BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Marisa Wood has entered the race to take on incumbent Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy during the 2022 election.

“Kevin McCarthy isn’t doing his job,” said Wood, a registered Democrat and a teacher of English language learners at Fairfax Junior High School.

“If he was like us with a regular job, he would have been fired a long time ago. He has consistently put his partisan agenda and special interest groups over the hardworking people who put him into office. Enough is enough,” Wood continued.

Wood and her husband John have lived in Kern County for 35 years. A graduate of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, her experience in the education field includes teaching at the Gifted and Talented Education Program and co-teaching First Communion classes at the St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Bakersfield. Wood, who also is a regular at the Fairfax School District board meetings, said she would prioritize education if elected to the 23rd Congressional District.

“Education needs to be equitable,” she stated during an interview with 17 News. “We need to make sure we are giving our students the best equitable education we can get because I truly believe education is the great equalizer.”

Wood also said healthcare would be at the top of her list if elected.

“Healthcare is a right, not a privilege,” she said. “Families should not have to choose to put food on the table or healthcare for my kids.”

Wood is running in a Republican-majority district, and against an incumbent congressmember who, since 2006, has defeated his opponents by double digit margins. Still, she is confident she can win.

“I always told my students that one person can make a difference … I’ve been here, I’ve been in the community, I love this community. I will be proud — unlike Kevin McCarthy — when I’m done in Washington and it’s time to come back home, I will come back home.”

KGET reached out to the McCarthy for Congress campaign but did not hear back by news time. However, when Democrat Bruno Amato announced his candidacy earlier this year, McCarthy released the following statement:

“As I have been since day one, I remain committed to fighting for a strong, fiscally responsible, and free America where everyone can achieve the American dream.”

*KGET invites all Congressional candidates to appear on 17 News regardless of party affiliation.