The two candidates vying for California's newly drawn 4th Congressional District are offering diverging views on the federal government's role in bringing jobs to the area and getting residents back to work.
Republican Tom McClintock and Democrat Jack Uppal, who previously went head-to-head in a non-binding open primary on June 5, will face off again in the November general election. The winner will be the new representative in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., for 10 counties in the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada foothills regions, including Tuolumne and Calaveras.
McClintock, 56, is the current U.S. 4th District Representative and has at times served as a state senator and assemblyman. In the past, he has also made unsuccessful bids to become state controller and lieutenant governor.
McClintock splits his time between the nation's capital and his home in Elk Grove outside the 4th Congressional District's new borders, as U.S. congressmen are not required to live in the district they represent under the U.S. Constitution.
Uppal, born in India and raised partly in New York, is a newcomer to politics. The 58-year-old Democrat is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and worked for 28 years manufacturing integrated circuits and semiconductors for Silicon Valley tech firms.
In 2008, Uppal moved from San Jose to Lincoln, where he still resides.
McClintock has enjoyed a major financial advantage over his challenger since before the primaries. According to election filings, McClintock has received a total of $1,044,291 in campaign contributions while Uppal has raised $38,116 as of the most recent filing on Sept. 30.
Both candidates share differing views on how to get the nation out of its current economic woes and steps they can take toward improving the local situation for constituents as well.
McClintock has drafted a seven-point plan that calls for cutting taxes on the highest marginal tax rate for individuals and corporations and removing regulations thought to be stifling industries, among other suggestions.
"On a practical level, we will have the opportunity to employ the policies that Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, Harry Truman and Warren Harding all used to reduce tax and regulatory burdens on the economy and create prolonged periods of economic expansion," said McClintock of what he would like to help Congress accomplish in the coming years.
He cited his growing seniority on both the Budget and Natural Resources committees, which he says puts him in "prime position" to assist the local timber industry that has traditionally been a top employer in the district.
"The restrictions on sound forest management have reached a point where they've not only destroyed local communities but have contributed greatly to increasingly intense and increasingly frequent forest fires," McClintock said.
Uppal also acknowledged the importance of the timber industry in the area and said he would like to see an expansion of existing public projects identifying portions of national forests in need of clearing. He also said he would work closely with various county leaders to help them secure federal funding for local projects.
"I believe one of the primary responsibilities of a congressman is to work with local supervisors to bring funding back to the district," he said.
Uppal, a self-described moderate Democrat, dismissed the conservative viewpoint that government can't be relied upon to create jobs, citing periods of economic expansion spurred by federal investments in the space program and Internet.
Uppal supports a project to expand high-speed Internet access in rural parts of the district, which he says benefits local businesses that are relying more and more on the service, schools for educational purposes and government workers installing the infrastructure.
"I don't believe government is the problem, but rather a big part of the solution," he said. "I see government as being able to work with industry to create jobs and economic growth."