Xavier Becerra Biography

(25th United States Secretary of Health and Human Services)

Birthday: January 26, 1958 (Aquarius)

Born In: Sacramento, California, United States

American lawyer and Democratic politician Xavier Becerra has been serving as the 25th US Secretary of Health and Human Services since March 2021 and is the first Latino to serve in the position. Becerra has previously been the Attorney General of California. Becerra has also served as a member of the US House of Representatives, representing the 30th, 31st, and 34th districts of California. A Stanford University and Stanford Law School alumnus, Becerra initially worked as a lawyer and then served as an administrative assistant for state senator Art Torres. In 1990, he took over as a Member of the California State Assembly from the 59th district, beginning his political journey. He has also been part of the Ways and Means Committee. His prime focus has been on laws related to public health. He has fought to save the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and has ensured affordable healthcare for senior citizens, low-income groups, women, and people of all races.

Quick Facts

Age: 65 Years, 65 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Carolina Reyes

father: Manuel Becerra

mother: Maria Becerra

children: Clarisa Reyes, Natalia Reyes, Olivia Reyes

Born Country: United States

Political Leaders American Men

U.S. State: California

More Facts

education: Stanford University, University Of Salamanca

Early Life & Career

Xavier Becerra was born on January 26, 1958, in Sacramento, California, US, to Mexican-origin working-class parents Maria Teresa and Manuel Guerrero Becerra. While his father was born in the US, his mother was from Mexico.

His father initially worked as a day laborer and then as a construction worker. Becerra grew up in a one-room apartment along with his three sisters. He initially attended the C.K. McClatchy High School, in Sacramento, from where he graduated in 1976.

From 1978 to 1979, Becerra studied at the University of Salamanca in Spain. In 1980, he obtained his BA degree in economics from Stanford University, becoming the first from his family to graduate college.

In 1984, Becerra earned his JD from Stanford Law School. The following year, he was admitted to the California state bar and started his legal practice.

In 1986, he began working for State Senator Art Torres as his Los Angeles administrative assistant. From 1987 to 1990, Becerra served the Office of the Attorney General of California as the Deputy Attorney General.

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Political Career

In December 1990, Xavier Becerra took over as a Member of the California State Assembly from the 59th district. In 1992, he won the election to the US House of Representatives, supported by Edward Roybal, his predecessor, who had retired after serving the Congress for 30 years.

Becerra won with 58% of the total votes. Thus, from 1993 to 2003, Becerra represented California's 30th Congressional District in the US House of Representatives. In the 1994 elections, Becerra was re-elected with 66 % of the total votes. From 2003 to 2013, he represented California's 31st Congressional District.

From 2013 to 2017, Becerra served as a Member of the US House, representing California's 34th Congressional District. In his capacity as a Congressman, he has supported social welfare legislation, especially laws associated with health-care issues.

He also worked as a superdelegate of the 2016 Democratic National Convention. One of 75 superdelegates from California, Becerra supported Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

From 2017 to 2021, he served as the 33rd Attorney General of California, after being appointed by California governor Jerry Brown. In December 2020, the Biden Transition declared that they would nominate Becerra for the position of the US Secretary of Health and Human Services.

In February 2021, both the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and the Senate Finance Committee held confirmation hearings for Becerra. The Senate Finance Committee initially issued an unfavorable report on Becerra's nomination because of a tie vote of 14-14. However, the Senate eventually confirmed Becerra in March, 2021, by a vote of 50-49.

Thus, in 2021, Xavier Becerra was named the 25th US Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and thus scripted history as the first Latino to hold the office. Becerra assumed his duties on March 19, 2021, and his term ends on January 20, 2025.

Throughout his political career to date, he has been known for supporting civil rights. In the 103rd Congress, Becerra initiated a bill suggesting the creation of an independent civil commission for investigating civil rights violations on the US-Mexico border.

Becerra has also been a marked supporter of educational reforms and has worked to reduce the number of high-school dropouts. He has previously been part of committees on Education and Labor, Judiciary, and Science, Space and Technology.

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He has supported campaign spending caps and has focused on immigration issues. In 1994, Becerra was part of a delegation sent to El Salvador to observe their elections.

He is also first Latino to be part of the Committee on Ways and Means and has chaired his party's caucus. He has also served as a Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security and as a Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Health.

As part of the Ways and Means Committee, Becerra has introduced legislation such as the 2007 Medicare Savings Programs Improvement Act. The act increased cost-sharing subsidies for low-income senior citizens who avail of both Medicare and Medicaid benefits, by increasing the resources they were eligible to receive.

He also supported the 2008 Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act, which required physicians performing imaging to be accredited and trained for better patient safety. Becerra also co-sponsored the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, which aligned with Medicare and lowered senior health costs.

As the Attorney General of California, Xavier Becerra promoted competition by countering various pharmaceutical companies that restricted competition. He also made such companies accountable for violations of laws regarding protection of the health and information of patients.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, he secured major safety precautions for frontline health care workers' rights. He also fought fraudsters tried taking advantage of people during the COVID-19 pandemic. He countered Medicare and Medicaid fraud, too.

Becerra combated the opioid crisis, made drug makers accountable, and won a $575 million antitrust settlement against one of California’s biggest health systems. He also fought a 3-year federal court battle to save the ACA and the benefits of about 133 million US citizens with pre-existing conditions.

Personal Life

Xavier Becerra is married to physician Carolina Reyes. A perinatologist (an obstetrician with expertise in high-risk pregnancy care), Reyes is a Stanford and Harvard Medical School alumna.

It is believed that Becerra had met Reyes at Stanford. Reyes has previously been part of the National Academy of Medicine and the board of directors of the California Health Care Foundation.

Reyes has also worked for equal access to healthcare for low-income people, women, and people of all races. The couple are parents to three daughters: Clarisa, Olivia, and Natalia.

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