Meet Darrell Issa


Darrell and His Wife, Kathy
Darrell and His Wife, Kathy

Congressman Darrell Issa currently serves on the House Judiciary Committee, where he is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet. He also serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Previously, Issa served as Chairman of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, and as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Energy & Commerce Committee, and the Small Business Committee. As the holder of 37 patents himself, Issa has been vigilant about protecting the intellectual property rights of artists and other entrepreneurs to help protect America’s position at the forefront of innovation and creativity in the entertainment and technology industries.

Highlighted as one of the ten most effective legislators in the House of Representatives in a study by professors from the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University, some of Issa’s most recent legislative initiatives focus on protecting consumers, government transparency, and cracking down on corporate abuses of visa worker programs. His successful efforts to fight human trafficking in San Diego County led to tougher laws, stiffer penalties, and more consistent enforcement by federal prosecutors. Other congressional oversight efforts led by Issa during both Republican and Democrat administrations resulted in significant reforms to stop waste and abuse at agencies including the Minerals Management Service, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and the Internal Revenue Service. As a principled leader, he voted against the 2008 bailout of Wall Street banks during the Bush Administration and supports efforts to balance the federal budget by curbing government spending.

As a leader in California grassroots politics, Issa is perhaps best known as the architect behind the successful popular uprising to recall former Democratic California Governor Gray Davis.

During his senior year of high school, Issa enlisted in the United States Army. Through his Army service, he received an ROTC scholarship and graduated with a degree in business from Sienna Heights University in Adrian, Michigan. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as an Army officer, and ultimately obtained the rank of captain. He completed his active-duty military service in 1980 and turned his interests to the private sector.

At the height of his career in business, Issa served as CEO of California-based Directed Electronics, a company that he built from humble origins to become the nation’s largest manufacturer of vehicle anti-theft devices, including the highly-successful Viper system. In 1994, Inc. Magazine, Ernst & Young and The San Diego Union Tribune presented Issa with the Entrepreneur of the Year award. During his leadership of Directed Electronics, he served as chairman of the Consumer Electronics Association (today known as the Consumer Technology Association), an organization of 2000 companies within the consumer technology industry that hosts the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. When he stepped down as CEO to serve as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Directed Electronics employed nearly 200 people.

Congressman Darrell Issa represents the people of California’s 49th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives, a seat he has held since 2001. The 49th District includes Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Fallbrook, Vista, the northern coastal portions of San Diego County, and southern Orange County. Congressman Issa and his wife Kathy live in Vista. They have one son, William, and celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary in 2015.