Mark Takano represents the people of Riverside, Moreno Valley, Jurupa Valley and Perris in the United States House of Representatives. He serves as Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and as a member of the Education and Labor Committee.
Born and raised in Riverside, Mark's commitment to public service began at an early age. His family roots in Riverside go back to his grandparents who, along with his parents, were removed from their respective homes and sent to Japanese American Internment camps during World War II. After the war, these two families settled in Riverside County to rebuild their lives. Mark attended La Sierra High School in the Alvord Unified School District, and in 1979 he graduated as the school's valedictorian. Mark was introduced to JSA in 1976. He went to event at a high school across town hosted by a chapter there that featured Steve Ford, Gerald Ford’s son. He later formed a chapter at La Sierra High School in 1977 and attended JSA Summer school at UC Davis the following year. Mark served as Lt. Governor in what was then the California Junior State and would preside over a constitutional convention that would rename the organization The Junior Statesmen of America.
Mark attended Harvard College and received his bachelor's degree in Government in 1983. Upon graduation, Mark returned home to Riverside and began teaching in the Rialto Unified School District in 1988. In 1990, Mark was elected to the Riverside Community College District's Board of Trustees. At RCC, Mark worked with Republicans and Democrats to improve higher education for young people and job training opportunities for adults seeking to learn a new skill or start a new career. He was elected Board President in 1991 and helped the Board and the District gain stability and direction amid serious fiscal challenges. In 2012, Mark became the first openly gay person of color to be elected to Congress.