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Loretta Sanchez

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Title: Loretta Sanchez  
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Subject: Linda Sánchez, Dana Rohrabacher, United States congressional delegations from California, Bob Dornan, United States House of Representatives elections in California, 2014
Collection: 1960 Births, American Politicians of Mexican Descent, American Roman Catholics, American University Alumni, California Democrats, Chapman University Alumni, Democratic Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Female Members of the United States House of Representatives, Hispanic and Latino American Members of the United States Congress, Hispanic and Latino American Women in Politics, Liberalism in the United States, Living People, Members of the United States House of Representatives from California, People from Anaheim, California, People from Lynwood, California, United Food and Commercial Workers, Women in California Politics
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Loretta Sanchez

Loretta Sánchez
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 46th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Dana Rohrabacher
In office
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Bob Dornan
Succeeded by Dana Rohrabacher
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 47th district
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by Chris Cox
Succeeded by Alan Lowenthal
Personal details
Born (1960-01-07) January 7, 1960
Lynwood, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Stephen Brixey
(1989–2004; divorced)[1]
Jack Einwechter
Alma mater Chapman University
American University
Religion Roman Catholicism

Loretta L. Sánchez (born January 7, 1960) is the U.S. Representative for California's 46th congressional district, serving in Congress since 1997. Sanchez has represented California's 47th congressional district from 2003 to 2013 and the 46th district from 1997 to 2003. She is a member of the Democratic Party, and a member of the Blue Dog Coalition.[2] The district lies in central Orange County.


  • Early life and education 1
  • U.S. House of Representatives 2
    • Committee assignments 2.1
    • Caucus memberships 2.2
    • Congressional Hispanic Caucus 2.3
  • Political positions 3
    • Education 3.1
    • Armed services, social issues, and labor 3.2
    • Foreign policy 3.3
  • Political campaigns 4
    • 1994 4.1
    • 1996 4.2
    • 1998 through 2008 4.3
    • 2003 gubernatorial recall election 4.4
    • 2008 4.5
    • 2010 4.6
    • 2012 4.7
    • 2014 4.8
    • 2016 4.9
  • Personal life 5
    • In popular culture 5.1
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life and education

Sánchez was born in Lynwood, California, and graduated from Katella High School in Anaheim in 1978. Her father was a unionized machinist and her mother worked as a secretary. Her Mexican immigrant parents had seven children.[3] She joined the United Food and Commercial Workers when she worked as an ice cream server in high school, and received a union scholarship to college. She received her undergraduate degree in Economics from Chapman College in Orange in 1982, obtained her MBA from American University in Washington, DC in 1984, and was a financial analyst until entering the House.[4] Sanchez describes herself as growing up a "shy, quiet girl" who did not speak English. She credits government with much of her success in public life.[5]

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Congressional Hispanic Caucus

In February 2006, Sánchez withdrew from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus's political action committee, along with 5 other members, because the caucus chairman, Joe Baca, authorized political contributions to members of his family who were running for state and local offices in California.[6] Sanchez and other CHC members also claim that Baca was improperly elected chairman of the caucus in November 2006 because the vote failed to use secret ballots, as required in the group's bylaws.[7] On January 31, 2007, Sanchez quit the CHC because she claimed that Baca repeatedly treated the group's female members with disrespect. Other female lawmakers have made the same complaint about Baca.[8] In the election for caucus chairman, only one female member of the 23-member Caucus voted to support Baca's candidacy.[9]

According to Loretta Sanchez, Linda Sanchez, and Hilda Solis, Baca also called Loretta Sanchez "a whore" while speaking to other lawmakers.[6][10] Baca denied the charge. reported that Sanchez claimed California Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez heard the comment from Baca and repeated it to Sanchez, yet Núñez claimed not to recall any such comment.[11] Sanchez, however, claimed after the article was published that she had never mentioned Núñez to[12]

