The meteoric rise of Rep.
With McCarthy's new role, Californians will hold two of the most important leadership positions in the
We're not naive. McCarthy is a mainstream conservative, and his successes as head of the Republican caucus in the Assembly and later as House majority whip reflect his singular focus on what's good for his party politically.
But McCarthy cannot ignore the demographics and the issues of his southern San Joaquin Valley district. The Latino population is 35% and growing; both immigration activists and the powerful farmers who rely on migrant labor have pushed McCarthy to test the limits of immigration reform. He's been more cautious than many would like, preferring an incremental approach such as offering citizenship for young immigrants serving in the military, but he's gone further than many Republicans. Likewise, Bakersfield, Delano and other cities in his district have some of the worst air quality in the nation, and climate change could exacerbate it. McCarthy has resisted stricter smog standards, but his district may push him to go further.