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Jane Lakes Harman Banner

Congress, 1993-1998

I represent the aerospace center of the universe.

Jane Harman. Congressional campaign fliers, 1992.

Jane Harman. Congressional campaign advertisement. Defense News 8:45 (15-21 November 1993): 22.

In 1991 Harman moved back to California with her family. The next year she ran for the open congressional seat in the thirty-sixth district. She campaigned and won on a platform of "pro-choice, pro-change" against her Republican, anti-choice opponent Joan Milke Flores. With her victory, Harman also earned the distinction of being the first Smith College graduate to be elected to Congress.

Harman ran for reelection in 1994 and 1996. She beat her Republican opponent, Susan Brooks, by a narrow margin of 812 votes in 1994 and by a landslide in 1996, even though Republicans outnumbered Democrats by about 1,500 in Harman's district. Part of Harman's success was due to her high-profile appointments to the House Armed Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

A record number of women won seats in Congress in 1992, dubbed the Year of the Woman. Harman's family joined her for the swearing-in ceremony. Harman managed to keep her seat after 1994 (unlike many of her female colleagues). Harman is fiscally pragmatic and has a strong business background, a bipartisan work style, and a deep commitment to socially progressive causes - clearly the right profile for her diverse district.

Jane Harman (dressed in white) at the center of newly elected representatives to Congress, 1993.

the Harman Family with Speaker of the House, Thomas Foley, 1993.

a bill-signing ceremony, 4 August 1993.

During her first term in Congress, Harman witnessed President Clinton signing the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993. As a fiscally-conservative, socially progressive New Democrat, Harman also cosponsored the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, co-authored the Deficit Reduction Lockbox Act of 1995 that directed all budget revenues toward deficit reduction, and cosponsored the Constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.

California's thirty-sixth Congressional district is dominated by defense and aerospace industries that include Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, Hughes Electronics, Northrop Grumman, TRW, and the Aerospace Corporation. The economic growth of these large employers influenced Harman's agenda during her first three terms in office.

The first bill Harman cosponsored in the House of Representatives (H.R. 2064) proposed a tax credit for defense conversions. The bill encouraged the industrial base to use defense technologies to develop new products for commercial use. One example of an innovative dual-purpose project was the miniaturized Jaws of Life, developed using rocket technology by High-Shear Technology of El Segundo. The pneumatic tools were later used to rescue individuals trapped in the debris of the Oklahoma City federal building bombing.

Harman also cosponsored H.R. 4296, a bill to make unlawful the transfer or possession of assault weapons, among other legislation in the 103rd Congress.

Jane Harman holding a miniaturized Jaws of Life developed by High-Shear Technology in 1993. Citation on verso: Congresswoman Jane Harman Life Shear 1993 Rambo Girl. Photographer unknown.

Defense Reinvestment and High-Tech Job Creation Action of 1993, 103rd Congress, 1st session, H.R. 2064.

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