The race for Congress in the 16th Congressional District features two familiar faces, those of incumbent Democrat Jim Costa and Republican challenger Johnny Tacherra.
Costa, 64, and Tacherra, 41, are both members of Portuguese immigrant families who farm in Fresno County.
Costa’s campaign slogan for years has been “one of us,” trading on his farm-family background. But Costa hasn’t spent much time farming. He has worked most of his life as a professional politician, in government as an elected official in the California Legislature and Congress, and for a short time as a legislative staff member.
Tacherra, on the other hand, actually is a farmer, a Fresno County dairyman who milks 1,000 cows.
Costa, of necessity, lives and works in the nation’s Capital. While he does come into the district on occasion, most of the time he isn’t here.
Tacherra spends almost all the time he isn’t running his farm out in the 16th District running for office. You see him a lot. He gets around so much, you’d think he had a milk route.
Both men have strong political ties.
Costa is a solid Democrat, depending heavily on support from strong Democratic Fresno precincts in the district.
Tacherra is as strongly a Republican as Costa is a Democrat.
Costa has done little harm while he’s been in Congress, but he isn’t a person from whom you come to expect original ideas to advance the interests of the 16th District. He has not developed the strong connections so necessary in Congress to make important developments happen for this district. He’s not considered a leader among his fellow Democrats, but neither is he a permanent resident of the left side of the Democratic caucus. He often is ranked as an independent, but just as often he will, vote as a Democrat.
Tacherra, of course, has no congressional record at all, but the question is, has his strong campaigning locally earned a spot at the newcomers’ table?
With no particular malice toward Costa, The Madera Tribune believes that Tacherra, in this election, is the man who should be given a chance.
He exhibits the habits and tendencies that often are seen in effective elected officials.
Costa has had his chance.
Now, with all due respect, it is time for somebody else.