Democrat State Assemblyman Adam Gray is running in this newly-drawn open seat in California’s Central Valley. Currently serving in the California State Assembly, he has represented nearly 70% of the residents of CA-13 in the State Legislature over the last decade.
After the Democratic and Republican candidates running in the primary of this race appeared in a debate before three key newspapers (Modesto Bee, Merced Sun-Star and Fresno Bee), the editorial boards of those newspapers jointly endorsed Adam and wrote: “Fortunately, one candidate easily rises above the others in experience, knowledge and record of effective representation. He also is the only one among the five hopefuls who actually lives in the 13th District. Adam Gray is one of us, and we deserve his representation in Washington, D.C.” ("Three McClatchy newspapers jointly endorse this candidate in Congress’ 13th District", May 8, 2022. Those editorial boards noted: “Gray’s command of the issues should be apparent to anyone watching the McClatchy debate, from inflation and wildfire prevention to water policy and COVID-19 relief. When asked if the 2020 presidential election was legitimate, others stumbled with discomfort while Gray gave a no-nonsense, clear answer of one word: “Yes.” Adam commented during the debate: “If you want a member of Congress who has no record, no experience and doesn’t even live in the district, then vote for any of my opponents, because they all fit that description. But if you want a member of Congress who actually lives here and has a proven track record of delivering for our community, I’d be honored to have your support.”
Adam was born and reared in Merced and put himself through college working at his family’s dairy supply company. After graduation, Adam worked in the state legislature where he fought to eliminate the tractor tax on farm equipment, and for investments in infrastructure, agriculture, and water. He returned home to teach at UC Merced, the newest of the University of California campuses. When the Great Recession hit, Adam wanted to be part of the solution. He was elected to the State Assembly and has represented all of Merced County and portions of Stanislaus County for the past ten years.
Throughout his career, Adam has been a constructive leader on agriculture and water issues in California. He has also been a tireless fighter for affordable, accessible health care. Because of Adam’s leadership in support of veterans, he was named the first-ever Legislator of the Year by the Military Officers Association of America. Education has been another of Adam’s priorities. He secured $2 million for Stanislaus County’s Office of Education to create the VOLT Institute in Modesto, providing high-skill job training. Adam supported $2.7 billion to offer transitional kindergarten to all 4-years-olds in California by 2025. He also supported more than $100 million in school-based health centers, bringing healthcare into schools – including mental health care.
Adam’s understanding of the Central Valley has influenced his independent path. He always votes in the best interests of his constituents, and not along partisan lines. Adam says: “I am proud of the diverse and bipartisan coalition we have built around this campaign. I don’t think many voters realize just how rare it is to see Democrats and Republicans support the same candidate. When you are from a community and people know who you are, your party doesn’t matter as much as your character. I live here. I went to school here. I grew up playing little league here. No one else on the ballot … could say the same, and that made the difference … This election is about our economy, our personal freedom, our safety, and our quality of life … Democrat, Republican, independent doesn’t matter. We all want safe streets, good jobs, affordable health care, and better schools. In the Valley, we need clean and reliable water for any of that to be possible. That’s what I have fought for in Sacramento, and it’s what I will continue to fight for in Washington.”
Adam is known for championing common sense solutions. He was elected by his colleagues in the State Assembly to lead the New Democratic Caucus. He founded the California Problem Solvers Caucus which brings Democrats, Republicans, and independents together to address California’s most critical issues including homelessness, the pandemic, and drought. Adam knows how to negotiate and compromise and has stated, “Good public policy happens when all points of view are considered.”
Adam recently announced an example of getting results for his district. He won bipartisan support in the state legislature for an audit of California’s water operations. Adam said, “The audit will shine a light on the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board and their failures to accurately forecast California’s water supply and the impacts of those flawed forecasts on reservoir operations and the allocation of water to rights holders.”
Adam’s opponent is Republican John Duarte, who runs a family-owned nursery in the Central Valley. He has never held elected office. After Duarte appeared in the aforementioned debate, the Modesto Bee, Merced Sun-Star and Fresno Bee editorial boards noted that Duarte “lacks office-holding experience” and is a “staunch conservative”. Those editorial boards said it was strange that Duarte was not running in the more conservative congressional district in which he lives, and that Duarte is “hampered” by his “inexperience”. The editorial boards also said: “It was troubling…that Duarte cited a discredited conspiracy theory in the debate before McClatchy editors, claiming twice that several leftist activists were arrested for setting forest fires in the Sierra Nevada. It just isn’t true, and Duarte will need to steer clear of misinformation sources if he hopes to win voters’ trust.”
Duarte drew attention fighting the federal government after he was fined for plowing over protected wetlands on his property; a judge ruled in 2016 that he violated the “Waters of the United States” provision of the Clean Water Act. “Duarte settled the case [in 2017] by agreeing to pay $330,000 in fines and another $770,000 on ‘compensatory mitigation.’” (Sacramento Bee)
Although the newly-drawn 13th would have voted for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election by a wide margin, the new 13th would also have voted to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, in 2021. The GOP sees this district as a prime pickup opportunity and will be pouring resources into the race. It will be a tight contest in a battleground district in the state.
Adam has served his constituents well, but this race is considered a tossup. He needs our support now to continue serving the Central Valley and the country.