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Meet Your Elected Officials

Congressman Jim Costa

Jim Costa is the Congressman representing California’s 16th Congressional District which includes all of Merced County and parts of both Fresno and Madera Counties. Costa’s grandparents immigrated to the United States from the Azores, and he is very proud of his Portuguese roots. Raised on a dairy farm in Fresno’s Kearney Park area, Congressman Costa is a third-generation family farmer. As a Member of Congress, Costa has applied his farming background to fighting for Valley water, agriculture, and the economy.

Costa still grows almonds on his family farm and knows that where water flows, food grows. From pushing for the delivery of rescheduled water to investing in additional storage, he has fought to bring the Valley its fair share of water and improve water reliability. As a farmer, Costa knows the challenges farmers and ranchers face firsthand. Serving as the highest ranking Californian on the House Agriculture Committee, Costa pushed for cooler heads and bipartisanship to prevail with the passage of the long overdue 2014 Farm Bill. Costa also serves on the House Natural Resources Committee that oversees water issues such as water resources planning, research and development and irrigation programs, as well as mining, oil, and gas. His efforts include securing funding for dams, working to overturn unfair federal water regulations, and increasing Valley water allocations.

In addition to his committee assignments, Costa is a member of the fiscally-conservative Blue Dog Coalition and has worked with his colleagues to support more responsible budgeting practices. Costa’s work to improve the Valley stretches across the district. Costa played a leading role in the bipartisan effort to secure Highway 99 funding in the infrastructure bonds approved by California voters in 2006. Additionally, as the primary author of state legislation to create the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Costa continues to work with local and state officials to clean up the Valley’s air.

During his time in Congress, Costa has continually supported legislation to help businesses both big and small. Most recently, Costa voted to support Trade Promotional Authority which gives the President the strongest possible position at the negotiating table, allowing him to move forward with his current trade discussions, and provides certainty to our trading partners. Trade is the backbone of the San Joaquin Valley’s economy, and passing TPA was an important step in ensuring that the United States remains as the leader in the global marketplace.

Costa’s efforts to strengthen Valley agriculture and the economy have been recognized by organizations like The American Farm Bureau Federation who named him a recipient of its “Friend of the Farm Bureau” award. Costa is also a proud recipient of the “Spirit of Enterprise” award by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Costa served for 24 years in the California State Legislature. From 1978 to 1994, he served in the California State Assembly where he was Chairman of the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, and from 1994 to 2002, Costa served in the California State Senate where he was Chairman of the Committee on Agricultural and Water Resources.assemblyman adam gray

Assemblyman Adam C. Gray

Adam C. Gray was born and raised in Merced working at his grandfathers’ local business, Merced Dairy Supply, and was a member of Golden Valley High School’s first graduating class. He went on to attend Merced Community College before graduating from UC Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.

He returned home to work with then Assemblymember, and former Congressman, Dennis Cardoza. At the time, farmers were plagued with soaring energy prices, rolling blackouts, low rainfall and low-cost imports flooding the market. Adam helped exempt fuel and farm equipment from the state sales tax, otherwise known as the “Tractor Tax,” which encouraged farmers to upgrade their equipment and save jobs. He also worked on legislation to

create tax incentives for small businesses and first-time homebuyers, defend family farms from scrap metal theft, and protect homeowners against fraudulent loan modifications.

During his first term in the State Assembly, Adam has consistently brought bipartisan interests together to improve the lives of his constituents in the Central Valley. He played a prominent role in the design of the 2014 Water Bond (Prop 1), advocating to maintain nearly $3 billion to construct new water storage to keep water prices affordable for Valley farmers and businesses.

Adam traveled throughout the Valley to bring awareness to California’s valuable FFA programs when funding was threatened. He delivered state resources when Le Grand’s water supplies were threatened and organized an effort to restore the electricity to a disadvantaged neighborhood in Santa Nella when a fire destroyed their power source. He fought for state funding to construct a new special education school in Merced when bureaucratic red tape jeopardized the project and brought international attention to Merced and Stanislaus County as finalists for the multibillion dollar Tesla Motors “Giga-Factory.”

Adam has been recognized for his stance on firearms and has been named the 2014 California Rifle and Pistol Association’s “Legislator of the Year.” He is the first Assembly Democrat in nearly a decade to receive the award. The National Rifle and Pistol Association also gave Adam high marks for his work on behalf of gun owners.

In November, Adam was reelected to a second term to serve the residents of the 21st Assembly District. The District includes the cities of Atwater, Dos Palos, Gustine, Livingston, Los Banos, and Merced in Merced County and Ceres, parts of Modesto, Newman, and Patterson in Stanislaus County.

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