Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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United States

U.S. House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 11

Photo of Mark Desaulnier

Mark Desaulnier

U.S. Representative
214,868 votes (72.1%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • One of my top priorities in Congress is promoting safe, efficient, and reliable transportation systems. Our transportation system has the potential to be the envy of the world but it will require significant coordination from all levels of government
  • As a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, another of my top priorities in Congress is improving access to quality education for all Bay Area residents.
  • As a cancer survivor, I have a deep and personal appreciation for our healthcare system and nation’s ability to continually innovate to find new cures and treatments to improve health outcomes.



College of the Holy Cross BA, History (current)


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 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 community­active 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 life­saving 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.

Questions & Answers

Questions from The League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and California Counts, a public media collaboration. (4)

The Federal Government plays a part in California water allocation and use through a variety of laws.  What, if any, legislation would you support in an effort to handle water shortages caused by the current and any future drought?
Answer from Mark Desaulnier:

 I introduced the sustainable Water Supplies Act (H.R. 4862) that would expand an existing pilot program allowing the Bureau of Reclamation to lease excess storage capacity in Los Vaqueros and other non­federal reservoirs in order to provide more operational flexibility for the Central Valley Project. I am also a proud cosponsor of the Drought Recovery and Resilience Act of 2015 (H.R. 2983), the Water Recycling Acceleration Act of 2015 (H.R. 2993), and the California Water Recycling and Drought Relief Act (H.R. 3045). Each of these important bills would facilitate Bay Area efforts to address water shortages caused by drought.

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

 There is broad bipartisan consensus that our nation’s immigration system is broken. I strongly supported President Obama’s executive actions to begin to address our broken system, including deferred action programs that have helped millions of unauthorized immigrants come out of the shadows and work legally in the US. I strongly support comprehensive immigration reform that keeps families together, creates a roadmap to citizenship, and prevents unscrupulous employers from taking advantage of our broken immigration system. Any immigration proposal must protect U.S. workers and reduce immigrant worker exploitation to gain my full support. Regardless of status, all workers have a right to robust workplace protections and employer oversight.

What, if anything, does the U.S. need to do in order to address national security and terrorism? Please explain your answer in detail.
Answer from Mark Desaulnier:

As your member of Congress, the safety and security of the United States is my top priority. I support President Obama’s efforts around the world to engage diplomatically, not only with our traditional allies, but with nations that historically have opposed the U.S. We must provide leadership through the identification of workable, long­term solutions to our most pressing national security challenges. This means we can’t rely only on traditional mechanisms to protect our homeland

The political climate in Washington, D.C. has been extremely partisan in recent years. In that kind of atmosphere, what would you do to get things done while in office?
Answer from Mark Desaulnier:

 It is sometimes disheartening to observe actions in Congress that are clearly aimed at gaining partisan advantage rather than addressing the challenges our nation faces. I have a long history of working with partners of all backgrounds and perspectives to improve the lives of Californians in the Bay Area. I bring that roll­ up­ the­ sleeves mentality to Washington D.C. where I have partnered with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to discuss ideas and differences, and work to craft legislative solutions.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $644,713

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

Employees of MacKenzie Capital Management
American Crystal Sugar
American Federation of Teachers
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
National Education Association
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

More information about contributions

By State:

California 50.06%
District of Columbia 26.79%
Virginia 6.04%
Maryland 4.17%
Other 12.94%

By Size:

Large contributions (93.27%)
Small contributions (6.73%)

By Type:

From organizations (52.83%)
From individuals (47.17%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.

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