Locals welcome Lt. Governor candidate State Senator Ed Hernandez to Lemoore

By Ed Martin, Editor
California State Senator Ed Hernandez chats with friend and fellow optometrist Jeff Garcia at a fundraiser Friday night. Hernandez is running for Lt. Governor.
California State Senator Ed Hernandez chats with friend and fellow optometrist Jeff Garcia at a fundraiser Friday night. Hernandez is running for Lt. Governor.

It isn’t often that Lemoore rolls out the welcome mat for a candidate seeking statewide office, but that’s just what local Democrats did Friday for California State Senator Ed Hernandez who earlier this year announced his bid to run for Lt. Governor in 2018.

About 40-50 persons attended a fundraiser Friday night (June 16) in the office of local optometrist Jeff Garcia, a good friend of Hernandez. Hernandez is also a practicing optometrist who for the past 11 years – two terms in the California State Assembly and since 2010 a member of the State Senate – has represented a big hunk of the Los Angeles area in Senate District 22.

The tall, lanky legislator, between his official duties in the capitol and his district, has spent a considerable amount of time exploring the breadth and depth of California, including several visits to the Central Valley, which he says is key to winning a statewide election.

Hernandez’s portfolio in Sacramento is extensive. He currently serves as the chair for the Senate Committee on Health and the Senate Committee on Legislative Ethics. He is a member of the Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee and Senate Insurance Committee.

He is termed out in 2018 and wants to continue his public service. “First of all,” he said, “I’m terming out, so my career as a legislator is going to end, but I really enjoy being a public servant,” and said he wants to continue serving.

He told The Leader that he wants to run for Lt. Gov. for several important reasons. “I want to continue to have a voice on health care, but more importantly I have a really important interest in education. The Lt. Governor sits on the UC Board of Regents and the CSU Board of Trustees … but also, I want to be the ambassador for California to help bring businesses back to the state. The Lt. Governor sits as the chairman of the Economic Development. I want to work with whomever our new governor is,” and insisted that he would work with his fellow legislators to vital create a bridge between the legislature and executive branch.

How does the Los Angeles-based legislator and Democrat intend to convince the mostly conservative voters in Kings County that he would best serve their interests in Sacramento? “What I would say to them is first look at my record. Look at the facts – how I voted in the Legislature – but more importantly ask what my values are and (how I’m determined) to bring jobs back to California.”

He added that as a small business owner – he has an optometry practice – Hernandez understands that business owners are the last persons who get paid. They pay payroll tax, FICA and more, he said. “So, believe me I understand the economics of businesses.

“I believe so much in education,” he continued. “If California, and the Central Valley, is going to advance, we must make sure we have an increasing middle class, but more importantly that must be accomplished through education, through CTE (Career Technical Education) and through community college.”

As one of the state’s constitutional officers, Hernandez insists he must represent the entire state. “If you look at the issues here that are very, very important, agriculture is probably the number one job creator here,” he said. “It’s kind of the bread basket for the whole United States. We have to make sure that we maintain those jobs, but more importantly there are real issues with water, especially with contamination.”

Hernandez said that in many of the state’s poorest communities, many Californians don’t have easy access to clean drinking water. “We have to make sure there is pristine, clean drinking water,” he said.

“And health care is a huge issue in the Central Valley. We have access problems, provider shortages and we have high rates of diabetes.” Hernandez also lamented the growing concern with the alarming increase of opioid addiction and the state’s continuing problems with substance abuse.

Hernandez said that Friday’s visit was his fourth this year to the Central Valley. “I plan to be here two or three times more. I’m not taking the Central Valley or Kings County for granted. I believe that if I’m going to win statewide, I’ve got to make sure I get the majority of everybody in this state to support me. I’m not just staying in San Francisco or LA, or San Diego. I’m everywhere, including the Central Valley and Kings County.

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