Civil rights attorney Emilio Huerta will challenge 4th District Kern County Supervisor David Couch next year, he announced Wednesday.
Huerta, the son of acclaimed civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, serves as general counsel for the Bakersfield-based non-profit organization that bears her name, the Dolores Huerta Foundation.
His opportunity to challenge Couch is in part the result of a court order that followed a civil rights organization's victory over Kern County in March 2018 alleging a violation of the Voting Rights Act. Couch, who was first elected in 2012 and won reelection in 2016, was victorious in a court-ordered special election for a redrawn 4th District seat in 2018. He announced his candidacy for the 2020 election on Oct. 22.
Last year Couch defeated Delano Mayor Grace Vallejo and Lamont Chamber of Commerce President Jose Gonzalez. Vallejo has indicated she will not run for county supervisor in 2020; Gonzalez has not committed either way.
Huerta, running as a Democrat, challenged Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, for California’s 21st Congressional District seat in 2016. Valadao won decisively but was ousted in 2018 by Democrat TJ Cox. Valadao has announced his intention to win the seat back in 2020.
Huerta holds a BA degree in political science from CSU Bakersfield and a juris doctorate degree from Santa Clara University School of Law. He had dropped out of high school at the age of 16 to volunteer full-time for the United Farm Workers union and at 20 was trained as a labor negotiator for the UFW.
In a statement announcing his candidacy, Huerta said he was pursuing the office because of "ill-advised budgetary cuts in law enforcement, job creation, infrastructure repairs, the lack of delivery of mental health services, parks, underfunded libraries and inadequate strategies in dealing with our homeless population."