My mother’s family moved from Zacatecas, Mexico to California’s Central Valley. Like so many immigrants before them, they came with very little, but worked tirelessly to achieve the American dream. Because of their hard work and determination, my sisters and I were the first in our family to go to college.
So when I heard Donald Trump say Mexican immigrants were criminals and rapists, I was deeply and personally offended. Those words mattered to me and to millions of other Americans of Mexican descent.
And when Trump came to the Central Valley in June and denied that California was even experiencing a drought, I was outraged. As a farmer who had to let go of 20 acres of almonds because of four years of continuous drought, those words mattered to me and to so many hardworking farmers in our Valley who are struggling to survive.
More recently, when I heard Donald Trump attack the parents of a soldier who gave his life for the United States in Iraq, I was disgusted. Those words mattered to me and to families across America, prompting Democrats and Republicans alike to denounce the Republican nominee.
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But despite these and many, many other racist, misogynistic and frankly dangerous statements from Trump, our congressman, Jeff Denham, has repeatedly failed to denounce Trump, and even offered praise for his campaign. Then, after the media called him out for failing to stand up to Trump, he finally said what we all assumed: he supports Donald Trump for president and complained that Trump shouldn’t be judged on his “choice of words.”
Unfortunately for Rep. Denham, words matter.
Central Valley families are good, hardworking people who respect each other, and we take care of our neighbors when times get tough. We want and we deserve leaders who share our values of hard work, respect and community. But just about everything that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth is in complete opposition to all the Valley stands for.
As our congressman, Jeff Denham should be condemning Trump’s statements – not praising him.
Actions matter too, of course, and Congressman Denham has demonstrated time and time again that instead of helping the Central Valley families he’s supposed to represent, he’s focused on helping millionaires, billionaires and Washington D.C. insiders like himself. He even bragged about getting Donald Trump a lucrative contract to develop a luxury hotel in Washington, D.C., and how much it would help the D.C. economy.
Our representative should be fixing the pressing needs right here in the Valley, and working on helping our economy – not helping billionaires in Washington D.C.
It’s clear that Donald Trump must not be president. As our congressman, Jeff Denham should be standing up to him, but instead he has just stood by him. That’s not leadership. It’s partisanship. And it shows that Jeff Denham lacks the political courage necessary to represent the Valley in Congress. The Valley deserves a representative who will stand up to the hateful and bigoted Trump agenda and be a representative for all our families, and that’s exactly what I’ll do.
Michael Eggman, a Democrat, is running against Rep. Jeff Denham in California’s 10th Congressional District, which includes all of Stanislaus and part of San Joaquin counties.