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This page is about Joe Baca, the California Congressman. For his son, see former Assemblyman Joe Baca, Jr.
Joe Baca

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 43rd district
Assumed office 
November 16, 1999
Preceded by George Brown, Jr.

Born January 23, 1947 (1947-01-23) (age 63)
Belen, New Mexico
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Barbara Baca
Children Joe Baca, Jr.
Jeremy Baca
Natalie Baca
Jennifer Baca
Residence Rialto, California
Alma mater San Bernardino Valley College and California State University, Los Angeles
Occupation public relations
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1966-1968
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Jose Baca (born January 23, 1947), usually known as Joe Baca, has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1999, representing California's 43rd congressional district (map). The district, numbered as the 42nd District from 1999 to 2003, is located in southwestern San Bernardino County and includes Fontana, Rialto, Ontario and San Bernardino.


Early life

Baca was born in Belen, New Mexico in 1947, the youngest of 15 children[1] in a house where little English was spoken.[citation needed] His father was a railroad laborer.[1] When Joe was a young boy his family moved to Barstow, California.[citation needed] Baca worked shining shoes at age 10, delivered newspapers, and later worked as a laborer for the Santa Fe Railroad, until he was drafted in 1966. He served in the U.S. Army until 1968.[2]

Following military service, Baca attended San Bernardino Valley College and went on to receive his bachelor's degree in sociology from California State University, Los Angeles.[citation needed] He worked for 15 years in community relations with General Telephone and Electric. In 1979, he was the first Latino elected to the Board of Trustees for the San Bernardino Valley College District.[citation needed] He was elected to the State Assembly in 1992,[1] and to the State Senate in 1998.[1]

Congressional career

Only a few months after Baca was elected to the state senate, Congressman George Brown, Jr., the longest serving member of either house of Congress in California's history, died after a long illness. Baca finished first in a seven-way primary, but fell far short of a majority due to the presence of two minor Democratic candidates. In the runoff, Baca defeated Republican Ella Pirozzi with 50.4 percent of the vote. He won the seat in his own right in 2000 with 59 percent of the vote.

Brown had faced several unusually close races over the years, and the state legislature had been looking to shore up the district even before his death. After the 2000 census, the district was renumbered as the 43rd and reconfigured as a majority-Hispanic district.

He serves on the House Financial Services Committee, where he is a member of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, and the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. Rep. Baca also serves on the House Agriculture Committee, where he is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Departmental Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry.

Rep. Baca is the Chair of the CHC Corporate America Task Force, which aims to increase Hispanic representation in corporate America.[citation needed] He created and co-chairs the Congressional Sex and Violence in the Media Caucus. Other caucus memberships include the Congressional Diabetes Caucus, the Military/ Veterans Caucus, the Native American Caucus and the U.S.-Mexico Caucus.

Personal life

Baca and his wife, Barbara, began their own business, Interstate World Travel, in San Bernardino in 1989. They have four children: Joe Jr., Jeremy, Natalie and Jennifer. Son Joe Baca, Jr. served one term as state assemblyman for California's 62nd district, marking the first time a father and son have served from the same California legislative district.[citation needed]


According to the Los Angeles Times, Baca, chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, directed Caucus funds from its PAC[3] BOLDPAC (Building Our Leadership Diversity)[4] to the unsuccessful California campaigns of his sons, Joe Baca, Jr. and Jeremy Baca.[5] At the time, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and five other members dropped out of the PAC in protest of these actions.[3] They alleged that the funds, meant to elect Hispanic candidates, should not have been used to help Baca's sons run against Hispanic candidates and that in a previous race funded by the PAC, Joe Jr. had run against Hispanic candidates.[4]

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released a report stating that Rep. Baca had paid his daughter $27,000 from campaign funds and donated more than $20,000 to his sons' political campaigns from his own campaign funds.[6] They also report accusations that were made in 2006 by former members of Baca's Washington staff that they were sent to California in 2004 for a staff retreat and pressured to work on Joe Baca, Jr.'s campaign for the state Assembly on their paid time for the senior Baca.[1]

In January 2007, fellow Hispanic Caucus members including Loretta Sanchez, Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Hilda Solis (D-CA) and Sanchez's sister Linda Sánchez (D-CA) wrote a letter to Baca asking for a new election with a secret ballot. They claimed that Baca was elected chair of the Caucus in a public ballot, despite Caucus rules for electing a chair that require a secret ballot election.[5]

On January 31, 2007, The Politico reported that Rep. Baca had called Loretta Sanchez a "whore." Citing Baca's alleged insult and the perceived impropriety in Baca's election to chairman of the CHC, as well as Baca's treatment of Latina members in the CHC, Loretta Sanchez resigned from the Caucus along with her sister, three other female California members and one female member from Arizona.[5] Rep. Baca has denied making the insult.[7]

Rep. Loretta Sanchez and Rep. Solis alleged that Rep. Baca made the remark in the summer of 2006. The two congresswomen state that they heard the remark from unnamed sources, although The Politico identified California State Assemblyman Fabian Núñez as one of those who heard the insult firsthand and told Loretta Sanchez.[8] She said that Baca confirmed the comments to her sister Linda Sánchez the day before Loretta Sanchez confronted him over the accusation.[3]


Rep. Baca has received many honors for his public service.[citation needed] Recent awards include the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President's Achievement Award, the 2006 California Hunger Fighter Award (first time awarded to a Member of Congress), and the National Farmers Union Presidential Award for Leadership.[citation needed] He has also had two local parks named after him: the Joe Baca Senior Field at the Empire Center in Fontana and the Joe Baca Field at the Rialto Boys and Girls Club.[citation needed]

Committee assignments


Caucus membership

  • Congressional Hispanic Caucus (Former Chairman)
    • Corporate America, Technology, Communications and the Arts Task Force (Chairman)
  • Blue Dog Coalition[9]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Former staff accuse Baca of 'forced volunteering' (Culture of Corruption Alert)". The Hill. 2006-05-18. 
  2. ^ "Veterans in the US House of Representatives 109th Congress" (PDF). Navy League. Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  3. ^ a b c Bunis, Dena (2007-02-01). "Sanchez quits caucus". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 2007-06-20. 
  4. ^ a b Aleman, Adam (2006-11-29). "Baca to Chair Congressional Hispanic Caucus Despite Female Members' Misgivings". Flash Report. Retrieved 2007-06-20. 
  5. ^ a b c "Who's a 'whore'?". Los Angeles Times. 2007-02-03.,0,7114933.story?coll=la-news-comment-editorials. Retrieved 2007-06-20. 
  6. ^ "Watchdog lists 64 in the House paying kin out of campaign funds". Citizens for Ethics. 2007-06-19. Retrieved 2007-06-20. 
  7. ^ Hearn, Josephine (2007-02-02). "Sanchez Accuses Democrat of Calling Her a 'Whore,' Resigns from Hispanic Group". The Politico. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  8. ^ Werner, Erica (2007-02-01). "Hispanic Caucus Members Toil Over Insult". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  9. ^

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
William H. Lancaster
California State Assembly, 62nd District
Succeeded by
John Longville
Preceded by
Ruben Ayala
California State Senate, 32nd District
Succeeded by
Nell Soto
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
George Brown, Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 42nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Gary Miller
Preceded by
Ken Calvert
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 43rd congressional district

2003 – present


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