Ami Bera

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Ami Bera
Ami Bera official photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 7th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Dan Lungren
Personal details
Born (1965-03-02) March 2, 1965 (age 53)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Janine Bera
Children 1
Alma mater University of California, Irvine
Religion Unitarian Universalism[1]
Website House website
Campaign website

Amerish Babulal "Ami" Bera (born March 2, 1965) is an Indian-American physician who has been the U.S. Representative for California's 7th congressional district since 2013. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Bera won re-election in 2014[2][3] despite a very competitive race.[4] Bera is currently the only Indian American serving in the United States Congress[5] and the only Unitarian Universalist in Congress.[6]

Early life, education and career

Bera's father, Babulal Bera immigrated to the United States from Rajkot (the fourth-largest city in the Indian state of Gujarat) in 1958.[7][8] Two years later, Babulal Bera was joined by his wife, Kanta.[9] He was born in Los Angeles and raised in the neighboring Orange County city of La Palma.[10]

He has a bachelor's degree in biological sciences from the University of California at Irvine, also earning his Doctor of Medicine degree there in 1991.[10][11] He served as associate dean for admissions at the UC Davis School of Medicine and later served as the chief medical officer for the County of Sacramento.[5]

U.S. House of Representatives



Bera at an October 2010 rally for Jerry Brown

Bera challenged three-term Republican incumbent Dan Lungren in the general election for California's 3rd congressional district. Also running were American Independent Party nominee Jerry Leidecker, Peace and Freedom Party nominee Mike Roskey, and Libertarian Douglas Art Tuma. He ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination in California's 3rd congressional district.[12] He raised more money than incumbent Dan Lungren for the five quarters through mid-2010,[13][14] making him the only Democratic challenger with more cash than a sitting Republican member of the House.[15] Bera was one of 17 candidates the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee targeted to take over Republican-held or open seats in 2010.[16]

Lungren was the only incumbent Republican whose race was rated as a "tossup" by CQ Politics, but was later rated back to "Lean GOP" in the final days before the election;[17] and the district was considered competitive by both parties. Polling by the liberal website Daily Kos in September 2010 showed Lungren leading Bera, 46%-38%.[18][19] Bera cited health care, education and economic recovery among his top legislative priorities. In November, Lungren won re-election, defeating Bera 51%-43%.[20]


Bera announced a rematch against Lungren in 2012. The district had been renumbered as the 7th District, and made slightly friendlier to Democrats in redistricting.

On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Bera attended freshman orientation as congressman-elect while votes were still being counted.[3] Candidates in these tight races sometimes attend the orientation by the Committee on House Administration, which was overseen by Bera's opponent, Dan Lungren.[21]

On November 15, 2012, the AP called the race for Bera, who won 51%-49%.[22][23]

In May 2016, Babulal Bera, Ami Bera's father, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of election fraud related to the 2010 and 2012 elections.[24]


Bera ran for re-election in 2014, facing former Republican congressman Doug Ose, who had represented what was then the 3rd from 1999 to 2005, in the general election.[25] The Rothenberg Political Report rated the 7th district "Lean Democratic," but The Sacramento Bee reported that Bera was "viewed by both parties as one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the country."[2][3] Bera was a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Frontline program, designed to support vulnerable candidates.[26] In June 2014, Politico reported that the DCCC planned to support Bera with $1.7 million in ads throughout fall 2014, and the House Majority PAC, a political action committee designed to support Democratic candidates, reserved $200,000 for late-election television ads.[27]

The Hill reported that Bera’s campaign received donations from parents of another Democratic candidate, Kevin Strouse, only to have Bera’s parents then donate a similar amount to Strouse’s campaign. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, "The donations appear legal, campaign finance experts say, though two said any agreement among the parents to trade donations could be viewed as an attempted end run around contribution limits."[28][29][28] In May 2016, Bera's father, Babulal, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of elections fraud.[24]

No Labels co-founder and former George W. Bush advisor Mark McKinnon said of Bera, "He is the most important member of our Problem Solvers – of the entire group. He stepped up immediately as a freshman to take a leadership position. He was out early advocating on our big issues like No Budget, No Pay.”[30]

In response to a poll, from the American Sikh Committee to Evaluate Congressional Candidates, Bera did not answer two questions relating to the Indian government's part in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Instead, he noted that in 2005, the former Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, had publicly apologized to the Sikh community for the government’s role. Bera also stated that, while it was a tragedy, he was more focused on the treatment of Sikhs in the U.S. and could not dictate how the Indian government should approach the matter.[31] In response, some members of the Sikh-American community publicly withdrew their support for Bera. But with the majority of the Sikh-American population coming from outside of Bera's district, the advocates acknowledged that they were unlikely to affect the outcome of the race.[31]

Bera won re-election, receiving 50.4% of the vote to Ose's 49.6%. In May 2016, Ose was present at the proceedings against Bera's father, Babulal, to "observe justice".[24][28]


In an interview covered in the Elk Grove Citizen, Bera said his first year in Congress "was about being focused here in the district but also building my reputation in Washington, D.C."[32]

In October 2013, Bera announced that he would give up his federal pay for the duration of the government shutdown. He also announced that in response to sequester cuts, he would donate 8.2% of his check each month to local organizations impacted by sequester cuts.[33]

In May 2013, Bera voted against repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[34][35]

Bera 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. [36]

