Jobs, education and health care are among the focal points for a lifelong Modesto resident who is running for the District 10 seat in the House of Representatives.
Sue Zwahlen, a long-time emergency room nurse and former Modesto City Schools board member, is among a crowded field of Democrats running against the incumbent, Republican Jeff Denham. The district encompasses Stanislaus County and a portion of southern San Joaquin County.
Zwahlen views the pillars of her campaign as being closely linked rather than independent of one another.
Employment opportunities, education and access to health care are all important in creating a strong quality of life, she emphasized.
“It is all connected,” Zwahlen told Mattos Newspapers.
Zwahlen said she was raised on a dairy, with an appreciation for agriculture.
“We depend on water, the soil and the sun,” she reflected.
Zwahlen said she believes the San Joaquin Valley could benefit by embracing and promoting agricultural technology, saying it is an area with huge potential.
“Silicon Valley is just over this mountain,” she stated. “We could become the ag technology center of the world. We have ag technology companies that are working right here. There are companies that are interested in coming to our area to analyze irrigation systems to find better uses and better ways to conserve water. I see that as a real possibility.”
Managing the valuable water resources will require a multi-faceted approach, Zwahlen indicated. While those efforts must include studies on aquifers and groundwater recharge, she said, additional storage must also be part of the long-term solution.
“How that would be accomplished would be up to great innovators,” she commented.
Access to health care is another priority for Zwahlen, who said she would work toward providing care for all.
“In an ER, everyone who arrives receives care. We know that is not the best way. It would be better (for people) to have access to health care that is close to them, so problems can be taken care of before they reach a stage that is much more expensive and difficult to treat,” she commented. “I feel strongly about providing quality, affordable health care. Some of my opponents will discuss Medicare for all, but there is not a plan of how to pay for it. I think we have to seriously look at the best ways to make that happen over time, and work with experts in the health care field who have solutions to help make that happen.”
She is also an advocate for educational reforms which help schools better meet the needs of all students.
A strong career technical education program is one aspect of her vision for education, the candidate explained.
Leaders, Zwahlen said, consistently hear employer feedback citing the need for a better-trained workforce.
“There is a need for manufacturing (employees), plumbers, truck drivers….there are many immediate needs,” she commented. “We can provide an education that will fit their needs and prepare them for their jobs.”
Zwahlen is seeking office at a time when the national debate is focused largely on violence and gun control.
She said she supports “common sense” measures such as strengthening background checks, banning the use of devices such as bump stocks, expanding registration requirements for semi-automatic weapons and revisiting the assault weapons ban.
“The students get it,” she said of young adults who have stepped forward to voice support for greater measures. “I am thrilled to see students on board with this topic.”
Zwahlen said her background and life experiences suit her well to serve in Congress.
“I have seen a lot from my window on the world, and it has compelled me to spend my life advocating for children and their health care needs, and really dedicating myself to the well-being of our residents,” she commented.
Zwahlen described herself as a proven leader who brings people together in search of solutions rather than creating conflict.
“As I walk precincts I consistently hear that people are sick and tired of the bickering and arguing and nonsense that is coming out of Washington, D.C.,” she reflected. “I have never backed down from a challenge. I look forward with enthusiasm to getting there and making a difference. I am a bold, proven leader, and the status quo is unacceptable.”
Originally published on WestsideConnect.com