This article needs to be updated.(November 2020)
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from California's 52nd district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||Brian Bilbray|
|President of San Diego City Council|
December 2006 – December 2008
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Ben Hueso|
|Member of San Diego City Council|
from the 1st district
December 2000 – December 2008
|Preceded by||Harry Mathis|
|Succeeded by||Sherri Lightner|
|Commissioner of the California Coastal Commission|
June 2002 – July 2005
|Appointed by||Herb Wesson|
Scott Harvey Peters
June 17, 1958
Springfield, Ohio, U.S.
|Residence||La Jolla, California, U.S.|
|Education||Duke University (BA)|
New York University (JD)
Scott Harvey Peters (born June 17, 1958) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the U.S. Representative from California's 52nd congressional district since 2013. A member of the Democratic Party, his district includes both coastal and central portions of the city of San Diego, as well as the suburbs of Poway and Coronado.
Peters previously served two terms on the San Diego City Council from 2000 to 2008, and he was the first person to hold the post of President of the City Council (2006–2008). He also served as a Commissioner for the Unified Port of San Diego before becoming a member of Congress.
Early life, education, and legal career
Peters was born in 1958 in Springfield, Ohio. He was raised in Michigan. His father was a Lutheran minister and his mother was a homemaker. In an interview, Peters said that he took out student loans and participated in his school's work-study program, through which he was given jobs answering phones and cleaning pigeon cages. He received his undergraduate degree from Duke University.
He served as an economist on the staff of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), then earned a J.D. degree from the New York University School of Law. Prior to his election to the City Council, Peters worked as a deputy county counsel for San Diego County and as an attorney in private practice focusing on environmental law. He gained notability in a lawsuit against a local shipbuilder.
California government career
California Coastal Commission
In 2002, Peters was appointed to the California Coastal Commission. He served one three-year term on the Commission. A coalition of environmental groups gave his votes an environmental score of 31% in 2002, 52% in 2003 and 40% in 2004. He was "involuntarily retired" in 2005 when new State Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez did not renew his appointment.
City Council (2000–2008)
In 2000, he ran for the San Diego City Council's 1st district. In the open primary, he ranked second with 24% of the vote, qualifying for the November general election. Businesswoman Linda Davis ranked first with 32% of the vote. In the November election, Peters defeated Davis 53%-47%.
In the 2004 open primary, he came in first with 48% of the vote. Businessman Phil Thalheimer ranked second with 31% of the vote. In the November election, Peters won re-election to a second term, defeating Thalheimer 55%-45%.
In 2004, San Diego city residents voted to change the structure of city government from a council-city manager form of government to a mayor-council form of government, which made the mayor the city's chief executive officer. Serving as a member of the city council during this time, Peters was elected to chair the transition committee in charge of this project.
In 2005, Peters was elected by his fellow council members to serve as the first President of the San Diego City Council, which under the new form of government made him the chief officer of the city's newly defined legislative branch. In 2008, San Diego's mayor vetoed a 24% pay raise for the city council which Peters and four other members of the council had voted for themselves.
Peters was a member of the San Diego City Council during the San Diego pension scandal. In 2002, he voted with the majority to underfund the employee pension system. The ensuing investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission cleared Peters and the other council members of fraud, but the Kroll Report investigation called them "negligent." The city spent $7 million defending officials involved in this case, including $631,000 defending Peters. During the 2012 congressional election campaign, his Republican opponent, Brian Bilbray, made the scandal a major theme against Peters.
In 2007, Peters was criticized for excessive water use during a drought. Peters ended the year having consumed more than 1 million gallons of water for his home, which sits on a 34,848-square-foot lot near Mount Soledad, and for an adjacent landscaped parcel.
Peters cited a reduction in sewer spills and beach closure days as accomplishments during his city council tenure. He stated that the city averaged one spill per day when he was elected in 2000, but that, during his terms in office, the incidence of such spills fell by 80%. He was involved in the push to ban alcohol from the city's beaches, as well as to ban smoking from public beaches and parks.
2008 City Attorney election
Having reached the end of his eight-year term limit on the city council, Peters ran for San Diego City Attorney in the 2008 election, challenging incumbent City Attorney Mike Aguirre. In the open primary, state legislator Jan Goldsmith ranked first with 32% of the vote. The incumbent ranked second with 29% of the vote, qualifying for the runoff election. Peters ranked third with 20% of the vote and did not advance to the November runoff. He later served as deputy county counsel for the County of San Diego.
