By Chardae Heim, Communications Coordinator
(Editor’s Note: David Valadao is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing California’s 21st Congressional District. He is a lifelong resident of California’s Central Valley and an active member in agriculture and dairy industry groups. He initially won three consecutive terms serving from 2013-2019, before losing the seat in the 2018 election and then reclaiming it in the November 2020 election.)
California Congressman David Valadao was born and raised by two Portuguese immigrant parents just 30 miles south of Fresno in the small thriving town of Hanford. With Hanford being the county seat of the agriculturally prominent Kings County, Valadao was fated for a fondness of agriculture. After settling in Hanford, Valadao’s father pioneered the family dairy business, further solidifying the family’s place in the industry. By attending local schools and staying heavily involved in the community, David Valadao was able to gain a respect and love for the district he would later represent.
Prior to representing California’s 21st Congressional District, Valadao was elected to represent California’s 30th Assembly District, where he was first introduced to government and the political fight for growers and ranchers such as himself. After two years as an assemblyman, he successfully won his congressional seat in 2012, a seat he occupied for six consecutive years. While in office, Valadao could be spotted on the front lines of ag battles, advocating for issues such as water and immigration.
With his heavy ag background, Valadao considers himself a farmer first. His daily routine largely consists of farm duties and tending to the dairy. “Farming is who I am, it's what I do, it’s my livelihood,” he exclaimed.
Similar to agriculture, the congressman has a thriving relationship with Western Growers. Oftentimes, WG and the congressman are fighting identical fights, striving to achieve the same goal. “Some of the Western Growers’ staff who worked with the administration are personal friends of mine,” he stated. “A lot of the board members are also close friends.”
In addition to the personal relationship, Valadao and Western Growers have forged a professional relationship. Over the past 15 years, Western Growers has provided a customized benefits plan to meet the needs of the Valadao Dairy, through Western Growers Assurance Trust.
While tackling the unforeseen obstacles of COVID-19 has proven to be a monumental task, the congressman is more concerned with continuing his fight for his district, the state and the industry. “I’m not so concerned with the change in administration,” Valadao stressed. “For this industry, we have to get more creative with our asks. I have to work harder than I’ve ever worked and spend more time than I’ve ever spent to speak with every single constituent.”
December 2013: Valadao joins other legislators in authoring a letter to President Barack Obama and California Governor Jerry Brown asking for immediate action to address the dire effects of the drought on California.
From the start of his career, Valadao has encouraged his district to voice their concerns and needs. He often spends extensive amounts of his working hours prioritizing written responses to his constituents.
June 2015: Valadao introduced bill H.R. 2989, the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015. This legislation permitted Congress to enact policies to expand water infrastructure, allowing for more water conveyance.
November 2015: As a champion for his constituents, ensuring easy accessibility to high quality, affordable care has remained at the top of Valadao’s priority list. He received the Champion of Healthcare Innovation Award from the Healthcare Leadership Council.
April 2018: Valadao joined other legislators in urging House leadership to conduct a vote to secure the nation’s borders and deliver a legislative solution to DACA recipients.
October 2018: Valadao is standing beside President Trump as he signs an executive action to ensure the entire Western United States has access to a reliable water supply.
Valadao joined Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Assemblyman James Gallagher, Rep. Doug LaMalfa, Rep. Jeff Denham, and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to announce the U.S. Department of Agriculture loan to Sites Reservoir Project Authority. This project dramatically increases the flexibility of California’s water supply infrastructure.
October 2020: Dedicated to maintaining his relationship with his constituents, Valadao held a COVID-19 friendly “drive-by campaign rally” to meet and thank community members.
November 2020: Valadao wins the House race in California’s 21st Congressional District, reclaiming his seat to represent the Central Valley.
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