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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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United States

U.S. House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 53

Photo of Janessa Goldbeck

Janessa Goldbeck

Businesswoman/USMC Captain
17,041 votes (8.5%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Women's & LGBTQ+ Rights
  • Campaign Finance Reform & Strengthening Democracy
  • Tackling the Climate Crisis



Profession:USMC Captain, Businesswoman, Activist
Small Business Owner, Sui Generis (2017–current)
Marine Officer, United States Marine Corps (2012–2019)
Spokesperson- Make US Strong Campaign, Truman National Security Project (2012–2012)
Field Director, Genocide Intervention Network (2007–2011)
STAND National Organizing Director, STAND: The Student-led Movement to End Mass Atrocities (2006–2007)


University of San Francisco Masters of Arts in Public Leadership (current)
United State Marine Corps Marine Corps Civil-Military Operations Course, Honor graduate of tactical Civil-Military Operations (2015)
United States Marine Corps Combat Engineer Officer Course, Earned certifications to supervise expeditionary engineering projects. (2014)
Northwestern University B.S., Journalism (2007)
School For International Training Certificate in Sustainable Development, Sustainable Development in Kampala, Uganda (2005)

Community Activities

Club 33 Member - Downtown San Diego, Rotary International (2018–current)
Co-Founder - San Diego Chapter, Truman National Security Project (2015–current)
Board Member, Women's Museum of California (2017–2019)


Janessa Goldbeck is a USMC veteran and a businesswoman with extensive experience on Capitol Hill. Janessa is currently running for Congress in California's 53rd district to fight for bold, progressive solutions that make a difference in the lives of San Diegans, and to restore a sense of pride - rooted in our values - to Washington.  Janessa was born and raised in San Diego County and has built her career around creating a safer and more equitable world for all.  Janessa started her career in Washington, DC, working as an advocate for human rights in Darfur, Sudan.  During her time in D.C., Janessa passed multiple pieces of federal legislation to stop and prevent genocide and mass atrocity in places like Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Myanmar. In 2012, Janessa was recognized by Diplomatic Courier magazine as one of the “Top 99 Foreign Policy Professionals Under 33.”

In 2011, when Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed, Janessa, an out, LGBTQ woman knew it was time to do something she'd always dreamed of: join the Marine Corps and serve her country. Janessa was trained as a Combat Engineer officer and deployed to Eastern Europe, leading troops alongside our NATO allies.  During her time in the Marines, Janessa earned the rank of Captain, a black belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, and was twice awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.  Janessa also served as a Uniformed Victim Advocate, providing essential support and care to Marines who had experienced sexual assault.


During her initial training, upon learning that there were certain roles in the armed forces from which women were still excluded, Janessa decided to do something about it.  First, she volunteered to go to the all-male Infantry Officers Course, in order to show that women were just as capable as men in these roles.  Afterward, she co-founded the "No Exceptions" advocacy campaign to influence Congress and the Department of Defense to repeal the Combat Exclusion Policy and open all combat roles to women. The "No Exceptions" campaign was instrumental in the repeal of the policy in 2015. All military combat jobs are now open to women, and women have since successfully graduated from the Marine Corps' Infantry Officers Course and Basic Recon courses.


When Janessa's mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s Disease, Janessa requested orders to return to her hometown so that she could care for her mom. Once back in San Diego, Janessa co-founded the San Diego chapter of the Truman National Security Project - a progressive "think-do" tank for national security professionals, and started a small business to help non-profit organizations advocate for bold, progressive change in Washington. Over the last two years, her firm was instrumental in an effort to mobilize veterans to advocate on behalf of bold conservation legislation that protected 1.3 million acres of new wilderness and created six new national parks. The bipartisan bill passed both the House and the Senate and was signed into law by President Trump.


Janessa is a fighter - she's unafraid to take action and stand up for what she believes in.  She believes that with grit, imagination, and a willingness to work together, we can do big things. She is running for Congress in California's 53rd district to serve her country in a new capacity by listening to the people in her community and fighting for actionable solutions that make a difference to San Diegans.

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (3)

What financing method(s) would you support to repair or improve roads, rails, ports, airports, the electrical grid, and other infrastructure in the U.S.?
Answer from Janessa Goldbeck:

It is time for the federal government to reorient transportation infrastructure spending to focus on creating robust transit networks within (and connecting) major cities. Federal/state/and regional transportation infrastructure spending can account for potential future technologies (like automated vehicles), but should never neglect current proven solutions (like light rail, commuter rail, Bus Rapid Transit, and active transportation). Spending must prioritize projects that meaningfully reduce demand for driving so that we can achieve rapid greenhouse gas emission reductions.

