz, California, has recently celebrated the milestone of twenty-one years of public service, a most commendable celebration.
After living in Santa Cruz since 1969, when he came as a graduate student to the University of California, Mr. Rotkin decided to put his activism into action. He began his civic life in 1977, when he was first elected to the Santa Cruz City Council. Since that time, he has served on various city commissions, including his time as Chairperson for the Metropolitan Transit Commission. Mike was elected Mayor of Santa Cruz in 1981, and has served two other terms as Mayor since then.
Mr. Rotkin's service extends beyond the role of politician. An active voice in the community, he regularly addresses city and national issues in letters to our local newspapers, and by enmeshing himself in a myriad of causes. His commitment to the community is demonstrated by his position as a Lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he teaches and advises students on taking an active role in both the local and international realms. Indeed, many of his students have interned in my offices.
In a time when a lifelong career in public service is looked down upon, and activism and interest in government is declining, it is refreshing to see individuals like Mike Rotkin. I applaud his efforts over the past twenty-one years to work with and for the people of Santa Cruz, and I join his colleagues in thanking him for his tireless efforts.

Tribute To Virginia “Ginnie” Muir Hirsch

Congressional record volume 149 , number 27 pages 253 extensions of remarks Thursday, February 13, 2003.

Rep. Sam Farr;

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the life of Virginia ``Ginnie Muir Hirsch. She passed away in the early morning of January 29 in her home in Santa Cruz, California. Her husband, Fred, and their three daughters Liza, Leslie, and Laurie were at her side.
Ginnie was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania on August 4, 1925. She came from a family of strong Democrats. Because of her father's leftist ideals, he had difficulty finding a job in Altoona. Eventually the family was forced to migrate to West Virginia so that Ginnie's father could find work. Ginnie moved to New York in 1942, where she began working for the American Committee for the Protection of Foreign Born and for the American Slav Congress...
Mr. Speaker, Virginia Muir Hirsch will be remembered in the community for her years of service and the invaluable contributions she has made to the progressive cause.

Endorsed Mardi Wormhoudt

When Democratic Socialists of America member Mardi Wormhoudt ran for Board of Supervisors in 2002, she was endorsed by local Congressmenbers Sam Farr and Anna Eshoo;

Ask the folks who have endorsed my candidacy, including almost every union in Santa Cruz County, the People's Democratic Club, the Democratic Women's Club, UCSC Democrats, the Green Party, Vote the Coast, BAYMEC, the GLBT Alliance, Congressmembers Sam Farr and Anna Eshoo, Assemblymember Fred Keeley, County Sheriff Mark Tracy, the Deputy Sheriff's Association, all of my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors, and five of the current City Council members, to name a few... [5]

Tribute to Mardi Wormhoudt

When Mardi Wormhoudt died in 2009, Sam Farr, and Anna Eshoo paid tribute to her in the Congressional Record;

HON. SAM FARR of California, House of Representatives Friday, November 6, 2009
Mr. FARR. Madam Speaker, I rise today, with my colleague Anna Eshoo to honor the memory of a great woman and model citizen, Mardi Wormhoudt. Mardi passed away October 21, 2009 in her Santa Cruz home at the age of 72. Mardi was an influential politician, a loving mother and wife, and a dedicated friend.
Mardi was born October 1, 1937 in Wisconsin. She graduated with honors from California State University at Los Angeles in 1967. During the late 1960's and early 1970's, Mardi worked as a caseworker for the Los Angeles Department of Social Services, as well as a project director for the Martin Luther King Center in Pasadena. During this time, Mardi and her husband Ken, the love of her life, started a family with the birth of their children: Zachary, Jonathon, Jacob and Lisa.
In the mid 1970's, Mardi moved her family to Santa Cruz and by 1981 she was an elected official. She was soon Santa Cruz County's leading female official. She is best known for her time as Mayor when she helped lead Santa Cruz through the tragic Loma Prieta earthquake. We all remember the iconic image of her briefing President Bush, Representative Panetta, State Senator Mello, Assemblyman Farr against the backdrop of destruction along Pacific Avenue. Mardi helped keep the spirits of citizens high, and encouraged the city to unite in rebuilding efforts. In total, Mardi dedicated twenty-one years to public office. Mardi will also be forever remembered for her dedication to women's rights, environmental protection, and a firm belief in local economic growth. Mardi was also an advocate for those who were marginalized and overlooked.

