The word on the street is that Fowler Mayor Pro-Tem Daniel Parra will run in 2018 for the state Senate District 12 seat.
The seat is currently held by Republican Anthony Cannella of Ceres. He is termed out in January 2019.
Parra is a Democrat who lost a bitter 2016 primary fight with Emilio Huerta for the No. 2 spot in the 21st Congressional District race. Republican David Valadao of Hanford easily beat Huerta in the general election.
Parra in 2014 lost to Buddy Mendes in the Fresno County Supervisorial District 4 race.
Parra in both races faced an uphill battle. Valadao, an incumbent, was almost certainly going to prevail in the general election, whether the sacrificial lamb was Huerta or Parra. And Mendes had a big fundraising advantage over Parra, not to mention the endorsement of incumbent Supervisor Judy Case McNairy, who was retiring after 16 years on the board.
How reliable is the rumor that Parra wants to go to Sacramento as a state senator? Let’s just say the chatter comes from a source quite familiar with Parra’s intentions.
An official announcement from Parra could come later this fall.
It should not be whispered: the Senate District 12 race at this early point figures to be bar fight.
The seat is seen as one of the few remaining contested swing districts in the state. On the right, Burrel-based dairy farmer Johnny Tacherra has already jumped into the race. Rumors have circulated that Madera County Supervisor and former Madera Mayor Rob Poythress is considering entering the race as well.
Parra will face a unique battle on the left, with former Assemblyman and current Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo fundraising for the seat. Alejo and Parra could be joined by Assemblywoman Anna Caballero. In 2010, Caballero, serving her second term as an Assembly member, ran for 12th Senate seat. Ultimately, she was defeated by incumbent Anthony Cannella.
Last year, Caballero returned to the ballot and defeated Alejo’s wife to reclaim her Assembly seat.
As for Parra, there can be no doubt that he retains both political ambitions and a strong commitment to the region.
In the wake of his third-place finish in the 21s Congressional primary, Parra said in a statement: “The Central Valley is where my children have grown up, where I work, and what I get to call my home. I have and will continue to work on issues that impact our families and communities.”
Senate District 12 stretches Kingsburg in the south to Modesto in the north. Looking to the west, the district includes Coalinga, Soledad and Salinas.
Parra is chairman of the Fresno EOC board. He was raised in Parlier and worked in the fields as a youth. He has said he joined the Air Force to get a start on a new and better life.
Parra as a local policy-maker has made workforce development one of his priorities. He is particularly concerned about helping rural and often isolated job-seekers get the training that will do for them what the Air Force did for him.
Parra now lives in Fowler. Referring metaphorically to the distance between his childhood home of Parlier and his current home, Parra has said, “That’s a long 10 miles.”