State of the Union had ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ feel, says Modesto area’s new congressman

Josh Harder 10th district congressional portrait.
Josh Harder 10th district congressional portrait.

Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, said he welcomed President Donald Trump’s call for bipartisan solutions but found some things lacking in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address.

The freshman congressman, speaking by phone from the U.S. Capitol, said the Republican president was right to urge two-party approaches to health care costs and decaying infrastructure. Harder also praised Trump’s work with Democrats last year to reform federal prison sentences.

Harder criticized Trump for failing to find a workable solution to immigration and for imposing tariffs on China. The latter have cost U.S. farmers, he said.

“I think it was a little bit of a Jekyll and Hyde speech,” Harder said.

His guest for the State of the Union was Hughson-area walnut processor John Casazza, a Republican who said Monday that he hoped to work across party lines on trade and other issues.

Harder defeated Republican Jeff Denham in November. His 10th District takes in Stanislaus and southern San Joaquin counties.

Harder is part of a new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. He said Tuesday that he differs from many of his party colleagues in calling for better water supplies as part of infrastructure spending.

“Water is certainly an issue in the Valley where it is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue,” he said.

John Holland covers breaking news and has been with The Modesto Bee since 2000. He has covered agriculture for the Bee and at newspapers in Sonora and Visalia. He was born and raised in San Francisco and has a journalism degree from UC Berkeley.