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Press Release


March 3, 2011



NOPA is proud to report that our advocacy efforts to reinstate the Congressional Portuguese American Caucus have been successful. Congressmen Cardoza (CA-18) and Costa (CA-20) are now official co-chairs of the Congressional Portuguese-American Caucus for the 112th Congress (2011-2012). We are extremely thankful to the Congressman for their commitment and to their staff for their efforts to officially reinstate the Caucus after eight years of being defunct. The official acceptance letter from Chairman Lungren of the Committee on House Administration is included with this press release.


Please call and/or email Congressmen Cardoza and Costa to thank them for their efforts to reinstate the Caucus and for their commitment to the Portuguese-American community.  It is important for our elected officials to hear from the community and we hope that you will reach out to thank them.


We would also like to again recognize Congressman Costa's staff for taking the lead and helping to reinstate this important Congressional Member Organization that will be dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the federal legislative process, issues affecting the Portuguese-American community.


We are still hopeful that Portuguese American Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-20) and Senator Pat Toomey (PA) will sign on as co-chairs of the Caucus. We are grateful to them and all the Members of Congress of Portuguese descent for their work on behalf of the community and the awareness they generate of the contributions our community members are making at all levels of society, but we feel it is important for all the Portuguese-American Members of Congress to be co-chairs of this Caucus.  


Please let Congressman Nunes and Senator Toomey know how important this is to our community by calling and/or emailing to urge them to join as a co-chair the Portuguese-American Caucus.


NOPA is Now Putting Forth a Call to Action


The Portuguese American community-at-large needs to call and/or email their Members of Congress and Senate and urge them to join the Caucus. The more Members the Caucus has, the stronger the voice our community will have on Capitol Hill. The Caucus remains open for Members to join at any time throughout the 112th Congress so if your Member does not initially join, we can continue to invite them over the next two years. You can find contact information for your elected official below.


US House of Representatives Contact Information:


US Senate Contact Information: 


Contact Information for the Staff Directors of the

Congressional Portuguese American Caucus     


Ben Parmentier

Legislative Assistant

Office of Congressman Jim Costa  

Phone: 202-225-3341



Marilyn Shapley

Legislative Assistant

Office of Congressman Dennis Cardoza

Phone: 202-225-6131



The Caucus is for all Portuguese American individuals, communities, and organizations to utilize and can be contacted directly.

Letter of Reinstatement     

Letter 2

Co-Chair Profile

Congressman Jim Costa     

JCJim Costa was sworn in as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing California's 20th Congressional District in January, 2005. Raised on a dairy farm in Fresno's Kearney Park area, Congressman Costa is a third-generation family farmer. As a Member of Congress, Costa has applied his farming background to fighting for Valley water, agriculture, and the economy.


A lifelong resident of the Valley, Costa's committee assignments allow him to effectively advocate for the district. Costa uses his position on the Natural Resources Committee to fight for the Valley's fair share of water. This includes securing funding for dams, working to overturn unfair federal water regulations, and increasing Valley water allocations. On the Agriculture Committee, Costa has worked to increase federal support for Valley agriculture through the Farm Bill and other programs. When a milk price crisis devastated the region's dairy industry, Costa introduced legislation to protect Valley dairy families and local jobs. In addition to his committee assignments, Costa is a member of the fiscally-conservative Blue Dog Coalition and has worked with his colleagues to support more responsible budgeting practices.


Costa's work to improve the Valley stretches across the district. During his first term in office, Costa put together a broad-based bipartisan coalition aimed at developing a Regional Water Plan for Central California.  He also led the negotiations between the City of Fresno and the State of California that secured the final funding necessary to complete the new Amtrak station in Fresno.  During the 109thCongress, Costa played a leading role in the bipartisan effort to secure Highway 99 funding in the infrastructure bonds approved by California voters in 2006.  Costa was also a principal in the successful effort to secure Congressional approval of plans to keep Fresno's 144th Air National Guard Fighter Wing viable well into the future.  As the primary author of state legislation to create the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Costa continues to work with local and state officials to clean up the Valley's air.


Costa's efforts to strengthen Valley agriculture and the economy have been recognized by organizations like The American Farm Bureau Federation who named him a recipient of its "Friend of the Farm Bureau" award. Costa has also received the "Spirit of Enterprise" award by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Costa's work to crack down on violent crime and advocate for victims' rights was recognized by the National Organization for Victim Assistance, which named him recipient of the Donald E. Santarelli Public Policy Award for demonstrating outstanding public policy leadership.


A product of Fresno County schools, Costa is a graduate of San Joaquin Memorial High School and has a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from California State University, Fresno. Before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Costa served for 24 years in the California State Legislature.


Co-Chair Profile

Congressman Dennis Cardoza 

DCNow in his fifth term in Congress, Dennis Cardoza has established a reputation as an effective, fiscally-responsible legislator who delivers results for the Central Valley. Cardoza represents California 's 18th Congressional District, which includes Merced County and portions of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Madera, and Fresno Counties.