Mardi was constantly active in the community as a member of a plethora of groups, including: The Santa Cruz City School District and the Santa Cruz AIDS project. She also received a vast stable of awards, including: The People's Democratic Club Woman of the Year 1988 and the 1991 nomination by then Assemblyman Sam Farr for The California State Assembly Woman of the Year. Those who were close friends of Mardi will especially remember her for her veracity, playful humor, hard-working personality, loyalty, and devotion to family.

Madam Speaker, we know as co-representatives of Santa Cruz County that we speak for the entire House when we extend our deepest sympathies to her family, and our deepest appreciation for the work she did to make her community and the world a better place.


Sam Farr has taken a strong interest in Colombian affairs.

Communist inspired letter to defund Colombian military

Sam Farr had been a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia, and was contacted by the communist dominated Colombia Support Network in 1997. Efforts by Colombia Support Network were instrumental in getting a letter sent to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, with the 19 other members signing on. The January 30, 1998 letter called for the continued suspension of funding to the Colombian military then engaged in a bloody civil war against communist guerillas.

Dear Secretary Albright :
We are writing to express our concern with the worsening human rights situation in Colombia and urge you to take steps to address this matter.
News reports and first-hand accounts indicate that violence in Colombia is escalating, particularly in the country's northern most regions and the southern coca growing regions. Many different groups and individuals have been implicated in the violence, but an increasing number of human rights abuses are being instigated by paramilitary groups --armed civilians who torture, evict, kidnap and murder Colombian civilians.
There is also evidence of links between paramilitaries and local drug lords, who rely on paramilitary groups to undertake violent activities on their behalf. The Peasant Self-Defense Group of Cordoba and Uraba, a paramilitary group lead by Carlos Castano, is considered one of the most powerful paramilitary groups in Colombia. Reports indicate that last yeqar Castano's group killed hundreds, if not more than a thousand, peasants it accused of helping rebels.

As concerned Members of Congress, we urge you to place the issue of human rights and the problem of paramilitary groups in the forefront of your priority list in your dealings with Colombia. We understand that aid to the Colombian army is currently on hold because of human rights concerns and urge you to continue to withhold funding.

Signatories were;Sam Farr, John Porter, Ron Dellums, David Bonior, Marty Meehan, Marcy Kaptur, Scott Klug, James McGovern, Elizabeth Furse, Jim Oberstar, Peter DeFazio, Maurice Hinchey, Gerald Kleczka,John Conyers, Pete Stark, Robert Wexler, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Lane Evans, David Price, Sherrod Brown, [6]

Second Colombia Support Network letter


In 2002, the Colombia Support Network organized a :dear colleague" letter to President Andres Pastrana Arango, of Colombia, through Ned Steiner, a staffer in Rep. Sam Farr's office.

The letter called on President Pastrana to end a military blockade on the Colombian town of San Jose de Apartado, a sister community of Madison Wisconsin, where the Colombia Support Network is based.

We write to you to bring your attention to the humanitarian crisis facing the civilian population of the Peace Community San Jose de Apartadó and its outlying settlements.
We urge the appropriate authorities of your government to dismantle the paramilitary checkpoint on the road between San Jose and Apartadó, ensure the continued safety of the road, and fully investigate recent threats and attacks on the Peace Community.
The Peace Community San Jose de Apartadó and its settlements, including the village of La Union, receive the permanent accompaniment of international organizations.

These include Peace Brigades International (PBI), as well as the U.S. Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), which currently has two US citizens in La Union. We support the work of these two respected organizations as well as the Peace Community in its effort to build a non-violent alternative to the conflict.

