CENTRAL VALLEY, Calif. (KSEE) – After losing his seat to Congressman TJ Cox by a thin margin, David Valadao looks to take the 21st Congressional District seat back.
“One, having a person who actually understands the issues here in the Central Valley. That’s something that’s been really frustrating to watch,” Valadao said.
The 21st Congressional District includes Kings County and parts of Fresno, Tulare and Kern counties.
Valadao is no stranger in the Central Valley. He was born and raised in Hanford and represented the 21st district in Congress for three terms before he lost to Cox in 2018 by just 862 votes. The winner wasn’t declared until weeks after Election Day.
Both Valadao and Cox are now running during an unprecedented time, highlighting even more challenges the district is facing.
Throughout the Central Valley, essential workers have been hit hard by COVID-19. According to the Kings County Health Department, the Latino community is twice as likely to be COVID positive.
“Making sure that the resources are in place for testing, the resources in place for them to understand how to keep themselves safe but also one of the issues that affects them tremendously is immigration reform,” Valadao said.
Immigration reform is something he said is desperately needed.
“I’ve been a big advocate obviously for the Dream Act and also legislation to help with dreamers, path to citizenship was always a part of the deal, or most of the times part of the deal,” he said.
Valadao and Cox have gone heavy with attack ads. Some of those ads portray Valadao as a pawn of President Donald Trump and link him to an accident on his family farm where a worker lost part of their arm.
“I think people see through that. They’ve known me for a number of years now. And they know who I am. The ads are what they are,” he said.
Valadao said he’s supporting Trump in this presidential election — one of the biggest reasons being water.
“The water thing is a big, big part of it. And that was something that he talked a lot about in the campaign. Everyone that runs for president always goes into different areas and talks about different things, but this is one that he truly stuck with, and he truly seems committed to this one,” he said.
Valadao said he trusts mail-in voting and that even if it’s as close as it was in 2018, he’ll accept the results.
“My very first time voting I walked into a polling location and after that election, they closed my polling location. I’ve been mail-in ballot the rest of my life, so I have faith in the system,” he said.
Only 862 votes were the difference in the 2018 election, a margin he said has taught him lessons.
“To never take anything for granted. We make sure that we work every angle, do everything we possibly can, reach out to every segment of society and touch every single voter to the best of our ability,” he said.