Campus Voices: Why I am voting for Kim Mangone

Kathleen Weinstein, Community member

When I worked as a registered nurse in Los Angeles, my congressmen represented me and everybody in the neighborhood.  When I moved to Pine Mountain Club 16 years ago, it became obvious to me that there was a divide. Us and them.   

He stages events, he meets with donors all over the country, and he is backed by a powerful machine here in Kern County. If I’m not for him, I don’t matter. He locks his doors to his constituents and turns off his phones. He would follow the president to the gates of hell. Some are content that his leadership role in Congress is prestigious for our district.  I don’t see that that he is a leader, just a follower of his party’s line. 

I worked as a volunteer on Tatiana Matta’s 2018 Congressional campaign where I met Kim Mangone, another volunteer.  We would rendezvous in Neenach, halfway between Lancaster and Pine Mountain Club, to exchange campaign materials for the far reaches of the 23rd District.  The 23rd covers only a portion of Bakersfield and very large rural areas of Kern, Tulare and Los Angeles Counties.

One day Mangone said, “If Tatiana doesn’t make it, I’m running in 2020.”   

True to her word, she jumped in, no big machine backing her.

My impression of Kim in 2018 was of a gutsy woman who knew what was wrong and what was right. Her moderate views were not exactly a mirror image of my progressive views, but they were solid.  She believed in fairness, social equality and no bull.  She is not a politician.   

She’s a citizen who wants her fellow citizens to have representation in Congress. She recognizes change and is willing to work hard to see that change benefits the 23rd District.  For instance, why does Kern County continue to depend on petroleum?  Renewable energy jobs are the future, and training for those jobs need to start yesterday.   

I introduced her to my friends, and they were impressed that she listened, and when she didn’t know the answer, she said so. The most frequently asked question was, “How do you think you can work across the aisle in Congress?”   

“Because I have worked across the aisle my whole life,” Mangone said. 

Mangone served in the Air Force as an airplane mechanic, where her coworkers were from every part of the country with differing beliefs. But still, she got along with everyone.  

Being a veteran says more about her than just supporting veterans. Mangone worked while she got her degree to make a better life for her daughter. She knows firsthand how difficult it is to balance work, family and school as a single mom.  

Mangone spoke up when she saw inequities in gender in her industry.  She fought for equal pay. As a systems engineer, her job was to solve difficult problems, not ignore them or wish them away. She can have conversations with generals as easily as with us.  

She knows what we are going through, what we deal with every day. To me, this is a more valuable asset than the president’s ear. 

If our Congressman is a leader, why is the 23rd District a poverty center?  Maybe we need a new person in Congress to look after us, someone who isn’t into for the prestige and the big donors but for the ordinary working people, the elderly poor, the children who need more money spent on education than jails. I know Mangone won’t have the “connections” or the money that Congressman Kevin McCarthy has, but she has common sense, empathy, the ability to think things through and no fear of hard work. She doesn’t call people names. She shakes hands (or touches elbows) with everybody.  Her door will be open to all her constituents. 

We deserve better than what we’ve had.  Let’s give Kim Mangone a try. All she needs is your vote.