Representatives who signed the Colombia Support Network inspired letter in 2002 included Sam Farr. [7]

2006 letter to Condoleezza Rice on Colombia

Alleged Colombian Army killings prompted Fellowship of Reconciliation to work with Representative Sam Farr to forge a response that would impact the 17th Brigade, the unit allegedly responsible for the violence against San José de Apartadó and communities throughout northwestern Colombia.

As a result, Reps. Sam Farr and Jim McGovern, wrote a letter to their colleagues in Congress urging them to join in calling on Secretary Condoleezza Rice to cut funding for the Colombian military.

Letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
(Deadline for Congressional representatives to sign: February 22)
We applaud the decision, noted in your certification letter of August 2005, that the US "will not consider providing assistance to the 17th Brigade until all significant human rights allegations involving the unit have been credibly addressed." Because the Brigade is a component of the Colombian Armed Forces' command structure and has been implicated in the above referenced human rights violations, we implore you to abide by both the letter of the law and the spirit of the law by withholding human rights certification for Colombia until the following conditions are met:[8]

Colombian expert

On June 20, 2012, the Inter-American Dialogue hosted a conversation with Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA), who discussed their recent trip to Colombia, Cuba, and Haiti earlier this year.

Panelists were joined by Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA), an expert on Colombian political affairs. All three offered hopeful assessments of President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and the potential for reconciliation with guerrilla groups. They described Santos as a pragmatic, capable leader who understands the national desire to move on from legacies of violence and instability.[9]

FARC hostages

In March 2007, seven members of the U.S. Congress sent a letter endorsing three European governments' (France, Spain, Switzerland) proposal for a demilitarized zone, where eventual "humanitarian exchange" negotiations would take place to secure the release of Colombian guerilla FARC hostages. The representatives even offer to be present in the zone at key moments in order to guarantee the talks' success.

As you know, though, the FARC instead insists that negotiations for a "humanitarian exchange" of prisoners take place in a 480 square-kilometer zone in southwestern Colombia from which all military personnel have been removed. The Colombian government has been unwilling to pull security forces out of this zone, particularly if the FARC insists on its own forces carrying weapons.
The result has been stalemate, with both sides far from dialogue and the hostages far from winning release. This has gone on for too long. We agree with you that the status quo is unacceptable.

Signatories were Jim McGovern, Jan Schakowsky, Raul Grijalva, Sam Farr, Peter Welch, Maurice Hinchey, Bill Delahunt.[10]

Colombian "Peace" process

According to a May 2014 FARC press release;

In an historic action, 245 politicians from the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland have expressed their collective support for the Colombian peace process in a letter to both sides in the current negotiations, the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - FARC. The politicians from the US Congress, UK Parliament, Irish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly, many of whom supported the peace process in Northern Ireland and some of whom were directly involved, congratulate the two sides for having engaged in talks. In the letter, the signatories, from sixteen political parties, encourage the negotiating parties “to consider the possibility of a ceasefire and take the necessary measures to minimise the human cost of the conflict”, emphasising that for them “the only route to bring an effective and long-lasting peace to Colombia is through dialogue and compromise”. The letter expresses the hope that measures to guarantee the safety of civil society activists will be taken.

The letter was coordinated by Justice for Colombia), the British NGO with the support of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and a cross party group of politicians.

High profile signatories include Congressman George Miller, leading US Democrat on the Labor & Education Committee, the "legendary US Civil rights leader" Congressman John Lewis and Members of the Congressional Monitoring Group on Labor Rights Jim McGovern, Sam Farr, Jan Schakowsky, Hank Johnson, Keith Ellison and Rosa DeLauro. Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minster Martin McGuinness from Sinn Fein, Northern Ireland party leaders Alasdair McDonnell of the SDLP and Naomi Long of the Alliance, and leader of the Republic of Ireland’s governing Labour Party Eamon Gilmore also added their names.[11]

Cutting off military aid to Colombia

In November 2014, eight United States lawmakers sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry in which they say that ongoing Afro-Colombian rights abuses show that “Colombia is not in full compliance” with human rights policies required to receive US military aid.

