EXIT INTERVIEW: Outgoing Congressman David Valadao (R-Hanford) reflects on his career, future


Outgoing Congressman David Valadao (R-Hanford) shared his thoughts Thursday on his election loss. The three-term Republican Congressman of Hanford was a casualty of the blue wave that swept California on election day. Valadao, who represented the 21st Congressional District for three terms, lost in a stunning upset to Fresno Democrat TJ Cox.

In an interview with KGET, Valadao touched on his accomplishments and disappointments from his tenure in Congress.

“The numbers just didn’t work out for us,” he said, reflecting on the race. “Historically, the elections usually go against the president in power, and I feel like [that] plays a large role in this.”

When asked what role President Trump played, specifically, in the race for the 21st Congressional District, Valadao said it was unfair to blame the loss on one person or issue.

“My opponent brought up [Trump’s] name quite a bit and they made an issue of it,” Valadao said, referring to Cox’s campaign. “But as far as [Trump] playing a major part of it, he was part of, just like I was a part of, just like other issues were a part of. To say one specific issue is the one that took me down, no, I don’t believe that.”

Valadao said he’s proud of what he brought to the Central Valley, noting legislation he spearheaded to bring more water to the region. But he also shared his regrets.

“We struggled to get something done on immigration reform. It’s something I would have loved to see get done, but there was not the will.”

Even so, he said he was proud of his votes, including some his constituents felt were controversial. He defended his vote to repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. 

“I wouldn’t change it for anything. One of the things that [the] Affordable Care Act has done is raised our rates quite a bit.  Even in my short time in office, my rates have doubled. Nothing has been done to fix that.”

With the election over, Valadao acknowledged he’s uncertain about what lies ahead, including another shot at serving the people, and added “it’s way too early” to speculate whether he’ll make a run for the seat in 2020.

For now, he wants his constituents to know he’s grateful.

 “The 21st Congressional District is home. It’s where I was born and raised. Love this place. Everything I’ve ever done while serving in Congress has always been with the sole focus of making our community better. [I am] thrilled that I’ve had the opportunity and honored that I was given this chance to do it, and I just want to say thank you.”
Valadao said he’s looking forward to spending more time with his family.

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