Teresita “Tess” Andres has lived in Visalia for 12 years. Born in 1952 in Butuan City of the Philippines, at nine years old, she managed her family farm after her father’s death. She earned a BA in Criminology and served in the Office of the Executive Secretary of the President of the Philippines. Now a US citizen, she is married, and she is a Kaweah Delta employee and an independent home care contractor while studying at College of the Sequoias.
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING?
My three main reasons in running for office are to utilize my experience, knowledge and skill set for the benefit of my fellow citizens, to empower District 26 in Sacramento, and to be a voice for our communities that are diverse in careers, interests and backgrounds. My role models include Mona Pasquil, former lieutenant governor, and Thani Sakauye, chief justice of California–these are strong minority women who advocate for social justice, opportunities and progress in our state. I want to give back to the community, such as by addressing concerns of farmers, veterans and students, and this is my opportunity. I will not quit until the job is done.
HOW ARE YOU DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHER REPUBLICANS RUNNING FOR THE 26TH DISTRICT?
I am the most experienced in government and public services, locally and internationally. I have a multicultural background, so I support diversity with conservative values since positive traditions are important to cherish and continue. The languages I speak include English, Cebuano (Visaya), Tagalog and a bit of Spanish. As an active student for several years at the College of the Sequoias, I understand the needs of youth and fellow students. For example, I now have ten certificates. Achieving them involved hard work: working full-time while studying, which meant only about five hours of sleep each day. But I always passed my classes and I also served as a student ambassador, bringing the issues of students from COS to Sacramento. For the student activities I led, I received a service award. For having good grades, I was nominated to the Who’s Who Among Students of American Universities and Colleges. Furthermore, I have mingled with different socioeconomic classes and, therefore, I comprehend their perspectives. One adversity I faced was the death of my father when I was nine years old. As the eldest, I took the responsibility of managing our small farm in the Philippines. I have been able to empathize with businessmen, farmers and people facing adversity. Through this experience, since an early age, I gained decision-making, time management and leadership skills, such as through dealing with tenants and workers. I grew in compassion for the people as well. I don’t like wasting time, and I don’t quit until the job is done.
HOW WILL YOU BE EFFECTIVE AT THE STATE LEVEL WITH A DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY?
I can get along well with any party. For instance, in my experience in the Philippines, when I worked in the Office of the Executive Secretary of the President of the Philippines, I invited everyone from the opposite fence to join the administration. Also, part of my job was to welcome foreign dignitaries visiting the Philippines to participate in historical events, such as the Asia Pacific Economic Council meeting. Because I don’t quit until the job is done, I am open to collaboration to accomplish progress and complete the work. All problems cannot be solved by one person or one party alone. There must be cooperation.
WHO ARE YOU SUPPORTING FOR GOVERNOR?
For now, my priority is my candidacy. I wish someone from the San Joaquin Valley will run for governor of California. I hope my candidacy and this opportunity for me to be elected–to represent District 26 in the State Assembly–will inspire other local leaders to make a difference in the state government.
WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON GUNS IN THIS SOCIETY?
I am committed to protecting the freedom and safety of fellow citizens with the Second Amendment.
THE ACA WILL NOT COVER UNDOCUMENTED PEOPLE. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS?
We first need to prioritize utilizing our resources for the health and wellness of our citizens and permanent residents. In my healthcare experience, I have met many people eligible for benefits and who advocate for strong healthcare. We also need to pay attention to our veterans, including those with mental health issues like PTSD.
WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON FRACKING?
As of now, I support more alternative energy sources. For instance, we can invest in solar energy and even in biofuels since the San Joaquin Valley is rich in agriculture. If we do so, our Valley will prosper further, and we can also ensure the health, safety and economic security of our people.
WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON THE WATER BOND INITIATIVE?
I do not support borrowing more funds, which will increase our debt. I believe we can solve the water issue in innovative ways. Not only do we need to be conservative with water, but also with our funds and other resources. Yet we can still invest in our people. I understand, for instance, that many local dairy farms had to close due to the water issue and high price of feeds. This should be an opportunity to motivate us all in finding effective solutions. I propose investing in local businesses and in clean energy sources in order to both save and generate money in order to fund solutions to the water crisis. We can give tax breaks to entrepreneurs, because in innovation, we can find solutions. They are an asset of our state. Helping our businessmen stay in California can also help keep our economy alive.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE HIGH-SPEED RAIL?
Agriculture is the backbone of the San Joaquin Valley, feeding the nation. The high-speed rail can destroy much farmland and natural resources. We need to conserve our resources, including our homes, property and livelihood.