Gil Cisneros went to work for Frito Lay after he left the Navy -- in operational resources. He was a shipping and manufacturing supervisor. He was a Republican when he started. He had been a Democrat for two years before he was laid off in 2010. Weeks after he was laid off, he won the lottery.
Before his election, TJ Cox focused on combinations of business and good works. He founded the Central Valley NMTC Fund -- a certified community development organization which uses the federal New Markets Tax Credit program for disadvantaged communities and neighborhoods. TJ Cox’s victory in 2018 was an adventure in and of itself. He originally planned on a candidacy for CA 10 – a district that had attracted nearly a dozen Democratic candidates. He was unlikely to be one of the top two in the non-partisan primary. He switched to CA 21 – persuading the 2016 losing Democrat to leave the race. Elected, he is on the Agriculture Committee. A good place for someone in California’s Central Valley. Addressing the government shut down, he introduced a bill to allow government employees not getting their paychecks, to borrow up to $6,000 from the government.
Harley Rouda both brings money to the conversation and is a moderate. He is the son of a Columbus, Ohio real estate magnate. Harley was the CEO of the real estate conglomerate. He consolidated firms from Kentucky to northern Ohio. He is also a former attorney who specialized in capital formation. In this predominantly Republican district, the DCCC wanted the more moderate Democrat as its top vote getter. Rouda was the candidate the DCCC supported.
A law professor at the University of California - Irvine, Katie Porter has credentials to spare. She is a graduate of Yale and Harvard Law School, a protegee of two of the most powerful women in the country -- Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Senator Kamala Harris of California. At Harvard Law School, she was Elizabeth Warren's student. She worked for Kamala Harris when Harris was California's Attorney General. Like both of them, Porter is a consumer advocate.
Katie Hill is the grandchild of prosperity that came as a result of military scholarships. Her parents were a nurse and a cop. One grandfather went to Yale on a ROTC scholarship and became an aeronautical engineer. The other grandfather, after a stint in the army, used the GI Bill to go to college and to pay for graduate school at Princeton. He taught political science at UCLA. Kate Hill brings her own kind of toughness and risk taking. She and her husband are rock climbers. She uses both toughness and responsiveness as an advocate for the underdog. She worked as Executive Director of People Assisting the Homeless (PATH). She was instrumental in getting a referendum passed to help provide homes and support for the homeless in Los Angeles.
TJ Cox had a career in international project management and construction. After he returned home to the Central Valley of California, he founded Central Valley NMTC Fund (CVNF). That is a certified community development entity which uses a federal New Markets Tax Credit program to encourage economic development in disadvantaged communities and neighborhoods.
Josh Harder has returned home -- to California's Central Valley. his great, great grandfather came to the Central Valley to farm. Josh Harder, himself, grew up in Turlock and Modesto. After graduating from Stanford, he worked as a venture capitalist at Boston. He left to work in Africa with the Gates Foundation and others. He organized small farmers in Kenya and Uganda. Harder returned to the States for a joint MBA and public policy degree at the Harvard Business School and the Kennedy school. From there he became vice president of San Francisco-based Bessemer Venture Partners - creating a close link for himself with Silicon Valley.
Even though Ami Bera is seeking his fourth term, his is not a safe seat. He won the seat in a close race against a Republican incumbent in 2012 and defeated a law and order Republican in 2016 under difficult circumstances. Ami Bera's family history is an American story of success and sadness. His father, an immigrant from India by way of Mexico, became a highly successful engineer. Proud of his son becoming a doctor and even more proud of his son seeking and then becoming a Member of Congress. Independent of Ami Bera's campaign and without his son's knowledge, he raised money illegally for the campaign, for which he pled guilty and was convicted. Ami Bera has persisted. He has been a moderate to liberal Democratic Congressman. Endorsed for election by gay rights groups and conservation groups, he supported the Affordable Care Act, advocated for Hillary Clinton for President and for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.