Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 30, 2015

Meet the New Members of the 113th Congress

Last Updated: Nov. 20

The 113th Congress will have many new Members when it convenes in January. We’ll update this list with links to new Members’ bios as races are called. See Roll Call’s full list of 2012 election winners here.

Jump to new Senators’ bios | Jump to new House Members’ bios

 

Quick State-By-State Index

Senate

tammy baldwin, wisconsin

Tammy Baldwin
(D-Wis.)

Once sworn in, Tammy Baldwin will be the first openly gay senator in the chamber’s history. To reach that milestone, she had to stop the conservative momentum in her home state, where Republicans had been making a habit of winning statewide races.

ted cruz texasTed Cruz
(R-Texas)

Ted Cruz followed the road paved by other tea party-backed candidates, getting early help from enthusiastic conservative activists and going on to best an establishment Republican. For Cruz, that meant defeating Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who had 14 years’ experience in state government, in the primary runoff.

joe donnelly, indianaJoe Donnelly
(D-Ind.)

After three terms in the House, Donnelly is taking his record as a legislative moderate to the north side of the Capitol. As a Blue Dog Democrat, he advocated fiscal discipline along with national security priorities in the House. As a senator, he will focus on helping Indiana businesses create jobs, strengthening the economy and lowering the debt.

Deb FischerDeb Fischer
(R-Neb.)

A record for beating well-known rivals and clinching deals as a state legislator could position Deb Fischer as a leading voice for her party’s conservative wing and for a Republican caucus with few veteran female members. Fischer earned a reputation for moving conservative priorities in the unicameral legislature, including a mandate for voter approval of increases in local occupation taxes.

Jeff FlakeJeff Flake
(R-Ariz.)

Flake arrived in Washington more than a decade ago with his mind set on achieving one goal above all others: taking down earmarks. Early on, he found little success. But congressional attitudes toward ending funding set-asides for projects in lawmakers’ districts has evolved considerably.

Martin HeinrichMartin Heinrich
(D-N.M.)

An engineer by training, Heinrich says he brings a more analytical perspective to solving problems than most of his colleagues on Capitol Hill. His top priorities are creating jobs and strengthening Social Security and Medicare. And he insists that he is willing to work with Republicans to do that, despite voting with his own party on more than nine of every 10 votes that split the two parties.

heidi heitkamp, north dakotaHeidi Heitkamp
(D-N.D.)

Heidi Heitkamp is most concerned about agricultural issues, with energy a close second. She’s already asked to be on the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, where she can fight for programs such as crop insurance. She also would be interested in serving on three other committees: Energy and Natural Resources, Finance and Indian Affairs.

mazie hirono, hawaiiMazie K. Hirono
(D-Hawaii)

When Hirono ran for governor in 2002, the Honolulu Advertiser placed her in the class of “unapologetically interventionist and indisputably liberal” Democrats who built Hawaii’s government. She lost that race to Republican Linda Lingle, but her victory in a 2012 rematch sends Hirono from the House to the Senate.

tim kaine, virginiaTim Kaine
(D-Va.)

Tim Kaine joins a growing roster of former governors who have transitioned from chief executive to one of 100 in the Senate. Most recently the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Kaine told voters that he would like to focus his efforts on education, defense and foreign policy.

angus king, maineAngus King
(I-Maine)

Angus King, a former two-term Maine governor, has built a high-profile political career while shunning political labels and staking out a niche between the parties. Although a determined independent, he likely will align with Democrats to lock in committee assignments.

christopher murphy, connecticutChristopher Murphy
(D-Conn.)

Christopher Murphy, a three-term House member, says he decided to run for the open Senate seat because he’s confident he can be a strong voice for his state during “a critical time in the nation’s fiscal history.” Murphy will replace retiring Democrat-turned-independent Joseph I. Lieberman.

elizabeth warren, massachusettsElizabeth Warren
(D-Mass.)

