The Hill’s 2012 New Members Guide: Page 16 of 93

Rep.-elect Juan Vargas (D-Calif.-51)

DATE OF BIRTH: March 7, 1961

BIRTHPLACE: National City, Calif.

RESIDENCE: San Diego, Calif.

OCCUPATION: California state senator  

EDUCATION: B.A., University of San Diego; M.A., Fordham University; J.D., Harvard

PREVIOUS OFFICE HELD: California State Senate, 2010-present; California State Assembly, 2001-2006; San Diego City Council, 1993-2000

FAMILY: Wife, Adrienne; two children

Juan Vargas has spent nearly 20 years in elected office in California and promotes himself as a classmate of President Obama at Harvard Law School. 

The seat in the 51st district opened when Dem Rep. Bob Filner announced his run for San Diego mayor. Vargas had made three previous attempts at the seat in the safely Democratic district. 

Three years after he graduated for Harvard Law School, Vargas joined the San Diego City Council then moved up to the California State Assembly. He left office to help head two insurance groups after sitting on the Insurance Committee in the state Assembly. 

Since 2010 he served in the state Senate, where he represented the entire California-Mexico border. 

In his younger days, Vargas served as a member of the Catholic religious order of Jesuits. He focused on health and welfare of children, including doing a stint in El Salvador.