by Ben van der Meer
U.S. Rep. John Garamendi admits there is quite a bit of diversity in his new congressional district, which stretches from Bay Area suburbs to the liberal college town Davis to the conservative, relatively rural Yuba-Sutter-Colusa region.
But as he gears up to seek re-election in what'll be the 3rd Congressional District, he said, he is excited for the issues the district presents.
"This is terrific country with a multitude of opportunities, and also some challenges," said Garamendi, D-Walnut Creek, during a meeting with Appeal-Democrat editorial staff on Tuesday. ...
As well, flood protection, military spending and the economy resonate across much of the district, said Garamendi, a California political veteran who has served in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
Garamendi said rebuilding the economy will come when people are working again, and said initiatives proposed by President Barack Obama, but so far stalled in Congress, would make a difference by boosting infrastructure and creating construction jobs. On his own, Garamendi said, he is sponsoring a bill to require tax dollars spent on such projects to go only to domestic companies.
Similarly, he has pushed for an amendment to a defense authorization bill to give local contractors a bigger shot at work on military bases. Such a change could benefit the surrounding community for Beale, which Garamendi predicted could even expand. ...
Garamendi said he would describe himself as a veteran of the state's water wars, and said while water transfers have their place, he would have concerns about water rights going to Southern California, or using transfers as the primary way to pay for flood control. ...
Though his re-election has come up early on the National Republican Congressional Committee's radar as a target — four GOP candidates have emerged so far — Garamendi said he believes in working for his district regardless of party.
He has served in districts with a conservative bent before, he said. Doing so successfully means meeting goals for constituents, and working for a government that promotes five areas: education, research, manufacturing, infrastructure and the ability to change, he said.
"People know: You want something done, get Garamendi to do it," he said.