California Capitol Hill Bulletin

Volume 25, Bulletin 26 - November 15, 2018 [online/pdf]

To expand communications between Washington and California, the California Institute provides periodic bulletins regarding current activity on Capitol Hill that affects our state.  Bulletins are published weekly during sessions of Congress, and occasionally during other periods.  To subscribe to the Bulletin or other California Institute announcements, visit this link.


Election: California Democrats Gain Seats In Delegation; McCarthy To Become Minority Leader

Resources: California Wildfires Devastating The State

Environment: Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Holds Hearing on Examining Funding Needs for Wildlife Conservation, Recovery, and Management

Election: California Democrats Gain Seats In Delegation; McCarthy To Become Minority Leader

        California’s Democrats gained several new seats as a result of the mid-term elections. Four formerly Republican seats flipped to the Democrats. With two seats still too close to call, the Democrats will hold at least 43 of the 53 seats in the California delegation, and the number may rise to 45.

        Below are short biographies of the new members to date.


Katie Hill (D)

        Katie Hill defeated incumbent Steve Knight in the general election for California's 25th Congressional District (part of northern Los Angeles County and part of eastern Ventura County). Hill received her Master's Degree in Public Administration and her Bachelor's Degree in English from California State University, Northridge. Hill is the executive director of the non-profit organization People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), which is California's largest provider of homes for the homeless. Hill is the only openly bisexual woman in the US House of Representatives, and is an advocate for the LGBTQ community as well as for millennials in government. Hill's campaign was backed on her support for issues such as safety and security, rebuilding the middle class, healthcare, and representing her community.

        For more information regarding Katie Hill, please visit: and

Harley Rouda (D)

        Harley Rouda defeated incumbent Dana Rohrabacher for California's 48th Congressional District (Orange County). Rouda received his M.B.A from The Ohio State University and his J.D. from Capital University Law School. Rouda worked as an intellectual property attorney before founding Real Living Real Estate and Trident Holding. Rouda is a businessman and works to create and support jobs in both large and small businesses. Rouda has been involved in his community and Orange County charities that "help the homeless; protect victims of domestic violence; support veterans, reduce gun violence, advance educational opportunities, strengthen human rights, and protect our environment." Rouda's campaign was based on his support for issues such as economic growth, high-quality education, gun reform, healthcare, and protecting the environment.

        For more information regarding Harley Rouda, please visit: and

Mike Levin (D)

        Mike Levin defeated Diane Harkey in the general election for California's 49th Congressional District (San Diego County). Levin received his B.A. from Stanford University and his J.D. from Duke University Law School. Levin has "served as Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Orange County, and has worked as an attorney focused on environment and energy regulatory compliance and government affairs." Levin has over a decade of experience in the clean energy industry, and has worked to "accelerate the transition towards more sustainable power generation and transportation options." Levin's campaign was based on his support for issues such as, "Medicare for all, affordable college tuition, preventing violence related to weapons, protecting Social Security, legal access to abortion, and a $15 federal minimum wage."

        For more information regarding Mike Levin, please visit: and

Josh Harder (D)

        Josh Harder defeated incumbent Jeff Denham in the general election for California's 10th Congressional District (Stanislaus County and northern San Joaquin County). Harder received his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and Economics from Stanford University and his M.B.A. and M.P.P from Harvard University. Harder has a wide range of work experience, including working at Boston Consulting Group, the Gates Foundation organizing small farmers in Kenya and Uganda, and at Bessemer Venture Partners working to help grow small businesses and create jobs. Harder currently teaches business at Modesto Junior College. Harder's campaign was backed on his support for issues such as Medicare for All, humane immigration reform, job creation in the Valley, protecting the environment, and to end Citizens United and institute electoral reform.

        For more information regarding Josh Harder, please visit: and

        The following seats have not yet been called, although the Democrats in both cases are pulling ahead of the Republicans:

District 39 - Gil Cisneros (D) vs. Young Kim

District 45 - Mimi Walters (incumbent) vs. Katie Porter (D)

        For more information, go to:

        In other news, Rep. Kevin McCarthy easily defeated Rep. Jim Jordan (OH), a member of the Freedom Caucus, to become the new Minority Leader when the 116th Congress convenes in January.

Resources: California Wildfires Devastating The State

        California has experienced a devastating week of wildfires with the death toll rising to 63 people and 600 individuals still missing. The two major fires are the Camp Fire in Butte County and the Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles and Ventura County. As of Thursday, November 15th, 2018, the Camp Fire has burned 140,000 acres of land, destroyed 10,321 structures (including homes), and is 40 percent contained. The Woolsey Fire has burned 98,362 acres of land, destroyed 435 structures (with 57,000 still in danger), and is 57 percent contained. Strong, dry winds have made these fires very difficult to combat, and over 300,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes, 170,000 of which are Los Angeles County residents. These destructive wildfires are affecting residents throughout the state.

        Nearly 10,000 firefighters are working to battle these fires, many of whom come from out of state. In Butte county, there are a total of 461 members of the search and rescue team, including 50 California National Guard troops. The state has undergone vast fundraising efforts to help these emergency response teams as well as victims of the fires. However, air quality warnings continue being released in multiple areas throughout the state. Heavy smoke and hazardous air pollution have become a huge issue, with smog affecting cities as far as hundreds of miles away from the fires. From the Camp Fire, "smoke is flowing southwest, creating 'unhealthy' conditions as far away as the state capital of Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area." Shelters are reaching near-capacity and evacuees are struggling to pay for hotels, and the rehabilitation process is not a quick one. Government officials have estimated that "rebuilding efforts could take years," especially in a situation as complex and wide spread as this one.

        For more information regarding California's wildfires, please visit: and and

Environment: Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Holds Hearing on Examining Funding Needs for Wildlife Conservation, Recovery, and Management

        On Thursday, November 15th, 2018, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing entitled, "Examining Funding Needs for Wildlife Conservation, Recovery, and Management." The witnesses were John Kennedy, Deputy Director, Wyoming Game and Fish Department; Michael McShane, At-Large Board Member, Ducks Unlimited; and Eric Shwaab, Former Deputy Secretary for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and former Assistant Administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency.

        Mr. Kennedy stated that "hunters and anglers contribute in excess of $200 billion to the economy each year," and as such a significant impact on the U.S. economy, additional funding for wildlife conservation is paramount. The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies' Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America's Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources has a two-part recommendation plan as follows: (1) "To secure an additional $1.3 billion for the Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program with existing revenue from the development of energy and mineral resources on federal lands;" and (2) "To establish a forum that would examine the impact of societal changes on the relevance of fish and wildlife conservation and make recommendations on how to transform agencies to engage and serve broader constituencies."

        Mr. McShane supported the Recovering America's Wildlife Act (RAWA-S. 3223), where $1.3. billion annually would be allocated to the "restoration and recovery of federally listed threatened and endangered species," as well as "help prevent future listings of potentially at risk species." Mr. McShane emphasized that this preventative model will "save limited dollars because managing a species after it has declined to the point of being listed, costs vastly more than managing it so that it avoids being listed." He furthered, "Fewer listings will provide greater certainty to private landowners, hunters, anglers and other outdoor recreational businesses that make a living off of our nation's shared land and water resources"

        Mr. Shwaab revealed a major challenge to U.S. wildlife conservation efforts, where "as many as one-third of American's species are vulnerable, with one in five imperiled and at high risk of extinction." This decline in species, along with habitat loss, over harvesting, and pollution, "are now exacerbated by new threats from emerging diseases, invasive species and extreme weather." Mr. Shwaab stressed the need for adequate funding for fish and wildlife management, and believes that it is also the states' duties to fund conservation efforts. He stated, "any federal investment should continue to require a match to incentivize state legislatures and governors to also invest in the state-federal partnership and a nationwide solution" to ensure funds for wildlife conservation action plans.

        For more information regarding this hearing, please visit: