Four candidates vie for State Senate District 14

Incumbent Andy Vidak will be facing three challengers for State Senate District 14. In a district that has a majority of registered Democrats, in 2014 Vidak easily beat his Democrat opponent Luis Chavez 54% to 45%. The senate district covers most of the South Valley, all of Hanford, and a small piece of Fresno County.

Candidates for SD14 are: Sanger City Council Member Melissa Hurtado, Earlimart School Board Member Abigail Solis, Activists Ruben Macareno and Incumbent Andy Vidak. The following profiles were submitted by each of the candidates.

Each candidate has submitted their own individual statement.

Melissa Hurtado

Like so many of us in the Valley, I am the daughter of immigrant parents who taught their children to work hard, be persistent and build a better community. The lessons we learn from our parents stay with us throughout our lives.

The first in my family to graduate from college, I know the difference quality schools make. At the Fresno Teachers Association I worked as an organizer, bringing resources to our classrooms and providing our children with the best education possible. In the State Senate, I will fight for expanding vocational education programs, boosting graduation rates, improved school safety and debt-free college.

As a healthcare advocate for the Valley, I fought to protect Medicare, Medi-Cal and health insurance for low income children. I’ve worked to expand community hospitals and clinics, lower prescription drug prices, advocate for funding for asthma prevention, and educate our communities about staying healthy. In Sacramento, I will work every day for better healthcare in the Valley.

Serving on the Sanger City Council, I have worked to improve the local economy and create high-wage jobs. During my first term in office we saved a local production company from moving and even expanded the number of good paying jobs there. Our Valley needs leaders who know how to spur economic revitalization and job growth.

The lessons from my parents stay with me – work hard, be compassionate and fight for our communities so that everyone in the Valley can have the chance to achieve the American dream.

Ruben Macareno

I am the best candidate to represent you in the State Senate because I am one of you.

As a “Son of the San Joaquin Valley” I know the struggles of jobs, water, rural economic development, education, healthcare and so much more in the valley. As number 11 of 13 brothers and sisters I also know the need to be heard and I say the 14th State Senate district’s concerns are not being heard.

My resume surpasses in diverse experience over that my opponents’ which features my time in DC, LA, and the Valley where I have built a network, knowledge, and the skill sets to deliver in the political arena. The importance of having a deep pocket of tools is crucial because the district is the poorest of all the senatorial districts. We need a working senator who is willing to fight and deliver.

I will stand up for us.

I am the only candidate, including the senator, who has been both a parent and spouse. When you have an immediate family unit, you truly understand the need to deliver for others. You understand the need to put food on the table, ensure your children have the best K-12 education, and that they can afford college. Parents understand the need for accessible and quality healthcare, enough jobs to help meet household obligations, and that our water is safe and drinkable.

I know families from the inside.

I have been a student leader since third grade to college. I worked in Washington DC for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and Congressman Edward Roybal, the Los Angeles Times in its Public Affairs division and later in the newsroom.  I write opinion pieces for local publications. I have been an owner of a small business as well as an executive director of a local chamber of commerce.

I am the founder and president of the Latino Democrats of Central California, the immediate past chairman of the Tulare County Democratic Party and a member of the state’s party as well. I have been endorsed by many local leaders in the four-county region including Dave Jones, California’s Insurance Commissioner.

I attended Farmersville Schools, graduated from Exeter High, LA City College and am an Alumni Scholar from CSULA.

I appreciate your vote June 5.

Abigail Solis

Born and raised in Earlimart, my farm working parents taught the value of hard work. I attended Delano High School, Bakersfield College and University of Phoenix. Currently, I work in the Community Development Department at Self Help Enterprises, in Visalia.

My career has been focused on improving the lives of the people of the Central Valley through public policy and advocacy work. I am serving my second term on the Earlimart School District Board of Trustees, where last year we increased reading levels by over ten percent.

Living here my whole life, I’ve seen the lack of resources available and chronic disinvestment. SD14 suffers from contaminated drinking water, bad air quality and the highest poverty rate in California, this is unacceptable and it is time we change it. I am committed to tackling poverty, creating good paying jobs, investing in quality education and much needed infrastructure improvements.

I believe that all families deserve health care and that no one should have to choose between buying medicine or buying food. My experience working on local projects has thought me that when we work together, we can make progress. In Earlimart, the school district and County of Tulare came together through a JPA to secure $2.4 million to build the first ever Community Park in town, we need more of this kind of collaboration in the Valley.

SD14 has been ignored for too long, I will fight for the improvements and resources to come here instead of other parts of the State.

Andy Vidak

Since 2013, it has been my honor to represent you in Sacramento. Born and raised in the Central Valley, I was sick and tired of coastal liberals overlooking our communities and looking down their noses on our way of life.

Consequently, I ran for the State Senate so the voices of my friends and neighbors would be heard in the State Capitol.

While in office, I have worked to provide clean, safe drinking water and more jobs in our district.

To that end, I brought Democrats and Republicans together and helped negotiate the historic water bond passed by voters in 2014. Today, our district has received $53 million for water projects and even more has been awarded for our south Central Valley.

Since my election, I have hosted an annual job fair to connect local folks out of work with businesses looking for employees.

I also co-authored legislation that would provide a 50% tax credit for students who attend career technical education classes so they learn new job skills. Finally, the Tulare County Chiefs Association endorsed my re-election because of my votes to stop the rise of violent crime.

If re-elected, I plan to continue my fight to build Temperance Flat water storage, stop high-speed rail and increase Medi-Cal reimbursement rates so more doctors accept low-income patients in need of health care. Not only will I sponsor local job fairs again, but I will work hard to repeal the recent gas and car tax hikes that are hurting family budgets.


One thought on “Four candidates vie for State Senate District 14

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  1. I am so tired of Vidak’s style of culture-war bullshit. He’s too stupid to know that Temperance Flat will yield $1500/acre-foot water and no one is going to pay for that.

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