California 10th District
In the 1950s, when San Francisco and Oakland were already thriving cities, the rolling grasslands east of the mountain ridges were still mostly empty. In the years since, they have filled up. Freeways took the first commuters through the Caldecott Tunnel to the woodsy, trail-like roads of Orinda and Lafayette. Interstate 580 brought people east from the southern East Bay towns to the Amador Valley and Livermore, site of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which conducts nuclear warhead research. Interstate 680 running north-south provided a spine for businesses and shopping centers up and down the San Ramon Valley, from burgeoning Concord to Walnut Creek in Contra Costa County to points south. BART stations in Walnut Creek and Orinda took commuters to downtown San Francisco. Not all of the inhabitable areas are filled up yet, and local voters have passed measures to set limits on growth. But what has evolved in this sunny land, shielded by the mountains from the ocean fogs and rains, is a civilization of highly skilled and educated people. They are affluent and generally less culturally liberal than San Francisco, but they are concerned about preserving a physical environment that is one of America’s most pleasant.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
This territory is the heart of the 10th Congressional District of California. Redistricting in 2001 removed the San Ramon Valley south of Walnut Creek and added part of the Sacramento River Delta and parts of booming Solano County to the north. Fairfield is the largest city in the 10th, but suffered a big drop in residential property values when the recession hit in 2008. Travis Air Force Base, with its C-17 cargo haulers and constant traffic to and from Iraq, adds $1.4 billion annually to the local economy. From 2000 to 2007, about three-fourths of the population growth was attributable to Hispanics, who increased from 15% to 20% of the total. The district is largely Democratic. In 2004, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry carried it 59%-40%, and in 2008, Democrat Barack Obama won it 65%-33%.