Sworn into office this past week, Josh Harder is now officially serving as the Representative for the 10th Congressional District, which includes Oakdale, Riverbank and Escalon, covering portions of both Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.
“It feels good to win an election,” Harder said of his defeat of Republican incumbent Jeff Denham in the tightly contested Congressional race.
He was in Washington, DC for the official swearing in ceremonies.
“It was a great day,” Harder noted. “A lot of things stood out … and I realized how humbling it really is to be a part of this historic class.”
Historic, Harder said, because it is one of the most diverse groups sworn in to Congress, including having the most women and the most first-time candidates taking over seats.
“Now we have people in office for the right reasons,” Harder said of the first time candidates looking to do away with the ‘status quo’ of incumbents.
He said seeing fellow Californian Nancy Pelosi elected as Speaker of the House could bode well for the state and he is looking forward to being selected for some committees in the next few weeks as he settles in. Ideally, Harder said, he would like to serve on economic development and health care committees, citing those as the main issues he focused on during his campaign.
“The Central Valley has gotten ignored,” he added. “It has not had effective representation on the national level for a long time and that’s across the valley, not just our district.”
A newcomer in Congress, Harder said he doesn’t see that as a drawback since he is going in with energy and a pledge to work for all constituents.
“The message is whether you voted for me or not, I am here to serve you,” Harder said. “My goal is to work hard and listen to my constituents. I will be doing a listening tour of the district in the future … I want to make sure I focus on the needs of the valley, not one party or another.”