The two candidates in the 21st Congressional District race took jabs at each other Saturday morning during a debate sponsored byUnivision Fresno and Bakersfield at Fresno State. But unlike other debates incumbent David Valadao, R-Hanford, and Sanger Democrat Amanda Renteria have participated in, this one was conducted entirely in Spanish. It was geared toward Latino voters and focused on topics including immigration, water, agriculture and the economy.
Congressman Valadeo, by the way, is of Portuguese, not Spanish ancestry.
Valadao's parents, who were Portuguese immigrants, taught him their native language before he learned English. He picked up Spanish during and after high school, mainly by speaking to workers on his family's ranch. Renteria, the daughter of a Mexican immigrant, said she grew up speaking both Spanish and English.
Of course, the debate was moderated by a Univision anchor:
David Ibarra, a news anchor at Univision Fresno, was the moderator. Each candidate had one minute to answer every question, then 30 seconds for a rebuttal, if desired. They stumbled through the debate at times, though Renteria had better fluency overall and Valadao often mixed in English or Portuguese words.
Valadao, 37, and Renteria, 39, share similar views about many key issues: Both support comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for those here illegally; both say the Valley needs more water infrastructure, such as dams; and both agree the government should help reunite immigrant children with their families after the youngsters enter the U.S. alone. But they differed on questions about the minimum wage, reducing high school dropout rates and economic recovery plans. ..
Valadeo, Renteria face off in Spanish-language debate in Fresno Andrea Castillo, Fresno Bee, Oct. 4, 2014