In the letter, coordinated by House Representative Hank Johnson’s office and signed by seven other members of Congress, the US politicians expressed “grave concern” over the human rights situation in cities on the Pacific coast, where the majority of inhabitants are Afro-Colombians.

Signatories were Hank Johnson, James McGovern, John Conyers, George Miller, John Lewis, Sam Farr, Barbara Lee, Emanuel Cleaver. [12]

Dining with Fidel Castro

In February 2002 a delegation[13]of California Democratic Party Congressmen and women including Sam Farr, Diane Watson, Bob Filner and Mike Thompson, together with singer Carole King and representatives of California's rice and wine industries visited Havana as part of the latest effort to change U.S. policy toward Cuba.

Carole King serenaded Fidel Castro with "You've Got a Friend" at a weekend dinner, and U.S. representatives from California shared wines from Napa and Sonoma --

"We ought to be having a better tone about building bridges rather than building walls," Sam Farr, Democratic U.S. representative from Carmel, said.

They said their dinner with Castro at the Palace of the Revolution stretched from 9 p.m. Sunday until about 4:30 a.m. Monday. During the meal, King also performed a new song, "Love Makes the World."

Supported by Council for a Livable World

The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported Sam Farr in his successful House of Representatives run as candidate for California.[14]

Posada letter

In 2005 several far left Congressmembers wrote to President Bush urging him to extradite alleged terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela to face justice.

We are writing to urge you to oppose the application for asylum by Luis Posada Carriles, and to support the request for extradition to Venezuela, where he is a fugitive from justice.

Signatories were; Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Cynthia McKinney, John Olver, James McGovern, Donald Payne, Lane Evans, Carolyn Maloney, Tammy Baldwin, Lynn Woolsey, Jose Serrano, Raul Grijalva, Maurice Hinchey, Bobby Rush, Edolphus Towns, Sam Farr, Bennie Thompson, Ed Pastor, Sheila Jackson Lee, Maxine Waters.[15]

Peace Pledge Coalition

In 2007 90 Members of Congress, pledged in an open letter delivered to President Bush: "We will only support appropriating funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office." The letter was initiated by the Peace Pledge Coalition. The Coalition was led by Tim Carpenter, Progressive Democrats of America, Bob Fertik, Medea Benjamin, CodePink, Bill Fletcher, co-founder of Center for Labor Renewal David Swanson,,, Progressive Democrats of America, Kevin Zeese, Voters for Peace, Democracy Rising, Brad Friedman, co-founder of Velvet Revolution, Bill Moyer, Backbone Campaign.

Sam Farr signed the letter.[16][17]

Staffer's trip to Cuba

Rep Farr sent Marc B. Hanson to Cuba for 9 days in June/July 2008. The trip was courtesy of a $$1,668.00 grant from the Institute for Policy Studies connected Center for Democracy in the Americas... "To meet with academics, journalists, embassy officials, religious leaders and government officials to discuss human rights, the effect of U.S. policy on Cuba and U.S-Cuba relations" .[18]

Vietnam trip

U.S. Rep. David Price, a Chapel Hill Democrat led a bipartisan delegation to monitor the work of the Department of Homeland Security in the Phillippines, Hong Kong and Vietnam, December 2012.

The trip was designed to give members of Congress a better understanding of the department's coordination with foreign governments to secure U.S.-bound cargo and work on anti-terrorism efforts and international adoption issues.

The delegation included Democratic Reps. Sam Farr, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Mike Honda and Mazie Hirono as well as Republican Rep. John Carter.

Most of the members sit on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, which Price chaired.

They were scheduled to meet with Phillippines president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, among other foreign leaders, during the trip.[19]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

As of February 20 2009 Sam Farr was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[20]

Calling on Israeli Govt. to lift Gaza Travel Ban

On Dec. 22, 2009, thirty-three U.S. Representatives wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling on her to request that the Israeli Government end the ban on student travel from Gaza to the West Bank. Sam Farr was one of the signatories of the letter.[21] The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.

