Jerry Lewis, a lifelong resident of San Bernardino County and former owner of a life insurance business, represents the 41st Congressional District of Southern California, including much of San Bernardino County and a portion of Riverside County .
A member of Congress since 1978, Congressman Lewis on January 6, 2005 was named chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for funding all federal programs. He currently serves as the ranking Republican member on the full committee and all 11 subcommittees. From 1999-2005, he was chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, the panel with jurisdiction over all national security matters including the entire $416 billion Pentagon budget – nearly half of all funds appropriated by Congress. In this capacity, he was a forceful advocate of critical defense and aerospace jobs in California .
From 1994-1999, Lewis was the chairman of the VA-HUD and Independent Agencies Subcommittee, the panel responsible for funding federal housing, veterans affairs, NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Science Foundation, and other federal agencies. While heading this committee, he reduced spending on wasteful programs by $40 billion, and beefed up funding for oversight that uncovered fraud and abuse in many large housing programs.
Lewis served as Chairman of the House GOP California delegation from 1996-2001, leading California Republicans on legislative issues of importance to the Golden State. Lewis was Co-Chair of the entire delegation and worked successfully to unify California Republicans and Democrats to marshal the considerable clout of the 52-member delegation, the largest in the House of Representatives. Under his leadership, the bi-partisan delegation supported dozens of unified efforts on issues ranging from police funding to aid for the state’s agricultural industry.
Lewis has helped complete critical projects in Southern California including highway improvements along I-15 and I-40 in the high desert; a revolutionary cancer treatment center and NASA research at Loma Linda University; access road and terminal expansion at Ontario International Airport; and the construction of the Santa Ana flood control project critical to Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties. Lewis has played an instrumental role in pursuing tough federal clean air standards, fashioning effective crime and drug legislation, and securing emergency funding for earthquake, flood, fire, and drought relief for California. An innovative housing program he created with San Bernardino County has provided opportunities for more than 500 low-income families to buy renovated public housing. And he was the driving force in converting the former George and Norton Air Force Bases into successful local employment centers.
Prior to his election to Congress, Lewis served in the California State Legislature. He wrote legislation establishing the South Coast Air Quality Management District in Southern California, recognized as the leading regional air quality board in the United States . Lewis also authored the Child Development Act of 1972, which became a national model for innovative childcare programs. Additionally, he sponsored legislation placing the “Newsman’s Shield Law” in the state constitution.