Julia Brownley was first elected to Congress in 2012 to serve as the Representative for California’s 26th District, which encompasses most of Ventura County and a portion of Los Angeles County, including the cities of Ventura, Oxnard, Ojai, Santa Paula, Fillmore, Camarillo, Newbury Park, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake Village.
As her first committee assignment, Congresswoman Brownley requested to serve on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she works closely with Ventura County’s veterans community and Naval Base Ventura County, making sure we provide the services and care our servicemembers, veterans, and their families have earned and deserve. Brownley was elected as Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health, and she also serves on the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs. As Ranking Member of the Health Subcommittee, Brownley focuses on improving veterans’ access to mental and physical health care, improving services for female veterans, and helping servicemembers transition from the military to the VA health care system. One of Brownley’s signature achievements was passing her Female Veterans Suicide Prevention Act in 2016, which would require the VA to collect data on women veterans in order to identify best practices, programs, and services to curb female veteran suicide. Locally, Brownley spearheaded the expansion of the VA’s Oxnard Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, including authorization for a new, larger clinic with expanded services; increased staffing at the clinic; and held a field hearing at CSU Channel Islands to bring attention to the need to expand VA services in Ventura County, including complementary and alternative medicine. In 2017, the House Democratic Caucus selected Brownley to co-chair the Reinvesting in Our Returning Heroes Task Force, based on her ongoing leadership on veterans’ issues. She was named HillVets Legislator of the Year in 2018 and received the Blinded Veterans Association Legislative Champion Award, as well as the Health IT Now Pioneer Award for her work expanding telemedicine at the VA.
Brownley also sits on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where she serves on the Subcommittees on Aviation, Highways & Transit, and Water Resources & Environment. Since coming to Congress, Brownley has been a steadfast champion of the Port of Hueneme, Channel Islands Harbor, Ventura Harbor, and our local airports, which are significant economic hubs for our community. She has helped secure funds and resources to maintain and expand our local infrastructure, promoting job creation and revenue growth for the region. She received the Contract Tower Congressional Leadership Award for her advocacy on air traffic control issues.
Brownley has also been recognized for her leadership on healthcare issues, including being named Outstanding Federal Legislator by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, Distinguished Community Health Advocate by the National Association of Community Health Centers, and a Champion of Change by the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS). She also received the NDSS Down Syndrome Research Super Hero Award, the National Association of County Behavioral Health & Developmental Disability Directors Award for Service in Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice, and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Ojai Valley Appreciation Award.
In addition, Brownley was honored with the Women Lawyers of Ventura County Legacy Award, the Ventura County Workforce Development Board Collaborative Action Award, the Federally Employed Women Appreciation Award, the Small Business Council of America Congressional Rising Star Award, the Humane Society Humane Advocate Award, and the Sierra Club Political Leadership Award. She was also named the National Association for Bilingual Education Legislator of the Year.
Brownley began her career in public service in 1994 after deciding to run for the local school board as a way to advocate for a better education for her daughter, who had dyslexia, and other special-needs students. She won and served on the school board for three subsequent terms working to ensure that local schools provided a quality education for every student in the district. She was elected to the California State Legislature in 2006, where she served as Chairwoman of the Assembly Education Committee for four years. She also served on every educational committee in the Assembly, including the Committee on Higher Education, Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance, and the State Allocation Board.
Then-Assemblywoman Brownley was awarded numerous honors for her leadership on education and the environment. She was one of just 10 legislators in 2011 with lifetime perfect scores by the California League of Conservation Voters. Brownley received “Legislator of the Year” awards, the highest honor a legislator can receive, from the California Association for Bilingual Education, the California Council for Adult Education and California Adult Education Administrators Association, the Congress of California Seniors, the California School Boards Association, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the California Federation of Teachers, and the California League of High Schools. Brownley also received the “2010 Environmental Champions Award” from the Environmental Working Group, and was honored as one of “12 Remarkable Women” by the National Women’s Political Caucus, Los Angeles Westside in 2008 and as the “Woman of the Year” by the YWCA in 2005.
After graduating with a B.A. in political science from George Washington University and earning an M.B.A. from American University, Congresswoman Brownley worked in marketing in private industry before finding her true calling in public service. She resides in Thousand Oaks, and has two children: Fred, who graduated from UCLA Medical School and is currently doing his residency in Chicago, and Hannah, who works on poverty and HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa for an international aid organization.