Ever since Congressman Jeff Denham helped to shut down the government last year, he has campaigned hard for reelection. Apparently, he received a low approval rating from the voters in his district. With Congress showing single digit approval ratings in poll after poll, Mr. Denham may have realized that his constituents might be unhappy with him, too. Given the pattern of his activities, he appears to be using professional political advisors. Advisors are great on giving advice to politicians about form over substance.
Immediately after the government reopened, Mr. Denham started sending constituents who contacted his office a weekly newsletter to spin his activities in Congress. The newsletter presents various articles on Mr. Denham’s opinions and “actions” he is taking in Congress. The stories have an ideological spin that caters to conservatives. In reality, they lack substance.
For example, Mr. Denham came out “strongly” in favor of immigration reform. He made sure his position was plastered all over the newspaper and repeatedly featured in his newsletter. Meanwhile, those controlling Congress on the Republican side let it be known that there would be no immigration reform this year. Therefore, Mr. Denham could parade himself as the champion of immigrants without actually doing anything for immigrants or their families. Nothing will be done this year to ameliorate the growing population of undocumented immigrants or provide a path to citizenship unless the Republican leadership decides to do so.
Mr. Denham also came out “strongly” for more aid to veterans. Again, the newspapers and his newsletter heralded him as the champion of veterans. Meanwhile, he supported passage of a “balanced” budget that will reduce aid to veterans. The budget that he supported never passed because it would have hurt veterans. And when he helped close down the government, he certainly did not help veterans. Odd that Mr. Denham’s votes are always at the losing end of his symbolic positions. How do his votes help the country?
Recently, Mr. Denham made a big to-do about bringing home flags from Washington D.C. to hang locally. The flags flew above the Capitol, and now we have used flags to fly here! He also had his picture in the newspaper officiously swearing in the new postmaster in Modesto. How do these activities help his constituents?
Finally, there are the telephone and in-person town hall meetings, where the Congressman meets the little people, otherwise known as the voters. He listens to the concerns and tells each person that he agrees with them, sympathizes with them and that he will do what he can when he gets back to Washington. Nothing gets done.
During a phone town hall meeting prior to last year’s government shut down, Mr. Denham told this writer that he did not want to shut down the government. He told a subsequent caller that he did want to shut down the government and voted to do so the next day.
If one only reads Mr. Denham’s newsletter, one thinks that this swell patriotic Congressman is doing a great job. He portrays himself doing everything he can for the country, but it is the political opposition who are the obstructionists.
Mr. Denham is all form and no substance. He brings little money home to his district and is doing what he can to kill programs that benefit his district in health, housing, education and social welfare. He is big on helping Indian gaming casinos and large corporations not located within his district, garnering huge campaign contributions from those entities.
Tragically, no political opposition exists within his own party. Mr. Denham is facing no challenger in the primary. On the Democrat’s side, both Mike Barkley and Michael Eggman are challenging. Barkley mounted half-hearted campaign in 2012, and does not appear to be a serious challenger. While Mr. Denham already his reelection signs plastered all over Stanislaus County, Mr. Eggman will be opening his campaign office at the end of the April. Mr. Eggman’s staff has not responded to this writer’s email request for an interview.
Given the manner in which politics are running this year, Jeff Denham’s district appears poised for another term of mediocre representation. Politicians no longer seem to make the effort to list their actual accomplishments. This may be because they no longer need to.
Eric Caine says
Bruce Jones just emailed that he had trouble posting his comment; whenever this happens please send us your comment and we’ll see it gets up. We will try to find out why Bruce had a problem. Meanwhile, here’s Bruce Jones:
“Denham recently did a compare the candidates mailer with one of the D candidates- ironically, he showed the Demo as yes on all of six selected issues, and his position of NO on all of them. This is the Republican Party of NO WAY, and Denham proves it. Even his alleged support for immigration reform is a fraud, since his party has announced it will not be addressed by Congress. He can talk like a reformer on one issue when there will never be a vote on it. Denham must be rejected from his role as a Tea Party robot in Congress.”
West Sider says
The notion that Denham is a fraud because he takes a position on Immigration Reform that his party refuses to act on or that the House Leadership does not support is downright silly. California or border state politicians from either party might have immigration views different than politicians from the heartland. Can Dehham or any other politician force their leadership to act on a certain bill? Are all politicians that take a view contrary to the majority of their party and its leadership a fraud? Dennis Cardoza wanted to revise the Endangered Species act and to find ways to get the valley more water,. He was opposed by the House leadership and a majroity of Democrats. That must make Cardoza a fraud. And if holding a contrary opinion or changing views makes one a fraud, then the Democrats are full of them also beginning with the President.
Fed Up Modesto says
Jeff Denham does not represent the interests of the residents of Modesto, and I cannot wait to vote against him in the next election. An individual that cares more about following the party line than the economic stability of our country, and supported shutting down the government to further his own personal agenda has no business pretending to serve our district.
