HUGHSON, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – California’s district 13 finally has a congressman-elect nearly a month after election day. Republican John Duarte will soon head to Washington after Democrat Adam Gray conceded Friday.
We talked with Duarte on Monday, and he told us he is very excited to get to work in Washington. He said he thanks the voters and reiterated his campaign promises to bring water to valley farms and to keep the region affordable. He said he is even willing to work across party lines to do so.
“We will reach across the aisle at any chance we get to work with work with whoever we can in Washington, D.C. Democrats, Republicans, we don’t mind,” said John Duarte, District 13 Congressman-Elect.
Duarte invited us to his family’s nursery, which is currently owned by him and his brother. It’s an operation he has helped build since 1989.
He said through his experience of being born and raised in the valley, especially as a farmer, has highlighted what he believes key needs are.
“I’m deeply ingrained in this community. My kids went to public schools here in Modesto. And my wife Alexandra, and I live on a farm just outside of Modesto here,” said Duarte as he showed us around the nursery.
He said step one, is to build the right team for the job, no matter their political affiliation.
“Water is not Democrat or Republican. Water is water. Jobs are jobs,” he said. “And so we’re gonna do everything we can to get ourselves tied into the valley… then go back to Washington DC and set up a really effective team back there.”
We asked Duarte about the 25-day wait for results, and his experience sharing a new member orientation with his opponent, Democrat Adam Gray, while they both waited. He said the wait didn’t bother him but added the situation was very unique. While in D.C., he and his team actually met with Gray.
“We agreed that whoever won, we would work together in terms of office space, or whatever arrangements, to make sure that when we got in there, whoever got in there, that we could do the best we could for constituent services and hit the ground running here in the district,” said Duarte.
Now, Duarte said if he needed something from Gray he wouldn’t hesitate to call and believes Gray would do the same for him. He said that’s just how stressful times are in the valley, and said he believes everyone has to work together to get results.