Baca Feted In His Final Days As 43rd District Congressman

(December 21)   Outgoing Congressman Joe Baca has received a bevy of accolades in the waning days of his tenure in office.  Baca has been a member of the California delegation in the House of Representatives since he was elected in a special election to succeed former Congressman George Brown in the 42nd District after Brown’s death in office in 1999. He was reelected in 2000, and in 2002 was reelected to Congress in the redrawn 43rd Congressional District. A Democrat, he was reelected four more times, most recently in 2010. This year, running for reelection in the newly drawn 35th Congressional District against Gloria Negrete-McLeod, another Democrat, Baca lost.
Over the years he has had a number of committee assignments, including the Agriculture Committee and its subcommittees on Department Operations, Oversight and Credit; Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry; and Nutrition and Horticulture, of which he was once chairman and is now ranking member, as well as the Committee on Financial Services, including the subcommittees on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit and on Oversight and Investigations. As chair of the Nutrition and Horticulture Subcommittee four years ago, Baca led successful efforts in drafting and passing the 2008 Farm Bill that secured record levels of funding for federal nutrition programs, created $40 million in new agriculture grant funding for Hispanic Serving Institutes, and established new outreach programs designed to expand USDA assistance to minority and other traditionally underserved farmers.  Rep. Baca continues to serve as a lead advocate in efforts to reach a just settlement to longstanding discrimination cases between Hispanic and female farmers and the USDA.
Baca is also a member and former chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; the Corporate America, Technology, Communications and the Arts Task Force, of which he was chairman, and a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a caucus of  Congressional Democrats who identify themselves as moderates and conservatives.
On December 17, Baca was recognized by the San Bernardino City Council in a resolution that commended him for securing over $85 million in appropriations for projects in the city of San Bernardino, including the sbX transportation project, the Intermodal Transit Center, the construction of the Verdemont Community Center building, groundwater cleanup and water recycling, the Metrolink expansion, San Bernardino Police Department equipment upgrades, English Learner programs, San Bernardino Boys and Girls Club after-school programs, the Cal State San Bernardino astronomy observatory, and San Bernardino National Forest Association training of youth in conservation work.
“I’m extremely proud of these accomplishments, which have improved the quality of life and will continue to benefit the city of San Bernardino,” Baca said.  “It has been a privilege representing the city and the entire 43rd Congressional District since I was elected to Congress in 1999.  I have always strived to serve the interests of the city and the district to the best of my ability.”
Last month, Baca was the recipient of a leadership award from the Rural Coalition for his work in Congress on behalf of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.  The recognition was given as part of the Rural Coalition’s winter forum, and honored Baca for his efforts to advance greater opportunity and equality for minority farmers.
“I am honored to receive this recognition from the Rural Coalition, an organization that has done so much to empower minority, beginning, and other socially disadvantaged farmers,” said Baca.  “In Congress, one of my great passions has been to expand the civil rights of all Americans.  Listening to over 13 hours of testimony from disadvantaged Hispanic, African American, Native American, and female farmers has driven my efforts to implement sound agriculture policy that brings equity and justice to all corners of rural America.  I thank the Rural Coalition for their tireless dedication to advancing opportunities for all, and look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”

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