Elizabeth Warren, a tenured law professor at Harvard University, had never run for political office prior to the 2012 campaign. But in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Warren was appointed to chair the congressional oversight panel responsible for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

House

andy barr, kentuckyGarland “Andy” Barr IV
(R-Ky., 6th district)

Garland “Andy” Barr IV has made energy a top priority: He will push back against regulations that he says stifle energy production and economic activity. Outside of the energy sector, he will support a major revamp of the tax system and cuts in federal spending.

Joyce Beatty, D OhioJoyce Beatty
(D-Ohio, 3rd district)

Joyce Beatty is a seasoned legislator and counts House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California among her political inspirations. She was the first female Democratic leader in the Ohio House and her professional background is indicative of a nurturing role — she was an administrator of outreach at Ohio State University, owned a consulting firm focused on diversity training, operated a county-level health department and has a background in counseling.

Kerry BentivolioKerry Bentivolio
(R-Mich., 11th district)

The libertarian- leaning Bentivolio secured his first elected position by running as an outsider, even battling the local GOP establishment during the primary. Although his campaign materials included the broad outlines of a tea party platform, he generally avoided the media and provided few details of his agenda.

Cheri Bustos
(D-Ill., 17th district)

Job creation was the top issue in Cheri Bustos’s campaign. Now she wants to bring together leaders in business, education and local government to determine how the economic needs of the 17th District can be addressed in Washington. One key will be promoting the district’s manufacturing base, which includes companies such as Chrysler, John Deere and Caterpillar.

Jim Bridenstine  (R-Okla., 1st district)Jim Bridenstine
(R-Okla., 1st district)

Political newcomer Jim Bridenstine brings with him many professional experiences, namely nearly a decade of service as a Navy pilot and defense consulting work. Bridenstine was supported by the tea party and is expected to align well with the more conservative edge of the Republican Party.

Susan M. Brooks, R-Ind.Susan M. Brooks
(R-Ind., 5th district)

Susan W. Brooks will make job creation her top priority — and she has the standing to do so, having honed her leadership skills on workforce development issues. Brooks also backs efforts to relax regulations, overhaul the tax code, cut medical costs and boost homeland security efforts.

julia brownley, californiaJulia Brownley
(D-Calif., 26th district)

Julia Brownley plans to continue fighting to do away with plastic bags and push for stricter recycling regulations on a national level. She supports the Obama administration’s health care policies and abortion rights, and she favors expanding benefits for veterans, especially women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tony CardenasTony Cardenas
(D-Calif., 29th district)

The first Latino to represent the San Fernando Valley, Cardenas is the youngest of 11 children born to Mexican immigrants. Cardenas, whose constituents are mostly Hispanic, would like to see a comprehensive overhaul of immigration policy and would “absolutely” support legislation that would create a path to citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as youngsters.

matt cartwright, pennsylvaniaMatt Cartwright
(D-Pa., 17th district)

Matt Cartwright’s top priorities are winning increased infrastructure funding and the repeal of a 2005 law that stripped the EPA of its authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing. Cartwright promises to amend the Safe Water Drinking Act to increase disclosure of chemicals used in fracking, prevalent throughout his state.

joaquin castro, texasJoaquin Castro
(D-Texas, 20th district)

Joaquin Castro is a golden boy of the San Antonio political scene, alongside his brother, Mayor Julián Castro. The two have been heralded as the new face of Democratic politics after they were honored guests at the Democratic National Convention.

Chris CollinsChris Collins
(R-N.Y., 27th district)

As Erie County executive, Collins had a sign in his office: “In God we trust – all others bring data.” He plans to bring that sensibility, honed through three decades as a small-business entrepreneur, to Washington. With the public fed up with partisanship and gridlock, “sometimes you can get everyoneís head turned around by stopping negative discussions and focusing on data,” he says.

doug collins, georgiaDoug Collins
(R-Ga., 9th district)

Doug Collins is most concerned with creating jobs in his district. Collins’ conservative ideology matches his district’s leaning. He says that his experience as a pastor and business owner “have taught him that you don’t need to compromise your principles to get things done.”

Paul CookPaul Cook
(R-Calif., 8th district)

Committed to conservative fiscal policies, Cook believes in tackling high taxes and government corruption. Cookís extensive experience in state and local government has prepared him to be an advocate of his districtís most important issues.

tom cotton, arkansasTom Cotton
(R-Ark., 4th district)

The 4th district has traditionally been a Democratic stronghold, but the latest round of redistricting added some conservative counties. Tom Cotton always envisioned himself in public service, with his original plan being a career in teaching. He came of age during Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign and credits Clinton for sparking his interest in current affairs.

kevin cramer, north dakotaKevin Cramer
(R-N.D., at large)

Kevin Cramer describes himself as a “joyful, optimistic conservative” out to cut spending while building interparty and intraparty bridges. Cramer wants to see more fiscal discipline before he would support raising the debt ceiling; he thinks it would be reasonable to ask all agencies to lop 5 percent off their budgets.

Steve DainesSteve Daines
(R-Mont., At-Large)

Three decades of private sector experience inform Daines’ views on Washington, D.C.: He wants the federal government to downsize and focus on job growth by simplifying tax rules for both companies and individuals.

Rodney DavisRodney Davis
(R-Ill., 13th district)

Davis aims to keep tax rates low, cut spending and tackle the national debt. He told Pantagraph, a Bloomington newspaper, that he would be “a common-sense, fiscally conservative Representative in Washington to help restore the economy, create jobs and cut wasteful, out-of-control spending.”

john delaney marylandJohn Delaney
(D-Md., 6th district)

John Delaney, a successful financier, brings a somewhat unconventional resume and little sign of past legislative ambition. Campaigning on employment, education, energy, environment and ethics, he will be the first Democrat to represent western Maryland in 20 years.

Suzan DelBeneSuzan DelBene
(D-Wash., 1st district)

Although she earned considerable wealth as a Microsoft executive, DelBene says she comes from solid, middle-class roots. And she claims that middle-class experience – including watching her parents struggle to pay the bills after her father lost his job – is what motivated her to run for Congress and what shapes her policy positions today.delbene

ron desantis, floridaRon DeSantis
(R-Fla., 6th district)

Ron DeSantis says his top priority is repealing the 2010 health care overhaul or defunding as much of it as possible. He also opposes federal education programs such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. He arrives on Capitol Hill following nearly six years in the Navy.

tammy duckworth, illinoisTammy Duckworth
(D-Ill., 8th district)

Though Tammy Duckworth will arrive on Capitol Hill with extensive military and veterans affairs experience, like many incoming freshmen, she says her central concern is bringing jobs to her Illinois district. She backs ending tax cuts for upper-income earners and using the revenue to prop up Medicare, and has voiced support for the “Buffett Rule.”

bill enyart, illinoisBill Enyart
(D-Ill., 12th district)

Despite having never held elected office before, Bill Enyart already has had discussions with House Democratic leaders about his preferred committee assignments and his legislative agenda. And like his predecessor, retiring Democrat Jerry F. Costello, Enyart believes supporting transportation and infrastructure in his district should be his top priorities.

elizabeth esty, connecticutElizabeth Esty
(D-Conn., 5th district)

With Connecticut’s 5th District transitioning from a home for dozens of large manufacturing companies to a region dominated by a service sector economy, Elizabeth Esty is preparing a legislative agenda that would implement policies to help her constituents through these changes.

bill foster, illinoisBill Foster
(D-Ill., 11th district)

Physicist Bill Foster will likely be most influential on science issues, as he was during his previous one-term stint. Though he sees the best opportunity for increasing funding for Illinois research laboratories being a seat on the Energy and Commerce or Appropriations panels, he is also interested in returning to the Financial Services Committee.

Lois FrankelLois Frankel
(D-Fla., 22 district)

The brash Lois Frankel is a good fit for a district teeming with thousands of her fellow New York transplants. She wants to provide incentives to small business, which she describes as “the real engine of our economy,” and spend more on infrastructure and renewable-energy technology.

