Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.)

U.S. Representative (since January 2003)

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Why He Matters

Cardoza was the first in his family to graduate from college and has been legislating ever since. He has tended to co-sponsor bills rather than spearheading them. He has introduced more than 30 bills since 2003, but only one has been enacted into law. He has been a co-sponsor of more than 763 bills since 2003.

Cardoza announced in October 2011 that he would not seek reelection in 2012.

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Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.)

U.S. Representative (since January 2003)

Democratic Rep. Dennis Cardoza becomes latest Blue Dog to retire

Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) announced Thursday that he will not seek reelection in 2012, a move that makes him just the latest Blue Dog Democrat to head for the exits.


Congress members back legislation that could benefit themselves, relatives

Seventy-three members of Congress have pushed legislation in recent years that could benefit businesses or industries in which they or their family are involved or invested, according to a Washington Post analysis.

France, Spain among top congressional destinations, report finds

A report finds lovely destinations like France and Spain were among the tops for travelling lawmakers.


Monte Carlo? Duty calls for McCain, Aderholt and Cardoza.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe needed some Americans at its gathering in Monaco, Al Kamen reports, and McCain and two others stepped up.


The president, always the last to know

(J. Scott Applewhite / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

That IRS thing? The White House employed its “Don’t tell Dad” policy.


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
  • Website

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.

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The Issues

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."

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The Network

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.

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Additional Resources

  1. Goodyear, Dana, "Drink up," New Yorker, May 18, 2009
  2. Boyle, Katherine, "Water: research coordination bill blows through House," Enviornment and Energy Daily, April 24, 2009
  3. Simon, Richard, "Earmark requests get more scrutiny; Members of Congress now must post their spending hopes online," Los Angeles Times, April 16, 2009
  4. Archibald, Randal C. "Black and Hispanic Caucuses resisted Pelosi on bailout," New York Times, Sept. 30, 2008.
  5. Biographical information taken from the Almanac of American Politics, 2008 edition.
  6. Dennis Cardoza official web site
  7. Moore, Sydelle, "FDA faces abuse, incompetence claims,"Politico, July 1, 2008.
  8. Profile of Dennis Cardoza on govtrack.us
  9. Hearn, Josephine, "Coup against Baca fizzles," Politico, March 2, 2007
  10. Biographical information taken from Almanac of American Politics, 2008 edition.
  11. "Commentary: Reviving the Economy," Nightly Business Report, PBS, New York, NY. 19 May 2009
  12. O'Conner, Patrick and Lerer, Lisa, "Democrats duel over climate bill,"Politico, May 4, 2009
  13. "The Political Spectrum" on govtrack.us
  14. Doyle, Michael, "San Joaquin Valley's suffering gets muted response on Capitol Hill," Sacramento Bee, May 11, 2009.
  15. THOMAS, The Library of Congress, H.R. 1728