In the 110th and 111th Congresses, Cardoza served as Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture, which had a leading role in the formation of the 2007 Farm Bill. The subcommittee was critical to Central Valley farmers because it had jurisdiction over the crops that constitute the lion's share of Central Valley agricultural production.  In the 112th Congress, Cardoza is serving as the Ranking Member of the Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry where he is a  leader in tackling and solving the crisis that has plagued dairy producers and the industry in recent years.


Cardoza's centrist philosophy is highlighted in his role as a leading member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of 26 moderate to conservative House Democrats who are committed to fiscal responsibility and accountability for taxpayer dollars. The fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition has led the charge to ensure Congress adheres to fiscal discipline by reining in reckless federal spending.Cardoza believes we still must get back on the road to fiscal responsibility before we pass the nation's keys - and our debt - onto our children and grandchildren, and that quite simply it's high time our country starts paying for what it buys.


Since taking office in 2003, Cardoza has demonstrated a commitment to reaching across the partisan divide to find common ground between Democrats and Republicans. He has a strong record on fiscal responsibility, national security, supporting our veterans, and defending Social Security. Cardoza has worked tirelessly to support legislation that helps Central Valley farmers and has secured hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for vital projects throughout the 18th District.


Cardoza has been a strong and consistent advocate for reducing our nation's dangerous dependence on foreign oil. He strongly supports investing in alternative and renewable energy sources. Cardoza, who has installed solar panels on his family residence in Atwater, introduced a bill that would extend and increase tax credits for solar installation on residential and commercial properties. In 2006, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) named him "Solar Champion of the Year."


Cardoza, who has two adopted children, has been a strong voice on behalf of adoption and foster children and has received numerous awards in recognition of his tireless efforts. In 2007, he introduced legislation that ensured children who age out of the foster care system receive necessary healthcare until the age of 21. The bill was incorporated into a larger piece of larger legislation and became law. In 2005, he introduced the "Military Adoption Act," which makes it easier for military service members to adopt children by allowing them to take paid leave. The bill was also signed into law.


Prior to serving in Congress, Cardoza spent six years in the California State Assembly, where he chaired the powerful Rules Committee and helped forge the Moderate Democratic Caucus. A broad group of organizations honored Cardoza as Legislator of the Year for his efforts to cut taxes, help family farms, and promote education and children's safety.


Cardoza's interest in public service began in college when he interned on Capitol Hill during the summer of 1979. The first in his family to graduate from college, Cardoza went on to run a successful small business. His belief that government should do more to help small businesses and foster economic growth inspired him to serve a term on the Atwater City Council beginning in 1984.


In 1994, Cardoza was appointed to the Merced City Council. His council-related duties on the Merced County Regional Solid Waste Board, the Merced County Association of Governments, and the Atwater Redevelopment Agency provided invaluable experience on dealing with a wide range of important local and county issues.


Cardoza has been relentless in his efforts to establish a University of California campus in the Central Valley. UC Merced, once a dream of Valley educators, students, and parents opened its campus doors in the fall of 2005, and is currently on track to establish its own medical school.


Cardoza, a graduate of the University of Maryland, currently sits on the University of Maryland College of Behavioral and Social Sciences Board of Visitors. He also is a recipient of the UC Merced Chancellor's Medal.


The Congressman has never forgotten his agricultural roots. His grandparents emigrated from Portugal in the early 20th century to farm the rich Merced County soil. The Cardoza family raised dairy cattle and grew sweet potatoes, almonds, watermelons, wheat, oats, and alfalfa.


Representative Cardoza married Dr. Kathleen McLoughlin. They have three children, Joey, Brittany, and Elaina.

More About Congressional Caucuses/
Congressional Member Organizations 

The term "Congressional Member Organization" (CMO) refers to a group of Members who join together in pursuit of common legislative objectives and register the organization with the Committee on House Administration. In many instances, Members assign personal staff (including shared employees) under the Member's control to assist the CMO in carrying out its legislative objectives. Any informal group of House Members who wish to use personal staff to work on behalf of an informal Member group, discuss their membership in the group in official communications, or mention their membership on their official House website must register the group with the Committee on House Administration as a CMO. There are no registration requirements in the Senate.

Informal Member organizations that are not registered with the Committee on House
Administration (including those in the Senate) are called "informal Member groups." The term "informal Member organization" is used when referring to both CMOs and informal Member groups. The cited Congressional Research Service's report focuses on CMOs, primarily because they tend to be more long-lasting and influential than informal Member groups.

CMOs exist to affect public policy, either directly through policy advocacy for a region or an issue, or indirectly by attracting media attention, or through the socialization and orientation of its Members. Nearly all CMOs serve as a forum for the exchange of information. Many hold regular Member or staff meetings, either weekly, monthly, or quarterly depending on the legislative calendar, to exchange information and develop legislative strategy. Many also invite outside speakers and groups to make presentations to the CMO's Members.


To read the Congressional Research Service's report on CMOs 'Congressional Member Organizations: Their Purpose and Activities, History, and Formation' click here:

Contact Your Elected Officials
to Expand the Membership of
Your Caucus Today 


US House of Representatives Contact Information:


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The National Organization of Portuguese-Americans is a national non-profit, tax exempt organization that supports and works with communities and organizations to advocate for and empower Portuguese-Americans. If you feel inspired to join our mission, please send your tax deductible contribution to:

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