Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) is facing new allegations of odd behavior in the nation’s capital and new opponents who want to unseat him at home in the wake of a House Ethics Committee investigation.
With the primary election still months away, a host of candidates is coming forward with plans to unseat the long-time Republican. For Bobby Bliatout, 41, of Fresno, it’s Nunes’ stance on the health care that prompted him to begin his campaign for the congressional seat.
“I got into the race because of their effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA),” Bliatout said. “The idea for this one is that I am on the front line of health care. I serve the under-served, and I see how beneficial it is.”
For the last 15 years or so, Bliatout has worked as CEO for a company he founded, Greater Fresno Health Organization, a primary-care clinic serving low-income patients. He holds up his business experience in the private sector against that of Nunes, a career politician.
“It’s not like I applied for a job. I know what it’s like to put it together from the ground up,” Bliatout said. “Life wasn’t always an Easy Street for me. I know what it’s like to get assistance from the government and use it to better myself. It’s not an entitled handout; it’s a hand-me-up.”
The Congressman’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is yet another example of Nunes serving corporate interest
instead of his constituents in the Valley, says Bliatout.
“It wasn’t what was best for the community,” he said. “It was politics.”
That isn’t his only source of frustration with Nunes. When he offered his years of health care experience to Nunes as an advisor, he was rebuffed. That dismissal from the Congressman, he said, was the clincher that pushed him into the political arena.
“I sent a letter to Devin Nunes to say I’d love to serve on a committee of yours for free,” Bliatout said. “If I’m not going to be able to have a voice in that manner, I’m going to run.”
He’s far from alone on the list of candidates who will appear on the June primary ballot. Joining him from the Democratic side will be Andrew Janz, a prosecutor for the Fresno District Attorney’s Office, Fresno OB/GYN Dr. Mallory Kremer, and Clovis resident Ricardo Franco.
Also vying for Nunes’ seat are Bill Merryman of Clovis, a candidate from the Libertarian Party, and Brian Carroll, an educator who will represent the American Solidarity Party in the race.
‘Cruel’ and ‘Unfair’
The way Bliatout sees it, Nunes’ votes against the ACA are not just against the interests of the voters he is supposed to serve, they are also malicious. Nunes, Bliatout says, doesn’t see the ultimate result his behavior in Washington, DC has on people living here.
“I feel it’s being unfair to our community to watch these folks who have been given insurance and have been diagnosed with diabetes and other illnesses, now they have no insurance,” Bliatout said. “I believe that is cruel.”
The solution Bliatout would like to see is a scheme that covers all Americans without a negative financial impact at any level.
“I would like to see a single-payer plan that works for everybody,” he said. “That means it doesn’t affect our economy in a negative way.”
According to estimates, a universal health care program would save the federal government about $600 billion annually. Such a program, however, could increase participation, with more Americans able to seek health care, perhaps driving an increase in overall spending. Bliatout, however, says most people are unaware of the details.
“I’d love to do a town hall because a lot of people need an education,” he said. “A lot of people treat it like a football game. They just take a side.”
Bliatout isn’t the only resident of the 22nd Congressional District who wants a town hall meeting.
On Saturday, dressed in Santa hats, ringing bells, and carrying signs covered in Christmas decorations, a few dozen protesters rallied outside Nunes’s downtown Visalia office, calling for the Congressman to make himself more directly available to constituents.
The demonstration was organized by South Valley Civics, a group of “just common, everyday people who never raised a voice before,” says one of the group’s leaders, Cynthia Thorburn, and was timed to coincide with Congress’s winter break.
“Winter Recess is starting, and where’s our town hall? Where’s our free public forum where we can share our concerns?” Thorburn said. “So, since we can’t have one, we’re sharing our concerns via a little march here.”
Besides being more responsive to the people he represents, members of South Valley Civics are interested in a host of issues effecting the middle class.
Thorburn says they’d like a responsible tax bill, support for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which aids middle-income families, and “reasonable and responsible” gun control measures.
They’d also just like Nunes to answer the phone.
“You can’t get into his office without an appointment,” Thorburn said. “They don’t answer their phones or return their messages so you can make an appointment.”
