Since 2013, Mark Takano has represented the people of the Inland Empire in the United States House of Representatives, fighting for the region’s progressive priorities. He’s been a voice for veterans, seniors, students, local businesses and hardworking families.
Mark was born and raised in Riverside, and his family roots go back to his grandparents who, along with his parents, were removed from their respective homes and sent to Japanese American Internment camps during World War II. After the war, these two families settled in Riverside County to rebuild their lives.
Mark attended La Sierra High School, where he graduated as the school’s valedictorian. Mark attended Harvard College and received his bachelor’s degree in Government in 1983. As a student, he bused tables to help make ends meet. During his senior year, he organized and co-founded Ride for Life, a transcontinental bicycle ride to benefit the international development agency Oxfam America.
Upon graduation, Mark worked as a substitute teacher for various public school systems in the Boston area. He observed first-hand the disparity between well-funded and acclaimed suburban schools in Brookline and the beleaguered inner-city Boston schools.
Mark returned home to Riverside and in 1988 began teaching in the Rialto Unified School District in schools serving predominantly Latino and African American students. As a classroom teacher, Mark confronted the challenges in our public education system daily.
In 1990, Mark was elected to the Riverside Community College District’s Board of Trustees. At RCC, Mark has worked with Republicans and Democrats to improve higher education for young people and job training opportunities for adults seeking to learn a new skill or start a new career. Mark was elected Board President in 1991 and helped the Board and the District gain stability and direction amid serious fiscal challenges.
Mark’s long history of public service in Riverside County includes service on the Community Advisory Board of the Children’s Spine Foundation and the Board of the Chancellor’s Asian Pacific Islander Community Advisory Center at the University of California, Riverside. He served as chairman of the Riverside Mayor’s Task Force on the Digital Divide, Chairman of the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus of the California Democratic Party, a charter member of the Association of Latino Community College Trustees, a member of the Association of California Asian American Trustees and a member of Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education. He is a recipient of the Martin Luther King Visionaries Award.
Today, Mark Takano represents Riverside, Moreno Valley, Perris and Jurupa Valley in the United States Congress. As Congressman, Mark works to advance local priorities: creating good-paying jobs, keeping families in their homes, improving public education, and honoring the service of our veterans. He continues to fight to protect Medicare and Social Security, and strengthen America’s middle class.
Mark has filed legislation to rein in the abuses of the for-profit college industry, to protect the benefits earned by our veterans, and to expand access to job skills training programs.
In Congress, Mark is the Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and a member of the House Committee on Education & Labor.
He is a co-chair of the Equality Caucus, and vice chair of the Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. To support the development of new technologies and manufacturing processes, Mark co-founded the Congressional Maker Caucus; and as a Representative of residential Deaf school, he relaunched the Congressional Deaf Caucus to educate Members of Congress and staff on important issues central to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.