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

Biography

Elected: 1998, 8th term.

Born: December 4, 1936, Brownsville, TX

Home: Norwalk

Education: Brownsville H.S.

Professional Career: Employee, Ford Motor Co., 1970-1992.

Ethnicity: Hispanic/Latino

Religion: Catholic

Family: married (Frank) , 5 children

Grace Napolitano, a Democrat first elected in 1998, is known for her fiercely liberal politics. She concentrates on issues affecting lower-income Hispanics in her Southern California district, including jobs, water scarcity, and mental health.

Napolitano grew up in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, married at age 18, and eventually had five children. When she was 23, the family moved to California. She got a job as a secretary at Ford Motor Co. and stayed for 22 years. After her first husband died, she married Frank Napolitano, and in 1980, they started a pizzeria. She served on the Norwalk City Council from 1986 to 1992, and also served one term as mayor, becoming the first Latino to hold the position. In 1992, she was elected to the California Assembly.

Term-limited in 1998, she got the opportunity to run for Congress when 16-year Democratic Rep. Esteban Torres announced three days before the filing deadline that he was retiring. Torres’s surprise move seemed designed to promote the election of Jamie Casso, his son-in-law and chief of staff, who immediately announced his candidacy. Napolitano was not deterred, and got into the race. She criticized Casso for not living in the district, and he criticized an $180,000 loan she made to her campaign at an unusual 18% interest rate. (A 2009 Los Angeles Times story said she took advantage of a Federal Election Commission ruling to charge her campaign 18% for her personal loans, collecting tens of thousands of dollars in interest.) Napolitano had the financial backing of national women’s organizations, including EMILY’s List, plus the benefit of higher name recognition. The two candidates had few differences on major issues. Napolitano signed a pledge to serve only three terms. She won the primary by 618 votes, and her victory in November was assured in the heavily Democratic district.

Napolitano is among the most liberal members of the House. She is a former chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and has been more consensus-oriented on immigration legislation than some caucus members.

As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, she has focused on rail safety. In work on the House-passed surface transportation bill in 2012, she was able to defeat changes in current law that would have weakened existing safety measures, and she won an extension of a program to speed up transportation projects and lower costs by relieving California of having to do a full review under the National Environmental Policy Act when a more stringent review has already been completed.

On the Natural Resources Committee, Napolitano was active in the 2004 reauthorization of the California Bay-Delta water allocation program, which featured unusual bipartisanship among Californians. When Democrats took majority control in 2007, she became the chairman of the panel’s Water and Power Subcommittee, with a focus on Southern California’s acute need for an adequate water supply. During California’s severe drought in 2009 and 2010, she held hearings to examine possible long-term solutions to address water needs, and she called for continued funding of water desalination research in April 2012, saying, “Our water supply continues to be strained by population growth and climate change, and the ability to convert saltwater into drinking water is fast becoming a critical source of economic growth and international competition.”

Napolitano also gets involved in issues related to the mentally ill, an interest that was sparked by a report that one in three Hispanic girls contemplates suicide. “Mental health is treatable. But (the Latino community has) a stigma attached to it,” Napolitano said. During the 2010 health care overhaul debate, she said affordable health care was “critical to the future of women who suffer in silence from mental illness.” She enlisted Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Metta World Peace (named Ron Artest at that time) in 2011 to help push for her bill to provide $200 million for schools to hire mental health professionals to diagnose and treat psychologically troubled students before they become involved in violent or criminal behavior. But it did not attract Republican support and stalled.

