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

Biography

Elected: March 2005, 4th full term.

Born: September 25, 1944, Poston, AZ

Home: Sacramento, CA

Education: U. of CA, B.A. 1966

Professional Career: Transition team, President-elect Bill Clinton, 1992-93; Dep. asst. to the pres., dep. dir. of public liaison, White House, 1993-98; Lobbyist, 1998-2005.

Ethnicity: Asian/Pacific American

Religion: Methodist

Family: Widow (Robert T. Matsui (deceased)) , 1 child ; 2 grandchildren

Democrat Doris Matsui, who won a special election in 2005 to replace her late husband, Robert Matsui, has not yet eclipsed her husband, a former senior member of the Ways and Means Committee, but she is getting there, thanks in part to a choice seat on the Energy and Commerce panel.

Matsui (mat-SOO-ee) was born in a Japanese internment camp in Arizona and was a well-known political figure during her husband’s career in Congress. She grew up in Dinuba in Fresno County and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. In Sacramento, she chaired the board of the local public television station and participated in many civic organizations. After working on Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign, she joined his transition team and then served as deputy director of public liaison, where she worked on economic and budget issues. When she left the White House in 1998, she became a senior adviser at a Washington law firm.

Her husband, Robert Matsui, died of complications from a rare blood disorder in January 2005, after serving 13 terms. A few days after his memorial services, Doris Matsui announced that she would run in the special election. With urging from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, other prominent Sacramento Democrats decided not to run. None of Matsui’s 10 opponents in the nonpartisan contest had significant political experience or name recognition. Matsui emphasized her support for local water projects and her opposition to President George W. Bush’s proposal for personal retirement accounts in Social Security. She also opposed the war in Iraq. Her investment in a partnership with a longtime friend who was a Sacramento land developer sparked a brief flurry of criticism, but she emphasized that her husband had nothing to do with the deal while he was in office and that there was no conflict of interest. Some called the contest a “coronation,” but the lack of competition surely reflected the respect the Matsuis had won over the years. She won the all-party primary with 68% of the vote to 9% for the runner-up.

In the House, Matsui has a reliably liberal voting record. In 2009, she got a seat on Energy and Commerce, where she became involved in telecommunications and technology issues. Two years later, she joined with Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul in co-chairing the Congressional High Tech Caucus, where the two expressed concerns over the Indian government’s “Buy India” policy that they said would essentially halt the export of U.S. high-tech goods to that market. They also pushed for more awareness in Congress of cloud computing, in which local computers no longer have to run applications, reducing hardware and software demands. In April 2012, she joined with Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., in lobbying conference committee members on the transportation reauthorization bill to strip out a provision, sought by Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, that lowered the diesel/electric standard for new high-speed rail locomotives from 125 mph to 110 mph. They said the provision would make such trains less energy-efficient, and it was removed. Matsui sometimes invokes her family’s experience in internment camps to warn of potential civil liberties abuses in the war on terrorism.

She previously served on the Rules Committee, where she helped carry out the leadership’s wishes in shaping legislation for floor debate when her party was in the majority. She has built goodwill with the Democratic leadership by taking on tough assignments and fighting for party priorities.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-7163

(202) 225-0566

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2311
Washington, DC 20515-0506

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-7163

(202) 225-0566

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2311
Washington, DC 20515-0506

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-7163

(202) 225-0566

Robert T. Matsui U.S. Courthouse Room 12-600
Sacramento, CA 95814-7305

DISTRICT OFFICE

(916) 498-5600

(916) 444-6117

Robert T. Matsui U.S. Courthouse Room 12-600
Sacramento, CA 95814-4778

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(202) 225-7163

(202) 225-0566

PO Box 1738
Sacramento, CA 95814

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

PO Box 1738
Sacramento, CA 95814

EXPORT CONTACTS » *

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Catherine Brinkley
Legislative Assistant; Health Fellow

(202) 225-7163

Agriculture

Jonathan Gilbert
Legislative Assistant

(202) 225-7163

Appropriations

Jonathan Gilbert
Legislative Assistant

(202) 225-7163

Budget

Margaret McCarthy
Legislative Director

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Disaster

Margaret McCarthy
Legislative Director

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Education

Megan Sussman
Legislative Assistant

(202) 225-7163

Energy

Jonathan Gilbert
Legislative Assistant

(202) 225-7163

Environment

Jonathan Gilbert
Legislative Assistant

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Foreign

Megan Sussman
Legislative Assistant

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Health

Catherine Brinkley
Legislative Assistant; Health Fellow

(202) 225-7163

Megan Sussman
Legislative Assistant

(202) 225-7163

Homeland Security

Megan Sussman
Legislative Assistant

(202) 225-7163

Housing

Margaret McCarthy
Legislative Director

(202) 225-7163

Immigration

Catherine Brinkley
Legislative Assistant; Health Fellow

(202) 225-7163

Intelligence

Megan Sussman
Legislative Assistant

(202) 225-7163

Judiciary

Catherine Brinkley
Legislative Assistant; Health Fellow

(202) 225-7163

Labor

Margaret McCarthy
Legislative Director

(202) 225-7163

Land Use

Jonathan Gilbert
Legislative Assistant

(202) 225-7163

Medicare

Megan Sussman
Legislative Assistant

(202) 225-7163

Military

Megan Sussman
Legislative Assistant

(202) 225-7163

Small Business

Margaret McCarthy
Legislative Director

(202) 225-7163

Social Security

Megan Sussman
Legislative Assistant

(202) 225-7163

Tax

Margaret McCarthy
Legislative Director

(202) 225-7163

Technology

Margaret McCarthy
Legislative Director

(202) 225-7163

Telecommunications

Margaret McCarthy
Legislative Director

(202) 225-7163

Trade

Margaret McCarthy
Legislative Director

(202) 225-7163

Transportation

Margaret McCarthy
Legislative Director

(202) 225-7163

Jonathan Gilbert
Legislative Assistant

(202) 225-7163

Veterans

Megan Sussman
Legislative Assistant

(202) 225-7163

Women

Margaret McCarthy
Legislative Director

(202) 225-7163

Election Results

2014 GENERAL
Doris Matsui
Votes: 80,258
Percent: 72.39%
Joseph McCray
Votes: 30,607
Percent: 27.61%
2012 GENERAL
Doris Matsui
Votes: 160,667
Percent: 75.05%
Joseph McCray Sr.
Votes: 53,406
Percent: 24.95%
2012 PRIMARY
Doris Matsui
Votes: 67,174
Percent: 71.4%
Joseph McCray Sr.
Votes: 15,647
Percent: 16.63%
Erik Smitt
Votes: 11,254
Percent: 11.96%
2010 GENERAL
Doris Matsui
Votes: 124,220
Percent: 72.05%
Paul Smith
Votes: 43,577
Percent: 25.28%
2010 PRIMARY
Doris Matsui
Votes: 56,762
Percent: 100.0%
2008 GENERAL
Doris Matsui
Votes: 164,242
Percent: 74.27%
Paul Smith
Votes: 46,002
Percent: 20.8%
2008 PRIMARY
Doris Matsui
Votes: 51,006
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (72%), 2008 (74%), 2006 (71%), 2005 special (68%)

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