Roll Call New Member Profiles: 113th Congress
- Election: Defeated Michael Crimmins, R, to succeed Rep. Bob Filner, D, who ran for San Diego mayor
- Residence: San Diego
- Born: March 7, 1961; National City, Calif.
- Religion: Roman Catholic
- Family: Wife, Adrienne Vargas; two children
- Education: U. of San Diego, B.A. 1983 (political science); Fordham U., M.A. 1987 (philosophy); Harvard Law, J.D. 1991
- Career: Insurance company government affairs executive; lawyer; Jesuit novice
- Political highlights: Sought Democratic nomination for U.S. House, 1992; San Diego City Council, 1993-2000; sought Democratic nomination for U.S. House, 1996; Calif. Assembly, 2000-06; sought Democratic nomination for U.S. House, 2006; Calif. Senate, 2010-present
Juan C. Vargas, D-Calif.
Vargas has long had his eye on representing the 51st District. After four campaigns, including three failed attempts to unseat fellow Democrat Bob Filner, he is finally on his way.
Vargas arrives with nearly two decades of experience in state and local government. He most recently served in the state Senate, where he chaired the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. His work on mortgage and foreclosure issues could set him up for an assignment to the Financial Services Committee.
"My expertise is more in financial services," he says, but when it comes to committee assignments, he "likes them all."
Expect Vargas, who trained with the Jesuits, to be a strong advocate for preserving social welfare programs. He says Medicare and Social Security are "under attack" - a message he reiterated throughout his campaign.
Immigration may be another legislative priority for Vargas, the son of Mexican immigrants who came to the United States as part of a guest worker program. The southern edge of his district runs along the Mexico border and includes a large Hispanic population.
Vargas, a classmate of President Obamas at Harvard Law School, will likely be a reliably Democratic vote in the House. He took liberal stances on issues in the California Legislature, ranging from union representation to renewable energy. He also supported a bill authorizing funding for the first segment of the states high-speed rail system.