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.
Josh Harder's responses are printed unedited below. Get more information about Josh Harder at his campaign website, www.harderforcongress.com.
1 . Why do you believe you will best represent the 10th California Congressional District?
I know and love the Central Valley. I’m a 5th generation local - my family began growing peaches in Manteca in 1850. I was raised in Turlock and graduated from Modesto High before working my way through Stanford and Harvard Business School, and I now teach at Modesto Junior College. I’ve seen the challenges here in the Valley, and I want to fight for universal healthcare, comprehensive immigration reform, and more jobs.
I will best represent the 10th California Congressional District because I am motivated by the people of the 10th and their stories. My younger brother David, born 10 weeks premature, would lose his healthcare if Congress passed Trumpcare and let insurance companies deny coverage for preexisting conditions. I want to represent my brother and the 100,000 other people just like him who would lose health insurance under Trumpcare. I want to represent the students I teach at Modesto Junior College who are fighting every day to build a better life here in the Valley. I want to represent the DREAMers who come in to volunteer for my campaign, because they deserve to be welcomed into our community, not hunted down. I will best represent our community because I can see so much potential, and I will not allow Washington politicians to squander it.
2. Why did you decide to run for Congress?
This community invested deeply in me, and I want to invest back into it. I went to Modesto High School, and because of scholarships from the Rotary Club and the American Legion I was able to get a great education and have a career in the private sector where I was able to work with small businesses to create jobs. None of that would have been possible without the support from members of the community. However, every day I see Jeff Denham missrepresenting the people who invested so much for me, and I can’t sit on the sidelines while he destroys my community. That’s why I’m running for Congress, to ensure that our next generation has the exact same opportunities that I did.
3. What is your prior experience in elected office and what do you count as your two most important accomplishments?
This is my first time running for elected office and what I am proudest of is not my accomplishments but the opportunities that I’ve had. First, during my business career I was able to see the inner workings of companies in their formative stages and help them grow. One of those companies was Blue Apron, and seeing the process of its transformation from two guys and a dog to a company with over 1 million subscribers was an honor. Second, I am proud to have helped my students at Modesto Junior College along their path towards being the business leaders of tomorrow. Sitting with those students every day going over different business plans and expanding their horizons of what it takes to run a successful business has been a wonderful experience.
4. 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?
The Central Valley is the agriculture capital of the world, and right next door to us is the technology capital of the world. This is an immense opportunity to locate agriculture technology businesses right here in the 10th district, where they have easy access to both Silicon Valley and agriculture. Furthermore, I want to create tax incentives for farms to implement new technologies like micro-irrigation systems. Not only would this increase our long term water efficiency, but it will incentivize businesses to locate here by creating a larger market for agriculture technology.
5. What economic policies do you favor for logistics businesses?
Unlike Jeff Denham and his amendment to cut protections for drivers, I would advocate for policies which aim to protect workers and that is why I have been endorsed by the Teamsters Joint Council 7. Furthermore, we must expand existing programs to increase the field of qualified applicants coming out of high school. Just last month I toured Patterson High School which has a program where students learn to drive a virtual truck (I also got to drive it!) in preparation for starting as a driver once they graduate. Programs like this are vital to getting students excited about logistics work but also for keeping kids of the street and giving them a good job with a career path right after graduation.
6. What economic policies do you support for small businesses?
I spent my career in the private sector working with small businesses and creating jobs.
Optimizing and supporting small businesses throughout the district is an issue that is deeply important to me. The first step to supporting small businesses is to create a better pipeline between schools and employers by investing in apprenticeship programs similar to the one at Patterson High School. This will help small businesses utilize our educational resources to prepare potential applicants with the exact skill set they need to succeed. Additionally, I support reforming the federal tax code to support small businesses during their first few years. This would create an incubatory stage that would help more small businesses get a solid start.
7. What can the federal government do to attract business to the 10th Congressional District?
The federal government can play a key role in attracting businesses by providing tax incentives to make it easier and cheaper for companies like Google to create additional jobs in areas of high unemployment (like here) instead of areas of low unemployment (like Silicon Valley). One way to do this would be to link the federal income tax rate with the unemployment rate in each county. Since we already measure the unemployment county by county on a monthly basis, it limits administrative overhead while providing a real benefit to the areas of our country that need the most help.
8. Ease and frequency of mass transportation is an important issue throughout the district. How will your policies address transportation needs?
70% of the city of Tracy commutes to the bay area on a daily basis and clogs up the Altamont Pass. The number of people on the road every day is only going to increase as the city grows and adding more lanes is not the way to solve our transportation problem. We need to explore alternatives like increasing the frequency of the ACE Train and continuing to explore high speed rail. I will fight for real infrastructure improvements here in California instead of cutting projects in favor of others in New Jersey like Jeff Denham.
9. What groups or individuals have endorsed your candidacy?
Becky Campo - Former Mayor of Patterson
Dr. Harinder Grewal - Chair of the Stanislaus County Democratic Central Committee
Johnny Hernandez - National Tejano Music Legend, Featured on PBS & CNN
Anthony Arceneaux - President, GMP local 17- Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers
Tom Hallinan - City Attorney of Ceres, City Attorney of Patterson
Faye Lane - President of Board of Ceres Unified School District, California School Board Association Delegate, Director for California School Employees Association
Al Lucchesi - Former Mayor and Police Chief of Chowchilla
Chi-Chi Nnodim Jack - Stanislaus County Board of Education Member
Rickey McGill- President, African American Democratic Club
Kate Nygaard - Former Member of Modesto City School Board, Founding Board of Gallo Center, Founding Board of Trustees for University of California of Merced, Former Board Member of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Board Member of George Lucas Education Foundation
Dr. Roland Nygaard - Former President of Medical Society, Delegate of California Medical Association, Former President of Doctor's Hospital Board of Directors, co-Chairman of the Ethics Committee for Doctor's Hospital
Franklin Urteaga - Senior Campaign Advisor to President Barack Obama and White House Senior Aide to President Bill Clinton
International Brotherhood of Teamsters - Joint Council 7
California Labor Federation
Bricklayers, Tilesetters and Allied Craftworkers Local 3 - Northern California
Iron Workers Local 118
New Democrat Coalition
Council for a Livable World
Leadership Now Project
Stanislaus State Democratic Party Club
Modesto Junior College Democrats
10. What is your position on DACA / immigration?
I stand firmly and proudly with Dreamers and DACA recipients. I teach business at Modesto Junior College where many of the best students are Dreamers or children of immigrants. These are some of the most inspiring and hardworking kids I have ever met, and the way that Trump, Denham, and Congressional Republicans speak about the immigrant community disgusts me. In Congress, I will fight for comprehensive immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented residents.
11. How should Congress address health care access for people in the 10thCongressional District?
We need universal access to quality healthcare and I believe we will get there through Medicare for All. This is a deeply personal issue for me. My brother was born ten weeks premature and spent the first two years of his life in a hospital. While he is healthy today, if the Republican healthcare bill had passed allowing companies to deny coverage for preexisting conditions he would have uninsurable until he was 65. This is profoundly wrong. We need to double down on the parts of our healthcare system that work the best and Medicare has the best patient outcomes at the lowest cost - in fact, it is cheaper to cover a 65 year old on Medicare than a 64 year old on private insurance. That is why I support Medicare for All and will fight for it in Congress.