This week, voters began to receive sample ballots in the mail for the June 6 primary election. The top two vote-getters in the primary will face off in the Nov. 6 general election.
To provide voters with information about the candidates for the 10th Congressional District race, the Tracy Press and Patterson Irrigator sent a joint questionnaire to the candidates. They were asked 11 questions on topics that include transportation, health care, immigration, business and agriculture issues. They were also asked about their qualifications for office.
Rep. Jeff Denham's responses are printed unedited below. Learn more about Rep. Jeff Denham at his campaign website, https://jeffdenham.com.
Why do you believe you will best represent the 10th California Congressional District?
I’m a Valley resident, 16 year Air Force veteran and local almond grower who ran for congress out of concern for the taxpayers, farmers, small business owners, seniors and veterans who needed a voice in Washington.
My top priorities are to increase water storage, support our agricultural community, give back to our veterans and get Valley residents working. The average American already works until July 15 just to pay for government. We need jobs in the Valley; not more regulation and government.
My New WATER Act will increase storage and allow for new dams to be built. My Vets Skills To Jobs Act, signed in to law, allows for increased work opportunities for our nation’s veterans and legislation I authored legislation to sell vacant or underutilized government properties. These often neglected buildings cost us millions annually in maintenance and upkeep. Now that it’s been signed in to law, we will see an initial savings to taxpayers $15 billion.
Why did you decide to run for Congress?
I ran for Congress out of concern for Valley families and the decreasing opportunities in the Valley for jobs. The continued lack of water resources as a result of poor planning and policies that continue to benefit big cities at the expense of the Valley inspired me to seek higher office to bring water and resources to the Valley so we can preserve our way of life.
What is your prior experience in elected office and what do you count as your two most important accomplishments?
I began serving in the State Senate in 2002 and was elected to Congress in 2010. I am proud to have enacted legislation to enable Veterans to use military certifications to qualify for Federal jobs after leaving the service. Additionally I passed legislation as part of a bipartisan spending bill to bring more water storage and jobs to the Valley.
The district is comprised of a variety of areas that derive their economy from different sources. What economic policies do you favor for agriculture-based businesses?
Water is the most important resource for the Valley. Outdated and out of touch policies from Sacramento and Washington impeded the development of much needed water resources to bring life to the Valley. We export billions of dollars in agricultural commodities; everything from almonds and walnuts to grapes and citrus. All of this is reliant on water to supply the necessary resources to fuel small business in the Valley. We must push policies that favor water storage to prepare for future drought and unexpected climate events.
We also need to fix our broken immigration system. Without the necessary workforce our economy cannot deliver goods to the market. The current immigration system is broken and it fails both employees and employers alike.
What economic policies do you favor for logistics businesses?
As a crew chief in the Air Force, logistics was my primary focus to ensure my fellow soldiers were adequately equipped in the field. As a result, I am well versed in the need to reduce unnecessary and unneeded red tape that can hamper the expansion of local business.
I also own and operate a logistics warehouse in Turlock for my plastics business bringing jobs and logistics expertise to our local community.
We need to further repair and expand our local infrastructure. This means repairing old bridges, widening our freeways and expanding our rail network.
What economic policies do you support for small businesses?
Small businesses need access to capital and the flexibility to expand operations and meet the demands of the market. Heavy handed government regulation stifles business development as I’ve learned personally as the founder of Denham plastics. We must create an environment where businesses have the resources and freedom to thrive and expand.
I also authored legislation to stop the drive by lawsuits that force many small businesses to close. These lawsuits prey on immigrant, minority, and struggling communities especially and act as a barrier to entry in to the middle class.
What can the federal government do to attract business to the 10th Congressional District?
The Central Valley is reliant on access to water, and the federal government needs to encourage the development of water resources. Too often Sacramento and Washington band together to deny much needed resources for the Valley to benefit the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Ease and frequency of mass transportation is an important issue throughout the district, how will your policies address transportation needs?
I am a strong and consistent advocate for transportation infrastructure. I have been working with ACE to expand access to the Valley. Additionally I have brought significant dollars to local projects to expand access to transportation arteries in the Valley. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials I have enacted legislation to expand the availability of financing for railroad expansion, pipeline safety, and the safety of our citizens.
What groups or individuals have endorsed your candidacy?
A full list of endorsements can be found here: https://action.jeffdenham.com/endorsements/
What is your position on DACA / immigration?
We must give certainty to our nation’s Dreamers. I am the leading voice in the House of Representatives for top to bottom immigration reform. Our Dreamers need a permanent fix.
Our agricultural economy needs a vibrant guest worker program.
I have proudly authored the ENLIST Act and coauthored the USA Act while being a primary cosponsor of the DREAM Act all to provide a pathway to citizenship for immigrants in our community who are our friends and neighbors.
How should Congress address heath care access for people in the 10th Congressional District?
The number one health care issue in the Valley is ACCESS to quality care. Even if you have health insurance, and especially if you have Medicaid, you struggle with access to a quality health care provider. The simple explanation for that is we are lacking in quantity of health care providers and compounding the problem is Medicaid providers get paid so little that they refuse additional patients. This is devastating to a community like ours.
I have addressed this in two areas by passing legislation to DOUBLE the amount of money that goes to teaching hospitals which will bring more doctors to the Valley. Research confirms that medical students stay to practice in the areas of their residency and by doubling the amount of money that comes to the Valley we will undoubtedly increase the amount of doctors that live and practice in our communities.
Additionally, I have championed legislation to revamp the Medicaid reimbursement rates in the communities like ours. By improving upon the rates that doctors earn in high risk, low income areas like the Valley we can give more care and access to treatment for the Valley’s most vulnerable citizens.
Both HR 3451, the CARE Act, which became law as part of the bipartisan budget deal, and HR 2779 the ACCESS Act will bring much needed resources to Central Valley families.