In February 2003, Napolitano abandoned her earlier pledge to serve only three terms; she ran for a fourth in 2004 and won. She has not been seriously challenged for reelection. In 2007, she was criticized by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington for paying her daughter, Yolanda Dyer, and her daughter’s consulting firm nearly $53,000 for work on her campaigns between 2002 and 2006. Napolitano said her daughter ran her campaigns. In 2012, she ran in the newly redrawn 32nd District, in which more than 80% of voters were new to her. She won with 66% of the vote.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5256

(202) 225-0027

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1610
Washington, DC 20515-0532

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5256

(202) 225-0027

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1610
Washington, DC 20515-0532

DISTRICT OFFICE

(626) 350-0150

(626) 350-0450

4401 Santa Anita Avenue Suite 201
El Monte, CA 91731

DISTRICT OFFICE

(626) 350-0150

(626) 350-0450

4401 Santa Anita Avenue Suite 201
El Monte, CA 91731

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

12946 East Belcher Street
Norwalk, CA 90650

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

12946 East Belcher Street
Norwalk, CA 90650

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Morgan Leonard
Staff Assistant; Legislative Correspondent

Acquisitions

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Aerospace

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Agriculture

Morgan Leonard
Staff Assistant; Legislative Correspondent

Animal Rights

Joseph Ciccone
Legislative Assistant; Scheduler

Appropriations

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Arts

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Banking

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Budget

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Campaign

Daniel Chao
Chief of Staff

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Commerce

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Crime

Jonah Cunningham
Legislative Assistant

Economics

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Education

Jerry O'Donnell
Press Secretary

Energy

Joseph Ciccone
Legislative Assistant; Scheduler

Environment

Joseph Ciccone
Legislative Assistant; Scheduler

Family

Jonah Cunningham
Legislative Assistant

Morgan Leonard
Staff Assistant; Legislative Correspondent

Finance

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Foreign

Joseph Ciccone
Legislative Assistant; Scheduler

Govt Ops

Daniel Chao
Chief of Staff

Jonah Cunningham
Legislative Assistant

Gun Issues

Jonah Cunningham
Legislative Assistant

Health

Jonah Cunningham
Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Jerry O'Donnell
Press Secretary

Housing

Joseph Ciccone
Legislative Assistant; Scheduler

Immigration

Jerry O'Donnell
Press Secretary

Elena Robles
Field Representative; Caseworker

Intelligence

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Internet

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Jerry O'Donnell
Press Secretary

Judiciary

Jonah Cunningham
Legislative Assistant

Land Use

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Medicare

Jonah Cunningham
Legislative Assistant

Military

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Joseph Ciccone
Legislative Assistant; Scheduler

Privacy

Jonah Cunningham
Legislative Assistant

Public Works

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Recreation

Jonah Cunningham
Legislative Assistant

Rules

Daniel Chao
Chief of Staff

Science

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Social Security

Jonah Cunningham
Legislative Assistant

Tax

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Technology

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Telecommunications

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Trade

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Transportation

Joe Sheehy
Legislative Director

joe.sheehy@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5256

Veterans

Jonah Cunningham
Legislative Assistant

Hector Elizalde
Deputy District Director; Veterans Liaison

Welfare

Jonah Cunningham
Legislative Assistant

Women

Morgan Leonard
Staff Assistant; Legislative Correspondent

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Grace Napolitano
Votes: 124,903
Percent: 65.7%
David Miller
Votes: 65,208
Percent: 34.3%
2012 PRIMARY
Grace Napolitano
Votes: 24,094
Percent: 46.1%
David Miller
Votes: 21,843
Percent: 41.8%
G. Bill Gonzalez
Votes: 6,322
Percent: 12.1%
2010 GENERAL
Grace Napolitano
Votes: 85,459
Percent: 73.45%
Robert Vaughn
Votes: 30,883
Percent: 26.55%
2010 PRIMARY
Grace Napolitano
Votes: 22,447
Percent: 100.0%
2008 GENERAL
Grace Napolitano
Votes: 130,211
Percent: 81.73%
Christopher Agrella
Votes: 29,113
Percent: 18.27%
2008 PRIMARY
Grace Napolitano
Votes: 16,140
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (74%), 2008 (82%), 2006 (75%), 2004 (100%), 2002 (71%), 2000 (71%), 1998 (68%)

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