Valadao wants your opinion

Want to look Kings County’s congressman in the eye and give him a piece of your mind?
Thursday is your chance for face time with Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford.

Valadao, a freshman less than a year into his first term, is hosting an open house in Hanford for
residents to voice concerns, comment on specific legislation and just vent.

“It’s important that I keep in constant communication with my constituents,” Valadao said in a
written statement. “This open house is another opportunity for them to learn about what’s
happening in Congress and to get more information on what services and assistance my office
can provide. I hope that everyone who can attends the event.”

The political atmosphere has been heating up for Valadao lately.

His moderate stance on immigration — he favors a path to legal status for immigrants working
illegally in the U.S. — is creating unease among conservative local Republicans who reject
anything smacking of amnesty.

Also recently, Valadao’s vote to continue National Security Agency collection of massive
amounts of surveillance data has drawn some criticism from libertarian Republicans and civil
libertarians on the left.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is releasing mass emails slamming
Valadao and the rest of the Republican class of 2012, hoping to undo the Republican majority in
the House.

The California Democratic Party has already launched its 2014 campaign against Valadao.
He can expected to hear a wide range of comments Thursday on topics ranging from water to
high-speed rail to immigration — from all sides of the political spectrum.

“I’d like for him to support the immigration bill the Senate has passed,” said Cathy Jorgensen,
Kings County Democratic Central Committee chairwoman. “I want him to have the guts to ask
[Speaker John Boehner] for a vote.”

The Senate bill includes a path to citizenship. The House has not voted on it, instead is
conducting its own divisive debate that shows the sharp divide among Republicans on the issue.
“I’m very interested in the immigration issue, how [Valadao’s] going to handle that, where he’s
standing on that,” said Katherine Andes, Kings County Republican Central Committee member.
Andes said she was struggling over how to deal “humanely” with immigrants who have come
here illegally to work. Publication

Valadao is likely to hear a lot about water issues as irrigation-dependent Kings County heads
into its third drought year.

“We’re walking into a train wreck worse than 2009,” said Aubrey Bettencourt, executive director
of the Hanford-based California Water Alliance.

Bettencourt said she’ll urge Valadao to find cooperation in the Senate to ease environmental
restrictions that are limiting water supply coming to Westside farmers from the Sacramento
River delta.

“My question to David is, ‘What is the working relationship with senators?’” Bettencourt said.