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California’s most fiercely contested political turf

On an already-hot Saturday morning in east Bakersfield, Assembly candidate and Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez stands at the front of the electrical workers’ local union hall, working a crowd of fellow Democrats ready to knock on doors and talk to voters.

But the thrust of Perez’s message has bipartisan appeal. Bakersfield is not like the rest of California: “Many people outside this community think they know us. They don’t.”

Ben Christopher and Ariel Gans report for CalMatters, a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization with a focus on stories that examine, explain and explore solutions to California’s quality-of-life issues while holding state government accountable. For more, visit calmatters.org.