Representative Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) is an honorary co-chair of ITIF.
Like the Silicon Valley region she represents, Representative Eshoo exemplifies innovation. She’s creative, boundary breaking, and productive. She is a problem solver and a consensus builder. In Representative Eshoo’s two decades in Congress, she has defended consumers, promoted American competitiveness and innovation, fought for access to health care for families and children, protected the environment, and encouraged development of clean energy technology.
Representative Eshoo’s work consistently earns the highest approval from a wide range of organizations, including the League of Conservation Voters, the Humane Society, the American Association of University Women, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the Science Coalition. The San Jose Mercury News named her one of the ten most powerful women in Silicon Valley “because she sits on committees that oversee the Internet and biotech—areas vital to the valley’s interests.”
Underlying Representative Eshoo’s tenacity to serve her constituents are her achievements. Following the tragic losses on 9/11, Representative Eshoo recognized critical gaps in our nation’s public safety communications network. As ranking member of the powerful House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, Representative Eshoo was uniquely positioned to address this issue. Working from recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission Report, she led a charge in the House to create America’s first nationwide, interoperable public safety communications network and to appropriate significant funding for Next Generation 911 technology. In February 2012, Congress passed legislation to do just that. The nation’s first responders from local to federal levels will soon have the critical interoperable airwaves needed to effectively communicate in the event of an emergency.
In the wake of the nation’s housing crisis, which put extraordinary strain on the California housing market, Representative Eshoo broke new ground for homeowners. Families in her district were struggling to keep up with their mortgages, forcing many to give up their dream of owning a home. She created consensus around inclusion of a “Homeowner Bill of Rights” in the 50-State Settlement—a $25 billion settlement for mortgage servicing abuses perpetrated by the largest servicers. Representative Eshoo’s new borrower safeguards put an end to “dual tracking,” a practice in which borrowers are foreclosed upon even as they negotiate the terms of a modification. The new rules also guarantee a single point of contact for borrowers seeking information about their loans. The American dream of owning one’s home was severely threatened, and Representative Eshoo took up the cause of defending it.
As the Bay Area population continues to grow from booming economic growth, significant strain has been placed on the region’s transportation networks, especially Caltrain. In 2012, Caltrain reached record ridership levels with 50,000 riders every week day. Representative Eshoo has long advocated for a modernized Caltrain to meet growing demands. She knows that a 21st century Caltrain will support economic growth, create jobs and help the environment. Earlier this year, the California state legislature approved funding to modernize Caltrain. The plan is part of a $1.5 billion funding agreement to electrify the rail line, increasing safety and energy efficiency, as well as stabilize the agency’s operating budget. This was an historic moment born out of Representative Eshoo’s vision of a lasting future for the spine of the peninsula’s transportation system.
Representative Eshoo was born in New Britain, Connecticut, of Assyrian and Armenian heritage. She is the proud mother of two children, Karen and Paul.
Representative Eshoo is a graduate of Cañada College and the CORO Foundation. She was awarded an honorary degree by Menlo College and was elected to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in 1982. She served on the county board for 10 years before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992.