by Steven Sanchez
On November 1, Andrew Janz, the Democratic congressional candidate who’s challenging Republican Devin Nunes for California’s 22 District seat, hosted an intimate event called the “Get Out The Vote Concert” for his supporters with a live acoustic performance from Stephan Jenkins, the leading singer for Third Eye Blind. It was held on the corner of Herndon and Academy on the outskirts of town at a place called Camp Janz. The purpose of the gathering was a motivational tool for his supporters and people in the Central Valley to take to the polls and vote him in office.
The midterm elections will take place on November 6, and it’ll probably be remembered as one of the most important and pivotal elections to have taken place in quite some time where the votes will be impacted on a federal, state, and local level. Janz, the former Visalia native and Fresno County prosecutor, has his sights set on the seat and resolving the issues affecting the Valley is his main priority.
“The water crisis is the number one issue,” pronounces Janz. “Nunes has been telling his constituents that he has solved the water crisis and that’s completely disingenuous because from the farmers I’ve talked to they tell me that it hasn’t been solved. I’m supporting Proposition 3, he is not, but why? It’s a statewide water bond that’ll get our district over 700 million dollars worth of water projects.”
Janz feels that we need strong support and help from Sacramento and Washington in order for our problems to be realized because the area ranks at the bottom of every important issue ranging from education, health care, homelessness, drug addiction, and the crime rate. “I’m sick and tired of being left behind by folks from Washington and Sacramento. Immigration reform is an important topic, and it impacts our region disproportionately from other regions in the agricultural industry with fifty percent of the population here being Hispanic,” claims Janz. “Nunes isn’t working on any of this because he’s too busy trying to protect President Donald Trump in Washington, instead of focusing on issues here that people care about.”
He’s chosen to get into the world of politics at a very crazy time during our nation’s climate and state-of-mind, but he’s unfazed by it all. “What we are seeing coming from Trump’s White House is scandal after scandal and corruption that is plaguing the oval office. Nunes has taken millions of dollars from corporations, and he’s not representing our values but theirs. In his latest tax plan the benefit of that is going to corporations, millionaires, and billionaires. My focus is on small businesses, middle-class Americans, and low-income Americans, and people are ready for a change and that’s why this election is so important. Because there’s so much corruption in Washington, we have to end it here and now,” says Janz.
He’s got Stephan Jenkins’ vote. The San Francisco based rock singer who broke big with songs like “Semi-Charmed Life” and “Jumper” is very outspoken when it comes to politics and believes music is a good way to inspire people to vote. “It’s important for me to use my voice in whatever way I have it, and I think each musician must decide what is right for them to do, but I think music is a unifying force that creates a sense of community, and it’s natural for me to believe that it extends into causes,” reveals Stephan.
I’ve always wondered on whether musicians are hesitant to express their views with the fear of alienating their audience based on what their affiliations are. It doesn’t bother him at all.
“I say what I think and I’m not in it for commerce, and I’m really into it to express myself and stand up for what I believe in. And if you’re down with that, great,” announces Stephan. That’s why he’s rallying around Janz. “He’s an independent voice. I’m trying to reach out to my Republican friends to show that that party has lost its way and to reset things they should vote for a Democrat like Janz. People who may not have voted for a Democrat before this would be the perfect time to do that with Janz.”
Cynthia Downing, the owner of the property where Camp Janz is located, took to the stage to announce to the crowd that her signs have been vandalized on multiple occasions, but for somebody who voted for Nunes before, she supports Janz, and these incidents are not going to stop her from doing so. Then came Stephan Jenkins. He, too, made a statement on how this is not about blue vs red, but in the name of decency and patriotism, now is the time to vote for a Democrat. Andrew Janz stepped up to the mic to let everybody know with conviction about the things he told me, and where Nunes has failed, he will succeed and he can only do that with their vote. He got an ovation for his speech.
Stephan returned to the stage. Just him, a guitar, and microphone, and that was it. He only performed a few songs and everyone there enjoyed every single song, singing the lyrics to each one. He closed the night with his seminal hit, “Jumper.” As somebody who grew up listening to his music, it was great getting the chance to hear these songs being performed to coincide with a good cause.
The next day on Friday, November 2, there was another music/political rally at the Crest Theatre in downtown Fresno in support of Janz with a live performance from the 90s-alternative band, Cake.
Midterm elections are on November 6.
To learn more about Andrew Janz check the following:
Stephan Jenkins/Third Eye Blind
You can also check out our interview with Andrew Janz.
MAKE SURE THAT YOU VOTE!