Nunes is just as inaccessible to the local press, though he did speak with Fox News following the end of an investigation into his behavior by the House Committee on Ethics.
That investigation, Nunes said, is a conspiracy between the government and unnamed leftists to hinder him.
“The ethics complaint was a joke from the beginning, designed, purely designed to remove me as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which they were unable to do,” Nunes told Fox. “I think, a clear design from the left, working in conjunction with parts of our government to keep information away from me and the House Intelligence Committee.”
The look into Nunes’ handling of classified materials began when Nunes received classified reports from staff at the White House, then later lied to the press about the incident.
The scandal prompted Nunes to remove himself from the House Intel Committee’s investigation into Russian tampering with the 2016 presidential election.
Ironically, Nunes took to the national airwaves to decry what he says is abusive sharing of reports on US surveillance of targets in the Russian-Trump investigation, the same action for which he was investigated.
“I hate to use the word ‘corrupt,’ but they become so dirty that, who is watching the watchmen?” Nunes said. “Who is investigating these people? There is no one.”
Specifically, Nunes is concerned there is no investigation into who leaked a transcript of a conversation between disgraced former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. He believes there has been no action by the FBI or the Department of Justice.
House Intel Leak
Nunes also repeated to Fox News the assertion he never truly recused himself from the Russian-Trump investigation.
He said he “temporarily” gave control to Democratic Rep. Michael Conaway, co-chair of the House Intel Committee, and it appears Nunes never stopped his own look into the Steele Dossier, a file listing President Donald Trump’s alleged indiscretions documented by the Russian government as a means of blackmailing him.
The firm that put together that dossier now says Nunes may have leaked private data about it to harm its reputation.
Fusion GPS, the company that compiled the Steele Dossier, told a federal judge last week it believes a subpoena to the firm’s bank signed by Nunes is “part of an ongoing effort to discredit Fusion in retaliation for its role in undertaking research.”
The company also claims information its founder gave during testimony to the House Intel Committee in November was then leaked.
Nunes now intends to send investigators to the FBI and Department of Justice to “scrub” documents they wish to review, and will issue a subpoena to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
Nunes has also had meetings about the Russian-Trump connection with Erik Prince, brother of Secretary of Education Betty Devos and founder of Blackwater, a private military contractor.
Prince was questioned last week by the Intel Committee about why he failed to provide documents it had requested.
17 thoughts on “Devin Nunes Facing Local Protests, Challengers”
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Devin Nunes is doing exactly what those of us who elected him want. He is a conservative, doing the will of the people. Many of us in the Valley understand his stances on the ACA (it doesn’t work), the intelligence community in open opposition to a sitting president, and the illegality of immigration and the lawless democrats who keep telling us how wonderful illegal immigration is. I will continue to vote for him and hope everyone else does too.
Devin Nunes seems to suffer from “Afluenza”. I see little to no good that he has done for anyone who is not part of the upper elites in this valley. He is from the poorest county yet he serves only the rich.
Devin Nunes needs to go! He is a traitor and will never be independent of President Trumps will. He is Trumps puppet and all he is trying to do is absolve the President from any wrong doing by defacing the brave men and women serving within the Justice Department, ironically those that protect him from terrorism. A man without Honor, only seeks to stay in Trumps good graces with hopes To become a Trump Administration Cabinet member.
Devin Nunes WILL BE GONE!! he has no idea what awaits him for 2018. He will finally face the consequences of ignoring a community that needs better health care, drinking water, education, jobs and help the DACA kids. Can’t wait for the mid term elections Nov 2018! Everybody needs to vote him out of office.
The best person to bring the voice of DACA recipients is Brian Carroll. He intimately cares for the issues facing immigrants and their families and seeks to find a lasting solution to our immigration system based on justice and the inherent dignity of EVERY human being.
If you want a voice that stands for life, peace, and healing the partisan divide, vote for Brian Carroll.