Bera plagiarized corporate talking points in an editorial he wrote in support of his vote for the TPA (fast track authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership). He later wrote an apology for copying the corporate line too closely. [37]

In January 2016, the Elk Grove-South County Democratic Club, Bera’s home club, voted against endorsing him, citing concerns with Bera's record on trade and Syrian refugees.[38]

According to the Sacramento Bee, "for years [Bera] has engaged in a complex series of campaign donations involving his parents and the families of other congressional candidates." Bera and his family have written checks to other Democrats, almost always for the maximum amount allowed under federal law, and those candidates or their families in turn have given similar amounts to Bera. The contributions usually occur within days of one another.[39]

Committee assignments

Personal life

Bera and his wife, Janine Bera, have one child.[10] They reside in Elk Grove, California.[40] In 2016, his father was convicted of illegally funnelling $250,000 to Bera's campaigns between 2010 and 2012.[41]

See also


  1. "Hindu Americans Fete First Hindu in Congress as Tulsi Gabbard Prevails in Hawaii". The Hindu American Foundation. November 7, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2012. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cahn, Emily (April 2, 2014). "Ami Bera Challenger Starts Television Ads in California Race". Roll Call. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Tate, Curtis (2014-02-27). "Elk Grove Democrat Ami Bera will have to fight for a second congressional term". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  4. Cahn, Emily (April 2, 2014). "Ami Bera Challenger Starts Television Ads in California Race (Video)". Roll Call. Retrieved October 13, 2014. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Full Biography: Congressman Ami Bera". Full Biography. Retrieved August 5, 2014. 
  6. Susskind, Jane (2012-11-16). "Religious Diversity in Congress, A Year of "Firsts"". Independent Voter Network. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  7. Drew Joseph (2010-08-14). "Bera Hopes to Wipe Out Lungren Despite GOP Wave". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  8. Raj, Yashwant (February 16, 2013). "Yankee Doodle Desi". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  9. "REP. BERA STATEMENT ON CAMPAIGN FINANCE VIOLATION | Bera for Congress". 10 May 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "Amerish 'Ami' Bera". The Washington Times. Archived from the original on January 10, 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  11. "Ami Bera (CA)". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  12. "Lungren Foe Avoids Primary Battle". National Journal. 2009-11-30. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  13. Drew Joseph (2010-08-14). "Bera Hopes to Wipe Out Lungren Despite GOP Wave". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  14. Drew Joseph (2010-07-20). "Ami Bera runs as an outsider but raises money like a pro". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 2010-09-26. 
  15. Kasie Hunt (2010-07-20). "Bera beats Lungren in money chase". Politico. Retrieved 2010-09-26. 
  16. Scott Bland (2010-09-27). "House Republicans at risk? Districts where Democrats hope for upsets". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  17. Torey Van Oot (2010-09-21). "CQ Politics moves Lungren seat from leans GOP to "tossup"". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  18. Kyle Trygstad (2010-09-23). "California: Poll Shows Lungren Ahead but Under 50 Percent". Roll Call. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  19. Sean J. Miller (2010-09-22). "Democrat closing on California Rep. Lungren". The Hill. Retrieved 2010-09-26. 
  20. "Senate, House and governors races". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  21. Thompson, Krissah (November 13, 2012). "Congress welcomes freshmen, and those on the cusp of membership". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  22. Whittington, Lauren (November 15, 2012). "California:-Bera-Defeats-Lungren". Roll Call. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  23. "Lungren loses his House seat". San Francisco Chronicle. 2012-11-15. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 "Babulal Bera’s felonies complicate Ami Bera’s re-election effort". The Sacramento Bee. 10 May 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  25. Cadelago, Christopher (Jun 4, 2014). "Bera, Ose headed for a fight over 7th congressional district". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  26. Livingston, Abby (March 5, 2013). "DCCC Announces 26 Members on Frontline Incumbent Retention Program". Roll Call. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  27. Titus, Elizabeth (Jun 14, 2014). "Ami Bera will face Doug Ose in Sacramento-area district". Politico. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Palmer, Chris (2014-05-14). "Candidates' parents' mutual donations". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 6, 2014. 
  29. Taylor, Jessica (2014-05-13). "Campaign Overnight: House of cards". The Hill. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  30. Cadelago, Christopher (September 29, 2014). "Rep. Ami Bera works to shed labels in tough re-election fight". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved September 30, 2014. 
  31. 31.0 31.1 Magagnini, Stephen (September 24, 2014). "Sacramento Sikhs split with Bera over Indian government’s role in 1984 massacre". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  32. Gold, Bryan (December 24, 2013). "Bera discusses first year in office". Elk Grove Citizen. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  33. Villatoro, Carlos (October 2, 2013). "Congressman Bera Gives Up Pay Earned During Shutdown". Elk Grove Patch. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  34. Sam Baker (June 11, 2013). "NRCC hits Calif. Dems over ObamaCare rates". The Hill. Retrieved November 4, 2013. 
  35. "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 154". Retrieved November 4, 2013. 
  38. Cockerham, Sean (January 21, 2016). "Rep. Ami Bera’s votes leave Democrats debating whether to support him". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  39. Cadelago, Christopher (May 21, 2016). "Ami Bera fundraising pattern sidesteps donation limits". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  40. Bera, Ami. "About Dr. Ami Bera". Bera for Congress. Archived from the original on April 1, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Dan Lungren
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 7th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Joyce Beatty
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Jim Bridenstine