Tulsi GabbardTulsi Gabbard
(D-Hawaii, 2nd district)

Along with her history of military service, Gabbard brings to Congress the “Aloha spirit”: respect for diversity and placing others ahead of oneself.
Gabbard views the loss of the “servant-leadership” mentality as the root of the problems in Congress and intends to be part of a new crop of lawmakers whose political style will be characterized by a willingness to work together.

Pete GallegoPete Gallego
(D-Texas, 23rd district)

Gallego’s legislative priorities have been shaped by his life story. His first campaign ad in the general election talked of his father being unable to attend school until he was 10 but still graduating from college after returning from World War II.

Joe GarciaJoe Garcia
(D-Fla., 26th district)

Joe Garcia’s constituents in the new 26th District can expect him to defend Democratic policies on jobs and health care while working to protect the Everglades and reinvigorate Latin America policy. Though he supports the 2010 health care overhaul, Garcia wants to close what he calls “glitches” in the law and contain rising Medicare costs. On the jobs front, Garcia argues that Congress must put Americans back to work by spending more on infrastructure while borrowing costs are low.

alan grayson, floridaAlan Grayson
(D-Fla., 9th district)

While Republicans claim that Grayson, who lost a re-election bid in 2010, is nothing more than a partisan attack dog, he insists he is a problem-solver looking to reach across the aisle. “The job provides enormous opportunities to do good things for people,” Grayson says.

Denny HeckDenny Heck
(D-Wash., 10th district)

Heck lost a bid for Congress in 2010 but turned out to be a better fit for a new district that includes Olympia and parts of Tacoma. The former state House majority leader is viewed as a thoughtful, no-nonsense legislator whose generally liberal views should fit the district.

george holding, ncGeorge E.B. Holding
(R-N.C., 13th district)

George Holding campaigned largely on cutting spending, the deficit and taxes; abolishing the Education and Energy departments; and passing constitutional amendments mandating congressional term limits and a balanced budget.

Steven HorsfordSteven Horsford
(D-Nev., 4th district)

A rising star in Nevada Democratic politics, Horsfordís election makes him the first African-American to represent the Silver State in Congress. He previously served as the first African-American majority leader in the Nevada Senate, and was the youngest pehorsfordrson ever to hold that post.

richard hudson, ncRichard Hudson
(R-N.C., 8th district)

A former chief of staff to three GOP lawmakers, Richard Hudson says he enjoyed being “a behind-the-scenes problem solver” until his frustration with the country’s direction and Democratic incumbent Larry Kissell prompted him to run for office himself. Hudson’s top priorities are a balanced-budget amendment and cutting spending.

Jared HuffmanJared Huffman
(D-Calif., 2nd district)

Jared Huffman, who served on the Marin County Municipal Water District Board and worked as an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, plans to maintain his concentration on environmental issues when he arrives on Capitol Hill.

Hakeem Jeffries
(D-N.Y., 8th district)

Hakeem Jeffries’ top priority is a familiar one: boosting the economy. To that end, he touts an Obama administration proposal to fund states that rehire firefighters, teachers and police officers, along with more parochial ideas such as greater participation by public housing authorities in providing residents with job opportunities.

David JoyceDavid Joyce
(R-Ohio, 14th district)

Named to replace Republican Rep. Steven LaTourette on the general election ballot in August after LaTourette’s surprise retirement announcement, Joyce suddenly finds himself in Congress after a long stint as a prosecutor. Joyce has kept his ideological temperament something of a mystery.

joseph p kennedy, massachusettsJoseph P. Kennedy III
(D-Mass., 4th district)

Joseph P. Kennedy III found motivation for continued public service during his time in the Peace Corps, which was established during the presidency of his great-uncle, President John F. Kennedy. He plans to focus on getting people back to work and education as well, specifically increasing access to early-childhood education.

