The following interview is one of three profiles on the two candidates and one incumbent running for California's 24th Congressional District. A list of the same questions were posed to each candidate.
Andy Caldwell, Republican candidate, says he felt compelled to run for congress at the urging of family, friends and his supporters in the community. Caldwell founded the coalition of labor, agriculture and business. He also hosts a local call-in radio program. Caldwell is making his first run for office for a seat in congress that's been held by democrats for decades.
"I sense a desperation that our country is going in the wrong direction, that the socialists in congress are heading us off a cliff and I believe we need some statesmen in politics that will be able to speak to principle instead of politics," Caldwell said.
Caldwell says he's prepared to reach across the aisle in congress and work on solutions.
"I've known [Carbajal] for over 20 years. He used to be a moderate, he still talks like a moderate when he's back here in the district, but he has supported some of the most extreme policies coming out of the socialist democrats in congress. I was a democrat for half my life and I can no longer relate to the party as it is and I believe there's a lot of other people that are in the same boat I'm in, in that regard."
On immigration, Caldwell supports sealing the southern border with mexico and no amnesty for those here illegally.
"We need a vital, viable guest worker program. It's not just ag, there's construction industry, hospitality industry and in some degree the high-tech industry that needs a guest worker program, but that doesn't mean it's a path to citizenship. I don't believe in automatically granting citizenship to anybody who works here or comes her."
The Republican candidate favors keeping the diablo canyon nuclear power plant open and says wind and solar is only a small part of meeting future energy needs.
"They are okay as supplemental, but we need what's called 'base load energy.' Base load energy is oil, natural gas, large hydro-electric and nuclear."
On climate change, Caldwell believes public hysteria has overtaken scientific facts.
"They just keep upping the crisis level, so to speak, when in reality the climate doesn't change that fast, you really, typically and truly measure climate change by way of centuries and eons, not in the course of a decade," Caldwell said.
Caldwell says federal, state and local government, along with the courts, must change how it deals with a growing homeless population.
"The first thing you have to do is treat the underlying causes, and what California has done is the exact opposite. Plus, by virtue of lowering felonies to misdemeanors to citations, we lost the leverage. District Attorneys and prosecutors used to tell these guys, 'look, you're either going to go to jail or you're going to rehab.' They now no longer have jail hanging over their heads so we can't force them into rehab.
For more information about Andy Caldwell, click the following link: https://www.andycaldwell2020.com/
For more information on the other candidates in the 24th Congressional District Race, click here: https://ballotpedia.org/California%27s_24th_Congressional_District_election,_2020
You can watch Caldwell's entire interview with reporter Keith Carls here: