The June 7 primary election is two weeks away, voting by mail is already underway in Riverside County, and News Channel 3 is taking an in-depth look at the candidates in the newly drawn 25th congressional district race.
Redistricting split the Coachella Valley into two newly drawn congressional districts.
District 25's new boundaries include areas from Beaumont to the eastern Coachella Valley, all of Imperial County and parts of San Bernardino County.
Sitting Congressman Raul Ruiz decided to run in District 25, which includes his hometown of Coachella. He is being challenged for the seat by six Republican candidates.
"There's so much more that we need to do to help improve the lives of the people that I serve here in the desert," Ruiz said.
San Jacinto councilmember Brian Hawkins is endorsed by the state GOP.
"People are watching the gas tank, people are wondering if their child is going to have a great future," Hawkins said. "I'm more focused on things that that can actually bring us together."
Retired farmer James Gibson said he is closely watching California issues like the drought.
"Our state's in trouble. We need water bad," Gibson said. "I understand farmers; I watched my water bill quadruple in 20 years."
Media consultant Jonathan Reiss said the newly drawn district lines reaching to the U.S.-Mexico border are renewing immigration as a critical issue for the region.
"I think it's a question of how it's going to be done in a way that's most safe and effective for both the immigrants and the Americans that live in the district," Reiss said.
Engineer Burt Thakur said he wants to increase skilled work in the district.
"Let's incentivize S.T.E.M. degrees by the use of federal grants so we can get a next generation of entrepreneurs and scientists and engineers that are actually building infrastructure," Thakur said.
We asked the candidates where the stand on big issues, including abortion:
Ruiz: "I'm very much for a woman having the right to make the personal decisions that will affect her life."
Hawkins: "I do believe that life, it starts in the womb."
Gibson: "I'm against abortion. But I'm for freedom, your freedom."
Reiss: "The community has a responsibility to protect life, but it also has a responsibility to allow freedoms to people."
Ruiz: "Sitting by idly or thinking that more guns is the solution is a dangerous path to take."
Hawkins: "I've lost friends, family members to gun violence. But I also believe that people have a right to protect themselves."
Reiss: "We need to be able to protect ourselves. But obviously, if there are rules that are promoting unnecessary violence, where people are dying, then that they have to be addressed."
On climate change:
Hawkins: "We only have one Earth. I think that there should be information; I think that there should be knowledge exploring alternative fuel."
Reiss: "Climate change is bad if it's hurting us. And it's not necessarily bad if it's not hurting us. There will always be climate change. Mankind is just part of nature."
Thakur: "I do understand operations and infrastructure and getting an idea taken from inception into completion a lot better than, I would say, most of my peers. And what am I ultimately proposing, these are solutions."