District 19 Cross Partisan Race

Fresno, CA We met 52 year old democrat outside Pop's Sportsman Cafe halfway between Mariposa and Oakhurst Tuesday. The 19th congressional district sprawls over 5 counties: Mariposa, Tuolumne, Stanislaus, Madera and Fresno. Republican incumbent George Radanovich has been re-elected here eight times.

Congressional candidate Les Marsden wants to break that streak, in the past year or so republicans have come to me and asked, please, please run against Radanovich. I'm not running as a partisan democrat, I'm running as a guy who will do the job that is not being done."

As the son of a Fresno farming family Marsden wants more water not less flowing to agriculture including from the San Joaquin River. "We've got to improve our means of capturing; storing and delivering water and we can't take anything off the table."

One of his republican supporters is Madera farmer Denis Prosperi. Last year he called for Radanovich's resignation over the bipartisan brokered San Joaquin river restoration water settlement. This republican is now supporting democrat Les Marsden's candidacy, "Do I agree a hundred percent with what he wants to do, probably wants to do, I don't know? I just trust that he's gonna make the right decisions because he understands the tie between water, economics and ultimately the social programs that the tax base wants to pay for."

From Washington D.C. Radanovich told me he has continuing support from most farmers and republicans back home, "If that leaves one person feeling disaffected that's just the choice i have to make representing the district."

Radanovich adds he's working to get temporary screens installed to keep the Delta Smelt out of the pumps that feed water to the Valley's parched Westside. And adds, the 25 million dollar price tag qualifies for stimulus money. We can have that thing in this fall and it would get the Westside back up to 40-45 percent of its allocation."

Nothing starts a fight faster in California than the issue of water. Expect a spirited debate in the Central Valley's District 19 over the next 18 months.

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