Residents of the 16th Senate constituency will have several choices on the June 7 ballots.
A farmer, a pastor, a couple of politicians who consider themselves bipartisan, and a progressive mayor of a small town represent more diversity than most races see.
As in the 12th district of the San Joaquin Valley, there is a significant difference in voter registration between the Demo and the Republican Party – but not so great, and vice versa, for an area that includes eastern Bakersfield, northwestern Kern and parts of Kings and Tulare county.
In the 16th, the number of voters is 41.2% Democrats and 28.3% Republicans, which may explain why there are three viable candidates with political experience from one party. (These figures on the 12th, according to a recent report by the California Secretary of State, favor the Republican Party by almost 17 points.)
Much of the Republican support seems to support one of the two Republican elections, but in a system of free “primary jungle” it’s hard to say which two candidates in the race will have the easiest path by November.
Former MP Nicole Parra noted that Melissa Hurtada’s state senator, D-Sanger, seems to see much of the Sacramento establishment support Hurtada as incumbent senator from the 14th arrondissement, but Parra said she is more focused on proving why she has to run for the 16th, with a campaign that has received two-party approval.
The 52-year-old Parra is running for the Democrats, but has called herself a “valet” – one who puts the SJV first – a term she keeps close and dear, which she said she took from former Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamente.
It would be very hypocritical to knock on someone’s door in Hanford or … Vasco and tell the Republican family, “I hope you think about supporting and voting for me” – and they do – and when they are running for office at the local office, say, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I can’t, you’re a Republican, “Parra said. “I am voting for the best person for this job.”
For her part, the 34-year-old Urtada also does not consider herself “political”, she said, although some people believe so because of her approach.
“I am one of the most business-friendly Democrats in the state Senate, and I am very friendly to agriculture and everything in the Central Valley,” Urtada said. “I don’t do things based on politics or where the government is, I do things because they’re good for my area, because they’re good for our state of California, and they’ll benefit the people.”
Urtada said she did not want to see the Central Valley left behind, so while she considers herself a supporter of agriculture and oil, she also believes the history of Kern’s government efforts in energy innovation should be more widespread. and a model for the future moving forward.
The couple is also familiar with the dynamics of energy policy in Kern and Sacramento as a former legislator and one who has recently worked in relations with government agencies in Sacramento at the Marathon Petroleum, the country’s largest refiner. She listed her top priorities as continuing the state’s efforts to support recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing issues with how the state manages and controls the water supply.
Speaking from the perspective of the man who runs the agricultural business, EW Merritt Farms, which has been owned by the family for generations, Republican David Shepard has received a number of friendly recommendations he is proud of – including the sheriffs of all three counties concerning the county. – with its three-stage platform. He advocated increasing government access and opportunities for water storage, fighting crime, which he called “transcendental” and “reviving the American dream and reviving the California dream.”
Shepard, 29, said he was “embarrassed” by why Sacramento failed to consider desalination methods to increase water supplies, why the state continues to reduce penalties for convicted offenders, and why the state is developing regulatory policies for businesses that make it harder for people to achieve self-sufficiency. as did his ancestors.
“There are other reasons why I run, but the specific reason that became the catalyst for running was the legacy of my family, who were engaged in agriculture and saw our situation with water and how I can not say with a clear conscience … I will be able to go through this family business to my children because of the water situation, ”Shepard said.
Delaunay Mayor Brian Asorio, whose democratic policies tend to lean more towards the progressive side of the political spectrum, shared Shepard’s desire to see that agricultural workers will be able to achieve a better lifestyle for themselves and future generations, as Osorio’s parents did. However, he takes a slightly different view on how to achieve this.
As the son of Mexican immigrant farmers and the first in his family to graduate from high school and college, the 26-year-old admitted that government programs have played a role in his ability to succeed.
“I have seen the sacrifices that my family has made to enable me to do so, as well as the investments that my communities and the state have made in programs to succeed,” Osorio said. “I want to bring back my community and bring back Central Valley because my story should be no exception.”
Another Republican claiming the seat, Pastor Greg Tatum of Change Church in Bakersfield, said he was making his second appearance after a failed bid for the 16th constituency in 2018 because he was tired of “scientific” communities. like him. of the Sacrament. The 62-year-old Tatum also noted that action at the state level is needed to address water problems in the region.
When I worked with Safe Streets and the Bakersfield Police Department, I realized that they lacked a lot of strength, Tatum said, and in some of these underserved areas, especially with people of color, I felt that people who were in those areas and the districts were mostly given to them in words and didn’t really give them all the benefits they deserved to give them the opportunity to get a job, help with home ownership and all that. ”