Introduction to CD 21 and TJ Cox
1. Where is CD 21?
CD 21 encompasses most of the southern end of the Central Valley. It stretches 110 miles from the outskirts of Fresno south to Bakersfield, where it encompasses part of western and southern Bakersfield. For a detailed map click HERE
Most voters in CD 21 live in a series of towns along the east side of the district; most of them along highway 99. Most of the rest of the district is in large agricultural land holdings.
2. What is CD 21 like?
Most employment in the district is in agriculture and oil and gas. CD 21 is one of the poorest districts in California; per capita, with a poverty rate of 30.2%. The median household income is $37,970, while the mean household income is $54,034. 64% of the children in CA-21 are on Medicaid or CHIP, and 33% of the adults in CA-21 are on Medicaid The district is predominantly Latino (71%), and 19.3% white. The district contains a significant number of undocumented immigrants, many of whom are agricultural laborers.
3. What are CD 21 voting population characteristics?
Clinton beat Trump by a 15.5 margin. Valadao beat the Democrat running by a 13.4 margin BUT...47% of registered voters are Democrats, while 30% are Republican...92,000 registered voters did not vote in the election...
4. Who is the incumbent Republican Congressman, David Valadao?
Valadao was first elected in 2010. He has not faced a strong campaign since he won the seat. Valadao operates a dairy operation near Hanford.
Although Valadao has a “nice guy, somewhat nonpartisan” he votes with Trump 98% of the time and consistently votes against the interests of his constituents, including voting to repeal the ACA/Obamacare and in favor of the tax scam bill. The tax scam bill, will, among other things, result in automatic cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. He supported Trump Care, which could strip coverage from up to 60,000 people in CA-21. Valadao has a 93% approval rating from the NRA and a 0% rating from the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.
5. Who is TJ Cox, the Democratic candidate?
TJ Cox, trained as an engineer, is a Fresno businessman who has made it his business to find financing for and build community health and education facilities in order to meet some of the enormous unmet community needs in the Central Valley. These projects could not be built by traditional for-profit companies. TJ builds them by leveraging federal tax credits to raise private capital to finance and build these facilities. So far he has secured over $100 million of financing for these facilities, including community health centers, community college facilities and clean energy projects. TJ is the son of immigrants to the United States. He is married to Kathy Murphy, pediatric intensive care physician whose mission is improving the health of Central Valley children.
6. Why do we support TJ Cox?
Among the reasons that we support TJ are (1) TJ’s proven dedication to improving the lives of all residents of the Central Valley, especially underserved residents, (2) TJ’s pragmatic experience in the world of actually getting things done, in particular by skillfully combining government support and private enterprise to build needed community facilities, and (3) he is working night and day to develop the strongest campaign possible to retake the seat from the Republicans, which is crucial to win in order for Democrats to take control of the House of Representatives.
7. What is David Valadao’s voting record?
· David Valadao is a threat to the health and welfare of his constituents. He has a truly horrendous voting record, including:
· he voted to repeal ACA/Obamacare. Among the most egregious consequences of a repeal would have been
· the loss of health care coverage for over 70,000 residents of CD 21 and
· the loss of approximately 4,000 healthcare jobs in CD 21
· he voted for the tax scam bill. Among the most egregious consequences of the tax scam bill are:
massive cuts in taxes for corporations and super wealthy individuals that will result in a $1.5 trillion federal deficit
minimal and temporary tax cuts for working class and middle class taxpayers, and actual tax increases for many of those taxpayers
automatic cuts in funding for Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid beginning in October 2018
he supported the proposed farm bill, which among other things would erect new barriers for people needing food stamps (SNAP) plus creating a new bureaucracy to manage those barriers
he supported eliminating or reducing funding for children’s health insurance program (CHIP)
The list goes on and on: see below.
8. What is TJ’s campaign strategy?
TJ’s campaign strategy is based upon informing CD 21 voters of David Valadao’s true record, how it hurts his constituents, and how TJ Cox has made life better in the Central Valley and can do more as a member of Congress. Then we must ensure that Democrats and people who support TJ’s values register and vote in unprecedented numbers.
The key to getting out the vote and winning in this district is person-to-person contact with voters to inform and motivate them to vote. The bulk of that person-to-person contact can only be achieved by volunteers like us. Voter turnout is the beginning and the end of the story. This is especially true in this district because (1) voter turnout, especially among potential Democratic voters, has historically been low, and (2) the district is rural and removed from the largest media markets, so that paid media and advertising impact is much less than in most other districts.
9. How important are volunteers?
Volunteers are absolutely essential to the success of the campaign. That is why we’re here.
10. What does East Bay for TJ do?
The core mission of East Bay for TJ is:
· To get the word out to East Bay residents about TJ in order to recruit volunteers for TJ
· To enable volunteers to find out how they can best help the campaign and connect them to the right contact people and groups
· Serve as a central location where East Bay volunteers can go to find whatever information they need
· To raise funds for the campaign
11. What are the things I can do is volunteer?
· Make phone calls for the campaign (phone banking)
· Canvass voters
· Assist at events in CD 21
· Volunteer at information tables for TJ in the East Bay
· Write postcards to voters in CD 21
· Register voters in CD 21
· Help us fund raise through house parties, tabling, etc.