Dan KildeeDan Kildee
(D-Mich., 5th district)

Kildee sports a well-known surname in mid-Michigan politics, and he knows that gives him an advantage as he takes over the district his uncle Dale represented for 36 years. One of his challenges, however, will be making use of that name recognition and carrying on his uncle’s reputation for “personal civility and efforts to reach across the aisle,” while differentiating himself on the issues he most cares about. For example, the congressman-elect supports abortion rights, while Dale E. Kildee is anti-abortion.

Derek KilmerDerek Kilmer
(D-Wash., 6th district)

Kilmer cites his seven years in the Washington Legislature as evidence of his ability to work with Republicans while playing up his blue-collar roots in the working-class Olympic Peninsula. The son of two teachers, he led efforts in the state Senate to create new scholarships for college students and has pledged to expand the Pell Grant program while in Congress.

Ann KirkpatrickAnn Kirkpatrick
(D-Ariz., 1st district)

Kirkpatrick is no stranger to the game, having previously served one term in the House. Her main priority during the 113th Congress is a popular one: jobs. She proposes increasing opportunities by designating the Sedona Red Rocks as a national scenic area, giving a boost to Arizona’s already large tourism industry. She also believes the threat of wildfires can help create jobs; she wants to seek opinions from the Forest Service, environmental groups and the timber industry in creating policy.

Ann McLane KusterAnn McLane Kuster
(D-N.H., 2nd district)

Ann McLane Kuster says her coalition-building skills, honed over nearly three decades as a lawyer and public advocate, will be an asset in Congress. Policy issues that top her agenda include creating jobs, finding ways to reduce the cost of health care and expanding access to financial aid for college students.

Doug LaMalfaDoug LaMalfa
(R-Calif., 1st district)

Doug LaMalfa is a proponent of less government regulation as well as more local and individual autonomy. His experience in the California Legislature perhaps has contributed to his questioning the effectiveness of solving problems through legislation. He argues that while sometimes laws might be the solution, in many instances change can be made by reeling in government regulators.

alan lowenthal, californiaAlan Lowenthal
(D-Calif., 47th district)

Alan Lowenthal brings to Congress a jobs-focused legislative agenda that is tied to spending on infrastructure, education and “sustainability.” He is eager to re?focus the national job-creation debate by highlighting the need to transport goods through the nation’s urban areas using the latest technologies.

michell lujan grishamMichelle Lujan Grisham
(D-N.M., 1st district)

Like many other candidates this cycle, Michelle Lujan Grisham says her top priority upon entering Congress will be creating jobs. It’s not surprising, given her nearly two decades spent heading New Mexico’s Aging Agency and its Health Department, that Lujan Grisham is interested in strengthening the 2010 health care overhaul.

Dan MaffeiDan Maffei
(D-N.Y., 24th district)

Saving automobile dealerships, which abound in the Syracuse area, was a major priority for Maffei when he served in the 111th Congress (2009-10). This time, he’d like to lead efforts to preserve Medicare and Medicaid and push for a transportation bill that would promote job opportunities in his district.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y.Sean Patrick Maloney
(D-N.Y., 18th district)

A self-described “Bill Clinton Democrat,” Maloney is hoping for an assignment to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “I’ve spent years of my life working on transportation issues,” says the Clinton administration veteran, who also served in the New York governor’s office under Eliot Spitzer and David A. Paterson.

Thomas Massie, R-Ky.Thomas Massie
(R-Ky., 4th district)

Thomas Massie turned to politics after making millions founding a technology company in Massachusetts. His calls for steep cuts in spending and less regulation should find him voting regularly with conservatives.

Mark Meadows, R-NCMark Meadows
(R-N.C., 11th district)

A solid conservative and self-described “small-business guy,” Mark Meadows is hoping to use his first job as an elected official to reduce the size and scope of the federal government. He is especially eager to roll back regulations that he says are to a great degree responsible for the high unemployment in his district.