Supported Lifting the Gaza Blockade

On Jan. 27, 2010, U.S. Representatives Keith Ellison and Jim McDermott led 52 other members of Congress in signing a letter addressed to President Barack Obama, calling for him to use diplomatic pressure to resolve the blockade affecting Gaza. Sam Farr was one of the signatories of the letter. [22] The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.

Central Coast Member Receives ‘Unionist of the Year’ Award


ULTCW member Yadira Real received the Central Labor Council’s ‘Unionist of the Year Award’ on April 29th, 2011.

On hand to preset the award were Congressman Sam Farr, Assemblyman Bill Monning, and Central Labor Council President Robert Chacanaca.[23]

Fred Ross award campaign

In early 2013, mainly Democratic Socialists of America aligned activists, together with many elected officials across the United States came together to urge President Barack Obama to award posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the legendary organizer, Fred Ross, Sr.. The Saul Alinsky trained radical was the first to organize people through house meetings, a mentor to both Cesar Chavez and DSAer Dolores Huerta, and a pioneer in Latino voter outreach since 1949 when he helped elect Communist Party USA affiliate Ed Roybal as Los Angeles’s first Latino council member, "Ross’ influence on social change movements remains strong two decades after his death in 1992".

Congressional endorsers of the proposal included Sam Farr.[24]

Lifting travel ban on Cuba

A May 03, 2013 Press release from the radical controlled and Institute for Policy Studies affiliated Latin America Working Group's Cuba Team stated:

Due to your action/emails/phone calls we have 59 signatures from House representatives urging President Obama to support travel to Cuba by granting general licenses for ALL current categories of travel.
By eliminating the laborious license application process, especially for people-to-people groups, that is managed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the majority of the bureaucratic red tape that holds up licensable travel to Cuba would disappear and actually facilitate what the President wanted to see in 2011, liberalized travel regulations.

Signatories included Rep. Sam Farr.[25]

PDA contact

In 2013 Progressive Democrats of America assigned activists to deliver their material to almost every US Congressman and Senator, Gary Karnes was assigned as the contact for Rep. Farr. In June Ann McDowell and Daniel DeCamp were added[26][27]

Congressional Letter for Neutrality, 2014 Salvadoran Elections

On Monday December 16, 2013 Reps. Juan Vargas (D-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) sent a letter to Sec. of State John Kerry – signed by 51 Members of Congress – calling for a public statement of neutrality by the State Department before the first round of El Salvador’s presidential elections on February 2, 2014.

The letter, , highlighted several “important steps” that the current government has taken to “strengthen its democratic system and expand the right to vote to all citizens,” including those living outside of the country, who will be voting by absentee ballot for the first time in February. Since the election of Mauricio Funes, the first President from the Marxist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) party, the government has increased the number of polling places four-fold to increase accessibility, especially in rural areas.

“We’re glad to see so many Members of Congress expressing respect for the right of the Salvadoran people to determine their own future. That’s an attitude that’s sorely lacking in much of the US’ policy in Central America, especially with regard to economic policy,” said Alexis Stoumbelis, Executive Director for the pro-communist Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), in Washington, DC, which has observed every post-war election in El Salvador, starting in 1994.

Signatories included Rep. Sam Farr.[28].

CDA connection

Sam Farr, Loretta Sanchez, Lois Capps and CDA Director Sarah Stephens, July 10, 2013

Reps Sam Farr, Loretta Sanchez, and Lois Capps attended the Center for Democracy in the Americas' 7th Anniversary Event July 10, 2013.[29]

[Rep. James Moran with CDA Director Sarah Stephens and Rep. Sam Farr

Rep. Sam Farr attended the Center for Democracy in the Americas' 8th Anniversary Event, June 19, 2014.[30]

Second Cuba trip

Alan Gross press conference in Cuba, May 5, 2014
Delegation meets with Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez, May 5, 2014 (Sarah Stephens, right)

In early May, 2014 Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13), Rep. Gregory Meeks (CA-), Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (MO-5), and Rep. Sam Farr (NY-20) traveled to Cuba with Center for Democracy in the Americas, where they met with Alan Gross and Cuban officials, including Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez. [31]

JStreet endorsement

The socialist infiltrated, anti-Israel "two state solution" JStreet PAC endorsed Sam Farr in his 2014 Congressional race. [32]

JStreet endorsed him again 2016.

