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Tuesday June 7, 2022 — California Primary Election
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United States

U.S. House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 1

Photo of Max Steiner

Max Steiner

US Army Reservist
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Forest Fire Risk Reduction
  • Increasing Surface Water Capacity
  • Protecting Constitutional Rights - Democracy, 2A, and Reproductive Choice



Profession:U.S. Army Reserve First Sergeant
Army Reserve First Sergeant - Civil Affairs, U.S. Army Reserves (2011–current)
U.S. Foreign Service Officer (Diplomat), U.S. Department of State (2012–2019)
Army Sergeant - Infantry, U.S. Army (2005–2009)


U.C. Berkeley B.A., Development Studies (Economics) (2011)


Max was born and raised in Sacramento. He and his wife Nika now own a house in Chico. Max is a fifth-generation Californian and proud of his Central Valley roots. His great-great-grandfather Edwin Smith was the pastor of Chico’s First Methodist Episcopal Church during World War One. His brother lives in Redding, and lost his house to the Carr Fire in 2018.

Max served in the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division and did two years in Iraq in Baghdad and Kirkuk. He went on daily raids and patrols “outside the wire” as part of a four man squad and survived numerous IED and mortar attacks. He earned his Combat Infantry Badge in a firefight during an  attempt to rescue a female Italian journalist who had been captured by terrorists. Max ‘s leadership potential was recognized immediately by his superiors, and he was quickly promoted to Sergeant, becoming an acting squad leader during his second deployment. Even after leaving Active Duty, Max continued to put his skills and experience to use in the Army Reserves and he is now the First Sergeant of a Civil Affairs Company.

After completing his deployments, Max attended community college and then transferred to UC Berkeley.  There he earned his degree and met his wife, Nika, the daughter of a Cambodian refugee who came to America after the communist forces of Pol Pot seized his homeland. He graduated with High Honors in 2011.

Max joined the Foreign Service in 2012 as an economic generalist and served as a Foreign Service Officer in Honduras, Mexico, Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, and Washington, DC.  In Honduras, he was the lead American on agricultural issues, supporting the regional USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Officer based in Guatemala. In Mexico, he worked on visa issues and was the officer in charge of protecting the rights of Americans arrested in Baja California. His last overseas tour as an FSO was to the Sinai Peninsula, where he served not as a diplomat but instead as an observer with the multi-national force enforcing the 1982 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.  In Washington, DC, Max worked with USDA and USAID on our food security support to the United Nations. In 2019, he took a leave of absence from the Foreign Service to pursue a PhD in Policy Analysis at RAND, focusing on the intersection of diplomacy and development in the Western Pacific and Eastern Europe.

Who supports this candidate?

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (4)

The Federal Government plays a part in California water allocation and use through a variety of projects and laws.  What, if any, new programs or projects or reforms to existing programs and projects would you support in an effort to handle water shortages caused by the current and any future drought?
Answer from Max Steiner:

I support increasing surface water storage throughout Northern California and rebalancing water distribution from environmental water flows towards agriculture. I support the construction of Sites Reservior, the Shasta Dam raise, and a higher minimum allocation to Klamath Reclamation Project farmers.

Should immigration laws be changed?  What changes would you support?  Please explain why.
Answer from Max Steiner:

Nations are defined by their borders. I support robust immiration enforcment both at the border and within the interior of the United States. Unrestricted immigration would be a disaster for unskilled U.S. workers. On the other hand, high-skilled, legal immigration should be encouraged and visa numbers increased. Dreamers should be granted legal status if they lack a criminal record.

As Congress Member what, if any, policies or legislation would you support to preserve democracy for all US residents?
Answer from Max Steiner:

I beleive that the lies spread by then-President Trump and his attempts to overturn the results of a free and fair election pose an existential theat to American democracy. Politicians need to recognize this threat, pass legislation to prevent it from ever occuring again, and investigate the ring-leaders of the "Big Lie" to ensure they can be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. 

What legislation, if any, would you support to reduce American greenhouse gas production?  Please explain the reasons for your position.
Answer from Max Steiner:

We need to prioritize zero-carbon energ generation. Solar and wind will be part of our new energy generation portfolio, but this also means increasing hydropower, nuclear, and biomass generation capacity. Climate change is an existential threat to our society, and we will need to build appropriate energy infrastructure to safeguard our way of life and pass on a liveable earth to the next generation.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $438,949

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

Employees of University of California, Berkeley
Employees of Hefner, Stark, And Marois Llc
Employees of Joseph M Sullivan Cpa Inc
California Democratic Party
Employees of RAND Corporation

More information about contributions

By State:

California 90.04%
Virginia 2.72%
District of Columbia 1.52%
Florida 1.46%
Other 4.26%

By Size:

Large contributions (57.74%)
Small contributions (42.26%)

By Type:

From organizations (2.37%)
From individuals (97.63%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Max is a political centrist, who believes that the best solutions to America's problems wil be found in the middle. He fought for America in Iraq, and he will fight for District One in Washington. As an infantryman, he dodged IEDs and kicked down doors. As our Congressman, he will find common ground with Democrats and Republicans and fight to ensure the allocation of eight billion federal dollars to forestry and water projects in our district. It’s time to send a fighter to Congress, a soldier who has shared danger with Republicans and Democrats alike, , an American patriot who knows that we can work together to achieve common goals if we do not allow ourselves to be paralyzed into inaction by our political differences.

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