A local business owner and mother seeking to challenge Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, in the 2020 election is expected to kick off her campaign Tuesday.
Suzette Valladares, a self-described “veteran of Republican politics,” said she will run in the 2020 primary for the opportunity to represent local constituents in Congress.
“This will be one of the most competitive and targeted races in the U.S., so we’re starting off strong and hope to continue building on that energy,” Valladares said in an interview Monday, when she discussed how she wishes to fight for access to affordable health care, reduce regulations so that local and small businesses may thrive and create an immigration system that meets the country’s economic needs and humanitarian values.
“There are a lot of things that aren’t traditionally considered conservative issues, but there are conservative solutions to Americans’ everyday problems,” Valladares said when asked why she’s suited to represent the 25th Congressional District.
Having spent her adult life supporting individuals and causes that pertain to the areas of early education, health care and business, Valladares said she became interested in public affairs and governance while in high school when Vice President Al Gore spoke at a nearby school and inspired her to become a conservative.
“I really decided to get more politically active in 2008 after the economic and housing crisis,” Valladares said, adding she would campaign for John McCain and Sarah Palin before becoming involved at former Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon’s congressional office.
Originally starting as a staff assistant and later becoming a district representative, Valladares had a hand in many community projects during her time in the office. In fact, she helped launch the Santa Clarita Valley Latino Chamber of Commerce along with Santa Clarita Councilman Bob Kellar and Councilman Bill Miranda, who has offered his endorsement, Valladares said.
Around this time, Valladares’ niece received a diagnosis for autism that kickstarted the Republican candidate’s years of early education advocacy.
“When (my niece) was diagnosed, she was given intervention services that really changed her life, so I became a huge advocate of early intervention services,” Valladares said, mentioning additional work with the Los Angeles Universal Preschool, Department of Education and Autism Speaks — an organization responsible for autism advocacy, research and awareness activities.
As the mother of a daughter who’s turning 2 in less than two weeks, Valladares said she can relate to the pressures of motherhood. Whether it’s trying to attain time off following a pregnancy, selecting a quality preschool that’s affordable or juggling the responsibilities that often accompany older parents, Valladares said she’s familiar with the challenges many local families face.
After six years of remission, Valladares’ mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and died last year, prompting a change in the congressional candidate’s priorities.
“I found myself being her caregiver, attorney and even fighting insurance agencies to ensure she received the care she deserved while on her deathbed,” Valladares said, adding, “We need to fund treatment to therapies and lower costs that’ll allow middle-income families the opportunity to receive the care they need and deserve.
“But my experiences with both my niece, my mom and me in the hospital show the current system doesn’t accomplish any of those things,” Valladares said. “We have a broken system and the single-payer health care system that Democrats are pushing isn’t ideal. Just look at Medicare and the VA system.”
These are but a few reasons why Valladares said she will focus on ensuring every American is able to receive adequate health care that is effective and affordable.
“My mom and my daughter have inspired me to take this call to action for my community,” the congressional candidate said, adding in the coming months, she hopes to hear more from voters about the issues that are important to them. “I feel I have a good idea on what that is but I’m somebody who wants to listen to what everybody says — Democrats, Republicans and independents included.
“I think it’s important for people to understand that we live in a very diverse community (and) for too long, both Republicans and Democrats have taken us for granted,” Valladares said.
Until voters can potentially show their support at the ballot box, the congressional candidate said she intends to host “listening tours” and attempt to raise money. “I think those are the main priorities right now,” Valladares said, referring people to her website www.SuzetteValladares.com, where they can learn more about her platform and campaign.