STANISLAUS COUNTY, Calif. — A former Turlock City Councilmember is looking to reclaim a seat that Republicans lost to the Democrats in 2018.
Ted Howze will face off against Democratic Congressman Josh Harder in the 2020 election. Running for the District 10 seat, Howze is running in an area that was Republican-dominated for years until Harder flipped the district two years ago.
Howze is a familiar face for the district. He's a former Turlock City Councilmember, known for his work on the Turlock Regional Industrial Park and as a large animal veterinarian.
He made headlines back in May after a Politico story unearthed old social media posts from January 2017 to March 2018. Politico reported that the posts “demeaned Muslims, accused prominent Democrats of murder, and mocked a survivor of the Parkland school shooting.”
Howze told Politico that the posts were written by others who had access to his accounts, called the posts “negative and ugly ideas,” and said they didn’t represent his values.
Since then, Howze has lost endorsements from the national and state Republicans, but he still has local support, with at least 10 of the 13 mayors in his district supporting him in the contest.
With Howze challenging Harder for the District 10 seat, ABC10 spoke with him on issues within the district.
Touting a background in epidemiology and as a large animal veterinarian, Howze said he’s versed in what goes into protecting populations.
“Moving forward, I think we’re on the right track,” Howze said. “We’re working to get a vaccine created that’ll protect people. I think that we certainly need to see in this valley another round of stimulus. It helps small business owners, not large businesses. It needs to go to those small hair salons and personal service businesses that have essentially been shutout since March.”
Referencing experience as an EMT and as a firefighter who’s been on strike teams fighting fires, Howze emphasized forest management.
“We have to go back to managing our forests, both state and federal,” he said, adding a criticism that the environmental lobby hindered selective logging of forests.
He said he would advocate for cleaning up the wildlands and getting programs that would bring a return to selective logging of forests.
Law Enforcement and Public Safety
Howze said that he “adamantly” opposes defunding the police.
“Sentiment was with everybody during George Floyd’s death,” Howze said. “Nobody condones people under the color of authority not doing the right thing. A criminal act is a criminal act whether you’re a police officer or not. But to go impugn the character of every police officer in the entire nation based on the act of one handful of individuals, that’s not right no matter what your profession is.”
Pointing to his experience as a Turlock City Councilmember, Howze said cuts can cause departments to lose their most experienced members and cause cuts to training.
“The problem is we can’t defund training and have less experienced officers in our departments because it’s going to open the door to have more incidents not fewer,” he said.
“I think we’re going to have to have some serious mandates from the federal government based on population growth that tells the state that you’re going to have to allow cities to build so much housing and mandate that many of those environmental impact fees are lessened,” Howze said.
Howze said the issue with affordable housing lies in all the fees applied by local jurisdictions and by the state. He added that the state has made it impossible to build, fund public safety, and improve roads all at the same time.
He said the key is to reduce fees and burdens.
Howze has made health care one of the central issues of his campaign, noting a tragedy that impacted his own family.
“My family was struck by tragedy from … corporate health care that really doesn’t care about its patients," Howze said. "It’s all about the almighty dollar. My late wife ended up having a treatable heart condition that our insurance company did not want to spend the money to diagnose. It cost her her life.”
He said that he’s running to make sure every American has access to affordable and available health care with a quality outcome. While he's not a big believer in government-run health care, he believes the answer might lie somewhere in the middle between public and private.
He said that he would address the private health care market and make it more affordable, attack the issues in Medicare, and go back to block granting Medicaid funds to states and letting them operate county hospital systems.
For more information on his health care plan, he directed interested persons to his website.
“We cannot continue this boom or bust cycle. We have to have more water storage,” Howze said referring to the fluctuating water years for the area.
He criticized the water project that Harder secured funding for, arguing that the community of Patterson didn’t want the project.
He said the answer to the water issues was in money for additional water storage over in the Sierras.
“We need new dams," he said. "We need water stored instead of letting historic flows go to the ocean in wet years. I’m for raising Shasta Dam. I think we could do an incredible job by raising that dam…”