Virginia Madueño, a local community leader and valley native, said there are many things that set her apart from all the candidates running for the California’s 10th Congressional District, including the incumbent Congressman Jeff Denham, who is running for reelection.
“I think the biggest difference between me and my competitors, asides from being a Latina, is I actually have more experience than any of the other candidates in regards to public service,” said Madueño, who is former Riverbank Mayor and small business owner. “I have actually worked in my community, not only as a council member but as a mayor, and now as a commissioner for California waterways. I actually helped to improve the quality of life for my community, this community.”
“I actually worked in creating jobs, sustaining jobs; I actually work as a community organizer trying to help on environmental issues. I am the only candidate that has received an abundance of national support,” said Madueño as she listed the names of her supporters including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Latino Victory Fund, and several members of congress including Congressman Tony Cardenas among others. “I think that on it self sets me apart from my competitors.”
Madueño said that one thing that distinguishes her from the incumbent is that “I am actually going to fight for and work with colleagues in Congress to protect social security, and Medicare for our seniors and our veterans. That is no something that Congressman Denham is doing.”
Madueño, who is a wife, mother, daughter of Mexican immigrants, and entrepreneur, has spent her whole life in the district. Born and raised in Modesto, Madueño attended Riverbank public schools before attending California State University, Stanislaus.
"I am going to work and fight for free education, which Mr. Denham is not doing and I am also going to fight for universal health care, which Mr. Denham actually voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act,” Madueño said.
Prior to announcing her candidacy in August of 2017, Madueño spent a few months attending public meetings, meeting with local community groups, listening to various community members on the most pressing issues affecting them in the district. “We are working on a grassroots campaign to make sure the people understand really what is at stake, why they need to get involve in this campaign, why they need to be extremely vigilant in regard to voting, and especially with Latinos,” Madueño said, adding that “just because he (Denham) speak Spanish does not mean that he has actually worked to support the Latino community.”
Madueños said the incumbent “talks a pretty good talk” when it comes to DACA and dreamers saying that he “protects the dreamers that he protects DACA that he wants to create a path way for citizenship for our undocumented communities.”
However, Madueño added that she has met with members of congress including Congressman Ruben Gallegos, and Congressman Tony Garza in Washington D.C. and have told her that the incumbent paints a really pretty picture for all his constituents that he is trying to do his very best for dreamers and DACA, when in reality, “he actually have had a number of occasions, on three occasions, he had the opportunity to be a leader, to protect DACA, and the dreamers and our immigrant community, and he actually have not taking our leadership role.”
Madueño said that “the most astounding thing for us that we have found out, and it is actually part of a written record, he actually has been given money from his own political campaign to members of congress who are anti-DACA, who are anti-dreamers and who are anti-immigrants. So he might be speaking one way, but his money is going to the contrary.”
As part of her ongoing effort to ensure the community is being heard and the issues that are of most importance to the residents are being brought to the forefront, Madueño said she has a very mobilized volunteer base. “We are absolutely running a campaign we feel is going to make a difference in terms of voters’ turnout,” Madueños said. “We understand that voters’ turnout for a primary is low but if we actually can increase it by 15 percent and specially if we increase the number of Latinos who come out to vote, we will secure out position to be able to go to the general election.”
“I think people right now, specially right now, not just Latinos, but across the board, are starting to see the significance of what the current administration is, how it is affecting all of us as Americans, what it has done to DACA, what it has done to immigrants, the amount of fear that is in our community. I think that in itself will propel a larger turnout for the primary,” she said.
Madueño said issues like the lack of affordable housing, living wages, decline in education and jobs are some of issues of why she is running for congress.
“That is why I am in this race, because I want to be able to start having more of us represented, not just those of corporate America, not just those if the one percent but everybody. That is what I am fighting for,” Madueño said.
Name: Virginia Madueño
Occupation: community leader, small business owner
Party Affiliation: Democratic
Residency: Riverbank Campaign website: https://www.virginiaforcongress.com