Soria nabs the backing of UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta for Congressional bid

The 89-year-old labor leader announced her endorsement in a heated Democratic battle between Soria and Costa for the 16th Congressional seat.

As she looks to oust fellow Fresno Democrat, Rep. Jim Costa, Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria picked up the endorsement of United Farmworkers co-founder Dolores Huerta.

Soria and Huerta announced the news at a press conference at Artes America in downtown Fresno on Tuesday morning.


Before making her endorsement official, Huerta took a moment to reflect on the rich resources in the San Joaquin Valley.

“We are blessed that we can feed the nation and the world,” Huerta added.

She pivoted to a critical talking point for Soria: incredible poverty despite the rich bounty.

“For so long that we have been wanting and hoping that we could get someone to represent us in Congress that will address the issues of poverty in our communities,” Huerta said of Soria.

“We can all breathe a big sigh of relief, because now we have a champion – a champion that’s going to fight for us,” the labor leader said in reference to Soria.

When asked about the drive to endorse Soria over Costa, whose career as a legislator dates back as far as Huerta’s does in labor organizing, the 89-year-old said that Costa was focused on “his constituency” as a Congressman often to the detriment of “other constituencies” within his district.

She added Costa once represented parts of Kern County, her home, from 2005 through 2013 in the old 20th Congressional District, which covered Fresno, Kings, and Kern counties.

Following redistricting in 2011, Costa won the 16th Congressional District, which spans Merced, Madera, and Fresno counties.

Soria isn’t the lone Democrat challenging Costa in the California Primary in March. Merced resident Kim Williams also took the plunge against the long-time legislator.

One Republican, retired educator Kevin Cookingham of Fresno, is also in the running for the 16th Congressional District.

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