As the San Joaquin Valley battles back from the economic downturn, the region needs congressional representatives who can promote the interests of the key industry, agriculture, and also work with local leaders to broaden the economic base.
Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, has a record that meets those qualifications. We recommend his election in the new 16th District, which includes all of Merced County, part of Madera County and about half the city of Fresno. His challenger is Brian Whelan, a Fresno attorney and businessman.
Costa has long been a champion of agriculture, which is why the California Farm Bureau endorsed him for Congress. The organization said Costa has been a consistent voice for farmers. "He recognizes that the economy and environment of his district both depend on the success of farms and ranches and that the success of the Valley's farms and ranches depends on water," said state Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger of Modesto. The endorsement is noteworthy because the Farm Bureau often supports Republicans.