Political positions

Loretta Sánchez at her annual "Women of Distinction" Event

Sánchez has stated she is a moderate Democrat, but, in 2009, Sanchez had a 'zero' approval rating from the American Conservative Union.[13]

She represents a district in Orange County, long a bastion of suburban conservatism, and is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition and the New Democrat Coalition; she reportedly voted with Nancy Pelosi 97.8% of the time during the 111th Congress.[14]

Sánchez is known for her interests in education, crime, economic development, and protections for senior citizens.[15]

National Journal rated her votes in 2006 in three areas: Economic, Social, and Foreign. The ratings are: Economic = 71 liberal/28 conservative; Social = 80 liberal/19 conservative; Foreign = 70 liberal/28 conservative.[16]


She staunchly opposed the President Bush's 2003 budget proposal threatened to cut education grants, she responded, "If he can run deficits for the military, then he can run deficits to educate our children."[5]

Armed services, social issues, and labor

Loretta Sanchez meeting with union leaders.

Sánchez is the second-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee. She is also a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, and the most senior woman on that committee. Loretta has fought to reform both the law and culture of the U.S. military relating to investigation of sexual crimes, prosecution of sex offenders and care of sexual assault victims. Her leadership contributed to a decision to examine the problem of sexual assault at the military service academies, which revealed that the problem was much more prevalent than previously thought. As a result, she led the fight to change sexual assault provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. In early 2011, Sánchez introduced a bill requiring the United States Department of Homeland Security to issue rules governing searches and seizures of the laptops, cellphones, and other electronic devices of American citizens returning to the U.S. from abroad.[18]

Sánchez is regarded as a liberal on social issues. She voted against a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and supports abortion rights. She also sought to reverse the ban on abortions at overseas military bases and installations. In August 2000, Sanchez refused to relocate a political fundraiser she had planned at the Playboy Mansion in California. As a result, Democratic National Committee chairman Joe Andrew cancelled her scheduled speaking role at the Democratic National Convention. Sanchez's address was reinstated just before the convention, when she agreed to relocate her fundraiser to Universal Studios.[19]

Foreign policy

Loretta Sánchez visits U.S. troops in Kuwait during Easter.
Loretta Sánchez visits U.S. troops in Africa.

According to Congressional Quarterly, "In 2002, Sanchez voted against reviving fast-track procedures for congressional action on trade deals. And, coming from a district with one of the largest ethnically Vietnamese communities outside Vietnam, she voted against a trade agreement with Vietnam, saying that political and human rights conditions in that country needed improvement. Her outspokenness led the Hanoi regime to refuse to allow her into the country late in 2004 when she applied for an entry visa to meet with dissidents."[5] By April 2006, Sanchez had been denied a visa to visit Vietnam four times by the country's officials.[20] In honor of International Human Rights Day, she joined a bipartisan group of 11 House Members that issued a letter to Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung calling for the release of two U.S. citizens arrested by the government of Vietnam.[21]

On October 10, 2002, Sanchez was among the 133 members of the House who voted against authorizing the invasion of Iraq, but she has voted in favor of every appropriation bill for the war in Iraq. She opposed the troop surge in February 2007.[22] On March 7, 2007, Sanchez led a female congressional delegation to visit troops in Iraq. This was her third visit to Iraq.[23]

Sánchez has a strong record on supporting human rights and is a member of the bipartisan Congressional Human Rights Caucus. Two major votes include voting yes in 2001 to keep the Cuba travel ban until political prisoners are released, but later voting in 2009 to lift the travel ban unilaterally, and yes to acknowledge the Armenian genocide of the early 1900s.[24] She voted to implement the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007.[25]

Sánchez has stated that she was briefly denied access to a United Airlines flight in October 2006 because her name appeared on a no-fly list set up after the September 11 attacks. Sanchez said she was instructed to check in with a United employee, who told her she was on the terrorist watch list. The employee asked her for identification.

Political campaigns

Loretta Sánchez with former president Bill Clinton.


