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David Valadao

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David Valadao
David Valadao, official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 21st district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Devin Nunes
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 30th district
In office
December 6, 2010 – November 30, 2012
Preceded by Danny Gilmore
Succeeded by Rudy Salas
Personal details
Born David Goncalves Valadao
(1977-04-14) April 14, 1977 (age 41)
Hanford, California, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Terra Valadao
Education College of the Sequoias

David Goncalves Valadao /ˌvæləˈd/ (born April 14, 1977) is an American politician who has been a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing California's 21st congressional district, since 2013. Prior to that, he served one term in the California State Assembly, representing the 30th district. He is a member of the Republican Party. In Congress, Valadao has gained a reputation as one of the Republican Party's leading advocates of comprehensive immigration reform.[1][2]

Early life, education, and farming career[edit]

Valadao with Devin Nunes in June 2004

Valadao was born and raised in Hanford, California. His parents are Portuguese immigrants. He graduated from Hanford High School in 1995, and attended the College of the Sequoias in Visalia. He currently serves as the managing partner of Valadao Dairy, which he owns with his brothers.[3] He has also been a member of the California Milk Advisory Board, Western States Dairy Trade Association, and Regional Leadership Council Chairman for Land O' Lakes.[4]

In August 2014, the United States Chamber of Commerce awarded Valadao its Spirit of Enterprise Award.[2] Valadao won the same award again less than two years later, in a 2016.[5] Valadao was the poorest member of Congress in 2014, with over $12 million in loans to his family's dairy farm.[6]

California Assembly[edit]

2010 election[edit]

Valadao announced his candidacy for California's 30th State Assembly district following the retirement of Republican Assemblyman Danny Gilmore in 2010. He defeated Stephanie Campbell in the Republican primary 78%–22%.[7] In the general election, he defeated Shafter Mayor Fran Florez 61%–39%.[8][9]

Committee assignments[edit]

  • Assembly Agriculture Committee (Vice Chairman)
  • Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee
  • Assembly Budget Committee

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



Valadao announced in August 2011 that he would seek the Republican nomination for California's 21st congressional district.[10] The district had previously been the 20th District, represented by four-term Democrat Jim Costa. However, redistricting had shifted most of the district's share of Fresno to the new 16th District, and Costa sought reelection there.

In the June 5 open primary, he ranked first with 57% of the vote, ahead of Democrat John Hernandez – the head of the local Hispanic Chamber of Commerce – and Fresno city councilman Blong Xiong.[11] In the November 6 election, he defeated Hernandez by a margin of 58%–42%.[12] His campaign victory in a district that had long been held by Democrats was cited in an op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal as a potential template for the GOP, while other analysts cited his opponent's "weakness as a candidate and a campaigner" as playing a major role.[13]


Valadao ran for reelection in November 2014. His challengers were Democrat Amanda Renteria, a former political aide for Dianne Feinstein and Debbie Stabenow,[14] and John Hernandez, the Democratic nominee whom he defeated in 2012.[15] In the June 3 primary, he ranked first once again with 63% of the vote, and received majorities of 60% or higher in every county except for Kern. In the November 4 general election, Valadao won reelection to his second term with 58% of the vote.[16]


Valadao ran for reelection to a third term in November 2016. His first challenger was Democrat Daniel Parra, the Mayor pro tem of Fowler, California.[17] Another Democratic challenger was Connie Perez, an accountant in Pasadena, California, who grew up in Tulare; however, due to issues regarding her residency outside of the district, as well as an alleged recent change in party affiliation, Perez dropped out less than a month after announcing her candidacy.[18][19] In January 2016, Emilio Huerta, son of United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta, announced his candidacy for the race as a Democrat.[20] In the primary on June 7, Valadao once again came in first with 58.2% of the vote, while Parra finished narrowly ahead of Huerta. However, in the following days, enough absentee ballots came in to allow Huerta to overtake Parra, with 24.2% to Parra's 21.8%, while Valadao's vote total fell to 54%.[21][22] In the general election, Valadao won reelection with 56.7% of the vote to Huerta's 43.3%.[23]


