Xavier Becerra

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Xavier Becerra

Xavier Becerra is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 31st district of California.


Rep. Becerra is the son of working-class parents and was the first in his family to graduate from college. His mother was born in Jalisco, Mexico and immigrated to the United States after marrying his father. In 1980, Rep. Becerra earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Stanford University. He was awarded his Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School in 1984.

Rep. Becerra is married to Dr. Carolina Reyes.[1]

Relationship to Ed Roybal

Congressman Ed Roybal represented the people of California’s 30th Congressional District from 1963 to 1993. Upon his retirement, Roybal supported then-Assemblymember Xavier Becerra for election to the 30th Congressional District seat. "The two have been close ever since, the elder statesman serving as both friend and mentor to his successor".[2]


Prior to his election to Congress in 1992, with the endorsement of Ed Roybal, Rep. Becerra served one term in the California Legislature as the representative of the 59th Assembly District in Los Angeles County. He is a former Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice. The congressman began his legal career in 1984 working in a legal services office representing the mentally ill.[3]

Born and raised in Sacramento, educated at Stanford, Becerra did not move to L.A. until 1989, when, as a staffer for state Senator Art Torres, he split his time between Torres’ Capitol and district offices. In 1990, at Torres‘ suggestion, he ran for and won a state Assembly seat. In 1992, at the urging of other Latino power brokers, including Supervisor Gloria Molina, he ran for and won a congressional seat just north and east of downtown. In the years since, Becerra has been a conscientious liberal member of Congress -- immersed in the House Ways and Means Committee and in addressing constituent concerns, and otherwise invisible not only to Angelenos generally but to the city’s political elites as well.[4]

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 Xavier Becerra.[5]

MAPA endorsement

Over 130 delegates to the Mexican American Retro Region Primary Endorsing Convention in Los Angeles April 25, 1992 voted to endorse those Congressional, State Senate, Assembly, and county supervisor candidates who took the strongest pro labor and pro immigrant stands.

Guest speakers were Maria Elena Durazo, President of Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 11, Gilbert Cedillo of Service Employees Local 660, and Alfredo Pascoy of the Mexico's Revolutionary Democratic Party.

State Assemblyman Xavier Becerra won the Mexican American Political Association's support to be the Democratic candidate for the 30th District after he pledged support for extending unemployment benefits for the full length of joblessness.[6]

Martinez Jobs Bill

In 1994, the Communist Party USA backed Martinez Jobs Bill (HR-4708), was co-sponsored by Democratic Party California Reps Howard Berman, Xavier Becerra, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Robert Scott (Va), Tom Foglietta (Pa), Bennie Thompson (Miss), John Lewis (Ga) and Ed Pastor (Az). Maxine Waters of California was a principal co-sponsor. [7]

DSA endorsement

In July 1996, the Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee endorsed Xavier Becerra, California 30, in that year's Congressional elections.[8]

Cuba trip/controversy

Becerra's trip to Cuba in January 1997 caused such a furor last week that Florida's two Republican Cuban-American Congress members from Dade County-Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen-quit the House Hispanic Caucus in protest.

It left the caucus, which is chaired by California Democrat Rep. Xavier Becerra, a Los Angeles Latino, bereft of Republican representation.

Diaz-Balart said the congressman's trip "to meet with the Cuban tyrant while Becerra was campaigning for caucus chairman "manifested a gross insensitivity toward the pain of all who have been victims of the Cuban tyranny.

Becerra wrote in his disclosure form of his Dec. 5-10 trip that he had gone there ``to study the impact of Helms-Burton and the effects of the embargo on supplies of food and medicine.

The trip was sponsored by a Los Angeles-based pro-democracy group called the Southwest Voter Research Institute, which picked up his $1,800 tab.

So controversial was the trip that Becerra's offices in both Washington and Los Angeles refused to return telephone calls discussing his motives in making it.

Becerra traveled with fellow California Democrat Esteban Torres, whose spokesman said the congressman was going to not comment on the trip for a while. [9]

Socialists organize to "challenge for power" in Los Angeles

Trevor email 1 (3).jpg

On March 11, 1998, Los Angeles Democratic Socialists of America leader Steve Tarzynski wrote an email to another Los Angeles DSA leader Harold Meyerson.

