Doris Matsui

Doris Matsui
Doris Matsui Official Photo.JPG
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California
Assumed office
March 10, 2005
Preceded by Bob Matsui
Constituency 5th district (2005–2013)
6th district (2013–present)
Personal details
Doris Kazue Okada

(1944-09-25) September 25, 1944 (age 77)
Poston, Arizona, U.S.
Political party Democratic
(m. 1966; died 2005)

Roger Sant
(m. 2020)
Children 1
Education University of California, Berkeley (BA)
Website House website

Doris Okada Matsui (/ˌmætˈsi/; born Doris Kazue Okada; September 25, 1944) is an American politician from the Democratic Party, serving since 2005 in the House of Representatives. She represents California's 6th congressional district (until 2013 numbered the 5th district), covering the city of Sacramento and its suburbs. Following the death of her husband Bob Matsui on January 1, 2005, she was elected as his replacement and took the oath of office on March 10, 2005. As of September 2021, Matsui is the only current example of widow's succession (though Representative Julia Letlow's husband, Luke, was elected to the seat, Louisiana's 5th, but died of COVID-19 days before he would have assumed office[1]) as well as the most recent successful case of it.[2]

Early life and career

Matsui was born Doris Okada in the Poston War Relocation Center internment camp in Poston, Arizona, and grew up in Dinuba,[3] in California's Central Valley. While attending the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a B.A. in psychology, she met her husband. They had one child, Brian.

Matsui was a housewife and socialite and was active in the group "Lawyers' Wives", now called the Legal Auxiliary of Sacramento, while her husband was a local attorney and served on the Sacramento City Council before his election to Congress in 1979. The Matsuis moved to Washington, D.C., shortly thereafter, where they raised their son.

Doris Matsui was a volunteer on Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. When he was elected, Matsui served on his transition team. After his inauguration, she was appointed deputy special assistant to the president and deputy director of public liaison, working under Alexis Herman. One of her duties was to work with the Asian American community.[citation needed] She served in the White House from 1993 to 1998. Clinton appointed her to the board of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in September 2000. Later, she became a lobbyist in Washington, representing corporate clients until 2005, when she returned to California to run for Congress against a field of local Democrats.

U.S. House of Representatives


Matsui speaks on the first day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, in her capacity as convention parliamentarian.

Matsui's husband, Representative Bob Matsui, died from complications of myelodysplastic syndrome on January 1, 2005. On January 9, 2005, the day after his funeral, Matsui told supporters she was running for his open seat. In the special election on March 8, 2005, she garnered 68% of the vote. Press reports said that Matsui won the election before the polls opened, as most votes in the election were absentee ballots, which she won overwhelmingly.[citation needed] Matsui was elected to a full term in 2006 and has been reelected six more times without serious difficulty. The 6th is the most Democratic district in interior California; it and its predecessors have been in Democratic hands without interruption since 1953.

As of October 2021, Matsui had voted in line with Joe Biden's stated position 100% of the time.[4]

Matsui is pro-choice and received an endorsement from NARAL. She supports federal health funding that includes abortion funding. She has a focus on preventing unwanted pregnancies altogether by funding contraception programs and making them readily available. She supports emergency contraceptive capabilities in hospitals for rape victims. Matsui opposes restricting minors from traveling across state borders for abortion procedures. She has voted to continue stem cell research.[5]

On March 8, 2021, on the second anniversary of the U.S. women's national soccer team's pay discrimination lawsuit, Matsui and Rosa DeLauro introduced the Give Our Athletes Level Salaries (GOALS) Act, to ensure the U.S. women's national soccer team was "paid fair and equitable wages compared to the U.S. Men's team".[6] The GOALS Act threatens to cut federal funding for the 2026 World Cup if the U.S. Soccer Federation does not comply.[7]

Matsui has supported political earmarks, saying, "members of Congress know their districts pretty well and know what they need."[8]

Matsui has supported raising the debt limit by $2.4 trillion for federal spending and has supported numerous bailouts and federal funds injections. In 2008 she supported a $15 billion bailout for GM and another $60 billion stimulus package. She supported the initial Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bailout funds and the $825 billion continuation of 2009 in the hopes of avoiding recession. She later supported an additional $198 billion stimulus package. She supports expanding agencies to meet the needs of citizens, rather than cutting spending and reform.[5]

Matsui voted to raise senators' salaries in 2009. She also voted to raise the minimum wage in 2007 and extend unemployment benefits from 39 to 59 weeks.[5]

Matsui voted to increase funding to Mexico to fight against the drug cartels. Her rating by NORML indicates that she is "hard on drugs". Matsui supports the distribution of clean and sterile syringes to reduce spread of HIV and hepatitis.[5]

Matsui is a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, where she has been focused on making the Sacramento area a hub for clean technology.[9]

Matsui supports American energy independence and desires that the U.S. run on at least 25% renewable energy by 2025. She opposes the expansion of oil production and has voted against building new refineries, offshore drilling, and subsidies for oil and gas exploration. She voted to provide tax subsidies for investment in renewable, alternative sources of energy.[5]

Matsui supports an initiative to develop green public schools across the nation. She endorses cash for clunkers and voted to provide $2 billion more for the program. She seeks to regulate dog kennels and hold tighter prohibition against animal fighting, and has voted to increase wildlife protection from endangerment. Matsui was a supporter of the Clean Water Act and seeks cleaner beaches, lakes, and other bodies of water. She voted to allow the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases and promotes strict limits to pollution levels for industries. She supports individual states creating stricter emission standards than the EPA.[5]

She has supported the expansion of Amtrak to provide a better public transportation option for the public.[5]

