Fresno Bee voter guide

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16th Congressional District

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  • Candidate picture

    Jim Costa

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    Johnny Tacherra

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Biographical Information

Do you support immigration reform? Why or why not? And how important is it for any immigration reform to include a provision for agricultural workers?

Should the United States increase operations in the Middle East, including the reintroduction of large scale ground troops, in an effort to defeat ISIS?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein has introduced a bill in Congress to try to resolve conflicts (or at least balance interests) among competing California water interests. Do you support Feinstein's bill, and how would you try to resolve those conflicts?

Do you support the Trans Pacific Partnership? Explain your answer.

Do you support U.S. Senate Republicans' refusal to consider a replacement Supreme Court justice for Antonin Scalia this year? Is it the right decision to hold off a decision for more than a year until a new president is elected?

Do you support or oppose the Affordable Care Act? If you oppose it, what, specifically, would you change about it? If you think it just need tweaks, what are they? Or is it just right as is?

Do you support the state’s high-speed rail project? Please support your stance — be it pro or con — with specific reasons.

Members of Congress are much criticized for being unwilling to compromise and failing to work more collaboratively with the opposing party to get things done. How would you change that environment to get the people’s work done more effectively and respectfully?

Why are you the most qualified person for this seat?

Age 68
Residence Fresno
Family 3 generations of Costa's and Cardoza's.
Education California State University, Fresno, Bachelor of Science in Political Science, 1974
Occupation Representative / Farmer
Public service experience California State Assembly (1978 - 1994); California State Senate (1994 - 2002); U.S. House of Representatives (2005 - Present)
Facebook/Social media
We are a nation of immigrants past and immigrants present.  For more than 250 years, since the formation of the United States, immigrants have made our country what it is today. Our immigration system is broken, and we must fix it. Any reform package must modernize our broken immigration system for the 21st Century by securing our borders, uniting families, and providing an earned pathway to citizenship, not amnesty. It is imperative that agricultural workers be included in this comprehensive solution, as they are the foundation of our agricultural economy. Continuing the status quo is not acceptable for the sake of our economy, the future of the San Joaquin Valley, and the 11 million people living in the shadows. We need reform now.
We should learn the lessons of the past. We must fight the war on international terrorism on every front, but success requires a long term, strategic effort to manage and combat the multiple causes of terrorism and includes support from a coalition of our international allies. We will succeed with a long term comprehensive effort, but there are no easy or quick solutions to the challenges that have been festering in that part of the world for decades. We certainly need to increase operations in the Middle East, with conditions and the support of our allies, but I do not support the reintroduction of large scale ground troops.
Fixing California’s broken water system to increase water supply reliability for our Valley is among my highest priorities. In the short term, it is critical that we reform the regulatory structure that limits the flexibility of water project operators, so that we are able to move water through the Delta when it is available. For the long term, to maintain our agricultural economy and provide for the increasing demands on California’s limited water supply, we must increase our resilience to drought by using all of the water tools at our disposal. This includes increasing surface and subsurface storage, increasing the use of recycled and reclaimed water, increasing urban and agricultural water use efficiency, increasing the use of desalination, and conjunctively using our surface and groundwater supplies. When dealing with California’s water challenges, it’s important to note that there is no perfect piece of legislation. The House bill, which I am a co-sponsor of and supported last year, increases the accountability of the regulatory structure that has limited the Valley’s water supply. The Feinstein bill, which I support, does a good job in addressing long-term issues such as surface storage, groundwater storage, recycling and conservation, which are all critical for our long-term needs. The way you resolve the conflicts is by getting both bills in a conference committee and working out the differences.
I supported Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) last year because unfair trade advantages imposed by other countries on United States products, including tariff and non-tariff barriers, can only be fixed through negotiated trade agreements. Unless the Administration is able to negotiate with our global trade partners, unfair trade practices remain and our products are at a disadvantage in the global economy. After vetting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with both its opponents and proponents and evaluating the merits of the deal, I will make a determination on how I will vote when the bill is brought before the House of Representatives.
According to our Constitution, it is the Senate’s responsibility to give a fair hearing, in a timely manner, on any appointment that is proposed by the President. After the hearings, an up or down vote on the merits of the candidate who has been appointed is to be held. There are some very important legal questions that require a full Court to weigh during the remainder of this year. It is unprecedented to hold off this process for solely political reasons.
I support the Affordable Care Act and believe it is a significant first step to reforming the healthcare system in the United States. It is also my belief that there are improvements that could be made to the law. In order to improve the ACA, we must focus, in a bipartisan way, on insurance and drug price cost containment, to reduce the ever increasing costs in our healthcare system. This includes ensuring that the reforms in the law are paid for in a responsible manner and not simply put on the backs of the taxpayer. Six years after the ACA was passed, over half of the residents in the sixteenth Congressional district who did not have insurance are now covered, reducing the costs and improving the health of Americans. Additionally, people can no longer be denied coverage because they may have had a pre-existing condition.
Yes. Over the years, I have been a strong proponent of investing in the infrastructure of California and the nation. Infrastructure is the foundation of a functioning economy. Today, we are living off of the investments made by our parents and grandparents to improve our transportation system and our water system in California. High-speed rail is one part of providing current and future generations of Californians the necessary infrastructure for moving people, goods and services in the 21st century. It will connect our Valley to urban centers, increasing investments in the Valley for the future. In the short term, high speed rail construction will bring good paying jobs to the Valley. In the long-term, high-speed rail’s beginning in our Valley will position us to be the leader in high-speed rail technical know-how in the United States. In addition, I have been in close contact with farmers, local government officials, and Valley residents regarding the proposed high-speed rail routes through the Valley. As the routes through Merced, Madera, and Fresno Counties are developed, I want to continue to listen to our farmers, residents, and local leaders in order to determine the best possible alignment.
Over the years that I have had the honor and privilege to represent the people of our Valley. My focus has always been on developing bipartisan solutions to get the job done. My history, reputation and what I try to do every day is work across the aisle. The majority of the time America has had divided government in Washington, D.C., and as a result, without compromise nothing can get accomplished. Unfortunately, today, too many of my colleagues in Washington, D.C., simply do not believe in the art of political compromise. I believe the majority of Americans want us to work together to solve America’s problems. I will continue my efforts to bring my colleagues together and believe the attitudes in Washington will change over time.
Simply put, I am an effective legislator and passionately believe in the people of the Valley. Over the years, working on a bipartisan basis with people at every level of government and business, we have achieved some significant successes. Whether it be the construction of the Delta Mendota Canal/State Water Project Intertie, which connected the state and federal canals and has resulted in hundreds of thousands of additional acre-feet of water being made available to our parched Valley, or increased funding for drought relief, we have accomplished much in a very divided Congress. We passed a five-year Farm bill, increasing investments in the Valley's specialty Crop industry through research and protection from invasive species, given our dairy producers the additional support to enter the federal milk marketing order, and provided federal assistance for farmers to upgrades to their equipment to improve Valley air quality. We have also given Valley veterans a place to live by securing $92 million in funding to open the Fresno Veterans Home. Ensuring safe communities by combating crime and gangs is another place where we’ve been able to make some headway. I’ve brought home millions of our tax dollars, putting more cops on the street and keeping us safe. We’ve also passed legislation strengthening crime victims’ rights and stopping violence against women. More work remains, obviously, and together, we can achieve great things for the Valley.
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