Three new congressional districts following the 2020 census leaves three incumbents and 10 challengers vying for congress
TULARE COUNTY – Voters will be getting their mail-in ballots this month, and heading to the polls next month. While they are staring at the ballot, with a pen in hand, they will have several new incumbents and candidates at the congressional level to choose from depending on which side of the county they live in.
This year, there are five candidates running for the seat in the newly redrawn District 20. Current Congressman, and minority leader, Kevin McCarthy is seeking to keep his seat while challengers Ben Dewell, Marisa Wood, James Davis and James Macauley vie for Congress. McCarthy has represented the 23rd district since 2006.
After redrawing the district, what is now District 20 covers a large area. It starts with a portion of Auberry, down to include Clovis, Squaw Valley and Three Rivers. The district is carved around Exeter and Farmersville to include portions of southern Visalia east to Lemoore and then back including the Northwest portions of Tulare and Porterville. Additionally it includes Springville, Tehachapi, Taft, parts of Bakersfield, Lebec and Ridgecrest.
BEN DEWELL (Democrat): Dewell, who believes McCarthy has evaded his oath to the constitution, began his grassroots campaign because he felt it was necessary for the constituents in the 20th District. Among other things Dewell said he supports all individuals having control over their own bodies, and If elected, he said he will seek legislation to “codify women’s rights for reproduction.” Another tenant of Dewell’s campaign is a push toward green energy to help mitigate the impact of global warming, especially in regards to desalination plants that could help solve California’s current drought. “I think we are going to have to look to the biggest source of water that California has…the Pacific Ocean”
MARISA WOOD (Democrat): Wood, a Bakersfield resident for over 30 years, said she aims to build a strong economy that will lead to increased wages for her constituents. Among greater health care access, Wood also believes climate change cannot be ignored. She wants to focus on transitioning to cleaner energy and working with affected industries to ensure no jobs are lost in the process. Water is also on Wood’s agenda, she wants to ensure the counties in the district have proper water storage and clean water for constituents including those in rural areas.
Wood has been a teacher for over 25 years. The families of her students inspired her to run so she can give back, and pay attention to the individuals in her district. Wood says she has a willingness to see problems and also dedicate herself to fixing those problems. She says she is willing to look at all aspects of each issue and determine a sustainable solution.
JAMES DAVIS (Republican): At the top of Davis’s campaign agenda is strict monetary policy reform. Davis said that the county should “reset” the United States’ currency. He said that he also stands for a reform of the criminal justice system to put an end to corrupt politicians. Davis acknowledged the problems brought on by drought and thinks more efforts need to be focused on the crisis. In addition to drought Davis said infrastructure as a whole is important. Davis said the country is headed toward a recession, “a major inflationary depression,” and if elected he will strive to make critical changes.
JAMES MACAULEY (Republican): Macaulay’s congressional run revolves around taxation reform with the goal for increasing the country’s gross domestic product, while also sparing taxpayers from paying a large bill to Uncle Sam. Specifically Macaulay said he plans to give everyone $120,000 of their income tax free. Additionally Macauley says he will take the 15.3% that individuals put into Social Security, and allow taxpayers the choice to invest it for the betterment of their future. The third thing Macauley wants to accomplish is reducing the wealth gap in America by 2045. “Without the politics of poverty, the politics of racism become nothing,” Macauley said.
Macauley is a retired accountant. For the last five years he has been actively working on a project called the National Savings Foundation.
There are four candidates running for the District 21 seat: Congressman Jim Costa, Eric Garcia, Michael Maher and Matt Stoll. Before redistricting, Congressman Costa was the incumbent in District 16.
The 21st District now covers the majority of Fresno, and includes Selma, Fowler, Kingsburg, Sanger, Reedly, Orange Cove, Cutler, North Visalia and then Farmersville, Exeter and Woodlake.
JIM COSTA (Incumbent D-Fresno): Costa is a third generation farmer and has served the 16th district in the House of Representatives since 2005. “First and foremost, I’m a strong advocate for the people of our valley on issues with our agricultural economy trying to fix a broken water system, advocating for improved health care and ensuring that our young people have the educational opportunities that I’ve had in an ever changing world,” Costa said in an interview with The Sun-Gazette. Costa is the second ranking member on the Agriculture Committee as well as the Natural Resources Committee, which deals heavily with water. Over his time in office, he has helped transform his district’s transportation system, mainly helping with inner city rail in Fresno. An additional project Costa said he is working on now is bringing a medical school to the Valley to help bring more young individuals to the area that lacks healthcare workers.
