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Earlier this year, during the California jungle primaries (where all candidates are listed on a single ballot, and the top two advance to the general election regardless of party), Republicans deployed their lawyers against Jose Hernandez.

Speaker Pelosi project bug
You see, in California, candidates list their occupation on the ballot, and Hernandez's was "astronaut." Republicans decided that was too inspirational and sued to prevent him from saying so.
In a pointed new challenge, a Sacramento law firm is asking a judge to block Hernandez from describing himself as an "astronaut/scientist/engineer" on the June ballot. The lawsuit notes Hernandez has left NASA.

"Hernandez's attempted use of 'astronaut' violates the Election Code's unambiguous requirement that a candidate's ballot designation reflect one's current profession, vocation, or one held during the previous calendar year," the lawsuit states.

That lawsuit went nowhere, but it was the first major sign that Republicans were worried about the San Joaquin Valley, California Democrat, whose father was a migrant worker from Mexico and he spent his early years picking tomatoes in the fields. His story, from beginning to end, is inspirational and not the sort of thing you typically see in Congress.
KHOKHA: Hernandez tells them he made it to space by following advice from his father, a migrant farm worker from Mexico.

JOSE HERNANDEZ: He said, the same effort you put in picking cucumbers out in the fields, that same work ethic, that effort, you put it in your books and getting good grades, and guess what, you're going to be able to reach your dream.

Jose Hernandez head shot
There are few people in Congress who have accomplished so much after starting with so little. Heck, there are few people anywhere that have done so.

He's running in California's new 10th congressional district. The area (pre-redistricting) was mostly represented by Rep. Dennis Cardoza who retired. Republicans are running Rep. Jeff Denham. Pres. Barack Obama won this new district 50-47, though Meg Whitman won it 49-43 in the 2010 governor's race. So it's swingy. It's 46 percent white and 40 percent Latino, though Latinos only make up 25 percent of the voting age population. So while it's majority-minority, many of the brown people in its borders are unable to vote (either because of their legal status or because they are too young).

It'll be a tough battle, but one Hernandez can win. California Republicans will have no top-of-the-ballot contests to help drive turnout. Romney and whatever stiff is running against Sen. Dianne Feinstein will be irrelevant. And Hernandez has a bio and a story that inspires. As you can see by the questionnaire answers below the fold, he's solid on the issues we ask about (public option, immigration, labor, taxes, Social Security and Medicare). He's also solid on another important issue: marriage equality, which he openly supports earning him the endorsement (and cash) from the Human Rights Campaign.

The House of Representatives would be lucky to have someone as humble and accomplished as Jose Hernandez, and we can help make that a reality.

Give $3 today to get a true working-class hero in Congress, getting us one seat closer to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

3:57 PM PT: Senor Unoball diaried this race earlier, and had this find:

He took a job at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he helped develop digital mammography tools that are now helping diagnose breast cancer. Hernandez said those tools came about due to some imaging experiments he was working on, but that the program funding the experiments got cancelled. However, he said, he and a partner had a wealth of information so they set out to figure out how best to apply the technology, and the imaging tools they developed were perfect for mammography.

That mammography technology is his proudest achievement, he said, because it's directly saving women's lives.

And so did TexMex, who wants everyone to realize that she doesn't just lurk!

Daily Kos Orange to Blue Questionnaire:

1. Do you support:
      a) A public health insurance option, offered by the federal government and tied to Medicare reimbursement rates plus 5% (H.R. 3200, Subtitle B, including § 223(b)(1)(A), as introduced in the House, 111th Congress)?
     b) The Medicare You Can Buy Into Act (H.R. 4789, 111th Congress), which would allow all citizens or permanent residents to buy into Medicare?

1A- I believe in a Medicare for all system.
1B- Yes

2. Do you agree that any immigration reform bill should:
            a) Contain a meaningful path to citizenship — one that does not include overly-punitive fines or a touchback requirement — for law-abiding undocumented immigrants currently in the United States;
b) Ensure that expanded legal permanent immigration, rather than expansion of temporary worker programs, serves as the United States' primary external answer to workforce shortages; and
c) Ensure that any non-agricultural temporary worker programs maintain current caps on the total number of non-agricultural temporary worker visas issued, and also include a meaningful prevailing wage requirement keyed to the Service Contract Act and the Davis-Bacon Act?

2A- I believe that we must offer a path to citizenship for law-abiding undocumented immigrants as part of comprehensive immigration reform.  At the same time I am not against some kind of reasonable fine.

2B- I was born in French Camp, CA.  My parents were immigrant farm workers who became citizens. I believe we need a rational program, instead of the ad hoc one we have today, that provides a meaningful path to citizenship for those willing to work hard and pay into the system.

2C- We need to move away from temporary worker programs.  When a company can hire an American worker they should, rather than looking abroad for lower wage workers abroad.  At the same time, our country should have a system that ensures the best high skilled workers from abroad to become citizens of this country.

3. Do you oppose each of the following changes to Social Security and Medicare:
     a) Raising the retirement age;
     b) Eliminating or reducing the cost of living adjustment;
     c) Directly reducing benefits;
     d) Means-testing recipients; and
     e) Privatization, so-called "personal accounts," and vouchers?

            3A- Yes.
            3B- Yes.  Reducing middle class retirement income is not the answer.
            3C- Yes
            3D- Yes
            3E- Yes, unlike my opponent.

4. Do you support the Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 1409/S. 560, 111th Congress), including the provision known as "card check"?


5. Do you pledge to vote against any efforts to extend the temporary tax cuts for income over $250,000 (Public Law 111-312)?


6. If elected to the House, do you pledge not to join the Blue Dog Coalition?


Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 02:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Dream Menders.

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