Matt Rogers

Matt Rogers, district representative for U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris made a big public appearance in Kern County just over a year ago when she spoke at the United Farm Workers 20th Constitutional Convention in Bakersfield.

She was attorney general of California then. She's since been elected to the Senate seat previously held by Barbara Boxer.

She will stay connected to the Central Valley and keep her ears to the ground here, said Matt Rogers, a fixture in the Fresno County Democratic Party who has been hired to be those ears.

“I was born and raised here. Went to Fresno State. I’ve never left,” he said.

Rogers will manage Harris’ Fresno office at 2500 Tulare St. but in truth be shuttling around to communities all across his district, from Stanislaus County down to San Luis Obispo and Kern counties.

Representing the Central Valley for a Democrat may present challenges, Rogers said.

Harris is currently working on legislation that would shield farmworkers who have “paid their dues” from deportation – a bill that is critical for thousands of valley residents who currently live in fear, Rogers said.

But many in the valley who support President Donald Trump’s aggressive stance on immigration might be less fond of that work.

But Rogers said his mission is to not let party lines separate citizens from their senator. Harris gave him that mission.

“She was very clear that our door was open to everybody. It’s not just open to one party,” he said. “We’ve reached out to both Republican and Democratic (political) offices. That’s out how you truly get things done.”

Front-line workers in all political offices have to focus on making sure members of the public get help when they have a problem.

And that, Rogers said, is what political staff across the board do in the Central Valley.

“Staff can set aside that bitter partisanship. I’ve been received very, very graciously by all the staff I’ve reached out to,” he said. “Republicans need health care. Democrats need health care. I think there are issues that unite people in both parties. The key is to find common ground.”

Rogers said his role is to help people. To listen.

“Knowing the people and considering a lot of them neighbors and friends,” he said, “I get to go to work every day being able to work to make their quality of life better.”

Harris’ office can be reached at 559-497-5109.

James Burger can be reached at 661‑395-7415. Follow him on Twitter: @KernQuirks.

(4) comments

Lamonster

“Staff can set aside that bitter partisanship...." Well, that's commendable if it's true. But so far Sen. Harris' only "service" seems to be to vote against any and every Trump nominee for no other reason than he or she is a Trump nominee.

Stephen

Lamonster, have you actually looked at these nominees? Are these the people you want making decisions that affect our lives and our society?

Lamonster

You might well ask Kamala Harris the same question. I did not support Trump during the election and if you'll notice I didn't name any nominee as worthy of confirmation. But look and see how many nominees got an aye vote from Diane Feinstein and then ask Harris what her objection to them was. I maintain that it is the "R" and not a question of qualifications.

GaryJohns

Yes...

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.