Climate change is the greatest national security and public health threat we face as a country, and tackling the climate crisis must be a top national priority. Janessa knows that in order to make meaningful change, we must implement a whole of government approach to ensure that all federal spending and research is tied to meeting our climate goals - to include building a 100% clean energy economy by 2050.

We have a dwindling window to act to protect the future of our planet for the next generation, and Janessa will take bold, decisive action to take on polluters and substantially increase federal resources to clean energy research and development. Here in San Diego, we know all too well the dangers of wildfires and rising sea levels, which is why Janessa will take the lead on ensuring that the federal government prioritizes climate resilience planning missions in every town and city across our country.

Janessa has a track record of working across the aisle on Capitol Hill to protect the environment. Earlier this year, she was instrumental in an effort to pass federal legislation that created 1.3 million acres of new protected wilderness, six new national park service units, and permanently reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund, America’s most successful conservation program. Despite the tumult in Washington, the bill passed the House and the Senate and was signed into law.


  • Support Congressman Peters' Build More Housing Near Transit Act, which tethers federal transit funding to local efforts to promote and build housing near major transit routes.
  • Support the continued funding of the California High Speed Rail project.   
  • Author legislation mandating the Department of Defense, which burns 350,000 barrels of oil a day, convert to carbon neutrality and develop a DOD-wide climate action plan to convert the single biggest user of carbon fuels to be the world’s leader in reducing carbon footprint.  
  • Support the creation of federal programs that mirror California’s leadership on national CAFE standards, clean electricity standards, and the goal of a 100% clean energy economy by 2050.
  • Support substantial funding increases in federal clean energy research and development, development and deployment of resilient infrastructure, federal incentives for local carbon reduction plans, and full funding for maintenance and upkeep of our public lands.
  • Ensure that the federal government leads climate resilience planning missions in every town and city across our country.
What programs or legislation, if any, would you support to help Americans of all ages to secure affordable health care?
Answer from Janessa Goldbeck:

Getting access to health care is too expensive, complicated, and frustrating. Janessa knows this firsthand - as the primary caregiver to her mom, who has Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s Disease, Janessa has lived the experience of far too many San Diegans and millions of Americans. On top of that, the price of prescription drugs and long-term care keeps rising. This is a national crisis that deserves immediate action from Congress.

Janessa believes in universal health care, including reproductive health care, long-term care, and mental health coverage, so that everyone has the freedom to start a family or a business, care for aging family members, or follow their passions without fear of being financially ruined by getting sick. This requires an approach that isn’t rooted in ideological arguments but is focused on helping people. Period.

Americans pay more for prescription drugs than any other industrialized nation in the world - and that’s unacceptable. It’s time to cut out-of-pocket drug spending for seniors on Medicare, cap out-of-pocket drug spending for anyone who opts-in to Medicare, and eliminate co-pays for all generic medicines for low-income Americans on a public plan.


  • Support Medicare for all who want it. This would make a Medicare-type public option available on the exchange and invite people to buy into it, achieving universal coverage while putting every American in charge of their health care choices by allowing those who like their employer-provided healthcare to keep it.
  • Champion legislation to build a fairer system that allows the federal government to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies to make drugs more affordable for everyone, hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for price gouging, and penalize companies that raise prices more than inflation.
  • Support investments in research and new technology in order to make our healthcare options more tuned to the 21st Century. This means making sure that the public option is built on biometric data, personalized genomics, and web and telephone-based care. All Americans deserve to have personalized care, with medicine tailored to their individual needs. In the end, these investments will lower costs for everyone and increase the quality of care.
Describe an immigration policy that you would support if presented to the House of Representatives.
Answer from Janessa Goldbeck:

As a Marine Combat Engineer, Janessa experienced first-hand the destructive force of militarizing the US border when her friends and colleagues were haphazardly sent to San Diego’s border as part of the Trump administration’s PR “Caravan” stunt. This shameful misuse of the US military and the administration’s policies of cutting off aid, denying amnesty. Separating families, and conducting raids on peaceful San Diego communities continue to be a stain on the promise of America.

A holistic, comprehensive immigration plan is needed to address 21st Century challenges, not a wall or ICE raids in our neighborhoods. Tearing kids away from their parents, indefinite detentions, and arbitrary deportation policies all must stop. Human dignity isn’t a partisan issue.


  • End the family separation crisis and evaluate ICE and CBP practices to ensure similar humanitarian crises never happen again.
  • Champion legislation that protects asylum seekers, allows undocumented residents like DREAMers the ability to come out of the shadows with a serious amnesty plan and path to citizenship, creates more efficient and safe border crossings for San Diego businesses and workers, expands new technology for the border patrol, and reforms the legal immigration lottery system.
  • Fight for a firm, bright line between local law enforcement operations and federal immigration enforcement, implementing California’s protections for undocumented families at the federal level.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $322,017

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

Janessa Goldbeck
Employees of United States Department of Defense
Employees of Google

More information about contributions

By State:

California 64.70%
New York 7.65%
District of Columbia 7.28%
Virginia 4.56%
Other 15.82%

By Size:

Large contributions (71.89%)
Small contributions (28.11%)

By Type:

From organizations (7.18%)
From individuals (92.82%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Success means a positive forward motion. Not every endeavor will have the outcome that you want or expect. But I am a strong believer in “failing forward” – if you set the bar high enough, even if you fail to meet your goal, you will still achieve positive forward motion. True failure is the absence of trying.

