Jim Costa kept his calm while discussing his recent votes on issues that have gripped the country of late.

He voted for impeachment, sharing his reasoning in a speech on the House floor.

He celebrated legislative victories in his agricultural wheelhouse: the USMCA, and the Farm Worker Modernization Act.

But, when asked during a recent interview about his reelection challenge, Costa turned feisty.

“No one works harder than me. No one. Period,” an animated Costa said, banging the table for emphasis.

It was just one of several topics the Fresno Democrat talked about in a session with the media at his Fresno office.

On Reelection: No One Works Harder

Costa said he will ramp up his reelection campaign next month. He faces a March 3 primary challenge not only from Republican Kevin Cookingham, but also Democrats Esmeralda Soria and Kim Williams.

Soria has campaigned hard and aggressively, but Costa said so has he.

“I expect (Soria) to work hard. But, she won’t work harder than I am. I always put my trust and faith in the voters of the Valley.”

While Soria has touted support from labor groups like SEIU and UFW founder Dolores Huerta, Costa rolled out a slew of unions that have his back such as a number of groups that represent federal employees (air traffic controllers, letter carriers, treasury).

Costa says part of the SEIU dissention came from his support of the Trade Promotion Authority.

“Sometimes you get personalities that engage here and they have a difference of opinion. I’m very proud of the labor support that I have. I think after the primary, I’ll reunite this labor thing,” Costa said.

He said he has a broader base of support than his challengers, and more fundraising. He’s also leading in Twitter followers (21,000) over main rival Soria (3,300).

Gov. Gavin Newsom, U.S. Senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein have all endorsed Costa.

But some Democrats recently took a shot at Costs for attending a White House Christmas party.

“It’s a campaign,” Costa said in response to the criticism.

Costa on Impeachment

Costa voted in favor of impeachment.

“Obviously something that has preoccupied the attention this week is the vote on the articles impeachment,” he said. “It is something that I certainly did not want to do.” he said.

Costa said he did his homework before his impeachment vote, reviewing the Federalist papers and rereading the Mueller Report.

“I felt the evidence was overwhelming. I have an oath of office that I take to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. I did so realizing that America’s national security is at risk,” Costa said about his vote.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) has not yet transmitted the two articles of impeachment to the Senate for trial.

Costa supports Pelosi, thinking she wants to make sure the trial process is fair.

“I don’t think she has cold feet,” Costa said. He said he hopes Senate leadership from both parties work on rules for a trial. He pointed to the process used in 1999 for the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton as a model.

But, Costa does not want the process to drag out.

“I don’t know if there is a hard and fast timetable. I think we need to get past this one way or the other … I don’t think anyone in Congress wants to see this drawn out for months,” Costa said. “I don’t think it will be. It would be nice by the end of January or early February this was resolved one way or the other.”

Ultimately, it will be up to the American people to decide in the 2020 election whether Trump should remain in office, Costa said.

Canal Fixes

Costa recently cosponsored the Move Water Now Act (H.R. 5316) would provide $200 million in funds to repair a 33-mile middle section of the 152-mile Friant-Kern Canal. But, there are other water projects Costa wants fixed.

He said he will propose legislation to also fix the Delta-Mendota Canal and the California Aqueduct.

“They have similar situations … We will probably do that together,” Costa said.

Costa said he’s already spoken with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) about combining the legislation. He hopes to earn Republican support as well.

“Water issues in California are never easy. I keep my head down and push to work on a bipartisan basis,” Costa said. “We can have a reliable workforce, but if we don’t have a reliable water supply, it doesn’t help.”

No New Presidential Endorsement

Just as Harris supported Costa, he endorsed her during her her run for president.

Now that she has dropped out, Costa has yet to pick a new candidate.

“I’ve been approached by some of the candidates in the hunt,” Costa said. “We’ll see what happens in January.”

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