Farr has been a strong advocate on the Hill for US leadership to bring about a two-state solution.[33]

ARA endorsements

The Alliance for Retired Americans Political Action Fund endorsed Sam Farr in 2012, 2014.[34]

2014 WOLA Awards

The Honorary Committee for Washington Office on Latin America's 2014 Human Rights Award Ceremony and Benefit Gala, consisted of;[35]

Letter on Iran sanctions

The National Iranian American Council commended Rep. James Moran (D-VA) and "all twenty-one Members of Congress who sent a letter to President Obama April 4, 2014, supporting necessary action to ensure medicine and humanitarian goods are not unintentionally blocked for the Iranian people. NIAC strongly supported the letter and has consistently worked to raise awareness regarding the impact of sanctions on the Iranian people"...

The preliminary nuclear agreement brokered by the P5+1 and Iran included an agreement to establish a financial channel to facilitate humanitarian trade; however, medicine shortages have continued in part due to extensive financial sanctions on Iran and the reported unwillingness of banks to facilitate legal, humanitarian transactions.

Signers: James P. Moran (D-VA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Andre Carson (D-IN), William Lacy Clay (D-MO), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Sam Farr (D-CA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Rush Holt, Jr. (D-NJ), Mike Honda (D-CA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Jim McDermott (D-WA), James McGovern (D-MA), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Beto O'Rourke (D-TX), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).[36]

Urges "progressive" DEA chief

May 1, 2015, Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO), Steve Cohen (D-TN), and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) sent a letter to President Obama urging him to nominate a new Drug Enforcement Administration chief that has a more progressive approach to federal drug enforcement. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Sam Farr (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) also joined in sending the letter.

The Representatives urged the President to nominate a DEA Administrator who is willing to work with state and federal officials to create policies that work with­—not against­­—the evolving landscape of state marijuana laws. The letter states that retiring DEA director Michele Leonhart placed too great an emphasis on prosecuting marijuana use and not enough on drug-related activity that truly poses a public-safety risk.

“The DEA plays a critical role in promoting the health and safety of Americans. But to succeed in its mission, it must refocus its efforts on cracking down on bad actors who seek to evade state laws rather than those who abide by them,” the Representatives wrote. “All of us share a commitment to keeping drugs out of the hands of children, diminishing the reach of criminal cartels, and helping individuals who are addicted to drugs find the help they need to turn their lives around.

“To accomplish these aims, the DEA must end its resistance to the changing public consensus on marijuana use and stop expending its limited resources to prosecute individuals who are not a threat to public safety and, instead, focus on drug activity that poses a more serious risk,” they added.[37]

H.R. 1534, The Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures Act

The 2015 Bill H.R. 1534 would reduce the number of nuclear-armed submarines operated by the Navy, to prohibit the development of a new long-range penetrating bomber aircraft, to prohibit the procurement of new intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Sponsor: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3rd district). Co-sponsors were Reps James McGovern, Mark Pocan, Peter DeFazio, John Conyers, Raul Grijalva, Michael Quigley, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Sam Farr, Jackie Speier, Barbara Lee, Donna Edwards, John Lewis, Jared Polis, Louise Slaughter.[38]

Congressmembers call on Obama to rescind Venezuela sanctions

May 15, 2015, Sixteen Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter calling on President Obama to withdraw sanctions on seven Venezuelan government officials, and also to withdraw the language of an executive order justifying the sanctions.

