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June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
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United States

U.S. House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 11

Photo of Mark Desaulnier

Mark Desaulnier

United States Congressman
107,115 votes (68.3%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Grow the economy, ensure students receive a quality education, and create high value jobs
  • Invest in critical projects to reduce traffic congestion in the Bay Area, and improve housing options
  • Protect Medicare and Social Security, and increase access to affordable health care coverage



Profession:Congressman, CA-11
Congressman, CA-11, House of Representatives — Elected position (2014–current)
Senator, California State Senate 7th District — Elected position (2008–2015)
Assemblymember, California State Assembly 11th District — Elected position (2006–2008)
Owner, T.R.'s Restaurant, Concord, CA (1978–2006)
Member, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors from the 4th District — Appointed position (1994–2006)
Member (Mayor 1993), Concord City Council — Elected position (1991–1993)
Owner, Santa Fe Restaurant, Berkeley, CA (1978–1981)
Waiter, Bartender, Manager, General Manager, Henry Africa's Restaurant, San Francisco, CA (1976–1978)
Member of the Teamsters Union-Warehouseman, Various trucking companies, Roadway, Spector, U.P.S., Israel Trucking (1970–1975)
Temporary Deputy Probation Officer, Boston Juvenile Court, Boston, MA (1970–1974)


College of the Holy Cross Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), History (1974)

Community Activities

Bay Area Representative, California Air Resources Board (1997–2006)
Member of the Executive Board, Metropolitan Transportation Commission (1996–2006)
Member of the Executive Board, Bay Area Air Quality Management District (1994–2006)
Member of the Executive Board, Association of Bay Area Governments (1994–2006)
Member, University of California Toxic Substances Research and Teaching Program Advisory Committee (2003–2006)


Mark DeSaulnier was sworn-in to the 114th Congress in 2015.   He represents California’s 11th Congressional  District which includes the western, central and southern areas of Contra Costa County.  He currently serves on the Education and Workforce Committee, and the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform’s subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets.

DeSaulnier has served at the local level on the Concord City Council, as Mayor of Concord and as a three term Contra Costa County Supervisor.  As Supervisor, he served on the California Air Resources Board, the Association of Bay Area Governments, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. He was elected to the State Assembly in 2006 where he served one term and received the distinction of being the first freshman in history to chair the Assembly Transportation Committee.  DeSaulnier was elected to two terms in the California State Senate in 2008 and 2012.

In the Senate, DeSaulnier chaired the Transportation and Housing Committee.  Earlier, he chaired the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee and the Subcommittee No. 3 of Budget and Fiscal Review Committee pertaining to Health and Human Service. In addition, he served on the Senate Committees on Health; Energy, Utilities & Communications; Governance & Finance; Insurance as well as the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.

In his time in office, he has taken a leadership role on a variety of key issues including government reform, labor, transportation, the environment, health care, local government, and public safety. In the Senate, DeSaulnier’s top legislative priorities included:  working to reform state governance; safe and efficient roads and highways; allowing companies to organize as more community-active corporate citizens; protecting public health; reducing Californians’ exposure to tobacco; protecting homeowners from foreclosure;  tightening up the parole system and oversight of sex offenders; making it easier for people to donate life-saving bone marrow and organs; and fighting abuse of prescription narcotics.

Locally, DeSaulnier has championed the Expansion of Highway 4, BART to eastern Contra Costa County, and the development of a fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel.

DeSaulnier was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, and earned his BA in History from the College of the Holy Cross.  As a young man in Massachusetts, DeSaulnier worked as a probation officer, a truck driver, and a hotel services employee.  He moved to California in the early 1970’s.   DeSaulnier was a member of both the Teamsters International Union and the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union.

For most of his career, DeSaulnier has been a small business owner of several successful Bay Area restaurants.  He has served the Bay Area in public office for more than 20 years.

DeSaulnier resides in Concord where he raised his two adult sons, Tristan and Tucker.  He is an avid runner and has completed twenty-one marathons.

