Local News

Monday, Apr 07 2014 02:43 PM

'First Look': 21st Congressional District race gears toward community, youth

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    21st District Congressional candidate John Hernandez, left, answers questions from Californian Executive Editor Robert Price and government reporter James Burger on "First Look with Scott Cox."

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    21st District Congressional candidate Amanda Renteria, left, answers questions from Californian Executive Editor Robert Price and government reporter James Burger on "First Look with Scott Cox."

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

John Hernandez said he believes his way to winning the 21st Congressional District race is by forming a bond with locals. His challenger in the primary is Amanda Renteria, who said she believes in engaging youth to go out and vote.

Both Democrats hope to bump David Valadao, R-Hanford, from his seat and take over the heavily Latino district.

Hernandez and Renteria talked about their plans to be victorious with Californian Executive Editor Robert Price and government reporter James Burger on Monday on "First Look with Scott Cox."

John Hernandez

Two years ago, Hernandez lost to Valadao in the general election for the congressional seat, but he's back after spending more time in Kern County.

"We believe in politics being old-style," Hernandez said.

Hernandez said he's been focused on going door to door and forming a personal connection with voters. He believes that will work to his advantage.

He is the former CEO of the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and said he has been around politics quite a bit.

Hernandez said he wants to build business platforms. Expanding the Shafter inland port is just an example, he said.

"I believe in investing in America," Hernandez said.

Amanda Renteria

Engaging young people in politics has always been a struggle during elections. But Renteria said she is focusing on starting conversations with those 25 years old and younger, not only for the race, but for the future.

She said she wants to find out what youth want and need to progress.

"I believe that messages we are bringing, like education, women's issues, jobs, is what gets people excited," Renteria said.

She has been traveling up and down the valley talking to parents, kids and teachers in both Spanish and English about economic development.

When asked about immigration, she said Valadao had a good opportunity to demand a vote on comprehensive immigration reform and he failed.

"They are empty words," she added.

With the 21st district's large Latino population, Renteria said immigration is a big issue that can't be ignored.

"These families have to have the ability to move up the economic ladder and be a part of the American dream," she said.

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