The sanctions to which the letter refers were based on legislation voted by Congress in December and signed by the president on Dec. 18. On Mar. 9, after the arrest of several Venezuelan political figures whom Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused of plotting a coup, President Obama issued an executive order declaring an "emergency" on the basis of a supposed "unusual and extraordinary threat" to the United States and its interests by Venezuela, and imposed the sanctions, mostly on mid-level security personnel.

The sanctions prevent them from traveling to the United States and freeze any assets they might have in this country.

The congresspersons who signed the letter were: Hank Johnson, John Conyers, Barbara Lee, Raul Grijalva, Keith Ellison, Jose Serrano, Sam Farr, Karen Bass, Jan Schakowsky, Jim McDermott, Bobby Rush, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Mike Capuano, Charles Rangel, Chellie Pingree, and Earl Blumenauer.[39]

Condemning Criticism of Islam legislation

On December 17, 2015, Rep. Don Beyer, Jr. introduced legislation condemning "violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States." The legislation is based on unsourced claims that there is a "rise of hateful and anti-Muslim speech, violence, and cultural ignorance," and a "disproportionate targeting" of "Muslim women who wear hijabs, headscarves, or other religious articles of clothing...because of their religious clothing, articles, or observances." The resolution, H.Res.569 - Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States [40]

The legislation was cosponsored by Rep. Michael Honda, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Joseph Crowley, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Dan Kildee, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Scott Peters, Rep. Brad Ashford, Rep. Alan Grayson, Rep. Mark Takai, Rep. Brian Higgins, Rep. William Keating, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Rep. Gerry Connolly, Rep. Ruben Gallego, Rep. Cheri Bustos, Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Kathy Castor, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Michael Quigley, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, Rep. Robin Kelly, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Alcee Hastings, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Jim McDermott, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Donna Edwards, Rep. Robert Brady, Rep. Frederica Wilson, Rep. Michael Doyle, Rep. Albio Sires, Rep. Suzan DelBene, Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Jared Polis, Rep. David Loebsack, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Rep. Debbie Dingell, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, Rep. John Yarmuth, Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep. Jim Langevin, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Rep. Mark Takano, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Jose Serrano, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Rep. Lois Capps, Rep. David Price, Rep. Doris Matsui, Rep. Gwen Moore, Rep. Denny Heck, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. John Carney, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Rep. John B. Larson, Rep. Dina Titus, Rep. Peter Welch, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Rep. Jim Himes, Rep. Matt Cartwright.

2016 Cuba visit

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and 16 other House Democrats will join President Barack Obama on his historic trip to Cuba March 20-22.

Obama will be the first president to visit Cuba in 88 years, and the trip is a symbolic next chapter in his attempts to normalize relations with the country.

The House members will attend along with several senators who previously announced they will make the trip.

The House delegation includes Reps. Karen Bass, Cheri Bustos, Sam Farr, Rosa DeLauro, Barbara Lee, Charles Rangel, Kathy Castor, David Cicilline, Steve Cohen, Jan Schakowsky, Peter Welch, Alan Lowenthal, Jim McGovern and Lucille Roybal-Allard. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California will also travel to Cuba along with Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Tom Udall of New Mexico are slated to join the trip. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who has been a leading advocate for normalizing relations with Cuba, will also attend. Additional House Republicans may also join.

Pelosi previously led the first official House delegation trip to the country after Obama announced the change in U.S. policy toward Cuba in 2014.[41]

Funding for Colombia

March 28, 2016 Washington, D.C. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), and 14 of their House colleagues sent a letter to key House Appropriations Committee members asking them to fully fund President Barack Obama’s budget request for aid to Colombia.

Last month, President Obama announced a new aid package totaling $450 million for FY 2017 to assist the Colombian government in implementing a potential peace deal with the FARC guerillas after more than fifty years of violent conflict in the country. The funding would also support Colombia’s efforts to address security challenges including the threat of violent drug cartels.

