Water issue re-elects GOP Sen. Vidak in Dem district

Water issue re-elects GOP Sen. Vidak in Dem district


vidak for senateYou knew Democrats were in the deep end of the pool over water issues in California back on May 14. That’s when they asked Republican state Sen. Andy Vidak of Hanford to read out loud Joint Resolution 25 in the state Senate. It urged President Obama to find solutions to California’s drought crisis.

It is rare in politics for one party to have to use a member of the opposing party to become the spokesperson for anything. But Vidak came from an area hard hit by the drought. And support from the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives was crucial to getting federal relief.

The trend culminated yesterday when Vidak won another smashing victory — even though 54 percent of the registered voters in his 14th Senate District are Hispanic, and 49 percent are Democrat.

Who said Republicans can’t win the Hispanic vote?

Vidak’s victory, along with that of fellow Republican Janet Nguyen in Orange County, kept Democrats from regaining a two-thirds supermajority in the Senate.

Vidak got 55.5 percent of the vote in a district that encompasses the agricultural kingdoms of Fresno, Bakersfield and Mendota. Democratic Opponent Luis Chavez got 44.5 percent.

Vidak even got a greater percentage of the vote than in 2013, when he won 51.9 percent in a special election, against 48.1 percent for Democrat Leticia Perez.

Vidak, a Visalia-born cherry farmer, with an Animal Business degree from Texas Tech University, ran on a platform of passing a water bond with funding for new reservoirs in it, canceling California’s High Speed Rail Project and voting against “job killing” bills in the State Senate.

Water bonds

Vidak became the spearhead for the Republicans’ stance on the water bonds. As of late summer, scheduled for the ballot was a $11.1 billion bond dating to the Schwarzenegger administration. It had been postponed from the 2010 and 2012 elections because of almost certain voter disapproval. It also contained no money for dams and reservoirs.

Gov. Jerry Brown had offered a $6 billion bond, with $2 billion for dams and reservoirs. But Republicans didn’t think that was enough.

Then, at the crucial moment when the Senate was gridlocked, Vidak offered an $8.7 billion water bond counter-proposal that included $3 billion for dams and reservoirs. That broke the dam of gridlock in the Legislature.

The compromise bond was Proposition 1, $7 billion in water bonds, including $2.7 billion for dams and reservoirs. It garnered bipartisan support across the state. Gov. Jerry Brown, cruising to his fourth term, spent the latter part of his campaign using his own funds to run ads featuring him backing Prop. 1, as well as Proposition 2, a strengthened rainy-day budget fund.

Prop. 1 won easily, 67 percent to 33 percent. Prop. 2 won as well, 69 percent to 31 percent.


Vidak’s leadership on the water bond was crucial to his garnering support from the farm community in his district. His campaign website said, pointedly:

“Water Is Our Lifeblood

“No one knows better than farmer Andy Vidak that our Central Valley way of life depends on building reservoirs and more water delivery projects . . . and, he’s deeply concerned that too many local communities can’t even get clean, safe drinking water for their families.

“A respected leader in the fight for more water, Andy Vidak authored the $9.2 billion “Safe, Clean and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2014” that provides critical water storage, emergency drought relief, groundwater cleanup and more regional water supply projects.”

After his re-election, Vidak also sounded a bipartisan message:

“I’m cautiously optimistic. Common sense has no party lines. I think we’ve got a great message that’s all about jobs, affordable reliable water and affordable reliable energy.”


Write a comment
  1. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 5 November, 2014, 14:12

    So Vidak basically wanted to push the value of the bond issues even higher than the dems preferred and spend more of our money which will probably get siphoned off for other purposes, like pensions. No wonder the dem voters love this Republican. If some pol wanted to spend ooodles of money for my benefit – I would probably worship him too. The waters just keep getting muddier and muddier when it comes to dem and pub values. It’s getting hard to distinguish one from the other anymore. But I guess that’s part and parcel of the one-party system. I mean, if we only had two exclusive car manufacturers who supplied us with automobiles in the United States, don’t you think that sooner or later those 2 companies would collude to screw you out of more money? Of course they would! It’s human nature! Politics are no different. Listen, if you vote really was a conduit for change – the government would have made voting illegal by this time! And the notion that a ‘supermajority’ makes any real difference in California politics is absurd. The dems had a ‘supermajority’ for awhile. Show me ONE EXAMPLE of how that ‘supermajority’ raised our taxes or added new fees, in opposition to Republican sentiment. You can’t! Heck, all the big tax increases happened when there was NO ‘supermajority’. Recall 2009 when the Republican leadership picked 6 GOP legislators (3 of whom signed a ‘no new taxes’ pledge) to stab their constituents in the backs and join the dems in voting in the largest tax increase in the history of California??? I do!!! 😀 Supermajority – Poopermajority. Let’s talk reality.

    Reply this comment
  2. vonborks
    vonborks 6 November, 2014, 13:55

    Vidak should know, must know that California today uses more water than nature can provide. California need a new source of water, a few more dams will not change that obvious fact. The billions in Prop 1 should go to mega-scale desalination to help refill the aquifer’s. I somehow get the feeling that a few hundred million from Prop 1 will go to build Jerry’s train.

    Reply this comment

Write a Comment

Leave a Reply

Related Articles

Arizona Boycott Initiates Sacramento Recall

Katy Grimes: With Sacramento City Council voting this week to join Los Angeles and San Francisco in the Arizona business

Obama sets agenda in SF speech

As part of President Obama’s high-tech trip to California, before donors in San Francisco he set an ambitious agenda for

Why biz leaders don't change politics

Given all the business talent in America, you would think we could promote some of those pros to the top