Doris Matsui: Wikis


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Doris Okada Matsui

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 5th district
Assumed office 
March 8, 2005
Preceded by Robert Matsui

Born September 25, 1944 (1944-09-25) (age 65)
Internment camp in Poston, Arizona
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) widowed, late Rep. Robert Matsui
Children Brian Matsui
Residence Sacramento, California
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley
Occupation political assistant
Religion Methodist

Doris Okada Matsui (born September 25, 1944) is an American politician of the Democratic Party who represents California's 5th congressional district (Sacramento County, map) in the United States House of Representatives. Following the death on January 1, 2005 of her husband, Bob Matsui, who represented the district for twenty-six years, she was elected as his replacement in a special election on March 8, 2005, and took the oath on March 10, 2005.


Early Life and Career

Matsui was born in an Internment Camp at Poston, Arizona and grew up in Dinuba, in California's Central Valley. While attending the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a B.A. in psychology, she met her husband. They had one child, Brian.

Matsui was active in California politics, her husband serving on the Sacramento city council before entering congress in 1979, and was an early supporter of Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton's presidential campaign. When he was elected, Matsui served on his transition team. Following the inauguration, she was appointed deputy special assistant to the president and deputy director of public liaison, working under Alexis Herman. One of her duties was to work with the Asian American community.

On December 28, 1996, the lead story on the front-page of The New York Times reported Matsui had been active in John Huang's efforts, called the Asian-Pacific American Working Group, to raise campaign donations from Asian Americans, which would have been illegal because of her White House position. While Matsui was friends with Huang, the administration denied she played any role in fund-raising and the Times. Three years later, the newspaper admitted it had made a mistake.

She served in the White House from 1993 to 1998. After leaving government, Matsui was director of government relations for the law firm Collier, Shannon, Scott, stepping down in 2005 to take her seat in Congress. President Clinton appointed her to the board of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in September 2000. Matsui also served on the boards of KVIE-TV and People for the American Way.

Matsui speaks on the first day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, in her capacity as convention parliamentarian.

In Congress

Matsui's husband, Bob, died from complications of myelodysplastic syndrome on January 1, 2005. On January 9, 2005, the day after his funeral, Matsui told supporters she was running for his open seat. The Matsuis had not disclosed Bob's terminal illness to the public during his recent reelection campaign, and with the support of national Democratic Party leaders Matsui quickly organized to buttonhole potential campaign contributors and clear the field of any serious rivals for the Democratic safe seat. She ultimately commanded 27 times the campaign funds of her closest competitor. In the campaign she was accused of improper land deals, but with no viable opposition she won the March 8, 2005.[1] In the special election she garnered 68% of the vote. In fact, press reports said that Matsui won the election before the polls opened as most votes in the election were absentee ballots, which she won overwhelmingly.

In her inaugural speech, she spoke of the many people who encouraged her to run and her family. She pledged to continue the work of her husband, especially regarding flood control projects in Sacramento, the main city in the district.

Matsui is a member of the Rules Committee and works closely with the Democratic Congressional leadership. She also sits on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

In 2007, Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed Matsui to the Smithsonian Board of Regents. Matsui is one of only three House Members to sit on the board. In 2007, Matsui was instrumental in developing an overhaul of the oversight and accountability practices of the Smithsonian.

Matsui served as convention parliamentarian of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

Committee assignments


Caucuses and other Memberships

Electoral History

Special Election for California's 5th Congressional District, March 8, 2005[2]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Doris Matsui 56,175 68.2%
Democratic Julie Padilla 7,158 8.7%
Republican John Thomas Flynn 6,559 8.0%
Republican Serge A. Chernay 3,742 4.5%
Republican Michael O'Brien 2,591 3.1%
Republican Shane Singh 1,753 2.1%
Republican Bruce Robert Stevens 1,124 1.4%
Green Pat Driscoll 976 1.2%
Independent Leonard Padilla 916 1.1%
Democratic Charles "Carlos" Pineda, Jr. 659 0.8%
Libertarian Gale Morgan 451 0.6%
Peace and Freedom John C. Reiger 286 0.3%
Independent Lara Shapiro 6 (write-in) 0.0%
Totals 82,396 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2006[3]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Doris Matsui (incumbent) 105,676 70.8%
Republican Claire Yan 35,106 23.6%
Green Jeff Kravitz 6,466 4.3%
Peace and Freedom John C. Reiger 2,018 1.3%
Totals 149,266 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2008[4]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Doris Matsui (incumbent) 164,242 74.3%
Republican Paul A. Smith 46,002 20.9%
Peace and Freedom L. R. Roberts 10,731 4.8%
Independent David B.Lynch 180 (write-in) 0.0%
Totals 221,155 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold


  1. ^ "Congressman's Widow Takes His Seat," New York Times. March 11, 2005.
  2. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "Official Canvas," (retrieved on August 1st, 2009).
  3. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress, (retrieved on August 1st, 2009).
  4. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress, (retrieved on August 1st, 2009).
  • "Aide's role in raising cash denied". The Buffalo News. December 29, 1996. A1.
  • "Editor's Note". The New York Times. March 22, 1999. A2.
  • "Matsui foes critical of dealings". The Sacramento Bee. February 8, 2005.
  • Thomas Oliphant. "Another victim is caught in the scandal machine." Boston Globe. September 16, 1997. A17.
  • "Who's Who in President-elect Clinton's transition team". The Washington Post. November 13, 1992. A25.
  • Tim Weiner and David E. Sanger. "Democrats Tried to Raise $7m from Asians in U.S." The New York Times. December 28, 1996. A1.
  • John Wildermuth. "11 Challenge Matsui for Congress Seat". San Francisco Chronicle. February 27, 2005. B1.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bob Matsui
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by


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