During the federal shutdown fiasco, Jeff Denham’s staffers continually lied about his positions and tried to spin his positions into something favorable. Both he and his staffers repeatedly denied that he voted to shutdown the government.
In my opinion, he is on the wrong side of every single issue that would benefit our district and our country. The exception to prove the rule would be his new-found support of immigration reform. (Just in time for the election in a district with a high Hispanic population—go figure!)
A clear indication of how little he respects his district would be the bogus polls he includes in his weekly newsletters that skew the answers to support Tea Party views. Frequently the options for answering he provides do not even allow recipients to respond with any answer other than the views he promotes.
I have a whole folder full of correspondence from Mr. Denham’s office, but below is one of my favorites, in answer to a letter I sent him encouraging him to support extending unemployment benefits for his CA-10 constituents:
“Thank you for contacting me regarding unemployment in the United States. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this matter of great concern for many families in the 10th district of California and nationwide.
In the United States, there is a standard of 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits, known as regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. There are two federal programs for extending UI benefits: the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and Extended Benefits (EB). On January 2, 2013, President Obama signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act into law. In addition to preventing drastic tax hikes and deep spending cuts, the bill extended the duration of eligibility for unemployment benefits through the EUC Program, due to the high percentage of workers without jobs. The extension expired on December 31, 2013. Furthermore, California’s current unemployment rate does not exceed the established threshold nor meet the standard criteria to qualify the state for EB benefits. Persons are still able to apply for the standard 26 weeks of UI benefits.
As a resident of the Central Valley, you know all too well how our community has struggled in the economic recession that started in 2007. Unemployment continues to trouble many families, with the area’s rate holding at an unacceptable 14.5 percent. Additionally, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) estimates that more than 222,000 Californians are currently certifying for federal extension benefits. However, because of continued uncertainty and a slow recovery of consumption, many employers have not yet begun to consistently hire or recall worker from layoff. Therefore, even though we have extended unemployment benefits 13 times since 2008 at the cost of $265 billion in response to the recession – extensions that I have repeatedly supported in the past – national unemployment remains at or above 7 percent and the economy continues to stagnate. The issue of job creation continues to be the most pressing policy matter of today both at the community and the federal level. With the national economy depending upon local and state economies, we must strive to help businesses promote innovation and encourage the private sector to invest in the local economy and put people in our community back to work.
I firmly believe that to effectively curb persistent unemployment, we must pass job-creating legislation to help our nation reach energy independence, eliminate the burden of overreaching federal regulation on small business owners, pass real and effective immigration reform, connect out-of-work Americans with jobs training programs . This Congress, I cosponsored and supported the House passage of H. R. 367, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. H. R. 367 rewrites provisions regarding Congressional review of Executive Agencies by requiring that Congress approve major rules and regulations before they take effect. In a time when we are seeing even more American jobs being exported overseas, we cannot continue to hinder and burden our local businesses with more government interference and mandates. This year, I also co-hosted the recent Central Valley Job Fair with the purpose of helping local employers with employment opportunities meet with job seekers, as well as prepare those looking for work with the necessary skills and resources they need to be successful. Our district has great potential to become a hub for growth and industrial expansion, and I will continue to support our local businesses and promote greater job creation for our district’s deserving workforce.
By implementing more pro-business legislation, I am confident that our future employment and economic prospects could look much more encouraging than they do at present. Removing regulatory obstacles on our small businesses owners and entrepreneurs will revitalize our local economy and create the jobs that our hardworking Valley residents need and deserve. I assure you I will continue to fight in Congress to reduce unemployment and reduce the barriers to business success, and I will keep your concerns in mind as I continue to work on job-creating legislation.
Once again, thank you for contacting me. I encourage you to stay up to date with my activity in Washington, D.C., and in California’s 10th District on my website, www . denham.house.gov, and on my social media sites: @RepJeffDenham on Twitter and Representative Jeff Denham on Facebook.”
After acknowledging that employment in the Central Valley is 14.5% (twice the national rate) he spouts a typical Republican answer which states that less regulation for businesses is the only way increase employment.
He then talks about passing additional legislation (such as immigration reform and additional job training programs,) which he knows don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing in the current environment, and brags about sponsoring more legislation to tie the hands of the Executive Agencies (specifically the EPA) on issues ranging from carbon reduction to the Affordable Care Act.
So in other words, until congress can cut business regulations and further reign in the evil EPA and Executive Branch (which will then create jobs in his opinion), sorry CA-10 if your employment has run out, you’re screwed.
I encourage everyone to research Mr. Denham’s record personally and find out what he’s really about. Jeff Denham does not represent the interests of California’s 10th district, and I sincerely hope people will wake up, start paying attention, and vote for the interests of our district and our country.