Tarzynski listed 25 people he thought should be on an "A-list" of "25 or so leaders/activists/intellectuals and/or "eminent persons" who would gather periodically to theorize/strategize about how to rebuild a progressive movement in our metropolitan area that could challenge for power."

Tarzynski listed himself, Harold Meyerson, Karen Bass, Sylvia Castillo, Gary Phillips, Joe Hicks, Richard Rothstein, Steve Cancian, Larry Frank, Torie Osborn, Rudy Acuna, Aris Anagnos, Abby Arnold, Carl Boggs, Blase Bonpane, Rick Brown, Stanley Sheinbaum, Alice Callahan, Jim Conn, Peter Dreier, Maria Elena Durazo, Miguel Contreras, Mike Davis, Bill Gallegos, Bob Gottlieb, Kent Wong, Russell Jacoby, Bong Hwan Kim, Paula Litt (and Barry Litt, with a question mark), Peter Olney, Derek Shearer, Clancy Sigal and Anthony Thigpenn.

Included in a suggested elected officials sub-group were Mark Ridley-Thomas, Gloria Romero, Jackie Goldberg, Gil Cedillo, Tom Hayden, Antonio Villaraigosa, Paul Rosenstein and Congressmen Xavier Becerra, Henry Waxman and Maxine Waters.

Tarzynski went on to write "I think we should limit the group to 25 max, otherwise group dynamics begins to break down....As i said, I would like this to take place in a nice place with good food and drink...it should properly be an all day event."

Congressional Progressive Caucus

In 1998 Xavier Becerra Democrat was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[10]

As of February 20 2009 Xavier Becerra was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[11]

2nd Int'l Islamic Unity Conference/influencing public policy

Speakers from around the globe gathered at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC Aug. 7-9 1998, to discuss Muslim issues at the 2nd International Islamic Unity Conference. Under the auspices of the Islamic Supreme Council of America and its founder, Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, religious and political leaders alike gathered to address concerns facing the Islamic community and to "condemn the oppression of Muslims worldwide".

Muslims involved in the process of U.S. policymaking gathered for a panel entitled “How to Create Public Policy.” Arshi Siddiqui, legislative aide to Congressman Xavier Becerra, stressed that Muslim Americans should not only form relationships with congressmen, but with congressional staff members as well.

Khalil Munir, executive director of Telecommunication Advocacy Projects who worked on Capitol Hill for 12 years, asserted that “policy is affected by ideology.” Each member of Congress possesses core values which influence decision making, and it is important for constituents to be aware of their representatives’ views. Munir supported coalitions as an important factor in policymaking. “You can definitely affect public policy, but it is a slow, painstaking process,” he concluded.

Religious leaders and scholars addressed “Islam—The Fastest Growing Religion in the West.” Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University, asked rhetorically, “Why is Islam spreading so fast in the West?” He reasoned that Islam presents a simple message which “offers an alternative to the modern world.” Shaykh Hisham Kabbani added that freedom in the United States allows Islam to grow.

Richard H. Curtiss, executive editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, participated in a panel on “Forming Constructive and Resourceful Relationships with the Media.” Mr. Curtiss expressed regret at the suspicion much of the U.S. media display toward Islam. According to Curtiss, U.S. media outlets are “deathly afraid” of saying anything offensive to Israel, thus angering advertisers, readers and viewers. This fear explains their reluctance to report positively on Islamic developments.

Curtiss encouraged Muslims to take an active role with the media. By taking the initiative to form positive relationships with the local media in American communities, Muslims can help educate the public.

Curtiss recommended that Muslims play an active political role as well. He suggested that members of local Islamic centers join forces to invite political candidates to “get-acquainted meetings” to express Islamic concerns, and that individual Muslim groups invite politicians to speak at Islamic events. This should help Muslims in major Islamic centers like Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, New York City, northern New Jersey, Detroit and Chicago to agree on recommendations for bloc endorsements of candidates in cases where one candidate clearly is preferable to rivals in terms of Islamic concerns. Such endorsements can be decisive in any of the metropolitan centers mentioned, Curtiss said.[12]

Supported "single payer"

