Though it came as no surprise, Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, announced his intention on Thursday to run for another term for the 16th Congressional District seat.
The congressman made the announcement in Merced near the steps of the Courthouse Museum, where several dozen people gathered. His comments touched on water, education and immigration, issues he said the region needs to better handle to plan for the future.
Immigration reform is needed, he said. “Have people forgotten what America is?” he asked. “We cannot forget that we stand on the shoulders of immigrants.”
Costa said he’s working to increase the water-storage capacity at dams throughout the Valley. He also said he wants to help UC Merced educate doctors.
Have people forgotten what America is? We cannot forget that we stand on the shoulders of immigrants.
Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno
“We need to do everything we can to improve health care here in the Valley,” he said. “Ultimately, we need a medical school here ... with the University of California here at Merced, we have the potential, I believe, within the next five years to provide a fully fledged medical school.”
He spoke while surrounded by signs marked with the slogan “He’s one of us,” touting his roots in the Central Valley. Costa is a third-generation dairy farmer from Fresno.
Alluding to recent presidential debates, Costa said he looks to push back against the “cynicism” and “nastiness” that make their way into political discussions. “I truly believe in America,” he said. “I believe that the best days of America are still ahead of us.”
The 16th Congressional District includes all of Merced County, as well as a large portion of Madera County and the city of Fresno. Costa is being challenged by Fresno County dairy farmer Johnny Tacherra and Madera County Supervisor David Rogers.
$1.13 millionMoney in Rep. Jim Costa’s campaign coffers as of the last reporting period
The incumbent is outpacing his competition when it comes to campaign contributions. Costa garnered $853,000 in campaign contributions through Dec. 31 and has $1.13 million in his campaign coffers. He was first elected to the House in 2004.
Tacherra, making his third straight congressional run, has raised $238,000 and has around $60,000 cash on hand. Rogers has raised $127,000 so far and has $106,000 in his campaign war chest.
Under California’s primary election rules, the top two finishers, regardless of political party, advance to the November general election.
The Fresno Bee contributed to this report.