Campaigns for the 2020 elections are warming up in California. Livengood is running for the congressional office of California’s 10th district, which covers vast areas of farmland in the San Joaquin Valley, mainly with agricultural industries in cities like Modesto, Tracy, Turlock, and Manteca.
“I want to be an advocate for the people of my district. I feel that they have not had that. They need somebody that’s going to champion their issues and their needs before the federal government,” Livengood said in a recent interview with The Epoch Times.
Livengood also criticized the sanctuary state policy.
“Our state’s sanctuary state policy has really just protected criminals; it’s done nothing to help our state,” she said. “Especially when we look to [the city of] Newman, and we see the horrific shooting that happened there by an illegal alien, and that was somebody that could have been taken off the streets, but wasn’t, because the State of California has failed us with their poor policies.”
Her comments reflected last year’s Christmas shooting, in which Newman city police officer Ronil Singh was shot to death. Newman is a small city that belongs to the 10th district.
Singh was gunned down when he was making a traffic stop on an overtime shift the day after Christmas. The suspect was an illegal immigrant from Mexico and had two previous charges against him.
Singh was survived by his wife and 5-month-old son.His death drew nationwide attention to California’s sanctuary state policy.
“Laws have been put into place by the federal government, and they need to be followed. Yet California has ignored them to the detriment of our community and our citizens,” Livengood said.
“Law enforcement was prohibited because of sanctuary laws, and that led to the encounter with Officer Singh,” said Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson after the shooting, according to The Washington Post.
Regarding the current border crisis, Livengood said that everybody knows that immigration is a problem that needs to be solved, yet nobody wants to fix it.
“They just use it as a political hot potato, and the only people who lose here are us, the people in our district,” she said.
Livengood also spoke of witnessing an increase in lawlessness in the state.
She believes that the increasing crime rate in California is “because we don’t have really any consequences to crime,” reflecting results of bad laws such as Prop. 47.
Approved by voters in 2014, Prop. 47 sets $950 as the upper limit for categorizing crimes as misdemeanors, including shoplifting, grand theft, receiving stolen property, check forgery, writing bad checks, and the personal use of most illegal drugs.
“I think we have to open a dialogue up and reach out to law enforcement; say ‘What tools do you need, what can we help you with, and what laws are really creating a challenge for you?’” said Livengood.
“[Our police] don’t have the resources that they need, and they don’t have the laws to back up and put people into prison when they need to be put in prison,” she said.
When speaking about what she can do to specifically help the 10th district, Livengood said that she wants to take a lead in the immigration reform to address the labor shortage.
The 10th district, with its economy heavily based on the agricultural industry, is experiencing a major labor shortage.
California has the largest agriculture economy in the nation. Many fruits and vegetables, such as cherries, grapes, tomatoes, and celery, need to be harvested by hand. This requires a lot of seasonal foreign labor.
Livengood said that Congress needs to provide a legal path for foreign laborers to legally come to the United States to work and stay, and also for the people who’ve already been here to find a way to legalize their status.
Livengood is from a farming family. She grew up in the Central Valley and is a full-time working mother.
Her grandfather from Italy worked in agriculture, and her father was a farmer. Livengood said she drove a tractor when she was a child.
She has more than 20 years of experience with helping draft legislation and managing regulatory affairs for the California Strawberry Commission. She previously served as the legislative affairs manager for the San Joaquin Regional Transportation District and was legislative director for former Rep. Richard Pombo, who represented California’s 11th district in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The upcoming 2020 elections have sparked a nationwide debate on socialism. Livengood said that democratic socialism has been brought to U.S. society as if it were a concept that is good for everybody.
“But in reality, when we looked at places like Venezuela, when we looked at places that are socialist and communist, we know that it’s a horrific government; it’s a horrific way of governing, and it has no place here in the U.S.,” she said.
“I’m going to champion the values of faith, family devotion, and hard work. And I do that every day in my own life, and I am going to do that for the people of the 10th congressional district,” Livengood said.
Livengood ran a campaign in 2018 for California’s 9th district congressional office, and lost to her Democratic opponent Jerry McNerney.