Raul Ruiz (politician)

For other people with the same name, see Raúl Ruiz (disambiguation).
Raul Ruiz
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 36th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Mary Bono Mack
Personal details
Born (1972-08-25) August 25, 1972
Zacatecas, Mexico
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Monica Rivers
Alma mater University of California, Los

Harvard University
Religion Seventh-day Adventism[1]
Website House website

Raul Ruiz (born August 25, 1972) is an American medical doctor and politician. A Democrat, he has been a member of the United States House of Representatives since winning election in 2012.[2] In what was considered a major upset,[3] Ruiz defeated redistricted, incumbent Republican representative Mary Bono Mack in the November 2012 general election in California's 36th congressional district. Ruiz was reelected to Congress in the 2014 election, after what was considered one of the most competitive congressional races in the country.[4]

Early life and education

Ruiz was born on August 25, 1972[5] in Zacatecas, Mexico[6] and raised in Coachella, California.[7] His parents were farmworkers.[8] He graduated from Coachella Valley High School at age 17, and went to UCLA in 1990, graduating magna cum laude before attending Harvard Medical School.[7] He was the first Hispanic to receive three graduate degrees from Harvard University: an M.D. from the Harvard Medical School; an M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government; and an M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health.[7]

In 1997, while attending Harvard as a medical student, Ruiz participated in an annual Thanksgiving protest in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Ruiz was one of 25 people arrested at the event. The charges were later dropped as part of a deal that also dismissed claims of police brutality.[9]

Two years later, in 1999, Ruiz took part in another Thanksgiving protest at which he read a letter of support for Leonard Peltier, who was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment for first degree murder in the shooting of two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agents during a 1975 conflict on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. During the 2012 congressional campaign, the incident was used as an attack by his opponent, Mary Bono Mack. In response, Ruiz's campaign stated that he had not supported Peltier.[9][10]

Medical career

After graduating from Harvard University, Ruiz spent time working abroad in Mexico, El Salvador, and Serbia, before taking a job as an emergency physician at the Eisenhower Medical Center, a nonprofit hospital in the Coachella Valley. He founded the Coachella Valley Healthcare Initiative in 2010. In 2011, he became senior associate dean at the School of Medicine at University of California, Riverside.[7][11]

In 2012, he received a Commander's Award for Public Service from the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division for his humanitarian efforts for victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.[7] Ruiz's background as a physician has gained him attention for several incidents in which he has provided medical aid to fellow airline passengers, including conservative columnist Lisa De Pasquale.[12]

U.S. House of Representatives



Ruiz ran for the United States House of Representatives in 2012 as a first-time candidate in California's 36th congressional district. The district had previously been the 45th, represented by 15-year incumbent Mary Bono Mack. While Ruiz was initially regarded as a long shot to win,[13] he gained traction in the polls in the months before the November election. He was endorsed by Bill Clinton in October 2012.[13] He was elected with 52.9% of the vote, to Bono Mack's 47.1%.[14] Upon taking office in January 2013, Ruiz became the first Democrat to represent this district since its creation in 1983 (it had been the 37th from 1983 to 1993, the 44th from 1993 to 2003, and the 45th from 2003 to 2013).


Ruiz ran for re-election in 2014. He competed in the top-two primary on June 3, 2014, finishing first with 50.3% of the vote.[15][16] Ruiz then faced Republican nominee and state assemblyman Brian Nestande in the general election, which took place November 4, 2014.[17] Despite being considered one of the most vulnerable incumbent members of the House of Representatives, Ruiz was re-elected with 54.2% of the vote, to Nestande's 45.8%.