In 1994, Sánchez ran unsuccessfully for the Anaheim City Council under her then married name, Loretta Brixey.


In 1996, Sánchez ran as a moderate Democrat in the 46th District against six-term Republican incumbent Bob Dornan. The bitterly fought race saw Sánchez charge that Dornan was out of touch with his constituency, especially after a distracting run for the 1996 Republican Presidential nomination. The 46th had always had a Democratic tilt, but became even more Democratic after the 1990 census when it received a considerably larger number of Hispanics than had previously been in the district. Sanchez won by 984 votes, and Dornan contested the election, alleging that many votes were cast by people who were not American citizens. A Congressional investigation found evidence that 624 votes were indeed cast by non-citizens. An additional 124 votes had already been thrown out by California officials. These votes were not enough to throw Sanchez's victory into doubt, so the investigation was halted and the outcome was upheld by a Republican-controlled Congress,[26] making Sanchez the first American of Mexican heritage to represent Orange County in Congress. Dornan continues to assert that illegal voter registration of non-citizens was decisive in Sanchez's victory. In consultation with the INS, the House committee identified as many as 4,700 questionable registration affidavits;[27] but the probe was dropped before these affidavits could be investigated. As Article I Section V of the Constitution of the United States provides that "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members" the investigation was without binding authority.[28]

1998 through 2008

In a 1998 rematch, she easily defeated Dornan and has not faced serious opposition since. Her district was renumbered the 47th District after the 2000 census. During that redistricting process, Sanchez hired lobbyist Michael S. Berman, brother of California Democratic Congressman Howard Berman,for "redistricting consulting" on her behalf. She paid Berman $20,000 for his work.[29]

In 2006, she defeated Tan D. Nguyen (R) with 62% of the vote.

2003 gubernatorial recall election

During California's 2003 gubernatorial recall election, Sanchez was one of the first Democrats to break from Governor Gray Davis and state that a Democrat should run to succeed Davis in case the recall measure passed. Though she recommended that the Democratic candidate be California’s Senior Senator Dianne Feinstein, Sanchez stated that if no other serious Democratic contender stepped forward, she would be willing to run herself. Many California Democrats ultimately adopted Sanchez’s position, paving the way for Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante to enter the race.[30]


Sánchez won against Republican nominee Rosemarie Avila and American Independent Robert Lauten.


Sánchez considered running for Governor and for the United States Senate, but declined to enter the gubernatorial race after former Governor Jerry Brown declared his candidacy and deferred to incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer, who ran for re-election.[31]

Sánchez was challenged by Republican nominee Van Tran and Independent candidate Ceci Iglesias. According to Roll Call, Sanchez considered running for governor or for the U.S. Senate in 2010.[32] In November 2005, she opened an exploratory committee called People for Loretta 2010.[33] However, in June 2009, she announced she would run for reelection to the House.[34]

In September 2010, Loretta Sanchez appeared on the Spanish language network, Univisión and said that "the Vietnamese and the Republicans are – with an intensity – trying to take away 'our' seat", referring to her Vietnamese-born opponent, Van Tran.[35][36][37] Sanchez also described Tran as "anti-immigrant".[37]


In September, 2011 Sánchez's campaign treasurer, Kinde Durkee, was arrested on suspicion of mail fraud. Sanchez and several others of Durkee's clients found their campaign funds wiped out. Sanchez's chief of staff, Adrienne Elrod, remarked that "Kinde was someone whose services and counsel we trusted for many years. These charges if true are disheartening and a betrayal by a long time Democratic treasurer for many candidates and committees.”[38]


Sánchez was re-elected.


Due to Barbara Boxer's impending retirement, the 2016 Senate election in California will have the first open seat Senate election in California in 24 years.[39] On May 14 2015, Loretta Sanchez announced her bid for this Senate seat.[40] She will be competing against Attorney General of California Kamala Harris and Stewart Albertson, in addition to at least six Republicans in California's top-two primary.