The movement for universal single-payer healthcare is growing, announced Kentuckians for Single Payer Healthcare in December 2005. Six new co-sponsors added their names to John Conyers' "single payer" bill HR 676: Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) and Michael Capuano (D-Mass.). The total number of co-sponsors was now 57.[13]

Woolsey/Sheinbaum fund raiser

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, the first Member of Congress to call on the President to bring our troops home, was be in Los Angeles on Saturday February 4th 2006, for a 'very exciting but critical fundraiser against the most well-known, well-financed challenger she's ever faced". Woolsey was facing a primary challenge from a termed-out Assemblyman Joe Nation, a moderate Democrat who has been critical of her stand on the war and on bringing home our troops. He is raising money from people who have given money to Tom DeLay and Bush-Cheney and his legislative district covers 60+% of Congresswoman Woolsey's district. Congresswoman Woolsey is a "champion of equal rights, civil liberties, protecting the environment and fighting for single payer healthcare. Congresswoman Woolsey must be re-elected by the same victory margin she has had in the past to send a message to progressives everywhere that's it IS OK to be courageous, and to not back down on issues that matter."

The Host Committee for this fundraiser includes:

Ben Affleck; Ed Asner; Warren Beatty; Jodie Evans; James Cromwell; Matt Damon; Tom Hayden; Wendy Herzog; Mimi Kennedy; Norman Lear; Stephen Rohde; Susie Shannon; Stanley Sheinbaum & Betty Sheinbaum; Lorraine Sheinberg; Kathy Spillar; Gloria A. Totten; Peg Yorkin; Senator Barbara Boxer; Congressman Joe Baca; Congressman Xavier Becerra; Congresswoman Lois Capps; Congresswoman Jane Harman; Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald; Congresswoman Grace Napolitano; Congresswoman; Lucille Roybal-Allard; Congresswoman Linda Sanchez; Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez; Congressman Adam Schiff; Congresswoman Hilda Solis; Congresswoman Maxine Waters; Congresswoman Diane Watson; Senator Sheila Kuehl and Assemblywoman Karen Bass.

The fundraiser was at the Stanley & Betty Sheinbaum residence in Brentwood. Both Sheinbaums have been members of Democratic Socialists of America.[14]

Staffer's trip to Venezuela

Rep. Becerra sent Henry Truong, to Venezuela for 3 days in February 2010. The trip was courtesy of a $2,219.70 grant from the Institute for Policy Studies connected Center for Democracy in the Americas... "A fact-finding trip in Venzuela and other Latin American countries with the mission of fostering dialogue and improving U.S. policy and bilateral relations" .[15]

Obama's Latino Advisory Council

In August 2008 the Obama Campaign announced[16]the formation of its National Latino Advisory Council, highlighting the continued growth of support Senator Obama is receiving in the Latino community nationwide.

According to the campaign, the advisory council is made up of key labor, faith, community leaders, and elected officials from across the country and will serve as an advisory council for the campaign on issues important to the Latino community as well as play an active role reaching out and organizing Latinos in their communities and across the country.

Its members included;

Federico Pena, Chair, National Hispanic Advisory Council, Former Mayor of Denver and Former Secretary of Transportation, National Obama Campaign Co-Chair; 
Geoconda Arguello-Kline, President, Nevada Culinary Workers Union
; Congressman Xavier Becerra; Adolfo Carrion, Bronx Borough President; 
Henry Cisneros, Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; 
Bishop Wilfredo De Jesus, Vice President of Social Justice, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; 
Congressman Charlie Gonzalez;
 Congressman Raul Grijalva
; Congressman Luis Gutierrez; 
Ambassador Luis Lauredo, Former Ambassador to the Organization of American States; 
Patricia Madrid, Former Attorney General of New Mexico; 
Eliseo Medina, Executive Vice President, SEIU 
; Congresswoman Linda Sanchez; Congresswoman Hilda Solis; 
 Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

"Progressives' on "Ways & Means" committee

In 2008, the U.S. Congress' most powerful committee, "Ways & Means" was heavily influenced by members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus including Chairman Charles Rangel, Pete Stark, John Lewis, Xavier Becerra and Jim McDermott.

Congressional Progressive CaucusVice Chairman Raul Grijalva and Danny Davis, joined "Ways & Means" late in the year.

