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Democracy Awards

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier

Representing the 11th District of California

Biography

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (DE-SOWN-YAY) was elected to Congress in 2014 and proudly represents California’s 11th Congressional District, which includes the majority of Contra Costa County. For more than 30 years, Mark has been a leader on issues of importance to working families including guaranteeing a livable wage, ensuring education is affordable and accessible, making investments in job training, and keeping good paying jobs here at home. 

Congressman DeSaulnier is one of only a few Members of Congress to serve on four committees. He currently sits on the Committee on Oversight and Reform, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Committee on Education and Labor. He also is a new Member of the exclusive House Committee on Rules, where he has the opportunity to weigh in on major pieces of legislation before they are brought to the House Floor for a vote. Additionally, Mark serves on the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where is he is a member of the Executive Board.

Over the past four years, Mark has successfully passed 29 legislative efforts, including legislation to support students by expanding early learning opportunities through Head Start programs and establishing after school centers for families, students, and community members to help students succeed. His work also includes increasing investment in transportation research and planning, making our nation’s aviation system safer, and supporting affordable housing programs nationwide and in the Bay Area.

Additionally, Mark has passed bipartisan legislation to fight the opioid epidemic and prevent doctor shopping, worked to increase transparency for our nation’s veterans about the benefits they have rightfully earned, and founded the “Future of Work, Wages, and Labor” initiative with several of his fellow Democratic colleagues to tackle the most pressing problems facing our nations’ workforce. Their research took them across the country where they met with workers and policy experts to develop over 30 policy recommendations that would put America's workforce on a pathway to success.

Mark’s accomplishments also include passing legislation to expand the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez, renaming the Richmond Main Post Office after a former Richmond Postmaster and distinguished member of the Richmond community; and facilitating the improvement of Contra Costa’s aging water infrastructure. He completed an Education Listening Tour, where he visited every school district and college in California’s 11th Congressional District and shared the findings with the Education and Labor Committee.

Prior to being elected to Congress, Mark served as a California State Senator and Assemblymember, where 61 of his bills were passed and became California state law. During his time in the legislature, Mark was the first freshman in history to chair the Assembly Transportation Committee. He later became Chair of the California State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, and has been an instrumental leader in advocating for safe and efficient transportation systems. Additionally, Congressman DeSaulnier championed several local transportation issues including the expansion of the Highway 4, BART to eastern Contra Costa County, and the development of a fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel.

Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, Mark earned his BA in History from the College of the Holy Cross. As a young man in Massachusetts, Congressman DeSaulnier worked for the Boston juvenile court, as a warehouse worker, and as a hotel services employee. Mark was a member of both the Teamsters International Union and the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union. In the early 1970s, Mark moved to California and over the next 35 years, he owned and managed several successful Bay Area restaurants. He has been a small business owner most of his career.

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


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