Lawn signs bearing the name Andrew Janz covered the front yard entrance of where grass roots followers participated in the second annual fundraiser barbeque to support their democratic candidate for District 22 on Saturday.
Walking past donation tables and sign-in sheets, Janz welcomed many into Dave and Bev Derby’s backyard in north Fresno, where music played and catered food was prepared for the large group to socialize and sit at tables placed throughout the area.
After people settled into their seats, Derby started the night off at 6:30 p.m. with a comical skit of a man dressed in an orange jumpsuit as Devin Nunes and lip synched about how he’s “a pretender.” Interns and volunteers who stood behind the Nunes figure held signs that said, “replace Devin Nunes.”
With applause from the crowd, members began badgering the Nunes impersonator about issues they felt hadn’t been improved enough with Nunes in office. Some in the crowd brought up Nunes’ lack of in-person debate against Janz.
This prompted Janz, the candidate running against the incumbent Nunes for a seat in the House of Representatives, to appear before the people and thank them for coming.
His short speech urged grass roots followers from the Bay Area and cities surrounding Fresno to continue helping local people become registered voters, to participate in the weekly vigil outside of Nunes’ office in Clovis for an hour, as well as congratulating the group’s progress in putting in their own time, effort and energy into Janz’s campaign.
Touching back on some of the main messages and issues, Janz discussed in his speech and a personal interview that he wants to make sure voters of all political parties know that he wants to work for them – and with them.
“If we come together as a community, we can really move the Central Valley forward,” Janz told The Collegian.
With six weeks left before the Nov. 6 elections, Janz said there is a need for local change in order to change other parts of the region.
The agriculture industry and water infrastructure were points of Janz’s speech that received applause from everyone in the crowd.
“Our focus has to be on working-class Americans, middle-class families and small businesses – the backbone of our economy,” said Janz.
Volunteers and interns in Fresno have spread Janz’s message forward. And there are plans to bring the campaign to students at Fresno State, according to campaign organizers. Janz is expected to give a speech on campus on Sept. 27 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Free Speech Area.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated from an earlier version to reflect the specific date and time for a campus visit by the Janz campaign.