U.S. Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, submits his ballot.

U.S. Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, won 61% of the votes counted in Sacramento County on Nov. 3 in his run for a fifth term of representing California’s 7th Congressional District.

This district extends from south Sacramento to Lodi, and includes Elk Grove. On Election Night, his campaign declared victory.

Bera’s Republican challenger, Robert “Buzz” Patterson had 38% of the votes, as of press time.

The incumbent told the Citizen that his track record in office led to success in this race.

“I think it’s really a testimony to what we do here in the district in terms of helping the thousands of folks navigate, whether it’s Social Security, Medicare or their (veterans) benefits,” Bera said. “At the end of the day, that’s the best our job and be responsive to the constituents, the people that you work for.”

Bera mentioned that during the COVID-19 pandemic, his staff has been working overtime to help people in the district deal with this public health crisis and economic hardships.

“It’s just incredibly important for me as a member of Congress to make sure we’re there to help people, particularly at this moment in time when I think so many families and small businesses in our community are facing challenging times,” he said.

Bera said he would like Congress to pass another COVID-19 relief package.

“We’ve got to get additional relief out to small businesses, to families, to folks that are having trouble paying their rent or putting food on their table,” he said.

The congressman also mentioned his desire to get support to public schools.

“All of us want to get our kids back in the classroom, but we want to do it in a safe way,” he said. “We want to make sure we’re protecting our kids, but also protecting the teachers and the families.”

Bera, who noted that he is one of the few doctors in Congress, expressed a need to rebuild the economy.

“The first thing I would say we ought to do is pass a big infrastructure bill, so we can rebuild roads, bridges, highways, broadband, putting a lot of people to work doing things that we know we need to do,” he said.

The congressman also stressed a need to “take partisanship out of the pandemic.”

Bera, who endorsed Elk Grove School Trustee Bobbie Singh-Allen to serve as Elk Grove’s mayor, mentioned that he is looking forward to working with the city’s mayor. Singh-Allen is currently leading the mayoral race with 46% of the vote.

“I look forward to working with whoever is our next mayor, or if it continues to be Mayor (Steve) Ly, to help Elk Grove (approach) it’s economic recovery, as well,” he said.

Also of interest to Bera is the prospect of working with the potential Joe Biden presidential administration. He announced his endorsement of the former vice president’s campaign for president in January.

“It hasn’t been easy working with President (Donald) Trump,” he said. “I’ll obviously continue to try to work with the Trump administration. Right now, it does look like Joe Biden is on a path to becoming our next president.

“I’m close to the Biden campaign, know many members essentially who would be in his administration, and certainly look forward to working with the Biden administration on behalf of the 7th District.”

Bera added that he is desirous to continue to serve his constituents.

“It’s been my honor and privilege and I’m humbled that the residents of Elk Grove and the 7th District would reelect me and look forward to just continuing to serve their needs and help us get through what’s been a difficult 2020,” he said.

In conceding the election to Bera, Patterson congratulated him on his victory.

“Congratulations to Mr. Bera,” he said. “It was a privilege to run against him and we’ll see what happens in the future.”

Patterson added that despite the result of the election, he remains upbeat about the campaign he ran.

“We’re disappointed, obviously, in the outcome, and we still think that we’re on the right side of all the issues,” he said. “This was a grassroots campaign from the start.

“We were looking at the polls. We had a very high favorability rate, but we also had a pretty high unrecognizability factor. So, people who knew (us) were very happy, very pleased to support us. But a lot of people didn’t know who we were.”