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 Tracy and Mountain House voters with information about the candidates for the 9th Congressional District races, the Tracy Press sent questionnaires 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. Jerry McNerney's responses are printed unedited below. Get more information about Jerry McNerney’s campaign at https://jerrymcnerney.org.
Why do you believe you will best represent the 9th California Congressional District?
I’ve had the privilege of representing this region for the past 11.5 years. I know the people and the issues that are important to our community. I care deeply about my district and my constituents, and I am committed to serving them. That means focusing on job creation, improving benefits for our veterans and current service members, and protecting the health and future of the Delta.
Why did you decide to run for Congress?
I was inspired to run for Congress by my son, Michael, who joined the Air Force in response to the 9/11 attacks. I decided to serve our country by running for Congress.
What is your prior experience in elected office and what do you count as your two most important accomplishments?
Prior to serving in Congress, I worked as an engineer and renewable energy consultant, focusing on wind energy development. Since coming to Congress, my two greatest accomplishments have been authoring the law to ensure the Veterans Administration is equipped to treat veterans suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and securing the site and funding for the French Camp Veterans Clinic.
Commuting and the ease and frequency of mass transportation is an important issue throughout the district. How will your policies address transportation needs?
It is critical that our nation continue to invest in our local and national transportation systems. Throughout my time in Congress, I have advocated for and supported initiatives to invest in hard infrastructure improvements to our transportation systems, including rail. We must also look to the future of transportation. That’s why I cosponsored the SELF Drive Act, which would put us on a path towards safely deploying autonomous vehicles. Autonomous vehicles can reduce traffic congestion on our roads and enable mobility for millions of people who otherwise face difficulty driving, including seniors and people with disabilities––such as the 3.8 million veterans in our country living with a service-connected disability.
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?
Family farms are a major part of California’s economy, and in my district, farming makes up the largest portion of the economic sector. I’ve worked on a wide variety of issues to help farmers, including cosponsoring the Areawide Integrated Pest Management (AIPM) Act. Invasive species cost the U.S. economy an estimated $120 billion every year and damage more than 100 million acres across the country. This legislation would create a framework to support farmers, ranchers, and land managers by reducing the impact of harmful invasive species.
Additionally, I’m committed to protecting the Delta and preserving this essential water source that is critical to our region, particularly our farmers. That’s why I’ve fought back against the disastrous Tunnels proposal. I’ve also cosponsored legislation to incentivize farmers to invest in water efficiency and water conservation – the Water Conservation Rebate Tax Parity Act – which would amend Federal tax law so the rebates received from these efforts are not subject to additional income tax.
What economic policies do you favor for logistics businesses?
My assignment on the Energy & Commerce Committee, which has wide jurisdiction regarding interstate commerce, supports logistics businesses by promoting forward-thinking policy priorities, such as streamlining customs policies. I am also a member of the PORTS Caucus, which focuses on improving and modernizing a 21st Century port, and the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, which emphasizes data security for asset tracking and ownership. Additionally, I have been a staunch supporter of the next generation of long haul trucking, including the move from diesel vehicles to more efficient and environmentally sustainable electric vehicles.
What economic policies do you support for small businesses?
As a former small business owner focused on renewable energy technologies, I know first-hand the struggles they face. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and lead the nation in job creation. However, there are far too many people in our community in need of and searching for work. That’s why I introduced the Small Business Relief and Job Creation Act, which would create a tax credit to incentivize small businesses to combat unemployment by hiring workers who have been previously unemployed or out of the workforce.
I also believe we must support the efforts of veteran entrepreneurs. I introduced the Strengthening Technical Assistance, Resources, and Training to Unleash the Potential of Veterans (STARTUP Vets) Act to connect veterans interested in becoming business owners with technical and financial resources. I’m also proud that my bill, the Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Relief Act – which protects small businesses owned by disabled veterans in the event that the business owner passes away – was signed into law.
What can the federal government do to attract business to the 9th Congressional District?
With a background in renewable energy, I’ve spent my career focusing on innovative new businesses. Our region is opportune for investment, closely located to Silicon Valley and with the potential to attract growing solar and new energy technology companies.
To attract new businesses, we must have a skilled workforce to meet the needs of these companies. That’s why I support efforts to make higher education and training programs more affordable, and I’ve introduced legislation to promote and expand opportunities for young women to pursue careers in STEM. Investing in innovation also means investing in the people who drive these endeavors.
What is your position on DACA / immigration?
Our country is in need of comprehensive immigration reform that is both humane and protects our national security. When the President announced the elimination of DACA, it did nothing more than cause a wave of fear and panic throughout immigrant communities. DACA recipients were brought here as children and for many, this is the only country they have ever known. We must focus on finding a comprehensive solution that is firm, fair and practical and does not undermine American values or tear families apart.
How should Congress address heath care access for people in the 9th Congressional District?
The Affordable Care Act has expanded access to health care to millions of Americans. Unfortunately, there are some who are trying to roll back this progress instead of working to ensure all Americans have access to health care coverage. We must continue to fight to preserve the Affordable Care Act and work to expand coverage and affordability for all Americans. A potential first step could be introducing a public option to the exchange.