America's Future Now!

4685364724 93900ddc8e zXavier becerra.jpg

Xavier Becerra spoke at America's Future Now! 2010.

Campaign to Make Immigration Reform a Top Issue in 2010

On October 13 2010 , immigration activists from around the country gathered to join in a vigil and rally in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC., where Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez and other elected officials launched a new push for comprehensive immigration reform, building to the opening months of 2010. their banners read “Reform Immigration FOR Families” and “Family Unity Cannot Wait.”

More than 750 people traveled to Washington on buses from up and down the Eastern seaboard and as far away as Texas, Florida, Ohio, Minnesota, and Michigan. They spent Tuesday morning meeting with Congressional offices before being joined by thousands of people from the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area, who gathered on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol to listen to testimonies from families, veterans, and children who face family disintegration because of immigration laws and deportation.

Religious leaders from a diverse array of faith traditions around the country, some organized through Familias Unidas, added their voices.

At the event Congressman Gutierrez outlined a set of principles for progressive immigration reform that needs to include a rational and humane approach to legalize the undocumented population, to protect workers’ rights, to allocate sufficient visas, to establish a smarter and more humane border enforcement policy, to promote integration of immigrant communities, to include the DREAM Act and AgJOBS bills, to protect rights guaranteed by the Constitution, and to keep families together.

The lawmakers who joined Rep. Gutierrez on stage, and addressed the gathering included Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chairman Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA), Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairs Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Congressional Black Caucus Member, Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Michael Quigley (D-IL), and Delegate Gregorio Sablan (Northern Mariana Islands).[17]

The Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First

Xavier Becerra is on the list of Congressional Representatives who have participated in hearings/briefings since 1998, with the very radical Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First, founded by Frances Moore Lappe (Democratic Socialists of America, Institute for Policy Studies) and Joseph Collins (Institute for Policy Studies), authors of the book "Food First".[18]

Congressional Letter for Neutrality, 2014 Salvadoran Elections

On Monday December 16, 2014 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. Becerra .[19].


The following have worked as staff members for Xavier Becerra:[20]

External links


  1. Official Congressional bio, accessed July 29, 2011
  2. Xavier Becerra, ON THE PASSING OF CONGRESSMAN ED ROYBAL , 24 October 2005
  3. Official Congressional bio, accessed July 29, 2011
  4. LA Weekly, Crunch Time The race to succeed Richard Riordan — and to reshape Los Angeles — comes down to the wire Harold Meyerson published: March 29, 2001
  5. Momentum Builds for Honoring Legendary Organizer Fred Ross, by Randy Shaw, 2013-03-05
  6. PWW "MAPA endorses pro labor candidates", Rosalio Munoz, May 2 1993 page 2
  7. PWW Support for jobs bill grows, Evelina Alarcon, Oct. 1 1994, page 3
  8. Democratic Left, July/August 1996, page 21
  9. The Miami Herald January 14, 1997, Congressional travelers are attracted to Cuba, CAROL ROSENBERG
  10. DSA website: Members of the Progressive Caucus (archived on the Web Archive website)
  11. Congressional Progressive Caucus website: Caucus Member List
  12. [http://wrmea.org/backissues/1098/9810107.html Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, October/November 1998, page 107 Muslim-American Activism, Washington, DC Hosts 2nd International Islamic Unity Conference]
  13. Peoples World, This week in labor, December 3, 2005
  14. http://www.care2.com/c2c/groups/disc.html?gpp=6486&pst=347342 LA Event Featuring Warren Beatty, Matt Daman for Lynn Woolsey 2/4/06 January 31, 2006 3:45 PM
  15. Legistorm: Center for Democracy in the Americas - Sponsor of Congressional Travel (accessed on August 30, 2010)
  16. http://rootswire.org/conventionblog/patricia-madrid-named-obamas-national-latino-advisory-council
  17. Immigration Matters New America Media, Richard Stoltz, 0ctober 18, 2009
  18. [ http://www.foodfirst.org/es/about/staff, Food First staff page]
  19. CISPES press release, Press Statement: 51 Members of Congress Call for US Neutrality in Salvadoran Elections December 16, 2013
  20. Legistorm: Xavier Becerra (accessed on Aug. 24, 2010)