Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) last week addressed the Young Agents & InsurPac State Chairpersons Legislative Luncheon at the annual Big “I” Legislative Conference.
The event also featured the presentation of the annual InsurPac National Championship awards, Young Agent of the Year and Eagle awards.
U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) speaks at the Young Agents & InsurPac State Chairpersons Legislative Luncheon during the Big "I" Legislative Conference. Photo: Gio Quinteros
Rep. Vargas discussed his efforts to work in a bipartisan fashion with his Republican colleagues on a variety of issues, including long-term fiscal solutions, the Violence Against Women Act, the sequester and small business issues.
Sequestration is a topic Rep. Vargas said he found “very troubling” and noted that it “has been a terrible thing for the American people and should be a top priority [for the House].” He recounted discussions about the sequester that he held with his new colleagues in the House on both sides of the aisle. They told him that, “When Members of Congress voted for the sequester back in 2011, no one ever expected it to actually be implemented.”
“I’m very hopeful that both parties can come together and reach an agreement on what we need to do to move the nation forward,” he added. “We have been careening from one manufactured crisis to the next. That is no way to govern a nation."
Small business is suffering, according to Rep. Vargas.
“The larger businesses have been able to weather the recent recession, but the small businesses are getting killed,” he said. “The small businesses have not been able to flourish in our recovering economy. They should have been coming out of this recession strongly, but they haven’t been able to because of the lack of confidence in the government’s ability to make the smart choices that continue to bolster our economy.”
Despite partisan gridlock in Congress in recent years, Rep. Vargas continues to remain optimistic. He called on agents to go to Capitol Hill and educate members of Congress on the importance of working together.
“I’m hopeful that you’ll go out there and talk some sense into all us,” he said. “I hope that we will come together, compromise, and move forward so we can rebuild confidence our economy and our government.”
Rep. Vargas worked for two independent agency insurance companies before running for Congress. While serving in the California state legislature, he served as Assembly Insurance Committee chairman and Senate Banking Committee chairman.
“Not only does Rep. Vargas understand the overall insurance market, but he also understands the independent agency system specifically and what our agents go through on a daily basis,” says Charles E. Symington, Jr., Big “I” senior vice president for external and government affairs. “We know he’s going to put all that great experience to good use in Congress.”
Rep. Vargas is part of the freshman class for the 113th Congress and represents the California 51st Congressional District which includes the southern portion of San Diego County, all of Imperial County and California’s entire U.S.-Mexico border.
Prior to being elected to the House, Vargas served in the San Diego City Council, California State Assembly and the California State Senate. He also worked for two major insurance carriers. Vargas earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of San Diego, a master’s degree at Fordham University in New York and a law degree at Harvard Law School.
Margarita Tapia is Big “I” director of public affairs.