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Brad Goehring, Republican for Congress

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Posted: Monday, May 24, 2010 12:00 am

Career: Goehring, born in 1965, owns and operates Goehring Vineyards, Inc. He serves on the Board of the Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission, the California Association of Winegrape Growers, and the San Joaquin County Farm Bureau. He has testified to Congress on behalf of the California Farm Bureau on the federal Clean Water Act.

Education: Majored in business.

Family: Goehring and his wife Kristin were married in 1997 and live in Clements. They have three children, Lexus, Bryson and Brielle.

Key quote: "Health care is not a right that should be guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution."

Here is an edited version of our interview with goehring: On health care:

"The federal government should back away from the health care issue. Everybody should have access to insurance, but we should move the taxes and benefits to the states. If you don't like what your state offers, you can move to another state."

On immigration: "The 12 million illegal aliens (in the U.S.) are a drain on the taxpayers. We need to get back to English as our official language. We need a guest worker program. (Regarding individual illegal aliens) … there are lots of situations. We should give people a reasonable time to become citizen or leave. Then we should cut all social services to illegal immigrants. We have created this problem, now we have to fix it — in a humane way."

On the federal deficit: Goehring said he would favor closing departments not specifically authorized in the Constitution, such as Education and Energy. Generally speaking, all agencies need to be audited and federal employee compensation needs to become comparable to private enterprise.

On earmarks: A congressman's job is to fight for good projects for his or her district, said Goehring. "But they should be separate bills. Don't add them to unrelated bills. We need to create transparency."

On the war on terror: "Victory means creating enough fear so they don't attack us," said Goehring. However, he admits to being new to foreign policy and decisions to wage war. "I would be cautious abut going to war. We have a right to a defense, not an offense."

On water and groundwater recharge: Goehring admires the water banking work being done in Kern County, and he would support building more dams in California, but he feels Californians need to carry this cost. He has been a California Farm Bureau spokesman about problems with the Clean Water Act. He says the government is trying to overstep its bounds by regulating all water instead of "navigable water." He would also try to add balancing language to the Endangered Species Act which now says threatened species must be protected "at all cost."

On learning from mistakes: "I would have liked to have ramped up my (vineyard service and development) business before 1996." Branching out from farming has taught Goehring that "all things are possible. I have learned to dig into the unknown for answers."

Our take: An outsider in politics, his command of the issues is not detailed but consistently rooted in a conservative interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. His farm background informs his take on the environment and water issues, but he insists California water projects be paid for by Californians, a position consistent with his balanced budget thinking.

Editor's note: Based largely on reader sentiment, the News-Sentinel editorial board has decided to forego candidate endorsements for the June primary. Instead, as something of a pilot project, we are presenting an Opinion Page series on candidates for the 11th Congressional District. Each segment includes brief background information, responses to a set of questions, and our quick assessment of each candidate. The segments are running in alphabetical order.

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