The June primary elections are just weeks away and the battles are heating up for the 21st Congressional District seat. The district covers the Central Valley's west side, including all of Kings County, and parts of Fresno, Tulare and Kern counties. It's been coined one of the most competitive congressional races in California and each candidate says they have what it takes to win.
The race for the 21st Congressional District seat is in full swing and all three candidates are gaining ground. Thursday, incumbent David Valadao, a Hanford dairyman, scored big with an endorsement from the United States Chamber of Commerce, as well as Fresno's Chamber of Commerce. Valadao was touted for his freshman term accomplishments which included helping pass what he calls a new and improved farm bill, his stance on immigration reform and his work to bring more water to the Valley.
Congressman Valadao (R-21st district) says, "The 21st Congressional District should be represented by someone that's local, somebody that knows the issues and has lived here their whole life; someone who will fight for those who live here."
Opponent Amanda Renteria is a Valley native, who returned back to sanger from Washington D.C. after her work as the first Latina Chief of Staff in the senate. The democrat, and former teacher, has received several endorsements including one from the California School Employee Association. She says water and jobs are also high on her list, but just as important are education and immigration reform.
Candidate Amanda Renteria (D) says, "They are the folks that put food on our tables, along with farmers and in order for that to be a vibrant community we've got to make sure these kids are graduating from schools and that they're part of the fabric of our communities."
Candidate John Hernandez admits his campaign is the most grassroots of all, but says that's all part of his appeal. The democrat ran the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for eight years. He's been endorsed by the Progressive Democrats of America and West Fresno Democrats. Even though he ran against incumbent David Valadao two years ago and lost, Hernandez says this year he has an edge over both of his opponents, as the only candidate who hasn't spent time in Washington D.C.
"I'm the local guy who puts jobs first. I've been working in this community, my local community solving local problems with local people my entire professional career," says candidate John Hernandez (D).