“Now, just as the peace process is beginning to bear fruit, is not the time to reduce our financial assistance to our ally and partner,” the group wrote in a letter to Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), chair of the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), who serves as the subcommittee’s ranking member. “After decades of equipping Colombia to fight, we have a vested interest in helping the Colombian people to rebuild. We must continue the robust, bipartisan support which, at long last, has brought Colombia to the precipice of peace.”

Signers include, Rep. James McGovern, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Linda Sanchez, Rep. Charles B. Rangel, Rep. Jim Himes, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Rep. Filemon Vela, Rep. Tony Cardenas, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, Rep. Keith Ellison, and Rep. Mark Pocan.[42]


The following have worked as staff either past or present:[43]

External links



  1. Official Congressional bio, accessed july 23, 2011
  2. Official Congressional bio, accessed july 23, 2011
  3. official bio, accessed June 10, 2015
  5. October 30-November 6, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz
  6. CSN, Letter of US Congressman Sam Farr and 19 other Representatives tob U.S. State Department over Colombian Human Rights Abuses
  8. FOR February 2006 Peace Presence Update
  9. Inter American Dialogue, Strengthening US-Latin America Ties: A Conversation with Senator Chris Coons and Congressman Xavier Becerra By Jacob Weisenthal June 20, 2012
  10. Seven members of the U.S. Congress send a letter endorsing three European governments' proposal for a demilitarized zone 3/14/2007 - Hartford Courant, Semana,, La FM
  12. Colombia Reports, US lawmakers question Colombia military aid over ongoing rights abuses Nov 10, 2014 posted by Joel Gillin
  14. CLW website: Meet Our Candidates
  15. Green Left discussion Restricted Group, 990 members Letter from US Congress Members for extraditing Posada to Venezuela May 20, 2005
  16. War Is A Crime .org, Peace Pledge Coalition
  17. [ Sign the Pledge for Peace petition. Bob Fertik August 19, 2007
  18. Legistorm: Center for Democracy in the Americas - Sponsor of Congressional Travel (accessed on August 30, 2010)
  19., Price heads to Southeast Asia Submitted by ryanteaguebeckwith on 2008-12-02
  20. Congressional Progressive Caucus website: Caucus Member List
  21. John Dingell's House website: Letter to Hillary Clinton, Dec. 22, 2009
  22. The Minnesota Independent: Ellison, McCollum and Oberstar urge Obama to lift Gaza blockade, Jan. 26, 2010 (accessed on March 14, 2011)
  23. [1]
  24. Momentum Builds for Honoring Legendary Organizer Fred Ross, by Randy Shaw, 2013-03-05
  25. Update on Cuba Travel: We Gathered 59 Signatures, The LAWG Cuba Team: Mavis, Emily and Karina on May 03, 2013
  26. PDA May 2013 Educate Congress Digest Letter drops (191 in total – 105 in April )
  27. PDA June 2013 Educate Congress Digest
  28. CISPES press release, Press Statement: 51 Members of Congress Call for US Neutrality in Salvadoran Elections December 16, 2013
  29. CDA, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Lois Capps and Sarah Stephens
  30. Rep. Jim Moran with CDA Director Sarah Stephens and Rep. Sam Farr
  31. Youtube, Delegation of Members of Congress to Cuba, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, May 6, 2014
  32. J Street The political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans
  33. JStreetPAC 2016 Endorsees
  34. PAF
  35. WOLA, WOLA's 2014 Human Rights Award Ceremony and Benefit Gala
  36. [ Congress Urges President to Ensure Sanctions Do Not Block Medicine for Iranians FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jamal Abdi]
  37. Polis, Blumenauer Lead Letter Urging White House to Choose Progressive DEA Chief May 1, 2015
  38., H.R. 1534, The Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures Act
  39. Congress members call on Obama to rescind Venezuela sanctions by: Emile Schepers May 18 2015
  40. H.Res.569 - Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States, accessed December 26, 2015
  41. Politico, Pelosi, 16 House Democrats to join Obama trip to Cuba By Lauren French,| 03/14/16
  42. [2]
  43. Accessed 1/12/2011