Port Commission (2009–2012)
Peters was a port commissioner from 2009 through 2012, serving as chair of the Port Commission in 2011. He was sworn in as a commissioner in January 2009, after having been appointed by the San Diego City Council. He represented the City of San Diego on the Port Commission, making decisions regarding the uses of San Diego Bay and its adjacent waterfront land.
Peters was chosen by his fellow commissioners to serve as chair of the board of commissioners for 2011. In January 2011, he said one of his top priorities was to have the South Bay Power Plant in Chula Vista decommissioned to make room for better use. In the year Peters served as chair, the board of commissioners reached a deal with the former operator of the plant for its demolition. The Port also conducted community outreach over a period of six months to gather ideas for improving San Diego's waterfront "front porch" between the airport and Seaport Village.
U.S. House of Representatives (2013–present)
Peters ran for the newly redrawn 52nd district in 2012. The district had previously been the 50th district, represented by Republican incumbent Brian Bilbray. In the open primary, Bilbray ranked first with 41% of the vote. Peters ranked second with 23% of the vote, qualifying for the November general election ballot. He narrowly edged out State Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, a fellow Democrat, who earned 22% of the vote. The other candidates all received single-digit percentages. During the primary, Peters received the endorsement of retiring congressman Bob Filner of the neighboring 51st district. On election night the vote was too close to call, but Peters' small lead increased each day as more absentee, vote-by-mail, and provisional ballots were processed. On November 16, Bilbray conceded the race to Peters. Peters officially defeated Bilbray 51%-49%, a difference of 6,956 votes. He became the first Democrat to represent what is now the 52nd since 1991, when Jim Bates was unseated in what was then the 44th district (it was renumbered as the 51st in 1993 and as the 50th in 2003).
In the June 2014 primary, Peters was opposed by three Republicans. Peters was the top vote getter in the primary with 42%. Under California's "top two" primary system, he faced the second-place finisher, former city councilman Carl DeMaio, in the November general election. Peters was a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Frontline Program. The program is designed to help protect vulnerable Democratic candidates. In August, Peters was endorsed for re-election by the United States Chamber of Commerce, a relatively rare action by the Chamber of Commerce, which usually endorses Republicans.
In a poll conducted by SurveyUSA for U-T San Diego and 10News during September 11–15, 2014, DeMaio and Peters were in a virtual dead heat with Peters polling at 47% and DeMaio at 46%. The same poll taken October 2–6 was again described as a dead heat, with DeMaio showing a 3-point lead over Peters - within the margin of error. An earlier Survey USA poll showed Peters leading by one point.
On election night the result was too close to call, with DeMaio ahead by 751 votes. Over the next few days Peters pulled into the lead. By Friday, Peters had a lead of 4,491 votes, and the Associated Press called the election for Peters. The final result was Peters 51.59% and DeMaio 48.41%.
Peters was re-elected in 2016 with 56.5% of the vote, handily defeating Republican Denise Gitsham.
Peters was re-elected in 2018 with 63.8% of the vote, easily defeating Republican Omar Qudrat.
Peters was re-elected in 2020 with 61.6% of the vote, easily defeating Republican Jim DeBello.
Peters signed on to support the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in early 2013. In April of that year, he voted for the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, a bill that would allow federal intelligence agencies to share cybersecurity intelligence and information with private entities and utilities. Peters co-sponsored the BREATHE Act in March 2013. In May, Peters voted against repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). That same year, he co-sponsored the Student Non-Discrimination Act. In October 2013, Peters was one of nine Democratic co-sponsors of HR3425, an unsuccessful proposal which would have delayed any penalties under the PPACA until four months after the program's website is fully functional. As of late 2013, Peters had voted the same way as Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner on 9 out of the 16 times that Boehner has chosen to cast a vote. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says Peters voted with the Chamber position on key bills 69% of the time.
Peters co-sponsored the Safe Drinking Water Act Improved Compliance Awareness Act which would have required lead in drinking water to be reported to the public. In June 2016, Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives staged a sit-in on the House floor to protest the lack of a vote on gun control. The Speaker pro tem, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), declared the House was in recess, and subsequently the House video feed to C-SPAN was shut off. However, after a brief interruption, C-SPAN was able to broadcast the sit-in because Peters streamed the activity using his Periscope account. That same month, June, Peters voted in support of the DARK Act.
