A physician from Madera and a music conductor from Mariposa are vying for the Democratic nomination in the 19th Congressional District.
The winner in the June 8 primary between Dr. Loraine Goodwin and conductor Les Marsden will take on one of the four Republicans seeking to succeed Rep. George Radanovich, R-Mariposa, who is retiring.
The GOP has a registration edge over Democrats in the district, 43 percent to 37 percent, but Goodwin and Marsden said they have leadership skills that cross party lines. Either candidate could benefit if Republicans in their primary choose former Rep. Richard Pombo, regarded as a villain to environmental groups that would spend heavily to keep him out of office.
The Democrats also will have to appeal across county lines, because neither of them lives in Stanislaus or Fresno counties, where three-fourths of the voters are.
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The candidates shared their views on jobs, water, health care and other issues:
Loraine Goodwin said she opposes tax increases and would fight against domestic violence, child abuse and hate crimes.
She said she would create jobs "by building confidence in the community and encouraging businesses to hire and develop new business paradigms." She added that unemployment leads to a host of other problems, including family stress, poor school performance and crime.
During the recent health care debate, Goodwin supported a public option that would compete with insurance companies. It was not included in the final bill.
"As a doctor and congressional member, I would use my education, training, experience and skills to reform the health care reform bill," she said.
Goodwin opposes the $11.1 billion water bond issue on the state ballot in November because it "is filled with pork and was done too hurriedly without proper analysis."
"I can find a solution for provision of farm water and I will not allow the salmon or smelt to become extinct," she said. "I am a steward of our valley's environmental wealth and I want to leave the valley in the same condition we enjoyed for our children and many generations to come."
Goodwin said her experience as a mediator and arbitrator would be helpful in negotiating for valley interests.
"The valley needs to publicize the educated diversity of the area, and I as a female and minority can show the valley is more than white male farmers," she said.
Les Marsden urges federal support for small business to boost job creation in the district.
He calls for planting of "specialty and higher-demand crops" to increase jobs in agriculture. He also supports renewable energy and a "safe, clean, very inexpensive" nuclear technology known as the integral fast reactor.
Marsden said the recent health reforms are "far from ideal" but will still benefit Americans by increasing coverage while lowering the budget deficit by more than $1.3 trillion over two decades.
"I don't really want to get partisan about this, but the GOP held full control of Congress from 1994 until 2007 and could have addressed the problem by passing reform regulation or even enacting tort reform they now clamor for, but did nothing," he said.
Marsden supports seawater desalinization plants in the Bay Area and Southern California, which would free up river supplies for use in agriculture and improving the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The nuclear technology he favors would provide the large amount of energy the plants need, he said.
Marsden said he is running "to represent the people of this district" rather than a party.
Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2385.