June 14, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — From two consequential initiatives making the November ballot this week, to attention-grabbing testimony during the January 6 panel hearing, involving our own Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) — it’s been another busy week of politics here in Kern.

Some of the biggest news out of Washington continues to be the Jan. 6 hearings — in which, despite not participating, Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy has taken a center role.

McCarthy defended his decision — to pull all five of his GOP picks off the January 6 Panel after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two choices.

McCarthy’s comments come after stern words from former President Donald Trump — who called the choice to keep Republicans off the committee a quote “very, very foolish decision.”

“If Pelosi was picking which Republicans were on there and her first pick was Liz Cheney, who do you think she was going to let on otherwise?” McCarthy said in a Fox News interview. “The right decision was the decision I made.”

On Tuesday, Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows shook the beltway with her testimony at the January 6 hearing.

Hutchinson talked about a phone call she said she had with McCarthy during Trump’s speech at his rally before the attack on the Capitol.

“He [McCarthy] sounded rushed but also frustrated and angry at me. I was confused because I didn’t know what the President had just said,” Hutchinson said. “He [McCarthy] then explained ‘the president just said he’s marching to the Capitol. You told me this whole week you aren’t coming up here, why would you lie to me?”

McCarthy responded to the testimony on Fox News.

“They are obsessed with Trump and this is all they want to do. But this hearsay would never be allowed in a court of law,” he said.

Kern’s other Congressman David Valadao (R-Hanford) introduced three amendments to a House Appropriations bill that he said would help alleviate the drought here in California. All three were rejected by the committee.

At our state capitol, lawmakers passed an over $300 billion budget for the new fiscal year. The budget includes a $9.5 billion tax refund plan as prices at the pump are still sky-high around the state — and a three cent increase in California’s gas tax officially took effect on Friday.

“But no permanent or on-going tax relief is presented here in this framework, which is something that I and my Assembly Republican colleagues have called for,” Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) said. “Californians are hurting now. Waiting four months until October for a tiny fraction of relief is certainly not immediate.”

Fong and Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) continue to call on Governor Gavin Newson and the state legislature to suspend California’s 51 cent gas tax — with Fong noting the rebates in the budget plan likely will not arrive until the fall.

Here in Kern, Supervisors voted four to one to place a one cent sales tax increase on the November ballot, with local officials such as District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer and Sheriff Donny Youngblood standing up in support. David Couch was the only Supervisor to vote no.

“We are still at a tipping point. A further loss of revenue to the county of Kern and specifically my office will have a devastating effect on my future ability to keep our residents safe,” Zimmer said.

The measure would increase the sales tax from 7.25% to 8.25% in unincorporated areas of Kern. The new revenue would go to county services like law enforcement and emergency medical response.

Separately, an effort to limit Supervisors to two terms in office qualified for the November ballot. In response, Supervisors started the process of placing their own term limit measure on the ballot — which would include limiting Supervisors to two or three terms, but allowing them to run for the position again after they took a hiatus.

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