Lupe Ramos Watson, mayor of Indio, is the first announced challenger to Rep. Dr. Raul Ruiz’s (D) seat representing the 36th Congressional District in 2016.
Watson, a Republican, is a Coachella Valley native. She was born and raised in Indio, the fourth generation of her family in the district. Since 2004, she has been a member of the City Council, serving as mayor twice before this term.
But she has been to Idyllwild many times because her mother-in-law had a house in Pine Cove. These visits include great memories of the annual Fourth of July Parade.
“It’s a special place,” Watson said. “With the wildlife and wonderful natural resources I’ll work with everyone in the community to maintain its beauty.”
While she is closely associated with the Coachella Valley, Watson is very cognizant of the diverse communities, such as Idyllwild, within the 36th District.
“Each area and region has specific issues. For example, tourism is important to you,” she noted.
Her favorite times as a public servant are “giving back to the community. Knowing that I make a difference to someone’s life.”
And while recognizing the different perspectives of the district, Watson articulated several overriding issues, which she would address if elected. Her major concern is the economy, which she described as declining.
“I’m tired of seeing the American dream slip away,” she stressed. “It’s hard for people to find employment.”
After discussing the state of the local economy, efforts to improve education — thus, career skills — and balanced budgets, Watson unabashedly expressed her concerns about foreign policy, too.
“The Middle East in is turmoil. Russia and Iran are flexing their muscles,” she stated. These issues are on her radar because as a mother, when her 15-year-old child talks about joining the military, she worries.
When asked about the campaign funding disparity between Ruiz and his last opponent, Brian Nestande, former assemblyman, Watson acknowledged that she would have to raise more money in the district, but also travel around the nation to encourage donors to help her unseat Ruiz.
Besides the Indio council, Watson has been involved in many other local and regional public organizations. Her breath of activity includes the Indio Water Authority and the Imperial Irrigation District’s Consumers Advisory Committee. She has been the chair of the Coachella Valley Association of Governments’ Homelessness Committee.
“It’s time to step up and bring needed representation to Washington,” she said in conclusion.