He thinks of his time in Congress as a “body of work” and said that he doesn’t enjoy the political aspects of the job, but puts up with it because it’s what he loves, “I practice the politics of hope and solutions,” Costa said. Costa’s parents were first generation Americans and he said they taught him that being involved is the way to get things done. Costa thinks he is fortunate to have grown up in the valley and helped people over the years.
ERIC GARCIA (Democratic): Garcia said healthcare for all and “taxing corporations and people who are obscenely rich” is important to him in a previous interview with The Sun-Gazette. He is pro-choice and wants to work on reforming gun control legislation. He wants to investigate the infrastructure it would take to have free community college or four year university for everyone. Garcia says he is a practical person and if there is a problem he will find an effective solution.
MICHAEL MAHER (Republican): Maher said he didn’t see anyone standing up for the electorate and wanted to be the person that was not a career politician. Maher’s top priorities are the economy, security and water. He said the economy is closely related to agriculture as well as the other businesses and has been working with energy in the economy for some time. Maher worked in law enforcement and is a huge supporter of police. “We need real leadership and actual accountability in law enforcement.” In addition, Maher says water is something everyone in the valley should be thinking about. He plans to help end the major water crisis, “I truly believe there are off the shelf solutions to dealing with water.” Maher is a complete pro-life advocate and once elected, plans to be engaged with every person in the community whether he agrees with them or not.
MATT STOLL (Republican): Stoll’s top priority is getting back to the country’s founding fathers Constitution which he said will take a massive fight against progressives. He wants to tackle inflation and ensure American energy dominance. He wants to boost nuclear power and “continue to develop and mature [renewable energy] in a responsible manner as technology matures.” Stoll plans to deregulate the government as much as possible and said he will secure the border by funding border patrol and refunding and reinitiating the border wall. He also promises to be successful in the fight for water.
Stoll spent 20 years as a fighter pilot with the Navy. He has also been in business in California for the past 20 years and understands that the valley is an “agricultural industrial giant.” He feels the country is in the place it is in because it has been handled irresponsibly and he felt compelled to help before “the ship sinks completely.” Stoll says he is ferociously tenacious, and is ready to fight for the changes he wants done.
There are four individuals running for the seat in district 22, Congressman David G. Valadao, Rudy Salas, Chris Mathys and Adam Medeiros. Congressman Valadao is currently the incumbent in the 21 district before redistricting.
The new lines show that District 22 covers Avenal, most of Hanford, the other half of Tulare and the majority of Porterville. It also stretches down to cover Delano, Lost Hills, Wasco, Shafter and a large portion of Bakersfield.
DAVID G. VALADAO (Incumbent R-Hanford): Since being in Congress, according to his website, Valadao has focused his time on combating water issues, and he has introduced bills to address regulatory burdens on water. Valadao has also worked on the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Committee. His website states he is dedicated to keeping the promise to the nation’s veterans by “making sure those who served our country are taken care of in their retirement years and receive the best quality healthcare available.”
Valadao represented the 30th State Assembly District in 2010. In 2012 he was elected to represent the 21st Congressional District. He was born and raised in Hanford and his website states he is intimately involved in the dairy industry. His father started a small dairy farm that has now expanded to consist of two dairies.
RUDY SALAS (Democratic): Salas said that he will work to lower taxes for working families, as well as costs on certain expenses like prescription drugs. He said that he will also work to increase wages and protect Social Security and Medicare. Salas said that “David Valadao has failed to deliver for the Central Valley,” because he cannot work with other individuals. Salas added that he has a clear record of “bucking my party” to oppose higher taxes as he was the only Democratic assembly member to stand against the increased gas tax. Salas said he increased funding for law enforcement in the Central Valley and “created family-wage jobs.” He said he brought back $50 million of tax dollars for clean water, public safety, community colleges, veterans and building strength within public schools.
CHRIS MATHYS (Republican): Mathys is a local businessman. Mathys feels that his district is not receiving strong enough representation. He aims to increase water storage and accessibility so farmers are able to continue to farm and ranch, “without water we will dry up.” He also wants to protect constituents from being over regulated and fight for the Second Amendment. Mathys was deeply disappointed when Valadao voted to impeach President Donald Trump. He believes life begins at conception and ends at natural death.
ADAM MEDEIROS (Republican): Medeiros refers to himself as a Christian Conservative. If elected he will fight for the American Dream and he believes illegal immigration is deeply damaging the United States. In addition to items like water, law enforcement and education. Medeiros believes he has the best grasp on the Valley, and has “a pulse for the people” in this district. Mederios wants to be a voice for the people and better represent the valley in Washington.