On May 16, 2015, when talking to a group of Indian Americans, Sanchez made a gesture mocking Native Americans by making a "war cry" that is stereotypically attributed to them.[41] She described her confusion between Native Americans and Indian Americans prior to a meeting with an Indian-American, saying "I am going to his office, thinking that I am going to meet with a 'woo woo woo woo' (stereotypical Indian war cry) — Right? ... because he said Indian American." Many in the audience were shocked at the gesture, finding it offensive.[42] After initially running away from a reporter who tried to question her about the slur, she apologized for it on May 17, saying "in this crazy and exciting rush of meetings yesterday, I said something offensive and for that, I sincerely apologize."[42]

Personal life

Loretta and her sister Linda Sánchez are the first pair of sisters to serve simultaneously in the United States Congress.

In November 2002, Sánchez's younger sister, Linda, who is nine years her junior, was elected for the new 39th District. They are the first pair of sisters to serve simultaneously in the United States Congress.

Sanchez was married for 14 years to stock broker Stephen Brixey before he filed for divorce on January 15, 2004.[1][43]

In November 2010, Roll Call and the Orange County Register reported Loretta's engagement to retired Army Colonel Jack Einwechter.[44] Einwechter is currently a lawyer practicing in Washington, D.C. The couple were married on July 16, 2011 in a private ceremony in Santa Ana, California.[45][46]

In popular culture

The Hispanic Caucus Controversy (see above) was parodied on The Colbert Report on February 7, 2007.[47]

Loretta Sánchez appeared as herself in the September 10, 2007 episode of The Closer entitled "Til Death Do Us Part, Part II". Within the fictional narrative of the show, she was briefly seen on the program Larry King Live being interviewed about a criminal legal case.


