As a resident of the 11th Congressional District, I was eager to attend the debate between my Congressman, Jerry McNerney, and his opponent David Harmer. With pundits saying the race is extremely tight heading into the final days, I was especially interested to see which of the two would have the grassroots support outside the debate, especially given all that’s been written about the Tea Party and the supposed enthusiasm gap for Democrats this year.
Before Saturday’s debate even began, it was clear which candidate had the grassroots energy behind him. Hundreds of loyal McNerney supporters gathered outside prior to the debate in the pouring rain to wave signs and show their support for McNerney before his first live showdown with Harmer. The McNerney campaign passed out copies of an article Harmer wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle, titled “Abolish Public Schools,” and rallied the energetic crowd.
Once everyone filled the auditorium, it became clear that McNerney supporters outnumbered Harmer supporters 2 to 1. The roar of the crowd was difficult for the moderator to suppress and showed just how pivotal this race is to working families in the Central Valley.
McNerney turned in a strong performance, confirming that he is the best candidate to represent the district in the US Congress. Focusing on his accomplishments and his plans for the 11th district, McNerney came across as intelligent, compassionate and forward-thinking. He underscored his advocacy for veterans and consistently emphasized the potential of the Central Valley to become a leader in green technology jobs.
It is very frustrating to see work that you do go overseas and result in manufacturing in Germany and India. We need policies in this country that will re-develop a market to bring those manufacturing jobs back to our country. We have the technical know-how and the genius to do it. The Central Valley has the potential to be a leader in the manufacturing of electric vehicles. Let's make that happen, let's create green energy and stop importing fuel from overseas and let's stop giving our lead in green energy technology away to China and other countries.
On the subject of healthcare, McNerney demonstrated that he could relate with the people in his district who struggle every day to make ends meet. Harmer attacked the landmark legislation passed earlier this year not on the bill’s merit, but instead saying it was “an act of ego.”
To a cheering crowd, McNerney countered:
People need to know that if they play by the rules their entire lives that healthcare is going to be there for them when they need it.
The most passionate exchanges were on the subject of jobs. Ignoring the economic failures of the Bush era, Harmer called for deregulation to stimulate the economy. McNerney maintained that deregulation and the lack of transparency created the fiscal crisis we are in today. He proposes encouraging companies to stop outsourcing jobs abroad and to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US
The solution to our problems is economic growth. So much of our industry and so much of our nation's lifeblood has gone overseas. Every single one of us over a certain age can remember buying TVs made in this country, buying cars made in this country. We need to make sure that those jobs come back here.
In his closing statement, the Congressman addressed the difference between his position on public education and his opponent's. Waving the infamous article that Harmer wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle calling public education “insidious” and “socialist”, McNerney declared his unwavering support for public schools.
McNerney’s re-election is imperative for working families. His radical opponent lives outside of the districtand has shown little concern for the issues workers are most concerned with.
It is so important to listen to the mayors and elected officials in this district and bring infrastructure projects home that are going to enhance business and create jobs. My opponent is taking about ideology. I'm talking about people.
For information on where to vote on Nov. 2, visit www.raiseyourvote.com.