Grace MengGrace Meng
(D-N.Y., 6th district)

As she heads to Washington, Grace Meng says her top priority will be striving to bring jobs to her Queens district. Her plan would involve directing federal aid to state and local governments for hiring new teachers, police and firefighters; supporting tax credits for small businesses; and pushing initiatives that would build the borough into a technology corridor. Meng also says she wants to send federal transportation dollars to her district — and she is hoping to achieve that goal through a seat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

luke messer, indianaLuke Messer
(R-Ind., 6th district)

Luke Messer plans to build off the experiences he gained serving in the state legislature when he takes his seat as the representative for Indiana’s sprawling 6th District. As a state legislator and former head of the Indiana Republican Party, he played a supporting role in helping Gov. Mitch Daniels close a $600 million budget deficit.

markwayne mullin, oklahomaMarkwayne Mullin
(R-Okla., 2nd district)

Running a small business has been a major focus of Markwayne Mullin’s life. The tea party favorite greatly expanded the family’s plumbing company after the death of his father, and developed a strong skepticism of federal power. Lawmakers in both parties, he says, are more concerned about their careers than the Constitution.

Patrick MurphyPatrick Murphy
(D-Fla., 18th district)

Patrick Murphy brings a moderate voice to Washington, D.C., after a complicated campaign in which he initially ran for the 22nd District seat but switched to the 18th District once Florida redistricting was complete. Like many new members, Murphy’s primary focus is on job creation — not just in his own district, but across the country. His experience as a CPA for Deloitte and Touche, combined with his current position as vice president of an environmental and disaster clean-up firm, gives him a base from which to promote business needs.

Gloria Negrete McLeod
(D-Calif., 35th District)

After serving in the California legislature for more than a decade, Gloria Negrete McLeod claimed a surprise victory in the newly drawn 35th District, ousting fellow Democrat Joe Baca. A long-time resident of the district, McLeod will represent a largely Democratic, middle class, Hispanic region. She’ll likely be a reliable Democratic vote.

Rick nolanRick Nolan
(D-Minn., 8th district)

Rick Nolan returns to the House three decades after he last served in the chamber. Heíll offer Democratic leaders a reliable vote and will sit squarely in the center-left core of the caucus on most issues.

beto o'rourke, texasBeto O’Rourke
(D-Texas, 16th district)

As the representative of the Army’s second-largest military installation, Fort Bliss, Beto O’Rourke hopes to land a spot on the Armed Services or Veterans’ Affairs committees, where he hopes to help improve his city’s VA system. O’Rourke wants to spur investment in El Paso, one of the country’s largest land ports.

donald payne, new jerseyDonald M. Payne Jr.
(D-N.J., 10th district)

Donald Payne takes over for his father, Donald M. Payne, who died in March after serving two decades in the House. The son promises to be as reliably liberal as his father. Payne, closely tied to his district’s needs as president of the Newark City Council, is pledging to challenge conservative Republicans on a variety of fronts and says his top priority is to address the economy, particularly in his region.

scott perry, pennsylvaniaScott Perry
(R-Pa., 4th district)

Scott Perry has established a priority list in line with other conservatives: a balanced budget amendment, overhauling the tax code and repealing the 2010 health care law. During his three terms in the Pennsylvania House, Perry served on the appropriations, consumer affairs, labor relations, veterans affairs and emergency preparedness, and rules committees.

Scott PetersScott Peters
(D-Calif., 52nd district)

Do not expect to hear Peters railing against Republican legislative proposals if he arrives in Washington in January. “I’m not a real fiery speech maker. I’m a pretty good listener,” he says in a soft-spoken voice. “Some people have called it conversational leadership.”

Robert PittengerRobert Pittenger
(R-N.C., 9th district)

Robert Pittenger will fit in easily with conservatives whose top goals include limiting government spending. He has pledged to work on simplifying the tax code and will support attempts to add a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. Pittenger says he will also focus on shrinking the federal government.

mark pocan, wisconsinMark Pocan
(D-Wis., 2nd district)

Mark Pocan continues to follow the path blazed by Democrat Tammy Baldwin, following her to the House 14 years after replacing her in the Wisconsin Assembly. Like his predecessor, Pocan is an openly gay liberal from Madison who built a lengthy career in state politics.

