BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — 17 News spoke one-on-one with California 22nd Congressional District candidate Chris Mathys.
CA-22 was home to one of the most expensive and highly contested races nationwide in the 2022 election cycle and includes most of Kings County and parts of Tulare and Kern Counties.
Mathys is a familiar face taking on incumbent David Valadao. In the 2022 primary election, Mathys fell a little over 1,200 votes short to fellow GOP candidate Valadao and didn’t progress to the general election.
“I believe that this time we will prevail,” Mathys told 17 News. “I think the people want a different president, they want a conservative president, and I’m the Congressman that can help make that happen.”
Mathys added: “I’m hoping that to get the conservative Republican vote, the American Independent vote and then the no party preference vote, which are all three very important.”
That confidence is the foundation of a campaign yet again built on dedication to and admiration for former President Donald Trump.
“The first thing and most important thing to me is to see that President Trump gets elected president and that we have a majority of Republicans that support him,” Mathys said when asked what the top three items on his agenda are.
He calls himself a “Trump conservative” and said he decided to run for office when Rep. Valadao voted to impeach Mr. Trump.
“[Valadao] is not a Republican,” Mathys said. “Here in the Valley, we need a conservative. We need someone that’s going to represent our values, make sure our oil and gas industry prospers and that our farmers can continue to prosper.”
Mathys also criticized Valadao’s inability to meet face-to-face with the district’s constituents, as he spends the majority of his time on Capitol Hill. Mathys said in 2022, Valadao spent ten times as much on his campaign.
“People in District 22 need a local candidate they can meet, and someone they can count on to represent them,” Mathys said, explaining Valadao is not that lawmaker.
As for his Democratic opponents Rudy Salas and Melissa Hurtado, senator of California’s 16th District, Mathys said “let the best person win.”
In the last election cycle, it was reported that some Democrats vouched for Mathys, as they saw him as an easier GOP opponent than Valadao would’ve been.
To which Mathys disagreed, responding “I think a lot of the reason that some Democrats do support me as you know, I am bilingual. I have family that from Central America. And so I think I’ve been able to effectively communicate with Latinos with my knowledge of Spanish and just having grown up in a farming community.”
Here is where candidate Chris Mathys stands on issues topping voters’ minds here in Kern County and nationwide.
Former President Donald Trump
Chris Mathys is an avid Trump supporter and believes the former president is the strongest, most qualified candidate for the next presidency.
Chris Mathys: “I think it’s time to put him back and let him continue making America a great country.”
Mathys has not received an endorsement from Trump. He told 17 News it’s a work in progress and he’ll keep at. Mathys does have fellow Republican Adam Medeiros’ endorsement for 2024, though. Medeiros also ran for the 22nd congressional district seat in the last election cycle.
President Joe Biden impeachment inquiry
Chris Mathys believes Biden should be investigated.
17’s Jenny Huh: Last time around, you told 17 News that Valadao voted as a Republican voted to impeach a Republican president, which doesn’t look good for the party doesn’t look good on him. So then do you think it’s fine for Republican congressional members to vote to impeach a Democratic president?
Chris Mathys: It’s all based on, is there a reason to impeach? There was no reason whatsoever to impeach President Trump, he did a fantastic job. The witch hunt is continuing every trial he goes on. They’re pressing charges against him. It’s time to leave him alone.”
17’s Jenny Huh: “So for President Biden, you do believe there is a reason to impeach?”
Chris Mathys: “I think he needs to be investigated.”
Chris Mathys: “My question is this. [Valadao] voted to impeach President Trump without any evidence or a trial. But now when it comes to President Biden, he won’t even look at the evidence… That’s showing that his allegiance is to progressive President Biden and not to the conservative values of district 22. You can’t call President Trump unfit for office, and then expect to be a Republican in represent[ing] the district.
Looming government shutdown
Chris Mathys is in favor of cutting down government spending.
Jenny Huh: “Where do you stand on the government shutdown? Is it something you would support? Is it something you want to avoid at all costs?”
Chris Mathys: “No, I think our government spends way too much money. There is still no strong push for limiting the funding of the war in Ukraine. And I think that the people that are fighting for less taxes and less foreign aid, need to be respected because they care about America’s pocketbook. And at the end of the day, they’re spending our tax dollars in Washington, and somebody needs to keep an eye on those tax dollars.”
Jenny Huh: “Do you think Speaker McCarthy is too moderate? And do you think he spends his time appeasing the Democrats one day and the far righters another day?”
