BioNow in his tenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez has established himself as an effective legislator and energetic spokesman on behalf of his constituents in Illinois' Fourth District in the heart of Chicago. At the same time, Gutierrez' tireless leadership championing the causes of the Latino and immigrant communities has led to greater responsibilities within the U.S. Congress and has earned him widespread acclaim throughout the country.
As the first Latino to be elected to Congress from the Midwest, Gutierrez sought opportunities to address long-standing needs facing Latinos and immigrants in his diverse Congressional district, which is home to large and established communities of immigrants from Eastern Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere.
On the national level, there is no elected official more committed or more passionate about protecting and advocating for our nation's immigrant community than Rep. Gutierrez. He has been at the forefront of the effort to pass historic, bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation and helped guide the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act to passage in the House of Representatives in 2010. In 2009, he led a multi-city tour to raise the visibility of the toll of mass deportations on immigrant families and communities. The Familias Unidas/Families United tour helped reenergize the fight for immigration reform during the first half of President Obama's first term. He also worked closely with the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts to craft a bipartisan immigration reform package with Senate and House counterparts in the Republican Party, their work became the centerpiece of the national immigration debate.
Because of the Congressman's outstanding work on immigration issues, he was appointed Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force and has previously served as Chair of the Democratic Caucus Immigration Task Force. He is the Democratic Party's leading strategist and spokesperson on immigration issues. During the 110th and 111th Congress, he served as a Member of the Judiciary Committee's Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law Subcommittee.
Rep. Gutierrez is also a Member of the Financial Services Committee and currently serves as Ranking Democratic Member on the Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing, and Community Opportunity. The subcommittee oversees a broad swath of policies related to the insurance industry, home ownership, and strategic investments in the health of neighborhoods and communities across the country. During his tenure as Chair of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit in the 110 and 111th Congress, Rep. Gutierrez played a critical role fighting for consumer protections and defending oversight provisions in the successful effort to pass the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Bill. His input was instrumental in the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Among his other important contributions to the final bill were new transparency and fee regulations governing the sending of remittances internationally. Rep. Gutierrez has also spearheaded efforts to bring more minorities into the banking system and has played a prominent role in cracking down on predatory lenders, including flagrant abuses in payday lending to the military. An amendment offered by Congressman Gutierrez in the Financial Services Committee to cap the interest on payday loans made to military families and provide them with other basic protections against abusive lenders, was signed into law in 2006.
In 2011, Rep. Gutierrez was appointed to the prestigious House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
As a former member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, Rep. Gutierrez took the lead in calling for greater funding for Veterans health research and his hard work was instrumental in securing $92 million additional dollars for medical research, including tens of millions of dollars for prosthetics programs. While serving on the V.A. Committee, Gutierrez became the champion of victims of sexual trauma by winning passage of legislative language to provide counsel and treat veterans for sexual trauma. He continues to be a strong advocate for ensuring that Illinois veterans receive ample health benefits for their service. Gutierrez also led the fight to help Veterans affected by Agent Orange and his efforts resulted in the broadening of the eligibility and benefits now extended to those exposed to high levels of radiation during their tour of duty. Recently, he has championed the cause of military families and dependents facing separation or deportation because of America's inadequate and inflexible immigration laws.
Gutierrez was born in Chicago on December 10, 1953 and later moved to Puerto Rico, his parent's birthplace, before returning to Chicago to attend college. He graduated from Northeastern Illinois University in 1977 with a degree in English and worked as a teacher, social worker, cab driver, community activist, and city official until his election in 1986 as Alderman from the city's 26th ward. In the Chicago City Council, he led the fight for affordable housing, tougher ethics rules, and a law to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and was a key lieutenant in Mayor Harold Washington's progressive multi-ethnic coalition. Rep. Gutierrez and his wife Soraida have two daughters, Omaira and Jessica, and a grandson, Luisito.