Jared Huffman was re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives 2nd District seat, receiving 66.9 percent of the vote in Humboldt County. (Shaun Walker — Times-Standard file)
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U.S. 2nd District Congressman Jared Huffman was elected Tuesday to his fourth term in the House of Representatives, a victory he says is “especially exciting” after the Democratic Party took back majority control of the House.

Huffman was first elected to the office in 2012. This time around, he said, his biggest goals include “critical” transportation projects, removal of dams at the Klamath River and harbor dredging in the North Coast.

With the Democrats seizing control of the House away from Republicans Tuesday night, Huffman said it will be easier for him to attend to his jurisdiction’s needs while collaborating with other Democrats on pressing national issues.

“It’s a very different job,” he said Wednesday of the new-look Congress. “It has to involve some compartmentalizing: as a member of the majority, we have the opportunity and obligation to put forth good policy ideas … . On the other hand, we need to work toward critical oversight and accountability that has to go without fear or favor.”

Some of that push for oversight will come into play for Huffman with the U.S. Department of the Interior, responsible for protecting federal lands and natural resources. For the past two years, Huffman said, the department has been free from accountability in a Republican-controlled congress.

Now, he said, it will receive a lot more attention.

“There are clouds of scandal and controversy hanging over this administration — some of the darkest clouds emerging from special interest groups,” he said.

Locally, the department last year shut down a watchdog group built to hold a publicly funded restoration of the Trinity River accountable. The department’s stated reasoning for the move contradicted official records later obtained by the Times-Standard.

Huffman did say he intends to work with the current administration on infrastructure needs.

“The president said he wanted to do this two years ago,” he said. “But then the administration and prior congress decided to attack health care and go for tax cuts instead.”

Tuesday’s election saw 74.5 percent of district voters supporting his re-election.

Dale Mensing, a Stockton native Republican and market cashier in Redway who lost congressional races to Huffman in 2014 and 2016, received 25.5 percent in Tuesday’s election.

The 2nd district covers six counties, including Humboldt County, where 66.9 percent of voters helped re-elect Huffman.

“I’m gratified and energized by the fact that I had one of my better elections,” he said. “It’s a nice reaffirmation that my constituents are placing a high degree of trust and confidence in me — and that feels good.”

Shomik Mukherjee can be reached at 707-441-0504.

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