Doctor of medicine, internal medicine, UC Irvine, 1991; bachelor's degree; biological sciences, UC Irvine, 1987.
Member of Congress, 2013-present; clinical professor of medicine, UC Davis, 2004-09; Sacramento County, 1999-2003; chief of primary health services divisions, Sacramento County, 2003-04; medical director, primary health services division, 1999-2003.
Like many Americans, I am extremely alarmed by the rise in gun violence in our country. As a doctor, I see this issue as a public health crisis, which is why in Congress I have been a strong proponent for common-sense gun laws and responsible gun ownership such as universal background checks, closing the gun show loophole, eliminating bump-stock cartridges, and finally allowing the Center for Disease Control to perform research that will provide crucial data needed to prevent gun violence in the future. I’m also proud to say these positions have gotten me an “F” rating with the NRA. Now is the time we must come together as a country and address this public health crisis.
As a doctor, I have seen firsthand the importance of everyone having access to health care. If you get sick you should be able to see a doctor, and if you get really sick you should be able to receive treatment without going bankrupt. Unfortunately, the system consistently puts bureaucracies before the health of our patients. Health care is not a privilege, but rather a fundamental right that representatives on both sides of the aisle need to come together to address. That is why I am leading the bipartisan effort in bringing about universal coverage to ensure everyone has access to quality, affordable health care.
As a child of immigrants and proud product of the American Dream, I find Trump’s immigration rhetoric extremely offensive. We need bipartisan immigration policy that makes our country safe and our economy strong. That means we should both strengthen our borders and encourage the best and brightest who study in the U.S. to stay, work here, and create their companies here. That is why I have been a proud supporter of comprehensive immigration reform that protects our DREAMers, secures our borders, addresses the 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, and adds billions of dollars to our economy. It’s time to put politics aside, come together, and pass meaningful reform.
The tax reform that passed at the end of 2017 is bad for middle-class Americans and bad for Californians. Not only does it add an additional $1 trillion to the deficit and favor corporations and the wealthy in this country, but it also penalizes states like California that invest in economic growth and education quality. Rather than give tax breaks to the rich, my priority continues to be working toward tax reform that gives relief to the working families of our country. We need to implement reforms that allow middle-class families to not just get by, but thrive in our ever-evolving economy and achieve the American Dream.
While this is a decision we should study and voters should determine, I believe our law enforcement should focus first on violent criminals instead of small or first-time marijuana users. We need to make sure that our local law enforcement have the resources and time they need to first focus on serious criminals that threaten public safety.
As a doctor I have treated hundreds of patients who depend on Medicare and Social Security and know that these two programs save lives. That is why I’m proud to have stood up to past attempts to privatize Medicare and Social Security, and instead continue to work in a bipartisan effort to reduce waste, abuse and fraud in Medicare and Social Security to strengthen and protect it for future generations.
Master's of business administration, CSU Sacramento, 2015; master's degree, National Defense Intelligence College, 2003; master's degree, American Military University, 2004; bachelor's degree, U.S. Naval Academy, 1995.
Nonprofit president/CEO, 2016-17; business executive, 2010-15; small-business owner, 2014-16; United States Marine, 1995-2004; parks & recreation commissioner, Sacramento County; adjunct professor, Los Rios City College.
I place emphasis on allowing for state and local gun control ordinances, not federal, which lacks an appreciation for local practices of gun owners and firearms-related activity but should have a support role. At the same time, the federal government should broadly support local decisions through funding, nationwide crime data, and research. Here are my priorities; (1) support state-managed GVRO (Gun Violence Restraining Order) grants. This includes grant funding to allow GVRO expansion (e.g. investigations prompted by teachers/employers). GVROs, however, remain locally operated. (2) Support research for gun-related crime, injuries, and associated research through funding for (1) NICS, (2) National Violent Death Reporting System and funding/grant funding for National Institutes of Justice and Health. (3) Support the use of the Terror Watchlist/No-Fly lists, along with NICS and federal and local laws, to determine gun sales eligibility - with reasonable due process.
Patient-centric, affordable health care for Americans will occur by redirecting our health care industry away from government, not toward a single-payer system. Single-payer would add enormous cost to our government; an entirely new layer of Washington bureaucracy. In other countries, single-payer has worsened health outcomes, has created longer wait times for even simple procedures, and has reduced health care innovation. In California, legislators were sensible enough to recognize its overwhelming cost, shelving single-payer legislation that was estimated to cost twice the state’s budget. What’s more, government-run health care puts personal, individual choices in the hands of bureaucrats (e.g. distributive justice, rationed care). There is a select population of citizens who are unable to pay for any of their care due to financial hardship and/or disability (and their financial need is relatively small) - for which a greater government role is needed.
Primacy for immigration law remains with the federal government, but cooperation with state and local law enforcement in execution of federal law serves an important function in fulfilling the rule of law and protection of U.S. citizens. No question, local law enforcement should prioritize its role in providing for local public safety, but funding and cooperation is both reasonable and what citizens should expect from effective federal/local government cooperation. California law enforcement agencies should be able to work with federal officials to hold and question someone’s immigration status, provide to federal officers inmate information for the purposes of ascertaining release or immigration status, and contract/coordinate with federal officials to house/detain federal “persons of interest for immigration purposes.” I do not see a role for federal officials to “deputize" local law enforcement officers for other activities.
Facing the highest tax burden in the United States, Californians should be pleased to receive relief through the recently passed tax reform. I am disappointed by the decision to not include state and local tax deductions, but the impact of excluding these deductions says more about California’s high tax rate than anything else. Even without SALT deductions, however, the District 7 median salary tax cut of $2900 (jointly, two dependents) and $1800 (single, no kids) is significant. In District 7, the many small businesses (and ag community members) will save money through the qualified business income rate reduction and the immediate expense/bonus depreciation option. Finally, there are significant designated Economic Opportunity Zones with District 7 and our region that allow for capital gains deferral or elimination. Given the upswing in interest with Sacramento as a cheaper California alternative, these incentives should assist our most economically distressed communities.
I’m open to legalizing marijuana. As an advocate for individual liberty, identifying with freedom of choice and accountability, I lean toward allowing people to make personal choices, with appropriate age and usage restrictions. At the same time, I understand the burden to society of any habitual addiction, and medical viewpoints of the harmful effects of marijuana (as with alcohol and tobacco use); particularly risks to child psychological development. Clearly, there are costs resulting from Colorado’s decision to legalize marijuana; increases in marijuana-related traffic deaths, poison control calls, emergency room visits – and a continuing and strong marijuana black market (likely due to heavy taxation). But, in my view, government is not in the business to decide if a choice like recreational marijuana use is appropriate. It is critical, however, that the rest of society that doesn’t use marijuana not pay additional health or economic costs as a result.
Entitlements are a major part of our federal costs, but they must be protected against funding raids. True reform cannot happen without both parties involved and by avoiding all other significant budget lines, both discretionary and non-discretionary. At the same time, I would consider options to reduce Medicare subsidies for high-income retirees. These individuals can well afford quality health care without federal government assistance. One option would be to reduce a portion of Medicare subsidies, allowing for the remainder to be used in a tax-sheltered investment – giving back some of which is owed. In a similar manner, I would consider allowing employees to choose the option to roll over a portion of their Social Security contributions to private investments, with the majority remaining in a conventional entitlement structure. Medicare reform will happen, as well, when other health care industry challenges are taken up, including patient care cost and drug costs, among others.