Duarte’s local focus, pragmatism has made his case for a second term

From water issues to delivering resources to the oft-forgotten westside of the San Joaquin Valley, Rep. John Duarte (R–Modesto) has earned his stripes and a second term, writes William Bourdeau.

California’s 13th Congressional District is a diverse and dynamic area that includes all of Merced County, most of Madera County’s population, and parts of Stanislaus, Fresno, and San Joaquin counties. The district stretches from Lathrop and the southern parts of Modesto in the north, to areas west of Kingsburg, south of Coalinga, and out to the west of Interstate 5. This region is characterized by its agricultural roots and a population with a number of Democratic voters, making it a significant swing district.

Despite its left-leaning voter registration, the district elected Republican John Duarte in the 2022 midterms by a razor-thin margin of just 564 votes, illustrating the competitive nature of the political landscape. Duarte, a fourth-generation farmer and co-founder of Duarte Nursery, leveraged his deep local ties and pragmatic approach to secure this critical seat.


As a former City of Coalinga councilmember and a longstanding Westside farmer, I have an intimate understanding of the district. My experience in local governance and agriculture gives me a unique perspective on the community’s needs and challenges, allowing me to address local issues effectively.

Duarte has made significant strides in addressing water issues, a critical concern for the Central Valley. He successfully passed legislation to streamline the permitting process for water infrastructure projects, aiming to enhance water availability for agricultural and residential use. This is particularly vital for the farming community, which is heavily reliant on consistent water supplies for irrigation and other needs.

Duarte has secured over $26 million in federal funds for various community projects. These include $5 million for road improvements, $3.2 million for sidewalks in underserved areas, and security systems for a women’s refuge center. These projects demonstrate Duarte’s ability to deliver tangible benefits to his district, directly improving the quality of life for his constituents.

Duarte introduced a bill aimed at ensuring veterans receive their entitled benefits without undue delays. This initiative reflects his broader commitment to supporting those who have served the country, demonstrating his responsiveness to the needs of a vital demographic in his district.

To boost the local economy, Duarte has been instrumental in securing funds for infrastructure and job creation programs. His efforts to attract federal investment highlight his ability to navigate complex legislative processes to deliver tangible results for his district.

Duarte’s support for the Dignity Act, a bipartisan immigration reform bill, showcases his willingness to cross party lines to address pressing issues. The Dignity Act aims to provide a legal presence for hardworking families while enhancing border security to reduce drug and cartel violence. This balanced approach to immigration reform reflects Duarte’s pragmatic and inclusive legislative style, appealing to a broad spectrum of voters in his moderate district.

In his tenure, Duarte has also been involved in bipartisan efforts to reduce the federal deficit. By voting for budget deals that aim to cut wasteful spending while protecting essential programs for veterans and seniors, Duarte has positioned himself as a fiscally responsible legislator who prioritizes the economic well-being of his constituents.

A fourth-generation farmer and co-founder of Duarte Nursery, John Duarte’s deep roots in the Central Valley provide him with a unique perspective on the challenges faced by his community. His background in agriculture not only informs his legislative priorities but also ensures that he remains closely connected to the daily realities of his constituents. This hands-on experience in farming and business translates into a practical, results-oriented approach to governance.

Duarte’s office has been actively involved in various community initiatives, from organizing art competitions to providing assistance with federal agency issues. These efforts are part of his broader strategy to maintain a strong presence in the district and to be accessible to his constituents. By addressing both individual and community needs, Duarte demonstrates a comprehensive approach to constituent services that enhances his reputation as a responsive and effective representative.

Duarte advocates for American energy independence and sustainable resource management. He emphasizes the importance of utilizing domestic energy sources, appropriate forest management and improving water supply operations to support local agriculture and prevent catastrophic forest fires. His focus on these areas reflects his commitment to creating a foundation of opportunity and affordability for working families.

Duarte has introduced and supported legislation to combat the spread of fentanyl and other illegal drugs. His efforts include securing endorsements from law enforcement associations and pushing for increased funding to support anti-drug initiatives. This demonstrates his proactive stance on addressing public safety concerns within his district.

John Duarte’s tenure as the representative for California’s 13th Congressional District is marked by significant legislative achievements and a strong commitment to his constituents. His efforts in water infrastructure, veterans’ benefits, economic development, and bipartisan legislation reflect a pragmatic and comprehensive approach to governance. As Duarte continues to address the complex needs of his district, his deep understanding of local issues and dedication to practical solutions will likely remain the pillars of his political career.

Duarte captures the essence of his mission with a powerful quote: “We are the champions of abundance and we’re in a battle, maybe a war, with the lords of scarcity. And we’ve got to make scarcity immoral. When these environmental extremists start coming up with proposals that cause us to live lesser lives, especially working families, we’ve got to redress that as an immorality. And the moral solutions lie in abundance, affordability, and opportunity.” This philosophy drives his legislative agenda and his vision for the future of California’s 13th District.

For more detailed information, you can visit Duarte’s official site and review his latest initiatives and legislative updates.

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