In 2018, Valadao was initially set to face Huerta again in a rematch, with Huerta announcing his bid in May 2017.[24] However, Huerta suspended his campaign in March 2018, with his reason being a lack of sufficient funding to effectively challenge Valadao.[25][26] After Huerta’s withdrawal, engineer T.J. Cox of Fresno announced that he would challenge Valadao.[27] Cox had previously announced a challenge to Republican Congressman Jeff Denham in the 10th district before switching to Valadao’s seat.[28]


In July 2013, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed an ethics complaint against Valadao for allegedly failing to disclose the impact that his opposition to proposed high-speed rail routes would have on the value of Valadao Dairy properties.[29][30] In November 2013, the Office of Congressional Ethics voted 6–0 to recommend that the House Ethics Committee dismiss the allegation "because there is not a substantial reason to believe that a violation of House rules and standards of conduct occurred". In February 2014, the House Ethics Committee formally dismissed the complaint.[31]

In December 2017, Valadao voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.[32] Valadao says that the "outdated tax code" negatively impacts his constituents. He says the new tax code will be "simpler" and that his community will see more jobs, improved economic growth, and higher wages.[33]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Political positions[edit]

For 114th United States Congress, Valadao was ranked as the 42nd most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives (and the third most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California) in the Bipartisan Index created by The Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy that ranks members of the United States Congress by their degree of bipartisanship (by measuring the frequency each member's bills attract co-sponsors from the opposite party and each member's co-sponsorship of bills by members of the opposite party).[36]

As of January 2018, Valadao had voted with his party in 91.4% of votes in the United States Congress and voted in line with President Trump's position in 98.3% of the votes.[37][38]

Vote Smart Political Courage Test[edit]

Vote Smart, a non-profit, non-partisan research organization that collects and distributes information on candidates for public office in the United States, "researched presidential and congressional candidates' public records to determine candidates' likely responses on certain key issues." According to Vote Smart's 2016 analysis, Valadao generally supports pro-life legislation, opposes an income tax increase, opposes requiring states to adopt federal education standards, supports lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth, supports the building of the Keystone Pipeline, supports government funding for the development of renewable energy, opposes the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, opposes gun-control legislation, supports repealing the Affordable Care Act, opposes requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship, opposes same-sex marriage, and supports increased American intervention in Iraq and Syria beyond air support.[39]

Donald Trump and the 2016 presidential election[edit]

Valadao expressed support for Donald Trump from October 2015 to May 2016 but rescinded his support in June 2016, saying he could not support a candidate who "denigrates people based on their ethnicity, religion, or disabilities."[40]

In February 2017, he voted against a resolution that would have directed the House to request ten years of Trump's tax returns, which would then have been reviewed by the House Ways and Means Committee in a closed session.[41]


Valadao rejects that climate change has anything to do with the drought that California has been experiencing since 2011, blaming "environmental regulations" for it instead.[42] Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, says that Valadao is incorrect.[43][unreliable source?]

Food stamps[edit]

In 2013, Valadao was one of just 15 House Republicans to vote against a Republican-backed bill "that makes deep cuts in food stamp spending."[44]

Government shutdown[edit]

In September 2013, in response to threats of a government shutdown over defunding of the Affordable Care Act, Valadao cosponsored the Government Shutdown Fairness Act, which would prevent all members of Congress from receiving their salaries if a shutdown occurred.[45]


Valadao is in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act. On May 4, 2017, Valadao voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA).[46][47] Valadao said, "The American Health Care Act will stabilize our health-care system, ensuring our community has access to high quality, affordable health care."[48] Valadao stated that one aspect of AHCA that he liked was $8 billion in funding over five years to help insure those with preexisting conditions in so-called "high-risk pools".[49] Deborah Kelch, a former legislative analyst for the state of California, has expressed doubt that there is enough funding available to eblish affordable and effective high risk pools.[49] The revised version of AHCA allows states to get waivers to allow insurers to charge individuals with preexisting conditions more.[50]


