Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 1994, 10th term.

Born: December 21, 1947, San Mateo

Home: San Jose

Education: Stanford U., B.A. 1970, U. of Santa Clara Law Schl., J.D. 1975

Professional Career: Staff Asst., U.S. Rep. Don Edwards, 1970–78; Practicing atty., 1978–80; Prof., U. of Santa Clara Law Schl., 1981–94.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Protestant

Family: married (John Collins) , 2 children

The congresswoman from the 19th District is Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat first elected in 1994, and perhaps the savviest defender of high technology’s interests in the House.

Lofgren grew up in the Bay Area, where her father was a Teamsters truck driver and her mother worked for the Machinists Union. She graduated from Stanford University, and then moved to Washington to work for Democratic Rep. Don Edwards while he was a leader on the Judiciary Committee that voted to impeach President Richard Nixon. She stayed on for eight years as an aide to Edwards. She met her husband, a lawyer, one Election Night. Lofgren returned to California to get a law degree, and then specialized in immigration law. In 1980, she was elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. When Edwards retired, Lofgren ran for his House seat. Her chief Democratic opponent, former San Jose Mayor Tom McEnery, was better known. But Lofgren raised twice as much money, with support from national women’s organizations and women in the California delegation. She gained considerable recognition after she insisted on listing herself as a county supervisor/mother on the ballot. Election officials refused, and the national press covered the ensuing controversy. Lofgren won the primary 45%-42% and easily won the general election.

Lofgren’s voting record, while mostly liberal, includes bipartisan free-market positions responsive to local businesses. Working with Republican David Dreier, a fellow Californian, she won expanded allotments of visas for high-tech workers. She pushed for looser controls on encryption exports, securities litigation limitations, and relaxation of trade restraints on supercomputers, all big Silicon Valley causes. When the House split 210-210 on a proposal to restrict government access to library records, Lofgren was the only House member to vote “present.” She said that the amendment went too far in preventing legitimate law enforcement searches.

When Democrats won the majority in 2006, Lofgren, a trusted lieutenant of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, became chairwoman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law. She hoped to see a major overhaul of immigration policy, but the politically charged issue bogged down. Hoping to shed some light on the problems facing immigrant farmworkers, the normally serious-minded Lofgren took a novel tack: She invited Comedy Central’s faux-conservative comedian Stephen Colbert to testify at a September 2010 hearing on the topic. His quip-filled appearance attracted the reams of publicity she had hoped for, but it also drew bipartisan criticism from observers and lawmakers who said it made a mockery of Congress. Lofgren usually is a reliable liberal vote in the House Democratic Caucus, although that does not prevent her from pursuing bipartisan compromises.

Lofgren emerged as one of the leading opponents of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, an intellectual property enforcement measure favored by movie studios and the recording industry but opposed by some of her Silicon Valley dot.com constituents. It would give larger sites the power to kill rogue or upstart websites believed to be engaged in theft or copyright infringement. In October 2011, Lofgren told the tech media site CNET that the bill would signal “the end of the Internet as we know it.” No doubt, her rhetoric helped build public opposition. Google and Wikipedia helped push the debate by sponsoring an “Internet Black Out” day on January 18, 2012; Wikipedia made its site harder to access that day as a form of protest. Later in the week, Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, a bill sponsor, officially withdrew it. Lofgren was also co-sponsor of a House bill that passed in November 2011 that would impose a five-year freeze on any new state and local taxes on wireless cellphone services.

Lofgren was an outspoken supporter of a bill that would change the visa system to allow more highly skilled immigrants from China and India to become permanent legal residents. In late November 2011, the bill passed the House easily, with Lofgren this time joining forces with Smith, as well as Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. On another immigration-related measure, Lofgren was the primary sponsor of a bill to allow overseas military service personnel and their spouses more time to file for permanent resident status through marriage. The bill was signed into law in 2011.

In 2009, Lofgren took over as chairman of the House Ethics Committee just as a politically-sensitive inquiry was under way involving House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and questions were being raised about other senior Democrats’ connections to lobbyists. Lofgren’s skills as a former staffer and law professor were tested by the politically combustible cases. She revealed in testimony before the House Administration Committee in early 2010 that at least 36 lawmakers—around 8% of the House—had been subjected to scrutiny the previous year. Many were associated with the PMA Group lobbying firm, a group accused of exchanging campaign contributions for earmarks. She announced in February 2009 that she would return $7,000 in contributions from the firm. Her panel subsequently found that no House members colluded with the group.

Of the lawmakers under investigation, none proved more difficult than Rangel. She hoped to avoid a drawn-out and embarrassing ethics trial, but the defiant and crafty political veteran was unwilling to bargain. A subcommittee determined in July 2010 that Rangel violated ethics rules on a variety of allegations related to his personal finances, a judgment that some Democrats worried could cloud their already-shaky chances for holding the majority. The case dragged on for months, with the ethics panel’s ranking Republican, Jo Bonner of Alabama, complaining that Lofgren had refused to set the trial before the November election. Finally, just after the election, Rangel was afforded a trial but walked out in protest after complaining that he hadn’t been granted enough time to hire a new attorney. Lofgren and the rest of the panel refused to back down, and a few days later voted 9-1 to censure him—a decision Lofgren called “quite wrenching.”

