By Ed Martin, Editor
Congressional Candidate T.J. Cox at a recent seniors forum in Hanford.
Congressional Candidate T.J. Cox at a recent seniors forum in Hanford.
TJ Cox, the Democratic candidate for Congress, is calling for at least three televised, public town-hall style debates with his opponent, incumbent David Valadao, and he would like to see at least one of them held in Lemoore at West Hills College.

The two are vying for California’s 21st Congressional District seat.

Valadao issued the initial challenge, calling for two televised debates, both for Oct. 25, the first to be in English and airing on KGET 17 and KSEE 24, the second, a Spanish language debate, to broadcast on Telemundo.

Congressman David Valadao
Congressman David Valadao

In a press release to The Leader, Cox responded quickly suggesting instead a pair of 60-minute debates, open to the public and televised – one in Delano, Kern County, because of its historical significance in agriculture and one in Lemoore at West Hills Community College, one of the newest and most modern community colleges in California.

The people of the 21st Congressional District deserve a public forum in the district, not a pre-scripted, television studio interview, stated the Cox release.

Cox is also calling for one Spanish community town hall debate, a 60-minute, public forum to be televised and held in Mendota, Fresno County, which has been ground zero for water, immigration, and farmworker issues. An interpreter or voice-over that both campaigns agree upon will be provided by the station(s) televising the debate.

Cox said debates should be moderated by a qualified journalist, professor or nonpartisan organization with experience moderating general election debates in the Central Valley. Both campaigns will agree upon the moderators.

“The voters of the 21st Congressional District deserve the opportunity to hear directly from the candidates running to represent them in Congress,” said Cox who said he has spent the last six years investing over $65 million in building health clinics, job training, and educational facilities, and creating over 1,500 jobs in the Central Valley.

 In contrast, Cox says that since his 2012 election, Valadao went to Washington and forgot about the people of the Central Valley. These debates will give the voters the opportunity to hear why Valadao votes 99% of the time with Donald Trump.

Valadao can also explain his votes to take away affordable health care from his constituents and his support of the Trump/GOP Tax Plan, which will create automatic cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Valadao says one thing at home but does the complete opposite in Washington.