Valadao has publicly fought for comprehensive immigration reform.[2][51] In August 2014, Valadao broke ranks with the Republican Party and voted against a bill that would have dismantled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.[52]


Valadao has a "D" rating from NORML for his voting history regarding cannabis-related causes. Valadao opposes veterans having access to medical marijuana if recommended by their Veterans Health Administration doctor and if it is legal for medicinal purposes in their state of residence.[53]

Electoral history[edit]

California's 30th State Assembly district, 2010 (Republican primary):[7]

  • David Valadao – 11,296 (78%)
  • Stephanie Campbell – 3,213 (22%)

California's 30th State Assembly district, 2010[8]

  • David Valadao – 37,392 (61%)
  • Fran Florez – 24,386 (39%)

California's 21st congressional district, 2012:

  • David Valadao – 49,205 (60%)
  • John Hernandez – 32,967 (40%)

California's 21st congressional district, 2014:

California's 21st congressional district, 2016:

  • David Valadao – 75,126 (56.7%)
  • Emilio Jesus Huerta – 57,282 (43.3%)

Personal life[edit]

Valadao lives in Hanford with his wife, Terra, and their three children.[3]


  1. ^ Finnegan, Michael (September 3, 2014). "How the California GOP Can Benefit from Low Voter Turnout". Governing. Retrieved September 4, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Joseph, Cameron (August 25, 2014). "Chamber gives pro-immigration Rep. Valadao its top award". The Hill. Retrieved September 4, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "About David". Valadao for Congress. Archived from the original on March 31, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2012. 
  4. ^ "David Valadao Biography". California State Assembly. Archived from the original on June 26, 2012. Retrieved October 2, 2016. 
  5. ^ Anna R. Vetter (March 16, 2016). "U.S. Chamber of Commerce Recognizes Valadao with Spirit of Enterprise Award" (Press release). Congressman David G. Valadao. 
  6. ^ "Majority of Congress members now millionaires". CNN Money. January 9, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "CA State Assembly 30- R Primary Race – Jun 08, 2010". Our Campaigns. 
  8. ^ a b "CA State Assembly 30 Race – Nov 02, 2010". Our Campaigns. 
  9. ^ Wenner, Gretchen (November 3, 2011). "Florez loss bucks state trend". Bakersfield Californian. Retrieved January 24, 2012. 
  10. ^ Nidever, Seth (August 2, 2011). "Valadao says he's running for Congress". Hanford Sentinel. Retrieved January 24, 2012. 
  11. ^ "CA – District 21 – Open Primary Race – Jun 05, 2012". Our Campaigns. 
  12. ^ "CA – District 21 Race – Nov 06, 2012". Our Campaigns. 
  13. ^ Nidever, Seth (November 23, 2012). "Valadao win a 'template' for GOP?". Hanford Sentinel. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Valadao, Vidak, Cannella off to strong fundraising start". The Fresno Bee. February 3, 2014. Archived from the original on February 21, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Election notebook: GOP releases poll showing Valadao well ahead". Bakersfield Californian. February 13, 2014. 
  16. ^ "U.S. House of Representatives District 21 - Districtwide Results". November 17, 2014. Archived from the original on November 18, 2014. Retrieved October 2, 2016. 
  17. ^ Cahn, Emily (April 6, 2015). "Democrat Announces Bid Against Valadao in California". Roll Call. Retrieved November 3, 2015. 
  18. ^ Ellis, John (October 9, 2015). "Tulare County native Connie Perez enters 21st Congressional race". The Fresno Bee. Retrieved November 3, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Perez drops out of 21st race". Central Valley Observer. November 3, 2015. Retrieved November 3, 2015. 
  20. ^ Panzar, Javier (January 6, 2016). "Emilio Huerta, son of labor icon, jumps into Central Valley congressional race". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  21. ^ "U.S. House of Representatives District 21 - Districtwide Results". California Secretary of State. Archived from the original on November 18, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2016. 
  22. ^ "United States Representatives Final Results" (PDF). California Secretary of State. Retrieved August 13, 2016. 
  23. ^ "2016 General Election Results" (PDF). California Secretary of State. November 9, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2017. 
