Time For A Change In Bakersfield And Across Kern County-- A Very Big Change?
CA-23 is an inland California congressional district represented by Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, this year's biggest vacuum of big money for Republican candidates around the country. He may not be doing much for the people who reside in Kern County but vulnerable Republicans everywhere are seeing a stream of money from corporate money flow their way via McCarthy. (Small pieces of northeast L.A. County-- a portion of the Antelope Valley-- and of Tulare County are also in CA-23.)
Most of the people live in Bakersfield, Lancaster, Rosamond, Tehachapi and California City in the southern third of the district and the district has voted reliably Republican for all of living memory. There is a growing Hispanic population-- over 35% now-- which, until the advent of Señor Trumpanzee, hasn't had the best participation rates. That's changing this year as registration efforts have gone through the roof.
Berniecrat Wendy Reed came in second in the 4-way jungle primary, knocking off prominent teabagger Ken Mettler two-to-one, as she prepared to face McCarthy in November. The Tea Party Express SuperPAC threw over quarter million dollars into the primary against her. Beating McCarthy will be a far tougher task, considering that he's already raised $6,727,189 and Reed, who had raised just $30,097 by June 30, had only $9,603 in the bank post-primary. But she is waging a relentless on the ground grassroots campaign. As we've pointed out before, the DCCC has no interest in going after McCarthy and is offering Wendy no help of any kind despite her primary win. Blue America has been helping her collect small dollar contributions and if you'd like to help her grassroots effort, please tap the thermometer on the right.
Before the primary, Wendy told us she believes that Bernie's stand against the inherent corruption of democracy by pay-to-play politics-- of which McCarthy is a national posterchild-- is perhaps the policy that most potently crosses all party lines. As a first time candidate, she has been stunned at the typical costs of campaigns. She has learned that many candidates end up in debt, and some have lost their homes, "just for attempting to participate in self-government! The costs are obscene," she says. "Americans across party lines acknowledge that pressure to represent donors’ interests turns congressmen away from representing the people in their districts. Public funding of elections fosters cooperative, collaborative governance, and that’s how politics is conducted in many other countries. What America now has is more of a competitive reality show. But I couldn’t talk about this in my campaign if Sanders wasn’t talking about it on the national level. Even his opponent is talking about it now."
Public funding of elections allows qualified candidates to run for office without selling influence or being independently wealthy. Reed holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, and manages a nonprofit corporation that preserves habitat for wildlife and rare plants. In this role she has worked with local, county, state, and federal agencies. She has lived in the district for 30 years.
"Many of the rights, liberties, and programs that our ancestors fought and died to secure are under attack, and need protection. A vast majority of Americans agree on the issues, and are fed up with special interests buying our government. I believe that in 2016, the American people are prepared to elect real people to represent the interests of real people, regardless of party affiliation."
Last week I asked her about the ballot measure coming up this year to legalize marijuana in California, something McCarthy isn't backing in any way, shape or form. "I've seen people suffer all my life from the illegalization of hemp/marijuana," she told us. "Enforcement has ruined people's lives and families, prevented productive people from participating in government or even employment, created a dangerous gang underworld and black market, suppressed sustainable industries of hemp products thereby subsidizing environmentally and socially unsustainable industries of cotton and forestry for paper goods, and I believe that illegalization was a political move to oppress certain constituencies and subsidize otherwise unsustainable markets, rather than a concern for any public danger."
Please consider chipping in at the thermometer above and, if you haven't watched the 10 minute interview on local TV with Wendy from yesterday... well, what do you have better to do late on a Saturday night?