12. What is canvassing?
In canvassing you go door-to-door talking to voters. You are given a “script” at the beginning of the canvas to guide you through the discussion. Most canvasses have one or more specific objectives, such as identifying the most important issues for voters, identifying the voters most likely to support your candidate, promoting your candidate with the voters, informing voters on particular issues, registering voters, and motivating and pushing people to get out and vote.
13. Yikes, that sounds scary!
Actually, it isn’t. WE WILL TRAIN YOU - YOU WILL HAVE A SCRIPT, YOU CAN BE PAIRED WITH AN EXPERIENCED CANVASSER But let’s be honest, it can be intimidating particularly at first. Canvass sponsors help you get over that, for example, by giving you detailed training at the beginning of the canvass, sending you out with an experienced person at first or in pairs as a regular matter, and making you aware of the various real rewards you will find in canvassing.
There are lots of rewards, and everyone has their own particular take. However most of them come down to (1) knowing that you are making a real difference in actual outcomes rather than sitting at home screaming at the TV, and (2) you will meet a lot of really interesting people who you would never have a chance to talk to in your day-to-day life and (3) you will hear some really interesting stories and get to share some of your own.
14. How do I get started?
Look at the calendar on this website to see listings of upcoming canvases.
Listed below are the main organizations that are conducting canvassing in CD 21, along with their contact information. Most or all of them have online calendar of canvases and other information; look at their websites and pick the one that works best for you. You can contact us for any additional advice we might be able to offer:
15. Where can I get more information about canvassing?
Look in the section in “Resources” on canvassing below.
16. What is phone banking?
Phone banking is a lot like canvassing except you talk to the votor on the phone rather than at the door. Again, you will be trained and have a script for a particular phone bank. And again, each phone bank will have its own purpose.
There are basically two types of phone banks: those that are done along with other volunteers at a specific location, and those that you can do from home or other remote location. There are also two types of phone banking methods, one in which you make your own calls from a printed call list, and to those with “automatic dialers” which are through your compute. with an application that automatically dials the next number once one call is completed. Also in some phone banks you will enter the results on paper, in others you'll be able to enter responses directly on your computer.
Phone banking will be particularly important in rural areas of CD 21 where door-to-door canvassing may be very difficult or impossible.
17. That still seems intimidating.
Yes, just like canvassing phone banking can be intimidating, mainly at first. With a little experience you will find that most people who answer the phone are courteous and many are eager to talk to you.
18. How do I get started?
Getting started with phone banking is very similar to getting started with canvassing. Look at the calendar on this website to see listings of upcoming phone banks.
Listed below are the main organizations that are conducting phone banking for CD 21 along with their contact information. Most or all of them have an online calendar of canvasses and other information; look at the websites and pick the one that works best for you. You can contact us for any additional advice we might be able to offer.
19. Where can I get more information about phone banking?
Look in the section in “Resources” on phone banking below.
20. What is voter registration?
As discussed above voter registration will be a very important element of the campaign. Voter registration is usually done at community events, shopping centers, parks, high-traffic pedestrian routes, farmers markets etc. In voter registration you help voters fill out the one page voter registration form, answer their questions, and receive their form for delivery or instruct them on mailing it. Again you will be trained as necessary prior to any voter registration event.
21. How do I get involved in voter registration?
Contact any of the organizations listed below, which are the ones of which we are aware that are most active in voter registration in CD 21.
22. What is post carding?
Post carding is simply writing postcards to voters in the district usually with personal messages. Again usually a particular postcarding event has a particular purpose but there’s a lot of room for creativity in writing and, if you wish, artwork.
Start by contacting one of the organizations doing post carding, the ones of which we are currently familiar are as follows:
Post carding in in campaigns is relatively new. There has been a surprisingly broad response to extensive post carding in neighboring CD 22 where the incumbent is Republican Kevin Nunes.
23. I hate fundraising.
Fundraising is not everyone’s cup of tea, but as with canvassing phone banking is a way to connect with people about something that you feel is important and believe in. Fundraising often involves social events, such as house parties, that many people actually enjoy attending. East Bay for TJ has organized two house parties thus far, raising over $16,000 for the campaign, a significant amount given how early it was in the campaign. As we move closer to the general election we will sponsor more house parties and will be looking for people willing to host house parties.
House parties usually feature the candidate and/or other special guests. The first two East Bay for TJ house parties have featured TJ, Jerry McNerney, Congressman from CA 9, and Pete McCloskey, a legendary progressive, peace and environmental activist, congressman and presidential candidate.
In addition we will be reaching out to donors who have a history of contributing to progressive campaigns. We invite your suggestions as to any other fundraising possibilities.
Volunteering at CD 21 Campaign Offices and Events
24. What is involved in volunteering at campaign offices and campaign events?
As the campaign heats up there may be a need for volunteer help at campaign offices or at related events in the district. It is too early to know what those opportunities might be. Volunteers should let us know if they are interested and we will contact them at the time that help is needed.