|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
|Assumed office |
March 10, 2005
|Preceded by||Bob Matsui|
|Constituency||5th district (2005–2013)|
6th district (2013–present)
Doris Kazue Okada
September 25, 1944
Poston, Arizona, U.S.
(m. 1966; died 2005)
|Education||University of California, Berkeley (BA)|
Doris Okada Matsui (//; 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 May 2021, Matsui is the only current member of Congress who is an example of widow's succession as well as the most recent example.
Matsui was born Doris Okada in the Poston War Relocation Center internment camp in Poston, Arizona, and grew up in Dinuba, 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. Following the 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. The President appointed her to the board of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in September 2000. She served in the White House from 1993 to 1998. Later, she became a lobbyist in Washington where she represented corporate clients until 2005, when she returned to California to run for Congress against a field of local Democrats.
Matsui's husband, Congressman 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 (see widow's succession). 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. Congresswoman 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.
In her inaugural speech, she spoke of the many people who encouraged her to run and her family. She pledged to continue the work of her husband, especially regarding flood control projects in Sacramento, the main city in the district.
In 2007, Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed Matsui to the Smithsonian Institution's Board of Regents, where she served until 2011. Matsui was one of only three House Members to sit on the board. In 2007, Matsui was instrumental in developing an overhaul of the oversight and accountability practices of the Smithsonian.
Matsui served as convention parliamentarian of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.
She supports full disclosure of campaign finances for politicians and desires more fair elections, as well as extending election periods to allow more people to vote. She has also expressed support for whistleblowers' protection to promote transparency in both business and government.
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 all together, through funding contraception programs and make them readily available. She supports emergency contraceptive capabilities in hospitals for rape victims. Matsui opposes the restriction of minors traveling across state borders for abortion procedures. She has voted to continue stem cell research.
On March 8, 2021, on the second anniversary of the U.S. women's national soccer team's pay discrimination lawsuit, Matsui introduced a bill along with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro to ensure the U.S. women's national soccer team "are paid fair and equitable wages compared to the U.S. Men's team" called the Give Our Athletes Level Salaries (GOALS) Act. The GOALS Act threatens to cut federal funding for the 2026 World Cup if the U.S. Soccer Federation does not comply.
Matsui has been a supporter of political earmarks, which has been a controversial topic. She defended her position, saying "members of Congress know their districts pretty well and know what they need."
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 in the hopes to stimulate the U.S. economy. 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.
Matsui voted to raise Senator's salary in 2009. She also voted to raise the minimum wage in 2007 and extend unemployment benefits from 39 to 59 weeks.
Matsui supports an initiative to have shareholders vote for executive compensation at companies.
She 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.
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.
Matsui supports American energy independence and desires that the United States will be running on at least 25% renewable energy by the year 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.
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 thus 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 even stricter emission standards than the federal government.
She has supported the expansion of Amtrak to provide a better public transportation option for the public.
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 anti-gay 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.
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.
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." She has opposed many attempts to repeal, reduce, or privatize Medicare or Medicaid. 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.
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.
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.
Matsui is in favor of 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.
Co-chair, Congressional Caucus on Women's Issues
|Republican||John Thomas Flynn||6,559||8.0|
|Republican||Serge A. Chernay||3,742||4.5|
|Republican||Bruce Robert Stevens||1,124||1.4|
|Democratic||Charles "Carlos" Pineda, Jr.||659||0.8|
|Peace and Freedom||John C. Reiger||286||0.3|
|Independent||Lara Shapiro||6 (write-in)||0.0|
|Democratic||Doris Matsui (incumbent)||105,676||70.8|
|Peace and Freedom||John C. Reiger||2,018||1.3|
|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||David B.Lynch||180 (write-in)||0.0|
|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|
|United States House of Representatives primary election, 2012|
|Democratic||Doris Matsui (incumbent)||67,174||71.4|
|Republican||Joseph McCray, Sr.||15,647||16.6|
|Democratic||Doris Matsui (incumbent)||160,667||75.1|
|Republican||Joseph McCray Sr.||53,406||24.9|
|Democratic||Doris Matsui (incumbent)||97,008||72.7|
|Republican||Joseph McCray Sr.||36,448||27.3|
|Democratic||Doris Matsui (incumbent)||99,599||70.4|
|Republican||Robert "Bob" Evans||26,000||18.4|
|No party preference||Mario Galvan||6,354||4.5|
|No party preference||Yuriy Seretskiy||1,930||1.4|
|Democratic||Doris Matsui (incumbent)||177,565||75.4|
|Republican||Robert "Bob" Evans||57,848||24.6|
|Democratic||Doris Matsui (incumbent)||99,789||87.9|
|Democratic||Doris Matsui (incumbent)||162,411||80.4|
|Democratic||Doris Matsui (incumbent)||119,408||70.2|
|Republican||Sherwood Ellsworth Haisty Jr.||13,137||7.7|
|Democratic||Doris Matsui (incumbent)||229,648||73.3|
A widow, Matsui has one son, Brian. She has two grandchildren, Anna and Robby. She is a Methodist. On April 12, 2020, Matsui married Roger Sant, billionaire AES Corporation cofounder, in a virtual ceremony.