Jon Ivy, a self-described progressive Republican, will run against U.S. Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, in the California 7th District Congressional primary election next March.
Bera is seeking re-election to serve a fifth term as the Congressional representative for the district, which includes Elk Grove. Jeff Burdich, a Democrat, also plans to challenge Bera in the primary election.
Ivy, 33, currently lives in Sacramento’s Natomas area but he plans to soon move to Elk Grove. He is an U.S. Air Force veteran who served for five years, part of which time he worked as a Chinese linguist.
The California native grew up in Sacramento and Marysville. He spent time working for the secretary of state’s office as the voter access coordinator, which handles language and extensibility for voters.
Ivy is currently working on earning his juris doctorate at the University of California, Davis School of Law, and is running a nonprofit that focuses on voters’ rights.
As a progressive Republican, Ivy said that he does not support President Donald Trump, and he instead wanted U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders to serve as the nation’s president.
Ivy mentioned that among the reasons he desires to be elected to the District 7 seat is to play a significant role in reforming the Republican Party.
“I want to help reform the Republican Party to bring in progressive ideas through progressive leadership,” he said.
This candidate told the Citizen that his longtime dissatisfaction with Bera’s representation of the district also led him to decide to run for his Congressional seat.
“I think he’s done a bad job as a representative for this district, and I think I can do better,” he said.
Among Ivy’s frustrations with Bera are his concerns with some of the congressman’s votes in Congress.
“For the most part, he votes with the Democratic Party, but on the votes where he differs with the Democrats, especially, he has come down on the wrong side of debate issues,” he said.
“He voted against letting Syrian refugees into our country, he recently voted to kind of upend the Americans with Disabilities Act, and going forward he’s definitely going to be against Medicare for All or any serious economic or health care reforms.”
Ivy mentioned that he is running on a platform of eight points that pertain to progressive ideas, including a need to fix a “rigged” economy, and protect people from climate change.
Ivy also called for a stronger stance against fascism, racism, and Nazism.
“We defeat those evils wherever they’re found,” he said.
His other platform points include bettering the public education system, achieving Universal Healthcare, getting money out of politics, and teaching civic engagement to children.
Ivy added that he and Bera both favor Universal Healthcare, but take different routes in their attempts to achieve it.
“(Bera is) working with Republicans to pass legislation to pass health savings accounts, and I believe that healthcare shouldn’t be a for-profit industry,” he said. “At this point, we need to move on to it being a government service.”
Ivy noted why he feels he is the best candidate to represent the district.
“I combine two qualities I think are needed here that some of the other candidates have at least one of the qualities,” he said. “I am a progressive and I care about the working-class, and I think that the ideals of America are something that a good leader can run on and win with.
“The other quality is I have the time and commitment and work ethic that I can get out there and knock on doors and inspire other people to knock on doors for me.”
Ivy added that although he does not believe he will defeat Bera in the primary election this March, he is hopeful to come in second place and put up a strong challenge to Bera in the general election in November.
“If I do make it through the primary, then I will be the Republican on the ticket who hopefully will get a lot of Republican voters to vote for the Republican and a lot of progressives to vote for me,” he said. “And that gives me a path to victory that someone like Jeff Burdich doesn’t have.”