“I’ve been the 1st of many things, 1st in my family to go to college, 1st Latino elected to Bakersfield City Council & I hope to become the first Latino elected to Congress from the Valley…”. (Twitter 3/6/22)
“On the anniversary of the January 6th insurrection, I pray for the families of the 5 officers who gave their lives defending our democracy. As Americans, I hope that we can strive for a united & stronger America.” (Twitter 1/6/22)
“I am honored that this past year has brought so many real wins for folks in the Central Valley. From securing over $50 million for local education, infrastructure, workforce development & water projects, to passing major EDD reform legislation, I am ready to build on this success in 2022.” (Facebook 1/2/22)
“My record is a clear contrast to my opponent: I’ve delivered affordable health care, higher wages, and more funding for public safety…. I was the only Democrat to vote against raising the gas tax on working families, and with record gas prices, I couldn’t be prouder of that stand…”.
(The Bakersfield Californian 3/10/22)
BACKGROUND + EXPERIENCE
First elected in 2012, Assembly member Rudy Salas represents the 22nd District serving California’s Central Valley. He graduated from UCLA with degrees in History and Political Science. Prior to serving in the Assembly, his passion for public service and good governance led him to work at the White House, the State Capitol as a legislative staffer, and ultimately back to the Central Valley where he was a District Director and in 2012 served as the first Latino City Council member in Bakersfield.
Assembly member Salas has been named “Legislator of the Year” by California 9-1-1 Emergency Dispatchers, California Police Chiefs Association, the American GI Forum of California, the California Issues Forum, the California Latino Capitol Association Foundation, the Foundation for Independent Living Centers, and the California Optometric Association.
He currently serves on the following Assembly Committees: Veterans Affairs; Water, Parks & Wildlife; Governmental Organization; Business and Professions; Military and Veterans and is Chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.
ON THE ISSUES
Salas consistently stood for Central Valley families and the interests of the region. As the state struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic, Assembly member Salas was instrumental in getting hundreds of thousands of items of protective equipment to frontline workers, not only those working in hospitals but also in agricultural fields. As California recovers from the economic toll of the pandemic, Assembly member Salas gave a boost to the region by securing over $50 million in dedicated investment for Central Valley projects that will expand local nursing programs and construct an emergency response center, a cooling center, a clean water well, and a new building at Bakersfield College, Delano campus.
Salas has been a steadfast voice for the Valley in the Capitol, prioritizing the issues of public safety, clean drinking water, small business success, improving air quality and healthcare, workforce development, and expanding the Valley’s educational opportunities. In the 2021-2022 state budget, Salas fought to secure $2 million to build an emergency response center in Avenal and delivered $5.7 million for the construction of Corcoran’s new Police Headquarters. In response to the drought, Salas advocated for the allocation of $1.38 billion for clean drinking water investments and infrastructure to rural communities. In 2019, he secured $12.5 million specifically for Central Valley safe drinking water projects. Additionally, in 2017, Assembly member Salas secured $4 million in state funds for the Friant Kern Canal Project to bring stability and flexibility to California’s water system and provide additional water supplies to the region, reducing dependence on groundwater wells. He also authored legislation to keep drinking water safe and affordable by expanding state financial assistance to water systems in severely disadvantaged rural communities. Salas has been a long-time supporter of the Temperance Flat Reservoir Project.
With healthcare a persistent issue in the Central Valley, Salas has been a leader on the issue of Valley Fever, delivering a total of $10 million for research and outreach.He has authored legislation that makes reporting and Valley Fever resources more readily available to workers and saved Kern Medical Center from closing. To expand educational opportunities in healthcare and nursing, Assembly member Salas worked collaboratively with Bakersfield and CSU Bakersfield to bring millions to increase classes, hire more teachers, and construct new buildings on campus so the Valley students can receive a quality education in the community.
Assembly member Salas continues to stand up for the Central Valley in Sacramento authoring legislation to reform the Employment Development Department (EDD), protecting veterans from discrimination, increasing pipeline safety, and more.
POLITICS IN CALIFORNIA
Rudy Salas is challenging incumbent David. Valadao in “new” District 22. Valadao has served several terms in CA 21. He won back his seat in 2020 from a Democrat during an election in which his district picked Biden by a margin of 10.9%. He casts himself as “an independent member of Congress who will stand up to the divisive partisanship…” A dairy farmer, he focuses on agricultural issues particularly access to water- a key issue in the Central Valley. Valadao was one of 8 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the 1/6/22 insurrection. However, Valadao also voted with Trump’s policies 97% of the time (according to 538).
The race is rated Toss Up by Cook, Sabato and Inside Elections. It is considered one of the most crucial toss-ups in the nation. Pollster Neel Sannappa has stated: “it is a Democrat-leaning district, but in the past, Republican turnout in the district has been very high and surpassed Democratic turnout.” (KGET.com 3/14/22)