BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Born and raised in Bakersfield, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has been both the pride and source of anticipation in town, with his new title.
“Well, a lot of people really were happy about [his rise to speakership],” said Bakersfield resident Roger Martin. “They loved the recognition for Bakersfield.”
But with a motion to vacate officially filed Monday afternoon by political foe Matt Gaetz (R-Fl.) — to which McCarthy reacted with a simple social media response — the speaker’s seat is at more risk than ever before.
“It would be a shame,” said Bakersfield resident Gabriel Delgado. “I’m born and raised here, he represents here.”
After chatting with locals, it’s clear folks agree the Speaker isn’t in an ideal position, but it may not look too good for our district either.
“Well, I know he has his hands full,” Martin said of McCarthy.
His hands full yet again, days after narrowly avoiding a government shutdown.
When asked about the threat to his speakership, McCarthy responded, “I’m just gonna focus on doing the work I’m supposed to do.”
“There are very few options to do, in listening to everybody. They elected me to be Speaker, so I made a decision. I thought it was best to keep the government open,” he added, defending the bipartisan bill that passed over the weekend, keeping the government open until Nov. 17.
For those who spoke with 17 News off camera, some said losing the speakership would be embarrassing for McCarthy; others said, rather, it’d be a sad thing for Congress.
“Hopefully he can learn from his mistakes, and hopefully he can learn from this,” said Bakersfield resident Blue Dahlia Charles. “He lined it up for himself to be in this situation, most definitely.”
Blue Dahlia Charles told 17 News McCarthy is divisive and more concerned with “his wellness and saving face.”
“I think for the older generation of people, it’s definitely going to be something they’re upset about, but I think the younger generation of people here are a lot more progressive and have different ideals, and I think we’re not really proud of what he’s doing for our community,” Charles answered, when asked what local reactions would be, should McCarthy be ousted.
Others remain critical of the McCarthy’s performance but say his political stance, at least, is something they can undertake.
“When I think of the alternatives that could speak for the House and the majority, I think Kevin’s not a bad choice, explained Martin. “I don’t wanna see a Jim Jordan or someone with more radical views to have that kind of say and power.”
But it comes down to who will govern well — not just who will govern — as a shutdown looms over the nation, including the speaker’s own neighbors and neighborhoods.
“I’d go with whoever’s not doing the government breakdown,” said Delgado, explaining he was happy the McCarthy helped avoid a shutdown.
And with a possibility of a shutdown simply delayed until mid-November, given Congress has yet to pass yearlong funding for the government, constituents also emphasized personal feuds should not sit at the front of Americans’ wellbeing.
“I think [a shutdown is] such a huge, huge issue just because [lawmakers] have finances, they have the money to go forward with their lives,” Charles said. “This division that’s happening doesn’t affect them. They can argue about it, but the people who are part of the community… we’re the ones who hurt over this. They’re not hurt over this.”