Vice President Joe Biden travelled to to Cal State Bakersfield on Tuesday to stump for Democrats Alex Padilla and Amanda Renteria in their races for secretary of state and 21st congressional district, respectively.
According to the Fresno Bee, Biden used his headlining speech to talk about the need for immigration reform and the struggles of middle-class workers, instead of talking about what is ostensibly the Central Valley’s single biggest issue: California’s four-year long drought.
Bakersfield residents Michelle Henry, who told the Bee she came to hear “perspectives on how they’re going to address the water issues,” and Antonio Colley, who wanted “to hear what Joe Biden has to say about a range of issues, from the war in Iraq to the drought in the local area.” However, Biden reportedly did not mention the word “water” once.
“This is a really, really big election, and there’s a reason for that,” Biden reportedly said in his speech. “The economy got absolutely clobbered in the Great Recession, and nobody got hit harder than hard-working Americans. People, who through no fault of their own, people who never missed a mortgage payment in their life but two houses in the neighborhood went under and all of a sudden they found out they owed more on their house than their house was worth. People who worked their whole life.”
Biden also spoke of the need for immigration reform, saying if it passed, it would help reduce the national deficit and add money to Social Security.
“Folks, here’s the deal, we should stop asking what we can do for them,” Biden said, according to the Bee. “It’s what Latinos will do for America. This is not about any single group of people. It’s about how we rebuild the United States of America.”
Renteria, who is battling popular Republican incumbent David Valadao for the 21st congressional seat and convinced Biden to visit the Central Valley, did talk about water in her speech. However, Valadao’s campaign immediately jumped on the omission in the vice president’s speech.
“In the midst of the worst drought in California history, the vice president failed to even utter the word water once,” Valadao campaign spokesman Tal Eslick said in a statement. “Instead of providing solutions for the Central Valley, Amanda Renteria and Vice President Biden chose to play politics, and that’s too bad.”
Biden was in Los Angeles on Monday, where he attended a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser at the 20th Century Fox backlot in Century City. On Tuesday morning, Biden participated in a roundtable with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on raising the minimum wage, then flew to Bakersfield with Renteria and Padilla.
Biden was reportedly scheduled to continue on to the Bay Area for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser following his stop in Bakersfield.