At a Glance
- Career History: California Assembly (1996-2002); Merced City Council (1994-1996); Atwater City Council (1984-1987)
- Birthday: March 31, 1959
- Hometown: Merced, CA
- Alma Mater: B.A., California State University, Stanislaus, University of Maryland, College Park.
- Spouse: Dr. Kathie McLoughlin
- Religion: Roman Catholic
- Party: Democrat
- Committees: Rules and Agriculture
- DC Office: 1224 Longworth Building, Washington, DC 20515
- District Offices: Merced, 1-209-383-4455 Modesto, 1-209-527-1914 Stockton, 1-209-946-0361
Path to Power
Cardoza was born in Merced, Calif., and graduated from Atwater High School. He enrolled at California State University at Stanislaus and later transferred to the University of Maryland. He was the first in his family to graduate from college, finishing in 1982. He grew a taste for politics as a Capitol Hill intern in the summer of 1979.
Five years later, Cardoza won a seat on the Atwater City Council, which he held from 1984 to 1987. He left the city council to work as an aide to Condit, then a state assemblyman. He worked on Condit's 1989 House race and moved to Washington for a post on Condit's staff. Before his election to the California State Assembly, Cardoza returned to California and won a seat on the Merced City Council, which he held for two years. He held his seat in the California state Assembly from 1996 to 2002.
He voted with the majority of Democrats 98 percent in the 111th Congress, but bucked his party this year with a vote in February 2009 against the Omnibus Appropriations Act. He is generally seen as a moderate.
Cardoza chairs the House Agriculture Horticulture and Organic Agriculture subcommittee, where he oversees the fruit and vegetable growers in his districts. However, Washington can be slow to aid the district, prompting one local newspaper to lament, "the world's most productive farm country can still consider itself Uncle Sam's neglected stepchild."
Cardoza works closely with the area's congressmen like Republicans Devin Nunes and George Radanovich as well as Democrat Jim Costa to aid Central Valley communities.
Cardoza's biggest donors in 2008 were Gallo Winery (recently profiled in the New Yorker sub req. ), the National Association of Realtors and the Western Growers Association (WGA), according to Center for Responsive Politics. The WGA asked Cardoza to lead a Congressional inquiry into the Food and Drug Administration's tomato recall last year.