Matsui supports gay rights and was given a rating of 100% by the HRC. Her definition of marriage does not prohibit same-sex partners. She opposes discrimination in the workplace and in schools based on sexual orientation. She has also voted to enforce laws against antigay crimes. She supported the repeal of don't ask, don't tell and sought the reinstatement of gay soldiers who had been discharged from the military.[5]

Matsui seeks to expand gun control and supports stricter regulations on gun purchases and sales. She supports banning large-scale purchases of ammunition and seeks to end the gun show loophole. Matsui supports firearms manufacturers being held responsible for product misuse cases and lawsuits.[5]

In a discussion about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Matsui said that as "more Americans get to know and understand the law, and feel its effects in their lives, the less the public will want to see us take steps back to the broken health care system we have experienced for decades in this country."[9] She has opposed many attempts to repeal, reduce, or privatize Medicare or Medicaid.[5] In addition she has sought to expand medical coverage to children and the mentally ill. She voted against patients being denied treatment for non-emergency issues without a Medicare copay.[5]

She seeks to establish databases for childhood cancer and diabetes to better meet the needs of patients and diffuse information for better treatment. She supports regulating tobacco as a drug.[5]

Matsui supports a progressive tax system and seeks to shut down offshore loopholes for business. She voted against continuing capital gains and dividend tax breaks. She supports extending AMT exemptions which benefit higher-income taxpayers in states like California with high state income taxes.[5]

Matsui favors continuing Social Security as it is now, and has opposed moves to privatize it or allow citizens the option to have alternative retirement funds. She also opposes raising the retirement age.[5]

Committee assignments

Caucuses and other memberships

Electoral history

Special election for California's 5th Congressional District, March 8, 2005[14]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Doris Matsui 56,175 68.2
Democratic Julie Padilla 7,158 8.7
Republican John Thomas Flynn 6,559 8.0
Republican Serge A. Chernay 3,742 4.5
Republican Michael O'Brien 2,591 3.1
Republican Shane Singh 1,753 2.1
Republican Bruce Robert Stevens 1,124 1.4
Green Pat Driscoll 976 1.2
independent (politician) Leonard Padilla 916 1.1
Democratic Charles "Carlos" Pineda, Jr. 659 0.8
Libertarian Gale Morgan 451 0.6
Peace and Freedom John C. Reiger 286 0.3
independent (politician) Lara Shapiro 6 (write-in) 0.0
Total votes 82,396 100
Democratic hold
2006 United States House of Representatives elections[15]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Doris Matsui (incumbent) 105,676 70.8
Republican Claire Yan 35,106 23.6
Green Jeff Kravitz 6,466 4.3
Peace and Freedom John C. Reiger 2,018 1.3
Total votes 149,266 100
Democratic hold
2008 United States House of Representatives elections[16]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Doris Matsui (incumbent) 164,242 74.3
Republican Paul A. Smith 46,002 20.9
Peace and Freedom L. R. Roberts 10,731 4.8
independent (politician) David B.Lynch 180 (write-in) 0.0
Total votes 221,155 100
Democratic hold
2010 United States House of Representatives elections[17]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Doris Matsui (incumbent) 124,220 72.1
Republican Paul A. Smith 43,557 25.3
Peace and Freedom Gerald Allen Frink 4,594 2.6
Republican Tony Lacy (write-in) 19 0
Total votes 172,410 100
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives primary election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Doris Matsui (incumbent) 67,174 71.4
Republican Joseph McCray, Sr. 15,647 16.6
Republican Erik Smitt 11,254 12.0
Total votes 94,075 100
2012 United States House of Representatives elections[18]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Doris Matsui (incumbent) 160,667 75.1
Republican Joseph McCray Sr. 53,406 24.9
Total votes 214,073 100
Democratic hold
2014 United States House of Representatives elections[19]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Doris Matsui (incumbent) 97,008 72.7
Republican Joseph McCray Sr. 36,448 27.3
Total votes 133,456 100
Democratic hold
California's 6th congressional district election, 2016
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Doris Matsui (incumbent) 99,599 70.4
Republican Robert "Bob" Evans 26,000 18.4
Democratic Jrmar Jefferson 7,631 5.4
No party preference Mario Galvan 6,354 4.5
No party preference Yuriy Seretskiy 1,930 1.4
Total votes 141,514 100.0
General election
Democratic Doris Matsui (incumbent) 177,565 75.4
Republican Robert "Bob" Evans 57,848 24.6
Total votes 235,413 100.0
Democratic hold
California's 6th congressional district election, 2018
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Doris Matsui (incumbent) 99,789 87.9
Democratic Jrmar Jefferson 13,786 12.1
Democratic Ralph Nwobi 9 0.0
Total votes 113,584 100.0
General election
Democratic Doris Matsui (incumbent) 162,411 80.4
Democratic Jrmar Jefferson 39,528 19.6
Total votes 201,939 100.0
Democratic hold
California's 6th congressional district, 2020[20][21]
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Doris Matsui (incumbent) 119,408 70.2
Republican Chris Bish 24,321 14.3
Democratic Benjamin Emard 13,253 7.8
Republican Sherwood Ellsworth Haisty Jr. 13,137 7.7
Total votes 170,119 100.0
General election
Democratic Doris Matsui (incumbent) 229,648 73.3
Republican Chris Bish 83,466 26.7
Total votes 313,114 100.0
Democratic hold

Personal life

A widow, Matsui has one son, Brian. She has two grandchildren.[9] She is a Methodist.[22] On April 12, 2020, Matsui married Roger Sant, billionaire AES Corporation cofounder, in a virtual ceremony.[23]

See also



  • "Who's Who in President-elect Clinton's transition team". The Washington Post. November 13, 1992. A25.


External links