Meet California’s newest members of Congress


Fresh off their wins last week, members-elect to the 115th Congress are in Washington this week for a crash course on what it means to be a representative.

California’s five incoming House members, and two potential colleagues in races too close to call, are attending two weeks of daylong briefings on topics such as managing their office budget, how to write legislation and ethics, all while getting to know their way around and meeting their fellow lawmakers.

The races in Orange County’s 49th District and Sacramento’s 7th District are still too close to call. The trailing challengers, retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate and Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones, were still expected to make the trip to Washington in case they ultimately win.


California also has a new U.S. senator in Kamala Harris, and she’ll have a shorter three-day orientation largely led by sitting senators.

Here is a look at the newest members of the largest congressional delegation in the country.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times )

Sen.-elect Kamala Harris

Lives in: Los Angeles Born: Oct. 20, 1964, in Oakland Religion: Baptist Marital status: married to Douglas Emhoff Education: Howard U., economics B.A. 1986; UC Hastings, J.D. 1989 Career: County deputy district attorney Political history: San Francisco city attorney, 1998-2003; San Francisco district attorney, 2004-11; attorney general, 2011-present

California’s first new U.S. senator in 24 years is also the first Indian American to serve in the Senate, and the first black person the state has sent to the chamber. Those are the latest in a series of firsts for Harris, who was also the first woman elected as San Francisco’s district attorney and the first woman elected as California’s attorney general.

Harris’ time as attorney general included forcing several big banks to cough up $20 billion in mortgage relief, defending same-sex marriage and reducing repeat offenses among drug offenders. She has said she wants to focus on modernizing the country’s criminal justice system and civil rights, as well as protecting the environment and addressing California’s water needs.


Harris has planted an early flag as an immigration foil to President-elect Donald Trump, saying shortly after the election that she will do everything in her power to protect immigrants, including those in the country illegally, from the incoming president’s promise to deport millions of people.

(Ben Margot / Associated Press )

Rep.-elect Ro Khanna

Lives in: Fremont Born: Sept. 13, 1976, in Philadelphia Religion: Hindu Marital status: married to Ritu Khanna Education: University of Chicago, economic A.B. 1998; Yale University, J.D. 2001 Career: Lawyer Political history: Sought U.S. House seat in 2004; Commerce Department deputy assistant secretary, 2009-11; Democratic candidate for U.S. House in 2014.

Former Obama administration official Ro Khanna defeated Rep. Mike Honda in the second matchup for the two Democrats. So far, Honda is the only incumbent to lose.

Khanna is among the first Indian Americans in Congress and will be the new political face of Silicon Valley, representing the country’s proportionally highest Asian-majority district.

As a lawyer, he focused on intellectual property rights and has done work helping companies with imports and exports.


He opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which seems likely to die under a Trump administration. He has said he’s interested in helping relieve student debt and raising the federal minimum wage.

Rep.-elect Jimmy Panetta

Lives in: Carmel Born: Oct. 1, 1969, in Washington, D.C. Religion: Catholic Marital status: married to Carrie McIntyre Panetta, two children Education: UC Davis, international relations B.A. 1992; Santa Clara University, J.D. 1996 Military: Naval Reserve, 2003-11 Career: Deputy district attorney Political history: Monterey County Central Democratic Committee vice chairman, 2012-16.

Panetta replaces Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel), who is retiring after more than 20 years in Congress. Panetta’s father, Leon Panetta, previously represented the area in Congress and served as CIA director and Defense secretary in the Obama administration.

Panetta has said he wants to work with Republicans in California’s delegation on overhauling the country’s immigration system. He’s also interested in serving on the House Appropriations Committee’s Agriculture Subcommittee.

While in the Naval Reserve, Panetta was deployed on a six-month tour in Afghanistan in 2007 and was awarded a Bronze Star.


Rep.-elect Salud Carbajal

Lives in: Santa Barbara Born: Nov. 18, 1964, in Moroleón, Mexico Religion: Catholic Marital status: married to Gina Carbajal, two children Education: UC Santa Barbara, B.A. 1990; Fielding University M.A. 1994 Military: Marine Corps Reserve, 1984-92 Career: County legislative aide; drug prevention nonprofit executive Political history: Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, 2004-present

Carbajal, a Santa Barbara County supervisor, won an expensive race against Republican Justin Fareed to replace longtime Democratic Rep. Lois Capps in the Central Coast’s 24th Congressional District, which also includes San Luis Obispo County.

Carbajal emigrated from Mexico when he was 5 years old and was the first in his family to earn a college degree. He is the son of a farmworker and the first Latino to represent the Central Coast.

Carbajal is hoping to focus on immigration, energy, infrastructure, the environment, job creation and making Social Security more sustainable.

Rep.-elect Nanette Barragán

Lives in: San Pedro Born: Sept. 15, 1976, in San Pedro Religion: Catholic Marital status: single Education: UCLA, political science B.A. 2000; USC, J.D. 2005 Career: Lawyer Political history: Hermosa Beach City Council, 2013-15. Hermosa Beach mayor, 2015

Barragán beat Sen. Isadore Hall (D-Compton) in the race to replace Rep. Janice Hahn (D-Los Angeles), who gave up the seat to run for the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.

Barragán rallied public support to keep a Bakersfield oil company, E&B Natural Resources, from drilling in the Santa Monica Bay, the issue that drove her to join the Hermosa Beach City Council.


Her parents immigrated to the United States from Jalisco and Mexico City. Barragán was the only Latina to win an open House seat, and she points to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ fundraising political action committee, the Committee for Hispanic Causes/Building Our Leadership Diversity PAC (CHC BOLD PAC), as a major factor in her win.

Rep.-elect Lou Correa

Lives in: Santa Ana Born: Jan. 24, 1958, in East L.A. Religion: Catholic Marital status: married to Esther Correa, four children Education: Cal State Fullerton, economics B.A. 1980; UCLA, J.D. and M.B.A. 1985 Career: Investment banker, real estate broker Political history: California Assembly, 1998-2004; Orange County Board of Supervisors, 2005-06; California Senate, 2006-2014.

Two decades in state and local government make Correa the most legislatively experienced new member of California’s delegation.

Correa will replace Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Orange) in the 46th Congressional District after defeating another Democrat, Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen. Sanchez lost her bid to be the next U.S. senator from California.

Correa has said he wants to work with Republican colleagues to change federal policy on medical marijuana, a major issue for neighboring Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa). Correa is also on the board of the California High-Speed Rail Authority and plans to continue advocating for the project.


Too close to call

Doug Applegate

Lives in: San Clemente Born: Aug. 29, 1953, in Dayton, Ohio Religion: Methodist Marital status: divorced, three children Education: Arizona State, economics B.S. 1976 and J.D. 1979 Military: Marine Corps, 1974-2006 Career: Lawyer, Marine Corps officer, military prosecutor Political history: None

Applegate is awaiting the results of his 49th District race against incumbent Darrell Issa. On Tuesday, Issa was leading by about 4,600 votes.

Scott Jones

Lives in: Antelope Born: Aug. 10, 1967, in Los Angeles Religion: Christian Marital status: married to Christy Jones, four children Education: UC Davis attended 1985-87; Cal State Sacramento, criminal justice B.S. 1991; Lincoln Law School, J.S. 1998 Career: Deputy county sheriff Political history: Sacramento County sheriff, 2011-present

Jones is awaiting the results of his 7th District race against incumbent Ami Bera. On Tuesday, Bera was leading by about 2,500 votes.

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Read more about the 55 members of California’s delegation at



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