SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California Trailblazers, a program successfully identifying, training and electing the next generation of Republican legislative leaders, today announced Justin Mendes (AD 32) has achieved ‘Pathfinder’ status, the first level in the program’s three-tier structure. Mendes, the son of Portuguese dairy farmers and a Hanford City Councilman, has a track record of bringing jobs to the Valley.

“As a longtime Valley resident, community leader and aide to Congressman David Valadao, Justin Mendes is an exceptional candidate who reflects his district’s values,” said Jessica Patterson, CEO of California Trailblazers. “Trailblazers is thrilled to support Mendes as he makes the case for the gas tax repeal, greater job creation and safer communities across Kings and Kern Counties.”

As an elected leader in Hanford, Mendes renewed the city’s commitment to public safety by leading the effort to build a new fire station and grow the local police force. Mendes has also continued to fight for greater job creation, bringing trusted employers like Costco into the region. As the son of a third-generation dairy farmer, Mendes understands the value of hard work and the importance of protecting businesses.

Mendes has surpassed program benchmarks to earn ‘Pathfinder’ status and has earned an impressive list of local, regional and statewide endorsements. Mendes has raised more than $100,000 without personal loans, identified local volunteers and precinct captains and established a strong website and social media presence. Additionally, as a ‘Pathfinder,’ Mendes has attended candidate trainings to learn campaign fundamentals. These elements ensure candidates are effectively prepared for the campaign trail and, furthermore, ready to lead once elected.

“With Mendes’ credentials and hard work ethic, Republicans have an opportunity and renewed engagement to take the 32nd Assembly District,” Patterson said. “We’re excited to support Mendes as he continues to create a clear contrast between failed Democrat policies and a Republican alternative.”

Throughout 2018, California Trailblazers will continue to provide ongoing support to Republican legislative candidates. Candidates who seek to enter the second tier of the Trailblazers program-‘Rising Star’ status-must raise more than $250,000 in campaign contributions, create strong media, fundraising, coalition and finance plans, identify a campaign manager and participate in Trailblazers trainings to learn fundamental and sophisticated campaign strategies and tactics.