Position Papers

Long-Term Care

It’s Time for a National Conversation About Long-Term Care for Seniors

Several years ago, my mom received news that changed our lives forever — she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. When her condition began to rapidly deteriorate, I requested a change in orders from the Marine Corps and returned home to San Diego to take care of her. At only 65, she made the decision to move into an assisted living facility. She will require long-term care for the rest of her life. 

My mom is a retired public school teacher and we are fortunate that between her disability pension and our savings, we can afford her care. But many San Diegans do not have these options. Today, 42% of the San Diego senior population does not have enough income to meet basic needs, as measured by the California Elder Economic Security Standard Index, let alone the cost of long-term care. By 2050, more than 13 million Americans will be living with Alzheimer’s Disease, creating a crisis within a crisis.

recently released report from the San Diego Seniors Community Foundation found that San Diego’s senior centers are understaffed, underfunded, and ill-equipped to meet the needs of the region’s growing senior population. Unfortunately, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to San Diego’s looming senior crisis.

In the next ten years, one in four San Diegans will be seniors — more than 1.2 million people. Nationally, 20 percent of the U.S. population will be 65 or older by the year 2030. And more than half of all seniors — tens of millions of Americans — will require long-term care. 

Long-term care refers to a range of health-related services that support individuals who have escalating needs, from assistance with bathing to medication management. Currently, the vast majority of long-term care is provided by family or friends who provide unpaid support. Other options for long-term care are residential care communities, nursing homes, and home health agencies. Most of these providers are for-profit institutions.

Today, the cost of long-term care in San Diego can range from $1,500 to more than $10,000 per month. Some adult day health centers are publicly funded, but they are often overcrowded and offer limited services. Medicare and private health insurance do not cover most of the costs of long-term care. To qualify for long-term care through Medi-Cal, an individual must meet poverty criteria, which requires seniors to spend down nearly all of their savings before receiving care.

At a time when reforming our national health care system is top of mind, the impending crisis regarding the lack of affordable long-term care has not yet been made a priority. An urgent, nuanced conversation about how to provide quality long-term care for those who need it is well past due.

It’s time for Congress to step up and do something. We can start by expanding Medicare and Medicaid coverage to ensure that it includes long-term care. And while we must ensure that everyone has access to affordable health coverage, caring for our aging population should not just be a facet of the health care debate.

The local senior population stands to double in the next decade, and with rents on the rise and affordable housing in critically short supply, the number of unsheltered seniors is also expected to rise dramatically. This is unacceptable. Congress must make historic federal investments to increase the availability of affordable and supportive housing for seniors nationwide.

Congress should also provide tax breaks or vouchers to support families who choose to take care of their loved ones at home, providing a benefit to caregivers who today are mostly unpaid. An estimated 75 percent of unpaid caregivers in the United States are women, and more than a quarter of them are forced to reduce their work hours or give up their jobs entirely, impacting their current and future financial stability.

No American should have to worry about what will happen to them in old age or if they become seriously ill, or how they will afford long-term care for a loved one. It’s time for us to recognize and prioritize the impending long-term care crisis. Let’s have that conversation here in San Diego before it’s too late.

Videos (3)

— January 15, 2020 Janessa Goldbeck for Congress

This President has brought us to the brink of a disastrous, misguided war with Iran. Americans are less safe and the risk of conflict in the region is higher than ever. My siblings in uniform deserve more than erratic foreign policy decisions made without Congressional oversight. In San Diego and across the country, Americans have taken to the streets to make their message clear - No war with Iran. Now, more than ever, we need leaders in Congress who will join them in standing up to this Administration and call for an end to endless war.

— January 15, 2020 Janessa Goldbeck for Congress

Donald Trump has used the Presidency to punish his enemies, reward his friends, and enrich himself at the expense of the American people. No one is above the law, not even a wealthy politician. If we’re going to take on this administration and fight for our shared progressive values, it’s going to take everyone stepping up and joining the fight! With grit, imagination and a willingness to work together, we can do big things.

— January 16, 2020 Janessa Goldbeck for Congress

As you can see in the video, Janessa is the candidate in the field ready to hit the ground running on Day 1 with the courage to lead on the important issues. She's a proven leader who will fight for the issues important to San Diego and the nation.

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