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Four candidates in the race for newly-redrawn U.S. House District 19

Congress Debt
Posted at 10:00 AM, May 19, 2022

The redistricting of California is impacting elections for U.S. House District 19.

District 19 now stretches from Boulder Creek in Santa Cruz County to Atascadero.

Four candidates are battling each other in the June 7 Primary Election in hopes of representing the district in the House of Representatives.

Jimmy Panetta currently represents District 20.

Due to redistricting, Panetta is considered the incumbent for the District 19 position.

Panetta faces another Democrat, Douglas Deitch, as well as Republicans Jeff Gorman and Dalila Epperson.

“Having grown up on the Central Coast, you also realize and appreciate the obligations and the responsibilities to protect that beauty,” Panetta said.

“The introduction of the northern San Luis Obispo area is a very conservative bunch of people, more rural,” said Gorman. “They also stretch this district up into San Jose, where there's 170,000 urban voters, so it is quite a change.”

“I am a momma bear, a grassroots leader. I have been going to school boards since last June, speaking out against critical race theory, the extreme sex ed, the mask mandates, and the vaccination mandate,” Epperson said.

The candidates told KSBY why they believe they would be a good fit to represent the Central Coast in Congress.

“What I represent now is very similar to the values and the interests of the people of the new 19th,” Panetta said. “What I always say is that we have a lot of beauty, bounty, bases, and now we have the burbs of San Jose.”

“We have a lot of beef cattle growers in the San Luis Obispo area and in the Monterey County area and they are getting lousy prices,” Gorman said. “We're seeing beef prices up at the grocery store up 50 percent.”

“Water is a huge issue for the farmers on the Central Coast and I also understand that it's not a drought issue, it's a dam maintenance issue and that has really got me fired up,” Epperson said. “Diablo Canyon, the closure of that, that's utterly ridiculous.”

The candidates explained several of the issues they would like to address in Congress.

“We make sure that we basically prevent any offshore oil drilling on our coast and look at new ways of energy off of it as well so that we can continue to reduce our carbon output,” Panetta said.

“I'm primarily concerned with the federal government balancing the budget and providing national security,” Gorman said. “Part of national security is having a strong domestic economic base.”

“I will be looking to deregulate all small businesses and give them a very special tax break,” Epperson said.

Candidate Douglas Deitch declined to do an on-camera interview with KSBY.

In a voicemail, Deitch said, “Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to make a statement. I have a 30-year track record that shows up very well online. I do not take any monetary contributions. I never have in 30 years. I do expect every voter to make a contribution and to do a due diligence examination of who the candidates are on their own. Good luck to us all.”