In April 2013, Ruiz introduced his first bill, the SelectUSA Authorization Act of 2013. The bill would incentivize international corporations to invest in creating manufacturing jobs in the United States rather than overseas.[18] The bill has not been voted on by the House.[19]

In April 2013, Ruiz voted for CISPA, which would allow for the sharing of Internet traffic information between the U.S. government and technology and manufacturing companies.[20]

In May 2013, Ruiz voted against repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[21][22] During his 2012 campaign for Congress, Ruiz stated his support for the Affordable Care Act. As full implementation of the law began in late 2013, its popularity with the public plummeted as many Americans had their policies canceled due to lacking coverage requirements mandated by the law,[23] and the federal health care online exchange had many technical problems that delayed the ability to sign up to new plans.[24]

Ruiz voted against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions that take place 20 or more weeks after fertilization.[25]

In August 2014, a family emergency prevented Ruiz from casting votes on two immigration bills.[26]

Ruiz voted on Nov. 19, 2015, for HR 4038, legislation that would effectively halt the resettlement of refugees from Syria and Iraq to the United States. [27]

Committee assignments


Ruiz married Monica Rivers in 2014.[28] Their twin daughters were born in March 2015.[29] He is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist church.

See also


  1. The Next America, National Journal, Updated: December 3, 2012.
  2. Nocera, Kate (2012-11-18). "Raul Ruiz win tells story of Election 2012". Politico. Retrieved 2014-05-27.
  3. Goad, Ben (2012-11-07). "Raul Ruiz unseats Mary Bono Mack in upset". Riverside Press-Enterprise. Archived from the original on 2012-11-09. Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  4. Freking, Kevin (2014-03-03). "Congressional freshmen face tough challenges". Washington Times. Retrieved 2014-05-27.
  5. Kondracke, Morton (1972-08-25). "Raul Ruiz, D (Calif.-36)". Roll Call. Retrieved 2013-07-22.
  6. Honore, Marcel (2012-09-12). "A look into Raul Ruiz". The Desert Sun. Palm Springs. Archived from the original on 2014-05-27. Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 Profile Raul Ruiz, first Hispanic to receive 3 degrees from Harvard
  8. "About". Dr. Raul Ruiz for Congress. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  9. 1 2 McGinty, Kate (2012-10-12). "Mary Bono Mack and Raul Ruiz: A fact check on the congressional debate -". MyDesert.com. Retrieved 2014-04-25.
  10. Clarke, Chris (2012-10-16). "Coachella Valley Congress Race Turns Nasty". KCET. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
  11. "Raul Ruiz". The Washington Times. Archived from the original on January 10, 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  12. http://dailycaller.com/2014/07/18/dem-lawmaker-rushes-to-save-conservative-journo-during-seizure/
  13. 1 2 Terlecky, Megan (23 October 2012). "Fmr Pres. Clinton Endorses Ruiz for Congress". KESQ. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  14. "Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.)". Roll Call. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  15. "Statement of Vote" (PDF). Secretary of State's Office. State of California. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  16. Cahn, Emily (4 June 2014). "Primary Results: California House Races (Updated)". Roll Call. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  17. Blumenthal, Paul (2013-07-16). "Vulnerable House Incumbents Raising Big Money For 2014 Races". Huffington Post. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  18. http://www.kesq.com/news/Rep-Raul-Ruiz-introduces-his-first-bill-in-Washington/19682182
  19. "H.R.1413: SelectUSA Authorization Act of 2013". New York Times. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  20. "H R 624". Washington Post. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  21. Sam Baker (11 June 2013). "NRCC hits Calif. Dems over ObamaCare rates". The Hill. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  22. "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 154". House.gov. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  23. Obama apologizes for insurance cancellations due to Obamacare - CNN.com
  24. HealthCare.gov Diagnosis: The Government Broke Every Rule Of Project Management - Forbes
  25. "House Vote 251 - Approves New Abortion Restrictions". New York Times. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  26. Felci, Erica (2014-08-05). "Raul Ruiz not elaborating on missed immigration vote". Desert Sun. Retrieved 2014-09-10.
  27. http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-inside-syrian-refugee-vote-california-20151120-story.html
  28. Newkirk, Barrett (2014-05-19). "Congressman Raul Ruiz gets married". The Desert Sun. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  29. http://hoh.rollcall.com/rep-raul-ruiz-welcomes-twin-girls/

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Janice Hahn
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 36th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Keith Rothfus
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Kyrsten Sinema
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