5th Energy Transition Forum 2024 Distinguished Speakers Include


U.S. Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA)

House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

Congressman John Garamendi is honored to represent California’s Eighth Congressional District, which includes much of Contra Costa and Solano Counties. He has dedicated his life to serving the people of California and in his eighth term in the House of Representatives, he continues to advocate for working families, veterans, and Americans across the country.

Garamendi was raised in Mokelumne Hill, California and earned his BA from U.C. Berkeley and MBA from Harvard Business School. After graduating, he and his wife Patti served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia from 1966 to 1968. During their time in Ethiopia, they taught 7th and 8th graders and worked alongside local leaders to improve the resources available to community members. Their experience in the Peace Corps allowed them to form lifelong bonds and marked only the beginning of their lives dedicated to public service.

In 1974, Garamendi was elected to the California State Legislature, where he authored the first solar, wind, and energy conservation tax credit in the nation. He also authored the Rural Health Act of California, to ensure that underserved residents in rural communities had access to quality health care.

Garamendi subsequently served four terms in the California State Senate, where he developed a state agenda to advance California’s economy and facilitate scientific research at public universities. Additionally, he introduced legislation that would become California’s assault weapons ban – the first of its kind in the nation and still in effect today. Today, Garamendi continues his work as an advocate for gun control and remains fervently committed to keeping Americans safe.

From 1991 to 1995, and again from 2003 to 2006, Garamendi served as the California Insurance Commissioner, earning a reputation as the most effective protector of consumer interests in the nation. He successfully forced insurance companies to pay claims to policyholders and significantly curtailed insurance fraud. During his time as Insurance Commissioner, he saw firsthand how far the for-profit insurance industry will go to maximize their profits at the expense of consumers and today, Garamendi remains a consistent advocate for universal healthcare and low prescription drug prices.

Appointed Deputy Secretary of the Interior in 1995 by President Clinton, Garamendi spearheaded projects to restore the environment in the San Francisco Bay, Sacramento Delta, and Sacramento and San Joaquin River basins, while also increasing California’s fresh water supply. Garamendi continues to be a leading advocate for water conservation plans that will protect our natural resources for future generations.

In 2007, Garamendi was elected Lieutenant Governor of California, where he served as Chairman of the State Land Commission and successfully protected California coastal beaches by preventing further offshore oil and gas development projects. Additionally, as Chairman of the California Commission for Economic Development, Garamendi strongly advocated for American workers and fought to increase education funding and decrease undergraduate tuition.

Garamendi was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election in 2009, where he has served ever since. Now in his eighth term, he continues to work hard for Californians and advance policies that create jobs, protect Social Security and Medicare, and reduce economic disparity.

As the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, Garamendi works to ensure current and former service members are treated justly. He has enacted legislation empowering the military to combat climate change, improve health care for servicemembers, and provide greater legal recourse and care for those harmed by unhealthy conditions during military service. Garamendi consistently advocates for veterans and has supported every bill in the House designed to help veterans and their families.

Since his first day in Congress, Garamendi has served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and he continues to use his position on this committee to modernize America’s infrastructure, produce millions of good-paying union jobs, and revitalize California’s water resiliency efforts. With 30 years of experience in California water issues, Garamendi is a leading advocate for a comprehensive water plan that includes water recycling, conservation, and storage to help meet California’s needs.

While addressing national and international issues in Congress, Garamendi never loses sight of the local communities he represents. His top priority is to advocate for the people of California’s Eighth Congressional District and ensure they have the funding and resources necessary to thrive. Garamendi will never stop fighting for policies that guarantee equal rights, opportunity, and justice for every member of his community.

As a lifelong Californian, Garamendi continues to call Northern California home and treasures the moments spent enjoying its natural beauty, surrounded by his wife Patti and their family of six children and 14 grandchildren.