While working in the private sector, Loretta remained committed to public service through volunteer work. The more work she did, the more she saw that Orange County wasn’t getting what it deserved from the federal government. In 1996, she decided to run for Congress and astonished the nation by defeating the incumbent Republican. Loretta became the first Hispanic woman ever elected to Congress from Orange County.
18 years later, Loretta remains a champion for the people of Orange County, especially as the country climbs out of the recession. She believes small businesses are the backbone of Orange County’s economy and is committed to helping them succeed, get their fair share of federal dollars and keep jobs in the region.
In Washington, she has worked across the aisle, climbed through the ranks and is now the highest ranking female on both the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees and serves on the Joint Economic Committee.
On the Armed Services Committee, Loretta ensures our service members are equipped both on the battlefield and when they return home. During her time in Congress, Loretta has brought more than $80 million in defense spending back to Orange County and makes sure local veterans get the education and health benefits they deserve. She is a vocal advocate for the implementation of women in military combat roles as well as stopping sexual assaults in the military. In 2014, she introduced the She is Ready (SIR) Act to break down artificial barriers for women entering combat positions. In 2013, her which tracks servicemembers with a history of sexual harassment to prevent further bad behavior, was included in the annual defense spending bill.
ï»¿ In 2013, she introduced the Border Enforcement, Security and Technology (BEST) Act, which strengthens the nation's borders using the most up-to-date technology. ï»¿Later that year she introduced the which would implement a biometric exit program, completing the final recommendation of the 9/11 commission. She is also a member of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, where she has been a vocal advocate for NSA data collection reform.
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