Updated: Nov 24, 2021
By SAM MORGEN firstname.lastname@example.org, Nov 18, 2021
Bakersfield doctor Jasmeet Bains has announced her intention to run for outgoing Assemblyman Rudy Salas’ seat.
In an interview with The Californian, Bains said the coronavirus pandemic spurred her to run for political office after driving home the importance of access to health care, especially in the rural parts of the state.
“I love being a doctor. This decision to enter politics was not an easy one for me at all. It’s not an easy one for physicians, and that’s why we don’t have very many physicians in legislation, but the problem is we need them, especially after the realizations of COVID-19,” she said. “If I want to be the physician that I always dreamed of being, I need to make sure that we have the correct legislation in place.”
A native of Delano, Bains is the medical director at Bakersfield Recovery Services, a private nonprofit that treats adults suffering from addiction. She has continued to help out the family business, previously Taft Chevrolet and now Turlock Chrysler, and continues to sell cars in her spare time.
She says her experience with the dealership has allowed her to see the effects of legislation on businesses, a perspective which became increasingly important during the pandemic.
“I’m a doctor first, so health care is very important; but at the same time, I understand that for my patients to remain healthy, there needs to be in a thriving economy, as well,” she said. “There’s only so much I can do as a physician. So I really do wear both hats.”
“I don’t think people really understand the level of inadequate access to health care that we have,” she added. “I think people assume that America has a great health care system, and great access to health care, and it doesn’t. COVID-19 brought that to light.”
Bains is running as a Democrat, and will seek to succeed Salas, D-Bakersfield, who is running for Congress against David Valadao, R-Hanford. So far, no other candidates have announced their intention to run for the district, which is currently called AD-32.
However, the district boundaries are set to change as part of the redistricting process. Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez has said she will make a decision about running after the boundaries have been redrawn.
The new boundaries must be approved before the end of the year.