Stephen PLEASE…we don’t need an immigration solution we ALREADY have laws in the books… the trouble is the liberal states like California won’t enforce them , sorry I don’t feel sorry for anyone who breaks the laws! If these people loved their children they wouldn’t bring them over here knowing they could be sent back plain selfish on those parents part. Illegal immigration is a easy fix 1. Fine any employer 10,000 for any illegal they hire 2. No USA freebies, no welfare in any shape or form 3. Your not an American citizen if your parents are not American citizens. Law breakers should not be rewarded time for the gravy train to stop! Vote Devin Nunes not Brian Carrol California has enough bleeding hearts that’s why we are on the cusp of going bankrupt!
Citizenship by Being Born in the United States: In most situations, any child that is born in the United States or one of its territories will automatically receive American citizenship. However, children born to diplomats and other recognized government officials from foreign countries will not receive U.S. citizenship if born on American soil. See Title 8 of the U.S. Code. If you were born in the U.S., your U.S. citizenship will last your entire life unless you make an affirmative action to give it up, like filing an oath.
DACA’s may not be considered legal citizens but so many have been here most of their entire lives, knowing no other country, raised as Americans, educated as Amercians, working and paying taxes as Americans, some serving honorably in the U.S. military and some even dying for America, being friends and making friends with fellow American students and neighbors. They live, love, and die just like so many Americans. Just as you and I do as Americans.
Nunes has a long history of not being concerned or interested about the people of his district. Why should he be since he is constantly reassured by these wealthy farmers around here who all got together and “bought and paid” for him to be their go to person in Washington DC that as long as he caters to their wishes and needs they will continue to subsidize his reelections. To date that has always worked for him as the majority of people in this district do not bother to get out and vote and those that do usually vote the status quo. I certainly hope that the tide is changing on that score.
If that’s all true Barb then why don’t they become US citizens?
If Nunes doen’t take care of the farmers and the farms go away, were will all the illegal immigrants who work at them go?
Nunes is what this district needs, he is not going anywhere, he will be re-elected
Need to do better in your homework. MOST are not employed by farmers…..they work in public service jobs ie motels, fast foods, retail, lawn care, grocery stores, mechanics, carpentry, and on and on and on. Farming is only a quarter of the jobs in the valley. One cannot become a US citizen if the government makes it next to impossible to do so. As far as Nunes goes……he does nothing for the fast majority of his constituents and he needs to be voted out.
The farmers are having enough trouble finding labor as it is. What good will getting rid of the immigrants do? They’re often fulfilling needs that need to be met by doing jobs many wont.
Title 8 of the US code is up for debate on interpretation and hopefully will someday be heard by the Supreme Court,you can correct me but I can’t think of any other country that allows citizenship if you birth a baby in their country. I’m not a farmer nor rich, however let’s stop the jealousy of being rich, do you want the rich farmers to leave California or leave this area? How do you think that would work out economically for the valley. Sorry If Dacca kids know no other country, that’s not the problem of the hard taxed Americans who struggle to keep food on the table for their own families, don’t blame Americans who just want the law followed apparently the Dacca parents have no problem breaking the law, laws are to be followed not to be bent for votes, go break the law in Mexico see where that gets you. Why would you want lawbreakers entering your country what values do lawbreaking parents teach their children.
I checked out Brian Carroll’s site, and love his thoughtful and creative policies. A breath of fresh air in this political mess.
Nunes should be charged with obstructing justice in the Russia investigation. His loyalty is Trump, not the American people. He needs to go. I would love to join any protest or organized plan to get him out of office. I know many who would join me. Just give us the time and place. Thank you
People have to wake up to the realities of the agenda of Trump and his minions, including Nunes. They support the 1%. The rest of us will see our taxes and healthcare impoverish us long after Trump and his kind are gone. Honor your country, protect your future- register and VOTE! Get informed, so that your vote represents your beliefs.
People have to wake up to the realities of the agenda of Trump and his minions, including Nunes. They support the 1%. The rest of us will see our taxes and healthcare impoverish us long after Trump and his kind are gone. Honor your country, protect your future- get informed, register and VOTE!
You will have support across the country to get Nunes out of office. Just let us know how we can help from afar. Get organized and get ready for a big fight. Let’s show Nunes that democracy is alive and well in spite of his efforts to undermine it.