Trey RadelTrey Radel
(R-Fla., 19th district)

Trey Radel, a tea party favorite, promises to sponsor, on his first day in office, a bill to repeal the 2010 health care overhaul. But that’s not the only item on his well-rounded agenda. Radel hopes to serve on the Financial Services or Foreign Affairs committees, although his priorities — fostering job creation, paying down the debt and simplifying the tax code — may lead him to aim higher after he has earned some seniority.

Tom RiceTom Rice
(R-S.C., 7th district)

Tom Rice is quick ascension from county council to Congress has been propelled by one thing: a desire to create jobs in his hard-hit district and the country as a whole. Horry County, like the state, has struggled with an unemployment rate that surpasses the national average. Riceís first task after being elected chairman of Horry County Council in 2010 was spurring economic growth.

Keith RothfusKeith Rothfus
(R-Pa., 12th district)

When Keith Rothfus gets to Washington, expect him to head straight for the Republican Study Committee doors. Rothfus will join the chorus of House conservatives pushing for less government, lower taxes, repeal of the 2010 health care overhaul law and fewer EPA regulations.

Raul RuizRaul Ruiz
(D-Calif., 36th district)

Ruiz is sure to get ample national attention because of his unusual-for-Congress backstory: A son of migrant farm workers, he persuaded local business owners to donate $2,500 toward his first college payment by promising to return home as a physician. He was back 17 years later as a local emergency room doctor — and Harvard officials believe he is the first Hispanic to earn three degrees from the university.

matt salmon, arizonaMatt Salmon
(R-Ariz., 5th district)

After a decade-long hiatus from elected office, Matt Salmon decided it would be “irresponsible and dishonorable” to sit on the sidelines while the national debt grows. He helped pass a balanced budget during his six-year tenure in Congress, before leaving in 2001 to fulfill a term-limits pledge.

Brad SchneiderBrad Schneider
(D-Ill., 10th district)

Brad Schneider has a straightforward response when asked why he decided to run for Congress: “Our kids deserve better; we deserve better; and we should be doing better.” Schneider says that the experiences of raising a family and owning a small business have most shaped the goals he has established for his time in Congress. His top priorities include fixing an economy struggling to grow, helping middle-class families who are facing economic uncertainty and helping young people concerned about their futures.
ruiz

carol shea-porter, new hampshireCarol Shea-Porter
(D-N.H., 1st district)

Reclaiming the seat she lost two years ago, Carol Shea-Porter says her top priorities will include jobs programs, including creation of a Veterans Jobs Corps that would help servicemembers transition into the civilian workforce. She also promises to oppose cuts in Medicare and Social Security, backs the 2010 health care law and supports federal infrastructure and economic stimulus spending.

Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten Sinema
(D-Ariz., 9th district)

Sinema’s political rise is not surprising — she is effervescent and confident, with a diverse background in scholarship, law and social work. Though liberal, she says she has a knack for compromise and is eager to collaborate with anyone willing to address her constituents’ needs.

Chris Stewart, R UtahChris Stewart
(R-Utah, 2nd district)

Chris Stewart will arrive in January with an unusually colorful background. A former Air Force pilot, Stewart flew with the team that set the world record for the fastest non-stop flight around the world. After retiring from the Air Force, Stewart began writing novels and has since authored 14 books. His bid for Congress was his first foray into politics. Stewart said he couldn’t “stand on the sidelines” any longer because the United States is facing a “financial tipping point.”

Steve Stockman, R texasSteve Stockman
(R-Texas, 36th district)

This will be Steve Stockman’s second go-round in the House, having served in the 104th Congress. He will continue to push a conservative agenda of limited government and personal liberty.

