After an eight-year hiatus in politics, Ted Howze has thrown his hat into the crowded California 10th Congressional District race. Howze is the only Republican challenger against incumbent Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock).
The former Turlock City Council member said he decided to get into the race because he feels Denham is not doing a good enough job of representing the constituents of the 10th District.
“I am not in this race really as a Democrat or Republican, even though I’m a registered Republican, I’m in this race as a citizen who works here in the 10th District who has friends and family members here and who feels like Jeff Denham is not representing us the way that he should represent constituents,” said Howze.
While Howze doesn’t live in the District — he moved to Stockton a few years ago — his veterinary office is in Turlock.
This is Howze’s first foray into politics since his one term on the Turlock City Council from 2006-10. He unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors in 2004.
Howze said that he feels his time on the Turlock City Council has prepared him for representing the area in Washington, D.C.
“Turlock is one of the most beautiful, natural training grounds for having to deal with a constituency anywhere in the country. We are a city, a region, made up of agriculture like Middle America. We’re a college town; we’re chocked full of very educated, reasonably smart, dedicated, involved university professors and students. There are tons of businesses here, within the city and outside of the city who do business in Turlock. We are just a beautiful snapshot of having to deal with every segment of society,” said Howze.
He said that he’s the only person running for District 10 that as an elected official has made decisions directly over the budget that has benefitted my constituents and created jobs.
“You have to look no farther than the TRIP (Turlock Regional Industrial Park), he said.
Howze said that while he and Denham hold many of the same principles, he feels he would do a better job of keeping the interests of the constituents of the 10th District in mind when it comes to voting on key legislation. An example of Denham’s lack of constituent-first mentality, according to Howze, was his vote on the tax reform package.
“While I agree with a lot of the principles of the tax cut, I don’t agree with the punishment the people of California are getting…when they disallowed our state deduction from our federal taxes. We already live in such a high tax state that that’s critical for us to recoup some of the money we pay. There are some arguments if that’s fair or not to other states, California delivers more money to the federal treasury than any other state. I think we’re entitled to a little bit of leeway for some of that deduction,” he said.
Howze was also disappointed with the lack of response he received from Denham’s office when he tried to voice his opinion about the tax package and how it would affect California residents. Howze said that if elected, he would be more accessible to the constituents.
While he only decided last week to run for office, Howze has already started walking the District and going door to door to get his message out to the voters. He said the top three issues District residents have discussed with him are gun control related to the recent school shootings, immigration and healthcare.
When it comes to immigration, Howze said that Denham is taking a “non-stance stance” and as a Congressman, he would work to get the laws changed so that they represent the needs of the constituency.
He said he would not support legislation that grants mass amnesty to children who were brought to the country illegally, like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that President Donald Trump annulled. Howze said he would rather see a real, national solution.
Howze said he supports an agricultural visa program where workers could come into the country legally, pay taxes under a legitimate tax ID number and if they don’t break any laws, could have a path to citizenship.
“We can’t just ignore what’s going on and continue on the same path,” he said.
Howze’s stance on healthcare, guns, education and other topics can be found at tedhowze.com.
The local veterinarian enters a race that has 10 other challengers — including Turlock natives Michael Eggman, a local beekeeper, almond farmer and small business owner who lost close races against Denham in the 2014 and 2016 elections, and Josh Harder, an investor who recently moved back to the District after seeing a “disconnect” between Denham’s policies and those who live in the Central Valley.
Howze said that he believes as an incumbent, Denham will be the top vote getter in the primary and the real election in June will be against him and “all the Democrats in the field.”