Redistricting ends Herger's long reign
Not since Vic Fazio represented the area has Colusa and Glenn counties had a voice from the left speaking for it in Congress.
Now, through redistricting, former California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi will likely soon represent the counties as part of a district that will also include Sutter and Yuba counties.
The district is much closer in its shape and demographics as the District 3 Fazio represented. Colusa and Glenn are currently in U.S. Rep. Wally Herger's 2nd District.
Shifted to a district focused largely aroung Chico, and one that includes Tehama County, Herger, R-Chico, has already sent out warnings about Garamendi.
"Yuba, Sutter ... Colusa (and Glenn) counties have good reason to be concerned," Herger told the Appeal-Democrat this week.
Herger described himself Monday as a fi cal conservative and called Garamendi a nice guy, but added that the two "philosophically just don't agree on much."
"I'd say our voting records are about 180 degrees opposite," Herger said.
But despite overwhelmingly re-electing Herger, even faithful conservatives in the region have expressed some concern about how effective Herger has been, especially given the fact he is one of the most senior members of the House, but rarely is in the forefront of major issues.
Fazio, on the other hand, was his party's whip with far less time in office than Herger, and was frequently at point on critical matters.
Of course, Fazio was also part of the majority party at the time, and Garamendi, D-Walnut Creek, will not have that power structure from which to work.
The new district lines do bring in more of a liberal element than the district over which Herger has reigned.
But supporters of Garamendi said the 66-year-old Democrat knows the North State, and in fact, was raised on a cattle ranch in Calaveras County.
"He knows the issues," said Donald Lathbury, a spokesman for Garamendi.
Garamendi, who also served as state insurance commissioner, graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in business. He has a master's in business administration from Harvard Business School.
Herger, 66, intends to run for re-election in a new Chico-area district.
"I'm going to run where I live," he said.
His spokesman Matt Lavoie noted the congressman's affection for this region.
"He loves that area — grew up in that area," Lavoie said. Herger was born in Sutter County and raised on a cattle ranch in Rio Oso south of Wheatland.
A citizens commission voters established to create congressional and other legislative districts approved final draft versions Friday of new maps.
Districts expected to be finalized this month.