  1. ^ a b Wisckol, Martin; Bunis, Dena (24 September 2004). "..Rep. LORETTA SANCHEZ's spouse seeks divorce..". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Blue Dog Coalition Members". Retrieved 2012-04-10. 
  3. ^ "Sanchezes: Sisters to Watch", US News and World Report January 12, 2007; retrieved February 4, 2007.
  4. ^ "Loretta Sanchez's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Sanchez, Loretta. (2005). In CQ's Politics in America 2006. The 109th Congress; retrieved January 14, 2007 from CQ Electronic Library, CQ Congress Collection
  6. ^ a b "Sanchez Accuses Democrat of Calling Her a 'Whore', Resigns from Hispanic Group", The Politico. February 2, 2007. Retrieved February 7, 2007.
  7. ^ "Two More Reps. Complain About Treatment of Women in Hispanic Caucus" The Politico. February 2, 2007; retrieved February 7, 2007.
  8. ^ "'Whore' Comment Fractures California Dems" Los Angeles Times February 1, 2007; retrieved February 7, 2007
  9. ^ "CHC nears split as female members refuse to support chairman" The Hill. November 18, 2006; retrieved February 7, 2007
  10. ^ "Hispanic Caucus Members Toil Over Insult", Washington Post. February 1, 2007; retrieved February 7, 2007
  11. ^ "Nunez: I Don't Recall Whore Comment" Los Angeles Times February 1, 2007; retrieved February 7, 2007.
  12. ^ "Hispanic Caucus Members Toil Over Insult", February 1, 2007; retrieved February 7, 2006.
  13. ^ Block, Stephanie (19 January 2015). "Loretta Sanchez is no moderate Democrat". Spero News. Retrieved 18 May 2015. The American Conservative Union gave her a 'zero' rating in 2009 
  14. ^ Washington Post U.S. House Votes Database
  15. ^ "Sanchez, Loretta (D-CA-47th) Rep., Job Approval Rating". Congress Ratings. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  16. ^ National JournalLoretta Sanchez profile at
  17. ^ Sanchez, Loretta. "The Real State of the Union is Not Healthy", Los Angeles Times. February 2, 2003, p. B19
  18. ^ Greenwald, Glenn (2011-01-15) Homeland Security's laptop seizures: Interview with Rep. Sanchez,
  19. ^ "The taming of Loretta Sanchez".; retrieved May 4, 2008
  20. ^ Mahshie, Abraham (April 6, 2006). "Vietnam denies visa for Sanchez visit".  
  21. ^ "December 10, 2007: Sanchez Issues Letter to Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung". Retrieved 2010-07-11. 
  22. ^ Congresswoman Sanchez during debate on See also Congresswoman the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on February 14 2007
  23. ^ "March 1, 2007: Sanchez Visits Troops in Iraq". Retrieved 2010-07-11. 
  24. ^ "Loretta Sanchez on Foreign Policy". Retrieved 2010-07-11. 
  25. ^ "January 9, 2007: Sanchez Votes to Implement 9/11 Commission's Recommendations". Retrieved 2010-07-11. 
  26. ^ "Proof Of Illegal Voters Falls Short, Keeping Sanchez In House". February 7, 1998; retrieved February 7, 2007.
  27. ^ Warren, Peter (1997), "Signature Lists Sought in Sanchez Probe" Los Angeles Times. November 17, 1997, p. A1
  28. ^ "How to Steal an Election" City Journal. Autumn 2004; retrieved February 7, 2007
  29. ^ Haberman, Maggie (2011-03-03) Lobbyists join redistricting in N.Y., Politico
  30. ^ Dena Bunis (November 19, 2005). "Rep. Sanchez ponders move out of House". Orange County Register. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  31. ^ Martin Wisckol (December 14, 2014). "Rep. Loretta Sanchez doesn't rule out bid for U.S. Senate if Barbara Boxer retires". Orange County Register. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Think Big, Plan Ahead". Roll Call, January 11, 2007
  33. ^ "Rep. Sanchez ponders move out of House" Retrieved February 4, 2007.
  34. ^ "Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez not running for governor | 89.3 KPCC". Retrieved 2010-07-11. 
  35. ^ "Loretta Sanchez on Univisión: "Vietnamese" Trying to Take Her Congressional Seat Away from Democrats", OC Weekly. September 20, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
  36. ^ My-Thuan Tran (9/25/10) Rival denounces Rep. Sanchez's comments about Vietnamese; retrieved September 25, 2010
  37. ^ a b (9/24/10) Hispanic Congresswoman Says Vietnamese Are Trying to Take Her Seat Retrieved September 25, 2010.
  38. ^ Lavender, Paige (9 Sep 2011). "Loretta Sanchez Left With No Campaign Funds, Kinde Durkee Arrested For Fraud". Huffington Post. Retrieved 18 Sep 2011. 
  39. ^ Ballhaus, Rebecca (January 8, 2015). "The Contenders: Who Will Run for Barbara Boxer’s Senate Seat?".  
  40. ^ "Rep. Loretta Sanchez expected to announce U.S. Senate bid". Los Angeles Daily News. 14 May 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  41. ^ "Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez Insults Native Americans While Talking to Indian Americans".  
  42. ^ a b Brumfield, Ben (May 18, 2015). "Democratic congresswoman apologizes for ethnically loaded gesture".  
  43. ^ Wisckol, Martin (21 August 2013). "Report: Rep. Sanchez to wed retired colonel?". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  44. ^ "The Making of the “Loretta Sanchez Scandal”". Latino Politics Blog. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  45. ^ Wisckol, Martin (15 July 2011). "Rep. Loretta Sanchez to wed Saturday". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  46. ^ Prevatt, Chris (18 July 2011). "Loretta Sanchez Gets Married". Liberal OC. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  47. ^ The Colbert Report, perf. Stephen Colbert. Comedy Central. February 7, 2007. Retrieved February 10, 2007.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bob Dornan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 46th congressional district

Succeeded by
Dana Rohrabacher
Preceded by
Chris Cox
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 47th congressional district

Succeeded by
Alan Lowenthal
Preceded by
Dana Rohrabacher
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 46th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Joe Pitts
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Pete Sessions
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