BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — This June and November, voters in Kern will face a slate of options at the ballot box. 17 News is sitting down with Kern’s candidates so the county can make informed decisions.

We are turning to one of the most competitive races in the nation — The Central Valley’s 22nd congressional district, which includes parts of Kern, Kings and Tulare counties as well as portions of cities such as Bakersfield, Hanford, Tulare, Arvin, Delano and Porterville.

This is a Latino-majority district that leans Democratic in terms of registration. Voters in this district would have voted for Joe Biden in 2020 by a margin of almost 13%. However, Republicans have seen high turnout in this region previously. Incumbent David Valadao (R-Hanford) won this area as a Republican on the same ticket in which the district voted for Biden by about 11%.

Three candidates are hoping to unseat Valadao: Republican Chris Mathys, Republican Adam Medeiros and Democrat Rudy Salas.

A closer look at Adam Medeiros

Politics and religion, two things everyone knows not to talk about at the dinner table. But what about at the hair salon?

“I always like to say this to make it very clear, David Valadao is a personal friend, I know his family, his children, I know his parents,” 22nd Congressional District candidate Adam Medeiros said. “He’s actually been a client of mine for many years. Until I started running.”

Hanford salon owner Adam Medeiros has a background starkly similar to that of his once patron turned political opponent, David Valadao, whose family immigrated from Portugal and settled on a farm in Hanford.

At age two, Medeiros himself came with his parents and six siblings from the Azores Islands to America, where he grew up on a dairy farm in the Central Valley.

“I believe I represent the American dream of an immigrant who came with nothing and now wants to contribute back,” he said.

After graduating high school Medeiros went to beauty school where he met Amy, his wife of 40 years. The pair raised three children in Hanford where they own Medeiros Spa and Salon.

While he currently sits on the Kings County Board of Education and has been involved in schoolboards for years, both Medeiros and Amy said they never imagined venturing into a congressional bid, especially at this heated time in American politics.

“At this climate, it’s just like ahh it’s so comfortable but I really felt it was a God calling,” Medeiros said. “We were sitting around and I really felt convicted, I really got to stop complaining and whining about it if I’m not willing to do something about it.”

Medeiros says among his top issues are immigration, law enforcement and education. But there’s one specific reason he hopes voters send him to Capitol Hill.

“I want to get to Washington because there’s truly a what I call a socialist agenda from the current administration that needs to be stopped,” he said.

When it comes to the last administration?

“I’m a huge Trump supporter I love what he did for our country,” Medeiros said. “But I’m just not a big fan of how he tweets and the things he says. He’s always a little bit rash with it, a little bit course with it.”

Despite being one of the nation’s most competitive districts this election year, on paper, winning the 22nd congressional race could be a tough fight for any Republican in an area that leans blue by a margin of over 16%.

“It really hasn’t bothered us too much because I believe there is an awakening happening and I tell this every time I speak I can’t get election by Republicans voting for me. Democrats are going to have to vote for me,” he said.

Medeiros considers himself a Christian Conservative and believes those values ultimately will win out.

“I have the cross on everything I put out because I want people to know I’m not just representing them, I’m representing their Christian values and those have been ignored for a long time,” Medeiros said. “And I think that sets me apart.”