San Diego, California , United States
|| September 04, 1942
Sep 05, 2021 12:01am
Married - Judaism -
|Info||Robert Earl "Bob" Filner |
Bob Filner brings experience as a local official, educator, community leader, and neighborhood activist to Washington as the U.S. Representative from California's 50th Congressional District.
The 50th District encompasses the southern half of the City of San Diego and includes the South Bay cities of Chula Vista and National City. One of the most ethnically diverse in the nation, the 50th District's population is 41 percent Latino, 29 percent Anglo, 15 percent Filipino and 15 percent African-American.
Congressman Filner was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 4, 1942 and raised in New York City. He is married to Jane Merrill and has two children � daughter Erin, a high school teacher in New York, and son Adam, a waiter in San Diego.
Congressman Bob Filner and students at Mt. Erie Christian Academy in San Diego
Bob earned a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry from Cornell University (1963), a Master's Degree in History from the University of Delaware (1969) and a Doctorate in the History of Science from Cornell University (1973). He is one of only a handful of Members of Congress with a scientific degree and one of only 18 Members in the House of Representatives holding a Ph.D.
While in college, Bob became active in the struggle for civil rights. In 1961, he joined the first Freedom Rides and was arrested and imprisoned for several months in Mississippi.
A History Professor at San Diego State University for more than 20 years, Bob was active in several community issues, including housing, job development, education, environmental protection and civil rights.
In 1975-76, he was selected as a Congressional fellow by the American Political Science Association and served as a Legislative Assistant to Senator Hubert Humphrey and Congressman Don Fraser.
Bob's first elected office was as a San Diego School Board Member (1979-1983). His opposition to the closing of neighborhood schools was a call to action for local residents that enabled Bob to run for the School Board and beat a long-time incumbent. Bob�s "back to basics" approach made school administrators more accountable, slashed millions of dollars in bureaucratic waste, improved test scores, and made homework mandatory.
Although Bob was the only Democrat on the Board, his colleagues elected him Board President in 1982. During his tenure, he conducted a national search for a superintendent that resulted in the hiring of Tom Payzant, who went on to serve as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education for Primary and Secondary Education.
Bob served on the San Diego City Council from 1987-1992. He won re-election in 1991 with more than 70 percent of the vote. That same year, he served as Deputy Mayor of the City of San Diego.
Bob created the city's first Economic Conversion Committee and wrote the city's Economic Conversion Plan. He also found creative ways to fight neighborhood crime--including the introduction of Police Walking Patrols and a Citizen Graffiti Patrol.
Bob was elected to the United States House of Representatives by a two-to-one margin in 1992. He was immediately named to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs. He was re-elected in 1994 by a 22-point margin and in 1996 by a 30-point margin. In 1998, Bob was unopposed in his re-election bid. And in 2000, he was re-elected by a 42-point margin.
During his first term in the House of Representatives (1993-94), Bob sponsored a successful bill that amended the Clean Water Act to allow San Diego to save billions of dollars while meeting environmental standards. With this accomplishment, he became one of only a handful of freshmen to have legislation passed. He also successfully inserted language in the Transportation Appropriations bill that terminated the study of an unwanted international airport in his district.
Bob was also successful in meeting several of his objectives for the 50th District, including passing legislation that restored funds to continue the construction of an international sewage treatment plant to treat raw sewage flowing into the United States from Mexico, and securing funding for State Route 905.
During his second term (1995-96), Bob played a major role in thwarting the new Congressional majority's attempts to slash federal funding for Medicare, crime control, education, the environment and veterans. He introduced legislation that would allocate savings from defense downsizing to job retraining and economic conversion in impacted communities. He also led the fight to close a $2 billion corporate tax loophole that has allowed mutual life insurance companies to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
As a member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Bob led the successful opposition to cuts in veterans programs. In addition, he was named Democratic leader of the Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Benefits.
During his third term (1997-98), Bob continued the fight for his constituents. In addition to garnering increased support for the above legislative proposals, Filner reintroduced bills encouraging private sector funding for the San Diego & Arizona Eastern Railroad (the "Jobs Train"). With his Identity Theft legislation, Bob led the charge to change the IRS practice of printing taxpayers Social Security Numbers on the mailing labels of tax booklets. He also fought to prohibit insurance companies from dropping their policies with churches and other houses of worship due to fear of arson, and availing more mobile home owners of federal housing assistance.
Through his committee work, Bob introduced legislation seeking to restore promised benefits to Filipino Veterans of World War II, which were rescinded by the 1946 Congress.
In his fourth term (1998-2000), Bob fought to protect the environment and Southern California's water supply by working to pass two important bills. The first, his Bajagua bill � allows for the construction of a sewage treatment plant to treat Mexican sewage in Mexico to stop the flow of contaminated water into the Tijuana River Valley and ultimately, San Diego's beaches and bays. He also fought for passage of legislation to clean up and move a huge uranium tailings pile in Moab, Utah, that was polluting the Colorado River � San Diego County's main water source.
As a member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, Bob continued his fight for veterans. He secured additional compensation and access to VA hospitals for Filipino veterans of World War II. He also was successful in getting better pay for VA dentists and increasing small business opportunities for veterans. Bob was honored for his dedication to veterans by the Jewish War Veterans, Gold Star Wives, National Coalition of Homeless Veterans and the Task Force for Veterans' Entrepreneurship.
Now in his fifth term, Bob's top priorities are solving California's electricity crisis, working more closely with the new government of Mexico to solve mutual problems on both sides of the border, and continuing his fight for the Jobs Train � a commercial rail line between San Diego and the East Coast.
Already in the 107th Congress, Bob has introduced electricity legislation to set cost-based wholesale electricity rates throughout the West. If passed, the bill would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to establish cost-based wholesale energy rates � the cost to produce the electricity, plus a reasonable profit. His bill � companion legislation to Senator Barbara Boxer�s bill � also would order the wholesalers to pay refunds to Californians who have paid above that cost-based rate since June, 2000.
Bob was among the first leaders in San Diego to call for a countywide Municipal Utility District when the crisis hit in the summer of 2000. He has helped build support for municipal power in San Diego and the subject is now being seriously discussed by the city and county of San Diego, as well as several surrounding communities. Bob also is pursuing opportunities to expand new sources of electricity production in San Diego County.
Bob believes the election of Mexican President Vicente Fox presents an unparalleled opportunity for the United States to develop workable solutions for the complex set of issues involved with immigration through greatly increased collaboration and coordination of our policies and initiatives with Mexico.
As a member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee and the Senior Democrat on the Subcommittee on Health, Bob also will continue his fight for full veterans benefits for Filipino veterans of World War II. In February 2001, he traveled to the Philippines, and was the first U.S. elected official to meet with new Philippines President Maria Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The Jobs Train � a commercial rail line between San Diego and the East � will continue to be a focus. Bob believes reviving the line will create jobs not only in the 50th Congressional District, but throughout San Diego County.
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