Get to know the candidates: We sent participants in the 20th Congressional District Debate a questionnaire. Here’s how they responded

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif (KGET) — Ahead of the 20th Congressional Debate on Thursday, Feb. 22, KGET sent each of the candidates in the race a questionnaire hoping to get answers to some basic questions — an introduction to voters in the district.

We asked each candidate several questions:

  • Name

  • Age

  • Hometown; City you reside in

  • Tell us about your family.

  • Give us a brief educational history

  • Party registration; How long have you been registered with that party?

  • Give us a brief career history

  • Why are you running for this office?

  • How long have you lived in the 20th Congressional District?

  • Describe your political philosophy

Below are three responses from the candidates participating in Thursday’s debate.

California 20th Congressional District Debate: How to watch

Each of the candidates participating in the debate are seeking to replace Kevin McCarthy for a full two-year term beginning in 2025.

Mike Boudreaux

Age: 56

Hometown, place of residence: Porterville; Lives in Springville

Family: Married to Angela Boudreaux and father to three children – Natalie, Nathan, and Zachary.

Educational history: Bachelor of Science, Criminology and Management, Master’s of Science, Administration of Justice and Organizational Development

A closer look at Kern’s 2024 primary candidates: 1-on-1 with CD20 hopeful Sheriff Mike Boudreaux

Career history: 38-year veteran of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office

Party registration: Republican, 38 years.

Why are you running for this office?: “I’ve built a career defending the Valley from its biggest threats. Today, we face issues – far larger than ever and the Central Valley deserves a leader in Washington who has the first-hand experience to tackle them.”

How long have you lived in the district?: 56 years.

Describe your political philosophy: “I am a firm believer in a small government that protects its citizens, encourages economic growth and free enterprise, all while operating on low taxes, minimal debt, and balanced budgets. Today, the Central Valley is faced with growing threats because Washington and Sacramento cannot meet its first obligation: protecting the safety of its people. Courtesy of an open border policy, we are afflicted with twin epidemics – gang violence and fentanyl – spilling across the Valley floor with no end in sight. As a career law enforcement officer, I’m running for Congress to fight for policies that successfully keep our communities safe while standing up for lower taxes, greater economic growth, and delivering the financial and natural resources our region needs to thrive.”

Vince Fong

Age: 44

Hometown, place of residence: Bakersfield

Family: Married to Amanda

Educational history: Bachelor’s degree from UCLA, master’s degree from Princeton

Career history: California State Assembly 2016-present, previously worked for Congressman Kevin McCarthy as his district director and for Congressman Bill Thomas on international trade policy before that.

Party registration: “I am a lifelong Republican.”

Why are you running for this office?: “The Central Valley deserves experienced, tested, trusted leadership in Congress. I have spent my career fighting for Central Valley families and I am eager and ready to take the fight to Washington and deliver meaningful results for our community.”

How long have you lived in the district?: “I was born and raised in Bakersfield and have lived here my entire life, other than college.”

‘We needed someone’: Assemblyman Vince Fong talks run for 20th congressional district seat

Describe your political philosophy: “I am a conservative Republican with a proven track. While serving in the State Assembly, I stood up to the liberal politicians in Sacramento that have put a target on Kern County’s back. I led the charge against the gas tax increase, I have been a vocal opponent of Sacramento’s misguided pro-criminal reforms, I have held the line against Newsom’s oil and gas shutdowns, and I have brought millions of dollars in resources to the Central Valley for water infrastructure, valley fever research, and support for our distressed hospitals. I have proven experience fighting for the Central Valley and will continue to do so in Washington D.C. I am the only candidate who has a track record of fighting for the residents of the Central Valley on the key issues that people care about, like border security, inflation, and protecting the energy and agriculture industries. I have consistently delivered results while serving in the State Assembly. Unlike any other candidate in this race, folks across the 20th Congressional District know me, know my values, and trust me to continue fighting on their behalf.”

Andy Morales

Age: 24

Hometown, place of residence: Bakersfield

Family: Father is a combat veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom; Mom works in agriculture

Educational history: Graduated from Frontier High school in 2017; Graduated from California State University Fresno with a bachelor’s degree in criminology law enforcement in 2022

Career history: Works in asset protection in retail

Party registration: “Lifelong Democrat.”

A closer look at Kern’s 2024 primary candidates: 1-on-1 with CD20 hopeful Andy Morales

Why are you running for this office?: “There is too much gridlock in Congress over theatrics when Americans are struggling to afford healthcare and an education in the United States.”

Describe your political philosophy: “The voters of the Central Valley not only need young faces with new ideas to address the needs and concerns of working class families in the United States, but we also need more people in Congress that have a vision for this country moving forward. Rather than viewing politics as Republicans versus Democrats, society in the United States would be better off viewing politics as people versus the establishment. It is corruption and politicians taking money from corporations that has driven the United States of America into a ditch. As a candidate running on a bold platform, my duty to my constituents is that I advocate for their wellbeing and that is exactly what I will be doing in Congress.”

Marisa Wood

Age: 63

Hometown, place of residence: Bakersfield

Educational history: BA, English, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; Single Subject Teaching Credential, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Family: John Wood, Husband, and three adult children

Party registration: Democrat; 45 years since being able to vote

Career history: Teaching junior high school for 23 years in the Fairfax School District.

Why are you running for this office?: “Because I want to be of service to the district, and give a voice to those in the district that have been neglected and feel ignored.”

A closer look at Kern’s 2024 primary candidates: 1-on-1 with CD20 hopeful Marisa Wood

How long have you lived in the district?: 38 years

Describe your political philosophy: “Marisa Wood stands as a champion of bipartisanship and collaboration. Marisa believes in finding common ground to address the challenges facing our community. With a pragmatic approach, she emphasizes fiscal responsibility, aiming to balance the budget while ensuring essential services are funded. Marisa firmly believes that education is the great equalizer and the foundation for success for everyone. In an era of polarization, Marisa Wood believes that it is through communication and compromise we can better serve those who have entrusted us to lead. Marisa believes in a better tomorrow that is rooted in our shared values and aspirations.”

The 20th Congressional Debate takes place Thursday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. Find out how to watch the debate at this link.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KGET 17.