John Raymond Garamendi (born January 24, 1945) is an American rancher, businessman, politician and member of the Democratic Party who has represented areas of Northern California between San Francisco and Sacramento, including the city of Fairfield, in the United States House of Representatives since November 2009. Garamendi was previously the California Insurance Commissioner from 1991 to 1995 and 2003 to 2007, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Interior from 1995 to 1998 and the 46th Lieutenant Governor of California from 2007 until his election to Congress.
Garamendi was born in Camp Blanding, Florida and raised in Mokelumne Hill, California. He earned a B.A. in business from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, then served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia from 1966 to 1968. He was elected to the California State Assembly in 1974, serving a single term before being elected to the California State Senate in 1976, where he served for four terms until 1990. During this time he had a spell as Majority Leader and ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nominations for Governor of Californiain 1982 and for California State Controller in 1986.
In 1990, he was elected to be the first California Insurance Commissioner, serving from 1991 to 1995. Rather than seek re-election, he ran for Governor in the 1994 election, losing in the Democratic primary. He left public office and served as President Bill Clinton's Deputy Secretary of the Interior from 1995 to 1998, then worked for the Peace Corps again. He was elected Insurance Commissioner again in 2002 and briefly ran for Governor again in the 2003 recall, before dropping out to support Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante. In 2006, he was elected Lieutenant Governor to succeed the term-limited Bustamante.
Garamendi had planned to run for Governor for a fourth time in 2010 but after Democratic U.S. Representative Ellen Tauscher of California's 10th congressional district resigned to become Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Garamendi won a November 2009special election to succeed her. He was re-elected in 2010 and, after redistricting, for the California's 3rd congressional district in 2012 and 2014