Rep. Wally Herger (R)
Elected: 1986, 12th term.
Born: May 20, 1945, Yuba City .
Education: American River Comm. Col., A.A. 1967, CA St. U., 1968-69.
Family: Married (Pamela); 9 children.
Elected office: CA Assembly, 1980–86.
Professional Career: Rancher; Owner, Herger Gas Inc., 1969–present.
The congressman from the 2nd District is Wally Herger, a Republican first elected in 1986. He grew up in the farm country north of Sacramento, where he was a local farmer and rancher. He also owned a propane gas company. Herger married young, and his first marriage did not last. Then he met his present wife, Pamela, a nurse who like him was a Mormon who wanted a large family. The couple had three children from their first marriages and together had six more, although they mourned the loss of one child who died as a toddler. In 1980, he was elected to the California Assembly. Six years later, Herger was elected to the U.S. House after winning solid margins over the mayor of Redding in the primary and beating a Shasta County supervisor in the general.
|Wally Herger (R)||163,459||(58%)||($1,256,602)|
|Jeff Morris (D)||118,878||(42%)||($33,371)|
|Wally Herger (R)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (64%), 2004 (67%), 2002 (66%), 2000 (66%), 1998 (63%), 1996 (61%), 1994 (64%), 1992 (65%), 1990 (64%), 1988 (59%), 1986 (58%)
Herger has a solidly conservative voting record and has served quietly on the Ways and Means Committee, voting for balanced budgets and lower taxes. When federal budget deficits disappeared in the late 1990s, Herger was a leader of the battle to create “lockboxes” to shield the surpluses in the Social Security and Medicare trust funds. That debate became moot with the return of big deficits. As chairman of the Human Resources Subcommittee, he helped write the Republican welfare law in 1996, which increased work requirements for recipients and incentives for states to reduce caseloads.
His advancement on the committee, however, has been slowed by more aggressive and charismatic Republicans. More junior lawmakers have twice leapfrogged him to take the top Republican post on the committee. In 2007, Rep. Jim McCrery of Louisiana jumped over him, with the leadership’s blessing, to become the ranking Republican. When McCrery retired two years later, Dave Camp of Michigan, a more aggressive party spokesman and campaign contributor, ascended to the top minority slot, with the support of Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio. In 2009, Herger did become the ranking Republican on one of the most important subcommittees, the one responsible for health care policy. He has pledged to make health care more affordable for all Americans, and to keep medical decisions with patients and their doctors.
On local issues, Herger has tended to water projects and called for exemption of flood control programs from the Endangered Species Act. With Republican Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon he proposed full compensation of farmers and related businesses that suffered damages from the Klamath River flooding, but he rejected environmentalists’ calls for management controls of the fisheries, which he called part of “an anti-agriculture agenda.” He helped to enact a program to aid about 750 counties that have suffered from a loss of revenue from timber sales.
Herger had been easily re-elected every two years, with more than 60% of the vote, until 2008, when he was held to a 58%-42% win by Democrat Jeff Morris, the Trinity County supervisor. Herger lost by 87 votes in Butte, the largest county, which has been growing with urban refugees. Democrat Morris criticized Herger’s depiction of environmentalists as “radical.”