Chris Mathys: “I have a great respect for him. He has a tough job. And I think he’s doing the best he can with what he has to work with… I think he’s shown that he supports President Trump, and so to me, he’s a conservative.”
Chris Mathys says he’s all for using federal funds toward American needs, first.
Chris Mathys: “[Americans] want a place that they can live and not have to worry about inflation and interest rates … Why are we spending $45 billion of American taxpayer money into Ukraine? When here in America we have the needs, we have families that can’t afford gas at $5 a gallon, we have people that are homeless, but we have $45 billion of our money, Mr. Valadao’s support sending it to the Ukraine? I don’t understand that.”
Mathys is in favor of in-person voting and believes voting is a “privilege” reserved for American citizens.
Chris Mathys: “I’m not somebody that’s going to be a sore loser. If you win, you win. If you lose, you lose. You got to move on either way.”
Jenny Huh: “So then how does voter integrity come into the picture?”
Chris Mathys: “Well I mean that’s a good question. I do think that we need to make sure only American citizens vote. And we need to make sure that we verify people’s ID before they vote. Because if we don’t do that, then there’s a lack of voter integrity.”
Chris Mathys believes in stricter crackdowns of criminals.
Chris Mathys: “There has to be a consequence. I feel for members of law enforcement that make these arrests, and then the same people are released two or three days later. Why are our prisons half full? Why are they closing prisons? The bottom line is if you violate someone’s right in Kern County, you should go to jail and pay the price and not be released… And the only way to do it is tough law enforcement, respect our police, and make sure people pay the price when they when they violate our rights and steal from us.”
“And let’s ensure that our southern border is secure. A lot of our criminal activity relates to an unchecked border where people come across, we don’t know where they’re from. We don’t know their intentions. We have a federal government that cannot control our southern border. That has to stop.”
Chris Mathys blames homeless largely on drug abuse, and he blames the large presence of drugs on a weak border.
Chris Mathys: “To have people with criminal records roaming our streets and stealing from us is not a sound policy. Again, if there’s a consequence, then a lot of these people that are causing these problems will be incarcerated and serve the time, instead of being out in the open where they can continue to, you know, harass our people.”
Jenny Huh: But homelessness itself isn’t necessarily considered a crime… When it comes to homelessness, what specific resolutions [do you have]?”
Chris Mathys: “Number one is drug use… Getting back to the border, again, how is all of this stuff coming over? It’s coming because we have a weak border. The less drugs, the less problems. The first solution to me is to cut to drug traffic to cut drug trade. And at that same time, make sure that people that are homeless, either get the mental health that that they need. And if they do have a criminal record, and they’re committing crimes, they should go to jail.”
Chris Mathys: “The Westlands Water District just announced that they have reached half of their goals for the recharge. And so I think we need to continue to any opportunity we have to increase water storage… We need water storage. I mean, this last year, we had so much water that we sent to the ocean. Had we had a better storage capacity, we could have kept that because maybe next year, we won’t have the same amount of rain. And so water storage is extremely important for farmers because the more water that they have to pump, the more expensive it is.”
Chris Mathys is in favor of finishing up Mr. Trump’s border wall and putting an end to “sanctuary cities.”
Chris Mathys: under President Trump, we had title 42. What happened there is you had to go through the whole vetting process to come to America offshore. Then when that was done, you were allowed to enter under the Biden administration, you walk across the border, you sign up for benefits you live here, that I don’t believe this solids, immigration policy.
Climate Change (Big Oil)
When asked whether he believes in climate change, and whether the global issue is on his agenda, Mathys said the following.
Chris Mathys: “Personally, I think we’re always going to have hot times and cold times. The worst thing we can do right now is attack our oil and gas industry because Kern County especially is dependent on oil and gas for employment. America is dependent on oil and gas to be a strong energy-independent nation, and by Governor Newsom attacking our oil companies, he’s attacking Americans. And he’s attacking anyone that drives a car that’s runs by gas. Let’s let the oil and gas companies do their job. Let’s give them the permits. Let’s become energy independent … Time to back off and leave the world companies alone.”
Chris Mathys is pro life.
Parental notification policy
Chris Mathys: “Parents need to know what our children are doing … and parents need to be notified [of] anything that impacts their children. If the child wants to change their pronoun, the first thing that person needs to know Is mom and dad, most definitely.”
Chris Mathys: “I think one of the biggest mistakes that this country made was to force Americans to wear masks … It’s overdone. It’s overrun. Leave it alone. Let Americans be free. Stop the mandates, stop the vaccination mandates and let people take care of themselves. We don’t need Mr. Fauci to take care of us.”
You can watch the full interview here.