League of Women Voters announces candidate forum to include Senate, Assembly and Congress

The League of Women Voters is hosting a candidate forum that includes those running for state senate, state assembly and congress in multiple districts

TULARE COUNTY – The League of Women Voters is hosting a candidate forum that will include all those running for state senate, state assembly and congress in local districts at the Tulare County Office of Education.

“Our mission is to defend democracy and empower voters and empower people,” Donna MeKeel, Tulare County League of Women Voters president said. “So this fits right in with what we try to do. Our whole purpose is to educate, to give people the information they need to make an informed decision at the polls, and to get registered but just to get them excited about their democratic process.”

On May 12, doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and will begin 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at the Tulare County Office of Education building, located at 6200 S. Mooney Blvd, Visalia, CA 93277. All candidates who have filed with the county election office to run in the upcoming primary elections have been invited to attend the forum. This includes candidates for state Senate in districts 12 and 16, state Assembly in district 33, and Congress in districts 20, 21 and 22. Mekeel said they will have a final number of candidates after April 26. 

There will be Spanish language interpretation services provided as well as complimentary tacos provided by Dolores Huerta Foundation. The event will also be live streamed by The Dolores Huerta Foundation, “So if people can’t come, they can still watch it, if not that night, then another night,”Mekeel said. 

California State Senate

District 12
Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield): Grove currently holds a senate seat which represents portions of Kern, Tulare and San Bernardino counties. Her redrawn district will cover parts of Fresno, Three Rivers, Exeter, half of Visalia, Goshen and the Tule Indian Reservation. She was elected to the Senate in November of 2018 and in 2019, she was elected Leader of the Senate Republican Caucus where she served for two years.

Susanne Gundy (Democrat): Gundy is a retired program manager. According to Gundy’s facebook page, she wants to give running in the heavily Republican district a shot. She claims that Grove has done nothing significant to address the drastic water quantity and quality problems. 

David Shepard (Republican): Shepard is a fourth generation central valley farmer. According to Shepard’s website, he is concerned about the direction of the state.  Shepard wants to stand up for the American dream and stop politicians from destroying communities by cutting off water supply, releasing criminals onto the streets and playing politics with education of children.

Gregory Tatum (Republican): Tatum is a Pastor and Avionics Technician. According to votersedge.org, Tatum’s top priorities are homeless crisis and veteran housing, water shortages and availability and crime and random violence. 

California State Assembly 

District 33
Assemblyman Devon Mathis (R-Visalia): Mathis has been a State Assemblyman since 2014 for District 26. Due to redistricting, the lines have changed to include portions of Porterville, Avenal, Lemoore, Hanford as well as Tulare and portions of Kingsburg, Reedley, Dinuba and Woodlake and are now considered District 33. According to Mathis’s campaign website, he believes in people over politics.

Ruben Macareno (Democrat): Macareno is a city council member from Farmersville. According to the cityoffarmersville-ca.gov website, Macareno is a writer and a business and political consultant. 

 Jose Sigala (Democrat): Sigala was elected to Tulare City Council in 2016 where he has remained for six years, two of which he served as Mayor from 2018-2020. He wants to ensure access to affordable, quality health care, create housing for working families, improve public education, increase jobs and opportunities, fight for small business and agriculture and support water for our cities and farms, according to his campaign website.

Congress

District 20
Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield): McCarthy was first elected to the House of Representative in 2006 according to his website. He is currently serving the 23 district, but under the new redistricting lines, he is now running for the 20th district. The lines will now extend further above Clovis. He is currently the Republican Leader in the House of Representatives. 

Ben Dewell (Democrat): Dewell is a Board Director and Meteorologist. According to votersedge.org, Dewell is running to restore decency, integrity and responsibility to the individuals who live in the district. Dewell currently holds elective office as Board Director of the Stallion Springs Community Service District. 

Marisa Wood (Democrat): Wood has been a teacher for over 25 years according to her campaign website.  She is joining the race as a party supporter to get someone who will fight for their district, “not a career politician. Important issues for Wood include education, meeting health care needs, the economy, safe reproductive rights, veteran help, homelessness, water, seniors and social security, clean energy and the environment, immigration and equality, equity and inclusion.

James Davis (Republican): Davis is an engineer, economist and author.

James Macauley (Republican): Macaulay is a retired accountant. According to votersedge.org, Macaulay finds taxation agreements to be an important topic. 

District 21
Congressman Jim Costa (D-Fresno): Costa is a third generation farmer and has served the 16th district in the House of Representatives since 2005. The 16th district included parts of Fresno, Madera, Chowchilla, Los Banos and Merced. After the new redistricting lines, Costa is now running for the 21st district which now includes parts of Visalia, Kingsburg, Selma, Reedley and Fresno.

Eric Garcia (Democratic): Garcia is a father, therapist and former Sergeant in the U.S Marine Corps. According to his campaign website, Garcia wants to fight for healthcare for all, deal with water pollution, build an economy for all, work on supporting the Green New Deal, criminal justice reform, getting big money out of politics, immigrant rights and wants to fund better education. 

Michael Maher (Republican): Maher is an aviation business owner, who ran in the special election in April. According to his campaign website Maher wants to create a valley where water is plentiful and continue to lead in production of the best products including fuels to power a new generation of transportation in the air, land and sea. 

Matt Stoll (Republican): Stoll is a small business owner. He vows to fight to protect all Americans and the central valley from the policies that threaten our rights, our security and the future prosperity of our great state, region and country according to his campaign website

District 22
Congressman David G. Valadao (R-Hanford): Valadao represented the 30th State Assembly District in 2010. In 2012 he was elected to represent the 21st congressional district that includes Mendota, Hanford, Coalinga, Avenal, Delano and Wasco. Now, because of redistricting, Valadao is running for the 22nd congressional district which now includes parts of Handford, Tulare, Avenal, Porterville, Delano, Wasco, and parts of Bakersfield and Arvin.

Rudy Salas (Democratic): Salas has served five terms in the California State Assembly starting in 2012. His assembly term will end at the end of this year in December.  

Chris Mathys (Republican): Mathys is a local businessman and his campaign website states he will do everything possible to restore conservative values and make sure America does not become a socialist country. 

Adam Medeiros (Republican): Medeiros is a businessman. His campaign website says he is a representative that will fight for the needs of the community, support the ideas of individuals, be someone who truly cares and be a voice for the voiceless. 

Participating organizations coordinating the forum are:  League of Women Voters of Tulare County, AAUW, Central Valley Partnership, Dinuba Chamber of Commerce, Dolores Huerta Foundation, League of United Latin American Citizens, Roox, Tulare Chamber of Commerce, Tulare County League of Mexican American Women, Valley Voice, Visalia Chamber of Commerce.

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