Politics, government and public life for Southern California

A battle looms in Central Valley Congressional district

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Amanda Renteria, the first Latina to serve as chief of staff to a U.S. Senator, has decided to take on freshman Republican Congressman David Valadao. Renteria, a native of the San Joaquin Valley, was chief-of-staff to Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and she also is a former staffer to U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California. 

Renteria attended Stanford and went on to get her MBA from Harvard. Last summer, she was widely considered the likely candidate to head the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which oversees financial markets. "It was an honor to be considered by the administration," Renteria said in a statement, "but it's time for me to return home."

She returned to run in the 21st Congressional district where nearly three out of four district residents are Latino and where Democrats make up the majority of registered voters. President Barack Obama won the district in 2012.

Still, Valadao defeated his Mexican-American Democrat opponent, John Hernandez, with almost 58 percent of the vote. Valadao, a dairy farmer and son of Portuguese immigrants, has bucked his party by coming out in support of a path to citizenship for undocumented people in the U.S.

Renteria is backed by Emily's List.  The primary is in June.


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