In 2003, Lofgren tried to get a foothold in leadership by running for vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus. But Pelosi, who is also from the Bay Area, had already been elected minority leader, and the Congressional Black Caucus pressed to have one of its members in the leadership. Lofgren got 53 votes to 95 for James Clyburn, an African-American from South Carolina, who won the post. Lofgren has had no trouble winning reelection every two years, including in 2012, when she ran in the newly-crafted 19th District and got over 73% of the vote.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-3072

(202) 225-3336

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1401
Washington, DC 20515-0519

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-3072

(202) 225-3336

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1401
Washington, DC 20515-0519

DISTRICT OFFICE

(408) 271-8700

(408) 271-8715

635 North First Street Suite B
San Jose, CA 95112-5110

DISTRICT OFFICE

(408) 271-8700

(408) 271-8715

635 North First Street Suite B
San Jose, CA 95112-5110

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(408) 410-2665

300 South First Street Suite 350
San Jose, CA 95113

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

300 South First Street Suite 350
San Jose, CA 95113

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Aerospace

Angela Ebiner
Legislative Assistant

Agriculture

Angela Ebiner
Legislative Assistant

Animal Rights

Angela Ebiner
Legislative Assistant

Arts

Angela Ebiner
Legislative Assistant

Campaign

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Commerce

Sandra Soto
District Chief of Staff

Congress

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Crime

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Education

Sasha Podkolzina
Congressional Assistant

Energy

Angela Ebiner
Legislative Assistant

Entertainment

Angela Ebiner
Legislative Assistant

Environment

Angela Ebiner
Legislative Assistant

Family

Sasha Podkolzina
Congressional Assistant

Finance

Z.J. Hull
Legislative Counsel

zj.hull@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-3072

Sasha Podkolzina
Congressional Assistant

Foreign

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Gambling

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Govt Ops

Angela Ebiner
Legislative Assistant

Kathleen Collins
Congressional Assistant

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Gun Issues

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Health

Angela Ebiner
Legislative Assistant

Sasha Podkolzina
Congressional Assistant

Homeland Security

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Housing

Z.J. Hull
Legislative Counsel

zj.hull@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-3072

Kathleen Collins
Congressional Assistant

Human Rights

Sasha Podkolzina
Congressional Assistant

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Immigration

Dolores Jufiar
Office Manager; Casework Manager

Kathleen Collins
Congressional Assistant

Sasha Podkolzina
Congressional Assistant

Gary Merson
Legislative Counsel

Intelligence

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Judiciary

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Labor

Angela Ebiner
Legislative Assistant

Sandra Soto
District Chief of Staff

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Medicare

Kathleen Collins
Congressional Assistant

Sasha Podkolzina
Congressional Assistant

Military

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Minorities

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

National Security

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Native Americans

Angela Ebiner
Legislative Assistant

Religion

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Science

Angela Ebiner
Legislative Assistant

Seniors

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Small Business

Z.J. Hull
Legislative Counsel

zj.hull@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-3072

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Social Security

Angela Ebiner
Legislative Assistant

Kathleen Collins
Congressional Assistant

Sasha Podkolzina
Congressional Assistant

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Tax

Z.J. Hull
Legislative Counsel

zj.hull@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-3072

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Technology

Z.J. Hull
Legislative Counsel

zj.hull@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-3072

Telecommunications

Peter Whippy
Communications Director

Trade

Sandra Soto
District Chief of Staff

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Transportation

Sandra Soto
District Chief of Staff

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Veterans

Kathleen Collins
Congressional Assistant

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Welfare

Kathleen Collins
Congressional Assistant

Women

Sasha Podkolzina
Congressional Assistant

Arlet Abrahamian
Legislative Counsel

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Zoe Lofgren
Votes: 162,300
Percent: 73.24%
Robert Murray
Votes: 59,313
Percent: 26.76%
2012 PRIMARY
Zoe Lofgren
Votes: 60,726
Percent: 65.18%
Robert Murray
Votes: 21,421
Percent: 22.99%
Phat Nguyen
Votes: 7,192
Percent: 7.72%
2010 GENERAL
Zoe Lofgren
Votes: 105,841
Percent: 67.82%
Daniel Sahagun
Votes: 37,913
Percent: 24.29%
Edward Gonzalez
Votes: 12,304
Percent: 7.88%
2010 PRIMARY
Zoe Lofgren
Votes: 48,757
Percent: 100.0%
2008 GENERAL
Zoe Lofgren
Votes: 146,481
Percent: 71.34%
Charel Winston
Votes: 49,399
Percent: 24.06%
2008 PRIMARY
Zoe Lofgren
Votes: 39,616
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (68%), 2008 (71%), 2006 (73%), 2004 (71%), 2002 (67%), 2000 (72%), 1998 (73%), 1996 (66%), 1994 (65%)

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