  24. ^ Rasna Suri (May 31, 2017). "Emilio Huerta launches 2018 bid for California's 21st Congressional District". Retrieved March 9, 2018. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ Rory Appleton (March 2, 2018). "Emilio Huerta won't challenge David Valadao". Fresno Bee. Retrieved March 9, 2018. 
  27. ^ Rory Appleton (March 6, 2018). "David Valadao has a new challenger in 2018 congressional race". Fresno Bee. Retrieved March 9, 2018. 
  28. ^ John Holland (July 6, 2017). "T.J. Cox announces bid for Denham seat in House". Modesto Bee. Retrieved March 9, 2018. 
  29. ^ Sheehan, Tim (July 23, 2013). "Watchdog questions ethics of Valadao's opposition to high-speed rail". The Fresno Bee. Retrieved August 7, 2013. 
  30. ^ "CREW Renews Request for OCE to Investigate Rep. David Valadao (R-CA)". Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. January 27, 2014. Archived from the original on February 11, 2014. Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  31. ^ Ellis, John (February 21, 2014). "Group's high-speed rail ethics complaint against Valadao dismissed". The Fresno Bee. Archived from the original on February 23, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  32. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (19 December 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 January 2018. 
  33. ^ "Tax-bill vote shows party-line division among Valley lawmakers". Fresno Bee. Retrieved 2 January 2018. 
  34. ^ "Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues". Armenian Assembly of America. Retrieved 20 October 2017. 
  35. ^ "Members". Republican Mains Street Partnership. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  36. ^ The Lugar Center - McCourt School Bipartisan Index (PDF), The Lugar Center, March 7, 2016, retrieved April 30, 2017 
  37. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron (2017-01-30). "Tracking David G. Valadao In The Age Of Trump". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  38. ^ "David Valadao (R-Calif.)". ProPublica. Retrieved 11 January 2018. 
  39. ^ "David Valadao's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)". Vote Smart. Retrieved January 10, 2018. 
  40. ^ Razi Syed. "Rep. David Valadao has change of heart on Donald Trump". Fresno Bee. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  41. ^ "These are all the Republicans who don't want you to see Donald Trump's tax returns". indy100. 2017-02-28. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  42. ^ "california-dems-in-tight-races-balk-at-obama-climate-talk". 
  43. ^ Valentine, Katie (2015-06-26). "Republicans Introduce Bill Based On The Idea That Environmentalists Caused California's Drought". ThinkProgress. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  44. ^ Michael Doyle & John Ellis (September 29, 2013). "Congressional hopeful Amanda Renteria wants to give Valley 'a strong voice'". McClatchy Washington Bureau. 
  45. ^ Anna R. Vetter (March 16, 2016). "Rep. Valadao Cosponsors Government Shutdown Fairness Act" (Press release). Office of U.S. Representative David G. Valadao. 
  46. ^ "How the House voted to pass the GOP health-care bill". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  47. ^ "Health care vote puts pressure on dozens of vulnerable GOP reps". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  48. ^ "Valley Republicans praised, scorned over vote to repeal Obamacare". fresnobee. Retrieved 2017-05-10. 
  49. ^ a b Hess, Jeffrey. "'High-Risk Pools' Have Been Tried Before In California. Did They Work?". Retrieved 2017-05-10. 
  50. ^ "California GOP delegation helps pass Obamacare repeal". Retrieved 2017-05-10. 
  51. ^ Razi Syed (June 29, 2016). "Rep. David Valadao has change of heart on Donald Trump". Fresno Bee. 
  52. ^ Foley, Elise (August 1, 2014). "House Votes To Strip Deportation Relief From Dreamers". The Huffington Post. 
  53. ^ "California Scorecard". NORML. Retrieved 2 January 2018. 

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Devin Nunes
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 21st congressional district

January 3, 2013 – present
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Mark Takano
Seniority in the U.S. House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Juan Vargas