2013–2014 113th session of Congress
- Committee on Armed Services
- Committee on Science, Space and Technology
2015–2016 114th session of Congress
- Committee on Armed Services
- United States House Judiciary Committee
2017–2018 115th session of Congress
- Committee on Energy and Commerce
- Subcommittee on Energy
- Subcommittee on Environment
- Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
- Committee on Veterans' Affairs
- Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
- Subcommittee on Technology Modernization
2019–2020 116th session of Congress
- Committee on Energy and Commerce
- Subcommittee on Energy
- Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
- Committee on the Budget
2021–2022 117th session of Congress
- Committee on Energy and Commerce
- Committee on Small Business
- House Democratic Caucus
- New Democrat Coalition
- Problem Solvers Caucus
- Congressional Arts Caucus
- Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus
- United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus
- Climate Solutions Caucus
- U.S.-Japan Caucus
- Women's rights
Peters supports efforts to decarbonize the economy to become net-zero carbon, including charging for carbon expenditures, to fight climate change. He also wants to regulate methane, hydrofluorocarbons and black carbon, which he believes contribute to climate change. Peters also wants to see the auto industry transition towards electric vehicles.
He did not sign in support of the Green New Deal resolution, the only member of San Diego's congressional delegation to not sign it. Peters rationale for not signing the resolution stemmed from its lack of bipartisan support and that the resolution includes demands including free college education, which he does not consider a part of the climate change problem.
In 2014, Peters said he would prefer that Congress develop a strategy to deal with climate change, but that in lieu of congressional action, he would support President Obama's moves toward bypassing Congress and looking for an international climate change deal.
In 2019, Peters sponsored the bipartisan Super Pollutants Act, which - according to a press release from his office - "aims to slow climate change by regulating black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons, and methane–some of the most potent greenhouse gases. These short-lived climate pollutants, also called super pollutants, are significantly more potent than carbon dioxide."
Peters acknowledges that wildfires have increased due to climate change. He considers wildfires, and natural disasters, high priority in his district. He has sponsored legislation to ensure transparency regarding government spending regarding disaster responses. He also has supported the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act to fund wildfire suppression and prevention efforts.
Peters calls the Trump administration's response to COVID-19 "abysmal" and that "other countries look on with a mixture of horror and pity for how this has gone for us.” He pushed to oppose a patent waiver which would allow developing nations to create their own vaccines.
Energy and oil
- Voting rights
Peters opposes photo IDs being required to vote. He supports automatic voter registration for eligible voters and election day being a federal holiday.
Peters supports background check requirements for every firearm sale and transfer.
As of September 14th 2021, Peters is part of a trio of House Democrats in the Energy committee that oppose allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices in all cases. 
Peters considers housing and homelessness top concerns in his district. He supports affordable housing and building dense housing near transit, with the goal of encouraging more homes being built while improving transit infrastructure.
He supports the DREAM Act and creating paths to citizenship for long-time immigrant residents of the United States. He also opposes the Trump administration family separation policy. Peters co-sponsored the Providing Justice for Asylum Seekers Act to make it easier for immigration judges to reschedule cases to avoid automatic deportation of individuals seeking asylum.
Peters has led efforts to improve infrastructure at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. He has also encouraged the building of new Navy ships based in San Diego. He also supports a new Navy Seals training facility in the San Diego area.
Relations of the United States and Mexico
He considers the border relations between San Diego and Mexico one of the top priorities of his district. Peters opposes the Trump wall and supports the USMCA. He has led efforts to upgrade the San Ysidro Port of Entry to reduce border waits. He also supports modernizing border security.
Peters lives with his family in La Jolla. He and his wife, Lynn E. Gorguze, have a daughter and a son. Lynn is president and CEO of Cameron Holdings, and his family has a net worth of $112 million. As of 2014, Peters was the sixth wealthiest member of Congress.
|Republican||Brian Bilbray (incumbent)||144,495||48.8|
|Democratic gain from Republican|
|Democratic||Scott Peters (incumbent)||98,826||51.6|
|Democratic||Scott Peters (incumbent)||181,253||56.5|
|Democratic||Scott Peters (incumbent)||188,992||63.8|
|Democratic||Scott Peters (incumbent)||244,145||61.6|
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- 2018 election results
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Scott Peters.|
- Congressman Scott Peters official U.S. House website
- Scott Peters for Congress
- Scott Peters at Curlie