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (5)

What financing method(s) would you support to repair or improve roads, rails, ports, airports, the electrical grid and other infrastructure in the U.S.?
Answer from Mark Desaulnier:

As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the former Chairman of the California State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, I know firsthand how investment in infrastructure creates jobs and improves our economic performance and our quality of life. Whether it was balancing California’s budget, establishing the fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel, securing funding for projects like eBART and traffic relief projects like the Highway 4 expansion, or holding government accountable when millions were wasted on the Bay Bridge, I’ve fought for our families and communities. I am continuing to fight for our infrastructure needs in Congress and working on efforts to reduce traffic, improve commute times, and find innovative ways to move people and goods.

What programs or legislation, if any, would you support to help Americans of all ages secure affordable health care?
Answer from Mark Desaulnier:

Health insurance is a right, not a privilege. I support the Affordable Care Act, and have voted more than 60 times to stop Republicans in Congress from dismantling it and kicking everyday Americans off their health insurance. Trumpcare, which I strongly opposed, would have forced 23 million people to lose their insurance.


I am also an advocate for federal universal health care, which would provide free access to health insurance for all Americans.

Describe an immigration policy that you would support if presented to the House.
Answer from Mark Desaulnier:

The Trump Administration’s drastic and inhumane immigration proposals do nothing to keep us safe and instead attempt to foster fear and hatred across our country. We are a nation founded by immigrants with the Statue of Liberty welcoming the world’s “huddled masses,” and the benefits immigrants bring to our country, both socially and economically, should be embraced.


Any reforms to our immigration system must be done comprehensively to ensure that we hold true to our country’s values while being fair and safe. DACA recipients and their families deserve the respect of having their rights restored and having policymakers find a permanent solution with a pathway to citizenship. I support the Dream Act, to do just that. We must also protect those who have come to the United States fleeing violence, disease, political turmoil, or other unsafe conditions. Refugees, asylum seekers, and people who have been previously granted Temporary Protected Status deserve the full protection of the United States, a respect the Trump Administration has not given them.

What programs or legislation would you support to meet the water needs of Californians and the federal water project infrastructure in California?
Answer from Mark Desaulnier:

The quality of life and dynamic economy of the Bay Area continues to attract new people and new development to our region. If we are to sustain this growth, especially in an era of climate change, we need thoughtful stewardship of our scarce water resources. First, we should be focused on conservation efforts and ways to increase our efficiency of water use. For example, in various parts of the U.S. and around the world, we are seeing an increase in innovative projects for the capture and reuse of wastewater. The government should do more to encourage this kind of innovation, which is why I am a sponsor of legislation to increase federal support for water recycling projects. Next, rather than waiting for severe droughts to compel us to act, we should continue to promote conservation through efficient building and landscape design and irrigation. Finally, we must ensure transparency and accountability in the funding of major, new infrastructure projects. That means fighting back attempts to weaken environmental protections and drown out the public interest.

According to a "Civility In America” survey, 75% of Americans believe that the U.S. has a major civility problem. If you are elected what will do to address this?
Answer from Mark Desaulnier:

I believe we need to improve civil discourse in government. In service of this goal, I have hosted more than 60 town halls and mobile district office hours since coming to Congress in 2015 to provide a free and open exchange of ideas, and to answers questions. These town halls, along with my office's work on behalf of Contra Costa residents, led to us being selected as a finalist for a non-partisan Democracy Award for Constituent Service from the Congressional Management Foundation. The American political system only functions well when we all participate. We must also get big money out of politics and make elected officials accountable to the people they represent, not the people who bankroll their campaigns. I am a sponsor of several pieces of legislation to roll back the Citizens United decision and pave the way for public financing of campaigns.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $572,475

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades
National Education Association
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

More information about contributions

By State:

California 35.25%
District of Columbia 33.19%
Virginia 6.48%
Maryland 6.06%
Other 19.03%

By Size:

Large contributions (91.02%)
Small contributions (8.98%)

By Type:

From organizations (63.58%)
From individuals (36.42%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.

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