Democrat Matta latest contender in Congressional race against McCarthy

By Jessica Weston-The Daily Independent

“This is a race that’s important. We need to win. And we need to build relationships and coalitions in order to do that.”

Those were the words of Democrat Tatiana Matta, the latest contender hoping to win 23rd Congressional District Representative Kevin McCarthy’s seat in the 2018 election. Matta joins Democrat Wendy Reed in the race against Republican McCarthy. Another Democratic candidate, Robert Owen, withdrew from the race last summer citing pressures on his family.

Matta met with members of Ridgecrest United and others Monday at Desert Valleys Federal Credit Union to introduce herself and share her plans.

She started with a little of her life story, which she said is key to understanding where she is coming from.

“I am a fierce advocate of community and I am going to tell you why,” she said.

Matta was born in Puerto Rico and raised by a single mother, who was a school teacher. She spent her formative years both in Delaware and in Puerto Rico. She is fluent in both English and Spanish.

A pivotal experience took place in Delaware when the house she was living in with her mother burned down. She said coming home from school she saw “a big orange ball of fire” where the house used to be. Her mother met her at the bus stop to assure her it would all be OK.

Matta and her mom spent the night at a homeless shelter.

“It was one of the hardest things I will ever do because we were left with nothing. Not even the two suitcases we came with. Nothing,” she said.

Despite the difficulties, the challenge taught her something important.

“A community rallied together to help us. My mom received help from the church, from a non-profit organization, from the government.”

The two got an apartment and her mom took two jobs to make ends meet, commuting by bus.

“It was a struggle,” Matta said. “but I discovered what a community can do to rally together to help people succeed. And we did use assistance programs. They were part of that. Without that, we would not have been able to succeed, period.”

Her mother also took her every Saturday to the library to take part in literacy programs and as a result, she tested into the English-speaking classes at her school in the fourth grade, an accomplishment she said made her very proud.

They returned to Puerto Rico, where Matta finished middle school at a Catholic school and graduated from a public high school.
Matta went on to earn a degree in criminal justice from the University of Puerto Rico. Particularly important to her was a class about women’s right to vote, which she said empowered and inspired her.

Along the way she married, had her son Kevin, divorced and married again. She and husband Eugenio Matta, a bio-environmental engineer, live at Edwards Air Force Base with Kevin.

Matta has been politically active as a military spouse, supporting veterans and military families. She also owns her own consulting business and has worked with non-profits and political candidates.

Her involvement in the Democratic party in Kern eventually led to the decision to run against McCarthy.

“After [Robert] Owen dropped out, I was looking where is the next candidate going to come from?” she said. “If you have a passion for something you have to push yourself forward.”

Regarding her desire for political change, Matta did not mince words.

“When this administration makes you ill and makes you say words you cannot repeat on Facebook, it’s really concerning as a mom, as a military spouse,” Matta said. “It is concerning at all levels and I cannot stay silent.”

Matta said she is aware she has a battle on her hands to defeat McCarthy, but said she thinks it can be done.

“It’s a hard battle, I am not going to lie. The numbers are hard, but it’s not impossible. We do need a community to rally around candidates up and down the valley.

“As a consultant, I know what we need to do. As an advocate, I know how to rally people together. As a mom I am fierce. This is what I am going to do. We just need to push through.”

A standing room only crowd of around 40 people packed the room at DVFCU. Matta gave those present ample time to weigh in with their concerns.

The meeting lasted over two hours, with nearly every person in the room (several of whom identified as Republicans or independent voters) sharing their views of the current administration, the GOP tax reform bill currently working its way through Washington D.C., and US politics in general.

Several people seemed close to tears as they voiced emotional frustrations with current politics. Topics of ranged from healthcare reform, environmental concerns and climate change, worries over the national debt, foreign policy, gender equality and women’s rights, care for seniors and the disabled and lots of discussion of the tax reform bill.

Matta listened attentively, taking notes. In response to questions, she said she supports retaining and fixing the Affordable Care Act, is concerned for senior citizens and supports gender equality and women’s right to chose.

