By Allen Payton
Making a third run for Congress to unseat incumbent Jerry McNerney, retired U.S. Marshal Antonio “Tony” Amador is doing so because he wants to get things done. He ran unsuccessfully in 2014 when he got to within 5 percent of McNerney’s vote total, the best of any Republican challenger since David Harmer in 2010, and again in 2016.
But he faces opposition in the primary in the likes of Brentwood resident and Army combat veteran William Martinek. (See related article)
The 75-year-old Amador explained why he jumped in the race after there was another Republican running.
“Martinek really didn’t have much to say, when he came to the San Joaquin County Central Committee meeting asking for an endorsement,” he shared. “He said he didn’t have any money or know the issues. They didn’t endorse him.”
“I spoke to my wife that night and the next morning after sleeping on it, and she told me I needed to get back in ‘because we need a real candidate,’” Amador stated.
“I always file later, to see who else files and what strengths they bring,” he said. “I called immediately to Matt Shupe about talking to the Contra Costa Republican Central Committee. But he wouldn’t take my calls. I knew he was Martinek’s campaign consultant and the county party chairman. He has a conflict of interest. They didn’t allow me to go over there before they made their endorsement.”
“In fact, they endorsed Martinek even before the filing closed,” Amador stated. “Even if you aren’t going to endorse me, you need to have the appearance of fairness.”
“I’m not attacking him (Martinek) personally because I’m going to need his help,” he added. “In fact, Matt’s doing a good job raising money in Contra Costa.”
Amador ended up getting the San Joaquin County Republican Party endorsement, as well as the endorsement of the California Republican Assembly.
Shupe responded, explaining the process in Contra Costa County.
“William was recruited by Central Committee members in Brentwood and Antioch and brought him to our meeting,” he said. “I had never met him, before and then I allowed William to speak. The following meeting, before the end of the filing period, we endorsed him because no other candidate had expressed an interest. We do that to give candidates all the tools they need to win.”
“I did not call, text with or advocate to any central committee members on anything about William,” Shupe stated. “When the endorsement came up at the meeting, I fully disclosed he was a client of mine and I recused myself, turned over the meeting to our vice chair and left the room.”
“Tony never reached out to us requesting an endorsement nor has he made a request to speak since he’s been declared,” he continued. “I received an email on Dec. 5, 2019 that he was upset that we endorsed in the race before the end of the filing period.”
“He waits until the last minute and doesn’t end up running a serious race,” Shupe said. “And people are tired of it.”
Amador’s professional background has been in law enforcement as well as a lifetime of public service. In addition to his seven years as a U.S. Marshal, he served as the Director for the California Youth Authority and worked for 13 years as a Los Angeles Police Officer. Amador was appointed to serve as Deputy Director of the California Employment Development Department,a member of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection, California Public Employee Retirement, and California Narcotic Addict Evaluation Boards, and the San Joaquin County Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention Commission.
About the incumbent he’s hoping to face after the primary, Amador said, “McNerney won’t debate me on the issues. In 14 years, he’s been here and turned over a spade of dirt and said he’s supporting the veterans.”
Amador opposes the Delta tunnels that will take fresh water and move it around the Delta south to Los Angeles.
“But we need storage,” he said. “We need sufficient water to prevent the saltwater. McNerney has done nothing to offer a solution to our water challenges. I don’t know of any legislation from him to provide new storage facilities.”
“He has no political power. His emphasis has been on solar and wind energy, which has proven to not pay for itself.”
Amador supports the efforts of Antioch and the Northern Waterfront Initiative in Contra Costa County for a shipping port to access the deep water Stockton channel in the river, for local employment.”
Transportation is another major issue for his campaign.
“We need the road to the Byron Airport and Tracy, Route 239 and McNerney’s done nothing to make that happen,” Amador pointed out. “He sides with the environmentalists who oppose it.”
“That airport has so much potential for job creation. We have routes going to L.A. out of Stockton. The same could happen there,” he added.
“You get me into office, I’m going to make noise about this,” said Amador. “I went out to the airport and visited.”
“We need to look further into federal transportation matching funds for East County, to create jobs and a better environment for people in the area,” Amador stated. “It will benefit the agriculture industry in East County, too.”
“Why we can’t we create good jobs in the county, where people live?” he asked.
“Another issue that needs to be discussed and addressed is the homeless,” Amador said. “We can’t expect the cities to handle the problem. First, we need to help the veterans who are homeless.”
“He’s definitely for sanctuary cities and I’m opposed to them, especially with my law enforcement background,” he stated. “McNerney hasn’t done anything to address human trafficking or sex trafficking that is affecting our area.”
“But I do want to be want to resolve the DACA issue and give them legal status, and later the opportunity to become citizens,” Amador said. “As long as they haven’t committed any crimes and have lived a good life, while here. But we can’t have open borders like McNerney wants.”
“McNerney votes along the same lines as Nancy Pelosi,” he added. “There isn’t anything independent that he’s done in 14 years.”
Amador has been married to Evelia for 54 years, they have four daughters, 15 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. They live in Lodi.
To learn more about Amador’s campaign visit www.amadorforcongress.net.