Ahead of Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, Rep. Josh Harder focused on bipartisanship as a key factor in moving ahead during divisive times.
“This is my first State of the Union so I’m pretty excited, and I’d like to hear how we can find areas of common ground where we can actually get stuff done,” Harder said during a phone call from Washington, D.C. on Tuesday afternoon.
Harder made common ground a highlight of Tuesday’s events, meeting with Republican Rep. Van Taylor of Texas for a bipartisan preview of President Donald Trump’s address on Facebook Live and bringing Republican walnut farmer John Casazza of Hughson to the Capitol as his guest for the speech.
“The reality is, the period of time we’re in right now is not unique. Since Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, 75 percent of the time we’ve been dealing with divided government,” Harder said during his sit down with Taylor. “This is not something where we need to find a way to work together for the next two years — we’ve got to do it for the next 10, next 20 years.”
The rising cost of prescription drugs, infrastructure and veteran affairs were just a few of the topics Harder and Taylor were able to agree on, and the Republican Congressman pointed out that during his time in the Texas State Legislature, he was able to help pass 81 bills through bipartisanship.
“I know that to get things done, you can work on a bipartisan basis to get common sense solutions to real problems,” Taylor said.
“This is not something where we need to find a way to work together for the next two years — we’ve got to do it for the next 10, next 20 years.”Congressman Josh Harder
Casazza is a “lifelong” Republican, according to a press release from Harder’s office, whose company Mid Valley Nut has been adversely affected by an ongoing trade war. According to Harder, the price of walnuts has been cut in half over the past year due to lowered demand brought on by Chinese tariffs.
“For decades, John and his business have created local jobs and boosted the Central Valley economy, while also connecting the goods we grow here at home to markets around the world,” Harder said. “Party affiliation doesn’t matter when you’re trying to make ends meet, and folks like John have made it clear that both sides need to work together in a practical way to solve the urgent problems of the Central Valley — including providing tariff relief for farmers, managing our region’s water supply, and making sure job creators in our rural communities can partake in a healthy economy.”
Harder and Casazza landed in D.C. on Tuesday, and since then Harder said Casazza is just trying “to take it all in,” the farmer told him.
“The Central Valley has been my home my whole life — and it’s been home to my family, friends, and our great business,” Casazza said. “I appreciate the opportunity to join Rep. Harder to show that we in the Valley can put politics aside and focus on what matters.”