Eric SwalwellEric Swalwell
(D-Calif., 15th district)

Eric Swalwell believes his East Bay constituency is counting on him to work across party lines more often than his “hyperpartisan” predecessor, 20-term Rep. Pete Stark. He lists reducing the federal debt among his budgetary priorities and says he wants to put “business and government on the same page.”

mark takano, californiaMark Takano
(D-Calif., 41st district)

Having won election in his third attempt, Mark Takano aims expand access to education and job training in hopes of reducing his districtís 13 percent unemployment rate. A former high school English teacher who wants to serve on the Education and the Workforce Committee, Takano says attaining the “American dream” is increasingly difficult for many because of the rising costs of education and what he calls a lack of job-training opportunities.

Dina TitusDina Titus
(D-Nev., 1st district)

Dina Titus returns to Congress after losing her re-election bid in 2010, representing a redrawn district that is more urban, more ethnically diverse and more dependent on tourism than the one she represented in her previous one-term tenure.

David ValadaoDavid Valadao
(R-Calif., 21st district)

A lifelong dairy farmer, David Valadao campaigned on his hometown connections, including his involvement with Central Valley agriculture groups. Valadao grew up working on the farm his parents established in Hanford after they emigrated from Portugal’s Azores islands in 1969. He is now a managing partner, working with his brothers to run what has grown into two separate dairies and more than 1,000 acres of farmland used to grow feedstock, including corn, alfalfa and wheat.

Juan VargasJuan C. Vargas
(D-Calif., 51st district)

Juan 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.

marc veasey, texasMarc Veasey
(D-Texas, 33rd district)

Efforts to increase access to education highlight Marc Veasey’s economic agenda. Veasey’s background on technology policy could make him a candidate for the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, but the Science, Space and Technology Committee might be more likely for a freshman.

Filemon VelaFilemon Vela
(D-Texas, 34th district)

While Filemon Vela has never previously held political office, he has been surrounded by politics all his life. His mother, Blanca Sanchez Vela, was mayor of Brownsville, and his late father, Filemon Vela Sr., served on the Brownsville City Commission and as a U.S. District judge (nominated by President Jimmy Carter).

Jackie WalorskiJackie Walorski
(R-Ind., 2nd district)

Jackie Walorski, a favorite of the tea party movement, intends to push for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and the repeal of the 2010 health care overhaul. Walorski also has a “huge” interest in national security, arguing Indiana could lose thousands of jobs if further defense spending reductions are put in place.

Ann Wagner
(R-Mo., 2nd district)

A successful businesswoman, diplomat and veteran of both state and national Republican politics, Ann Wagner cites economic growth as the principle concern for her district. As a lawmaker, she’ll focus on easing regulations on the private sector, simplifying the tax code and repealing the 2010 health care overhaul — all of which she says will help remove uncertainty for job creators climate and spur economic growth.

Randy WeberRandy Weber
(R-Texas, 14th district)

Randy Weber ran to succeed libertarian icon Ron Paul as a down-the-line conservative and has the legislative record to support his campaign promises. Since being elected to the Texas House in 2008, Weber has won numerous awards from conservative groups, including the Texas Conservative Coalition, which rated him the most conservative representative in his first session and seventh most conservative in its latest scorecard.

brad wenstrup, ohioBrad Wenstrup
(R-Ohio, 2nd district)

Podiatrist Brad Wenstrup’s primary victory in March was the first stunner of the 2012 season. An anti-incumbent super PAC helped push him past Rep. Jean Schmidt, who wasn’t exactly in the bad graces of conservative activists, in a solidly Republican district.

roger williams, texasRoger Williams
(R-Texas, 25th district)

Roger Williams vows to emphasize spending cuts and a conservative stance on social issues. He has longstanding ties to influential Texas Republicans but emphasized his experience as a small businessman rather than his record in politics during his campaign.

ted yoho, floridaTed Yoho
(R-Fla., 3rd district)

Ted Yoho, a tea-party-affiliated Republican who narrowly defeated 12-term Rep. Cliff Stearns in the August primary, believes his professional background offers the training necessary to solving both the nation’s and the chamber’s problems.

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