34th Assembly District
Incumbent Republican Vince Fong, 40, represents what is considered a safe Republican district. He is running for his third two-year term after easily handling inexperienced Democratic candidates in the earlier elections. Fong is being challenged by Democrat Julie Solis, 41, a disruptive candidate who has been divisive within the local Democratic party. Also challenging Fong is Democrat Regina Valasquez, a write-in.
Little information is available about Valasquez’s qualifications, other than her Facebook posting indicating she is involved in Latina Leaders of Kern County, has experience with Kern County Human Services, the Elections Division, the Housing Authority and farm labor programs. She says she also volunteers with the Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance’s Fair Housing Project.
Solis became a Valley Fever and health care activist after her husband was stricken several years ago with Valley Fever. She also has been a state Democratic delegate. Solis said she was motivated to run because she believes incumbents should be challenged for reelection.
Fong’s political experience began as an intern with former Bakersfield Republican Congressman Bill Thomas. He later served as district director for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. As an assemblyman, Fong has been critical of Gov. Gavin Newson’s targeting of Kern’s oil industry. He has pushed back on the Democratic tax and regulation proposals. Most recently, he introduced his Right to Earn a Living Act to address objections from freelancers concerning AB 5, a far-reaching law that limits the use of independent contractors.
Clearly Fong is the most qualified to represent the 34th Assembly District. The Californian makes no recommendation about who should face him in the November runoff.