She took on this last topic with an example from her own life. Matta said as a young pregnant woman, she was well aware of her right to choose and grateful for it. She said she profoundly loves her young son Kevin, who was in attendance at the meeting and even assisted his mom by handing out business cards afterward.

But she said choice should still be an option for every woman. “For myself, I am pro-life. But for all women I am pro-choice,” she said.

For more on Matta’s campaign, see or her Facebook page.

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Congressional candidate Tatiana Matta to speak in Ridgecrest Dec. 4

By The Daily Independent

Ridgecrest United will host a “Meet the Candidate” night for Tatiana Matta, 2018 Democratic Candidate for Congress for the 23rd Congressional District, on Monday, Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m. at the Desert Valleys Federal Credit Union Community Room, 100 E. Ward, Ridgecrest.

Tatiana Matta is a military wife and public relations professional from Rosamond. She owns Tatiana Matta Strategies, offering PR services to nonprofits and political candidates. Born in Puerto Rico, she moved to Delaware when she was young. Matta is married to Capt. Eugenio Matta, a bio-environmental engineer at Edwards Air Force Base. They have one son, Kevin. The family has lived in east Kern County for two years and plan to make it their long-term home. She served as co-chair of the veterans and military families committee for former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s presidential run last year.

Matta will run against Wendy Reed, the Democrat candidate from Bakersfield, next March in the California primary and Republican incumbent, Congressman and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. If she prevails, she will face McCarthy in November 2018. Ridgecrest voters will have a lot of questions for Matta. Join the conversation on Monday to ask her what she will do for Ridgecrest and Kern County.

One of Ridgecrest United’s goals is “to have our progressive voices heard by our Representatives in State and Federal government. The ultimate goal is to make our community and our beloved country a better place to live for all of us.” Visit the website: for more information.

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Democrat Tatiana Matta ramping up for campaign against McCarthy

By James Burger-The Bakersfield Californian

A military wife and public relations professional from Rosamond is the latest name to appear as a candidate in the 2018 race for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s 23rd Congressional District.

Tatiana Matta, a Democrat, has thrown her name into the ring alongside that of McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, and fellow Democrat Wendy Reed of Lancaster.

Matta owns Tatiana Matta Strategies and offers services to nonprofits and political candidates.

She is a native of Puerto Rico who moved from that U.S. territory to Delaware when she was young in order to learn English.

Matta is married to Capt. Eugenio Matta, a bio-environmental engineer at Edwards Air Force Base, where the pair live with son Kevin.

Matta said the family has lived in east Kern for two years and has been embraced by the community. They've decided to make it their home long-term.

Now, she said, she wants to give back.

She said she has worked on political campaigns before, most notably as the co-chair of the veterans and military families committee for former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley’s presidential run last year.

But can she defeat Kevin McCarthy?

“Yes, we can. I’ve got the numbers,” she said.

Matta acknowledges it won’t be easy.

“It definitely takes a group of people who are determined to make our community better. It’s listening to the people and letting them know they have someone who will support them,” she said.

Fundraising is a very important part of the campaign, she said, and McCarthy will have millions of dollars to throw into his effort.

The key to challenging him, Matta said, is bringing disaffected voters back into politicial activity.

“There’s a big Latino population that needs to be heard,” she said. “People are not inspired to go out and vote. I think that’s where we can make a change. We’re hoping to inspire people to join the conversation.”

The district, which includes most of Bakersfield, eastern Kern County and sections of Tulare and Los Angeles counties, is overwhelmingly Republican, with 43 percent of voters registered to McCarthy’s party.

Democrats hold a 29.5 percent registration share, according to the most recent figures from the California Secretary of State’s office.

Reed pulled in 30.8 percent of the vote against McCarthy in 2016, a respectable total for a poorly funded Democrat facing the second-most powerful man in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Reed has said she believes she can win this time around and blames “a dysfunctional Democratic Party” for dragging her down in 2016.

But any Democrat who prevails in the primary election and wins a chance to face McCarthy in November 2018 would need to do much better than Reed did last year in the presidential-year election.

