SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - There's a new name in the local race for Congress. A well-known local government watchdog and pro-business advocate has announced his intention to run for the 24th Congressional District.
Andy Caldwell is the executive director of COLAB, The Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business. Caldwell says he will challenge democratic incumbent Rep. Salud Carbajal for the 24th Congressional District seat in 2020. The 24th covers Santa Barbara County, San Luis Obispo County and a small part of northern Ventura County.
Caldwell has been a fixture at the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meetings, often challenging the fiscal decisions made by the board. He is an advocate for farmers, growers and Central Coast agriculture, as well as onshore and offshore oil and gas industries.
He says he'll represent Central Coast moderates, independents and conservatives on issues like wildfires, failing infrastructure and immigration reform. The decision to run for office has come at a time when Caldwell believes the democratic party and current Congressman Salud Carbajal has shifted to the extreme left.
Carbajal, just last week hosted a town hall in Santa Maria where he came out in support of impeachment proceedings for President Trump and stronger gun control laws in the wake of mass shootings in El Paso, Dayton and Gilroy.