By: Allen D. Payton, Los Banos Enterprise
October 28, 2022
“To continue the work I’ve been doing.”
State Assemblyman and candidate for Congress Adam Gray. Source: Gray campaign
Instead of re-election for his final term, local State Assemblyman Adam Gray is running for election to the U.S. House of Representatives in California’s new 13th Congressional District which includes Los Banos. The Democrat has been a member of the Assembly representing District 21 since December 2012 and faces farmer John Duarte, a Republican, in the November election.
According to Ballotpedia and his campaign website, the 45-year-old Gray was born and raised in Merced and put himself through college at U.C. Santa Barbara where he graduated with a Political Science degree, working at his family’s dairy supply. His professional experience includes working as a legislative aide with the State Legislature where he fought to eliminate the Tractor Tax on farm equipment. He eventually returned home to teach a class on the State Legislature as an assistant lecturer at U.C. Merced.
When asked why he’s running Gray said, “I’m going to continue the work I’ve been doing in Sacramento which is standing up for our water and jobs. Something that’s been a big part of my work is healthcare workers. The first class of medical students will start next year at U.C. Merced,” referring to securing more than $200 million to establish a joint medical school at UC Merced and UCSF-Fresno which will enroll its first class of future doctors in 2023. He also got legislation passed to double operating hours of rural health clinics.
“We need to grow the program. The federal government is who is responsible for expanding residency slots,” he added.
Gray led the fight against the “State Water Grab” bucking his own party leaders which cost him a committee chairmanship. Working with Democratic and Republican lawmakers from the Valley, Gray helped deliver “nearly $3 billion to build new water storage, $200 million to repair aging canals, and $60 million to bolster groundwater basins.”
“Water, water and water,” he continued about his other major issue. “We need real investment in infrastructure. Period, end of story. We need to raise every reservoir we can.
I’m going to fight for that in Washington, D.C. I’m also going to fight to build new water projects, like Sites Reservoir above Sacramento and Temperance Flat in the Fresno area. There’s not been enough support from the state and federal government. We need to build more storage below ground and above ground. It’s all of the above. We probably need to double the current capacity.”
“We’ve had the Democrats in control of Washington, we had the Republicans in control and nothing got done,” he continued. “It’s not about partisan politics to get stuff built. I did that in the state and I plan to do that in Washington, D.C."
In the area of public safety, his website claims he, “secured $4.5 million to develop a gang violence reduction program that resulted in the arrest of more than 50 gang leaders and the seizure of 21,000 rounds of ammunition. Adam also passed legislation to crack down on catalytic converter theft and increase penalties on shoplifting rings.’
On the issue of transportation and jobs, Gray’s website also claims he, “secured $400 million to extend the ACE train to Modesto and Merced and passed legislation preventing funding cuts to county fairs and FFA programs and increasing tax credits for small businesses.”
Asked about the high speed rail, Gray said, “I’m for infrastructure, water infrastructure, rail infrastructure,” Gray stated. “We shouldn’t have projects that are constantly overbudget and not on time. Those are the kind of investments we need to make to give people options. Too often in 2022 politics the only difference between extreme Republicans and extreme Democrats is which projects they’ll oppose. This guy here, wants to build and put people to work. More good jobs.”
Gas Prices & Tax Suspension
Asked about his vote on the gas tax he said, “Look up the bill the Republicans are talking about. It’s an Adam Gray bill.” Asked if he would support suspending the federal gas tax he replied, “Yes. As long as gas prices are high, I think we should do whatever we can to lower them. If John Duarte is saying anything else he’s lying.”
Takes a Swipe at Duarte
“John Duarte says he’s a moderate Republican, but he bashes all Democrats including me. How can he work across the aisle?” Gray asked. “I’m a moderate Democrat and have the backing of big-name Republican officials.”
“One thing to note, I’m the only candidate who lives in the district,” he shared, referring to Duarte who lives in Hughson outside the district, but that’s allowed for Members of the House of Representatives. They only have to live in the same state as the district they represent. “Ask people in Los Banos if they think it’s an issue to them,” Gray added.
Gray’s endorsements include Governor Gavin Newsom, U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, Sheriff Vern Warnke, District Attorney Kim Helms Lewis and District Attorney-Elect Nicole Silveira, all five Merced County Supervisors including Scott Silveira, former Mayor Tom Faria and many other current and former Democrat and Republican elected officials. He’s also backed by police and firefighter unions, the state and national teachers’ unions, Building & Construction Trades Councils and other unions, the Fresno and Modesto Chambers of Commerce, plus the Fresno Bee, Modesto Bee and Merced Sun Star.