McCarthy earned 92,648 more votes than Reed.

That’s 18,180 more votes than the total number of votes Reed received.

To beat McCarthy, assuming the same number of people vote in 2018, a challenger would need to steal at least 46,325 votes from McCarthy’s column.

Currently McCarthy has $3.4 million on hand to pay for his congressional race, according to the Federal Election Commission’s most recent numbers.

Reed has $538.12 in cash and a debt of $2,500.

Matta has not yet filed a financial report.

This race has already been a wild ride for McCarthy’s challengers.

Attorney Robert Owen of Bakersfield dropped out of the race in August, citing the campaign’s drain on his family.

And last month Republican candidate Joe Aleman, who was registered as a Democrat when he announced his candidacy, was arrested for allegedly molesting a friend’s 11-year-old daughter while others were distracted by a televised boxing match.

James Burger can be reached at 661‑395-7415. Follow him on Twitter: @KernQuirks


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‘A seat at the table’: This milspouse is running for Congress

By J.G. Noll

Many military families bemoan the political climate that has lead to sequestration, increased ops-tempos, and a reduction of military benefits. To those in the community, it often feels like few outside of it have an understanding of the sacrifices– or even the nuts and bolts of life– that military families deal with. Tatiana Matta, a political consultant and Air Force wife, made a bold gambit to move beyond just complaining: She’d run for Congress herself in 2018.

Matta, a self-described “proud Latina,” is no newcomer to politics. During the 2016 presidential election, she served on Martin O’Malley’s campaign as a co-chair for his Veterans and Military Families for O’Malley taskforce, helping to research and recommend policy. She’s also an entrepreneur, owning Tatiana Matta Strategies, a business that specializes in public relations for non-profit and political entities.

Matta, her son, and her husband– a captain who originally enlisted in Puerto Rico almost eight years ago–are  stationed at Air Force Base Edwards, an installation in the middle of the Californian desert and currently represented by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in the House of Representatives. McCarthy is the House Majority Leader. In recent months, some of his constituents have grown restless, wanting town halls and protesting his political priorities.

Still, Matta never considered herself a challenger to McCarthy. . . until she was sitting on a panel in San Diego. After the presentation, a woman asked her for advice for running for office and Matta began thinking. She went back home and noticed that there was a lack of candidates willing to challenge McCarthy. “I thought, ‘I know I can do this. I know that this is something military spouses can do,'” Matta remembers.

She knew there has been growing discontent with the area’s representation. “Here in Central Valley–where I’m hoping to serve and represent–the people are very frustrated. . . Yes, they have leadership in Congress in means of the position, but leadership is more than that,” Matta says. “It’s coming back to the district you represent and listening to the people’s concerns.”

And that’s what Matta’s doing. On August 20, she filed her paperwork to become a legitimate, Democratic candidate and has been working on a grassroots campaign to get support from the community. She plans to hold townhalls and other events: “I want to make sure people understand they’re going to get the attention they need.”

Matta’s made use of the resources available to her through her military connections. “I was an alum of Homefront Rising,” she says. “The work they’re doing to empower military spouses at the local, state, or federal level. . . I’ve been very excited to have opportunities with that.” She’s also participated in Vote Run Lead, a non-profit that offers resources to female political candidates, and the Veterans Campaign, a non-profit that encourages veterans to enter public life.

While her campaign is in its nascent stages–her website isn’t fully launched, for example–Matta has begun putting her platform together. She notes advocating for military families is vital to her campaign, saying, “Everyone loves their military, but I think it’s important to have voices that can speak on the floor of Congress and speak for our kids.” Included in her priorities are child care costs for military families, mental health advocacy, and protecting pay and benefits for veterans. Matta also acknowledges that the military community is a multi-faceted one that cares about a variety of topics and concerns like comprehensive immigration reform and education.

For Matta, this campaign is about being a team player and an advocate, “It’s important to have a seat at the table. I’ve always wanted to impact the lives of the community I’ve lived in,” she says. “When you don’t see something, and you want to change it, you have to step up to the plate and do it yourself.”


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