BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — This June and November, voters in Kern will face a slate of options. 17 News is sitting down with Kern’s candidates so the county can make an informed decision.
The newly-drawn 35th Assembly district stretches from Arvin to Delano and includes much of East Bakersfield. We have two candidates in this race so far, including Bakersfield doctor Jasmeet Bains.
A closer look at Jasmeet Bains
Bakersfield doctor Jasmeet Bains says she never imagined herself venturing into the world of politics.
“I wish I could give you a very pretty picture of why I decided to run for office, but the truth of the matter is, it’s a really ugly story,” she said.
That all changed around March 2020.
“It’s the story of physician who has had enough,” she said. “What I have seen over the past two years, the amount suffering I’ve seen, the devastation on my community is more than most people see in their entire lifetime.”
Dr. Bains is the daughter of immigrants from India and grew up in Delano. The COVID-19 pandemic became the impetus for her to throw her hat in the ring to represent Kern’s newly-drawn 35th Assembly district as a Democrat.
“It really came down to either I continue being a doctor to my community or I take my voices, my experiences of my patients to a higher level,” she said.
Dr. Bains said providing medical services to the underserved in the Central Valley has been the driving force of her career. She did her medical school residency at Clinica Sierra Vista here in Kern. Now, she is the medical director at Bakersfield Recovery Services where she works as a primary care doctor and provides help to those recovering from addiction.
“You have a pail that has holes in it, and you keep putting water into it, it is just going to keep leaking,” Dr. Bains said. “Unless we address the holes in the system first and plug it up so that when we’re ready to put water in it, it holds.”
That’s how Dr. Bains describes the nation’s healthcare system, which, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the issue that, if elected, she would most want to tackle in office.
“We have got to make sure we work towards making health care more affordable and more equitable for everyone,” she said. “And that is not going to happen overnight.”
She believes her lack of a political background gives her an edge in the race and a fresh perspective if sent to Sacramento.
“We have to fix it by electing people that know how to fix it,” she said, “That have worked in the system, that have worked and seen people in the healthcare system.”
But Dr. Bains, who also serves as the Chief Medical Officer for the California Medical Disaster team Central Valley Unit, said health care is far from the only issue she would want to address in office. She said, if elected, she would also prioritize homelessness, water infrastructure and air quality.
17 News invites everyone running for office in Kern to speak with us about their candidacy.