Josh Harder

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Josh Harder in a campaign ad [17]

Josh Harder is a political candidate ​, teacher ​, and former venture capitalist ​ residing in Turlock, California ​. He is currently the Democratic candidate seeking election to represent California's 10th congressional district ​. In August 2018 Harder received the endorsement ​ of former President Barack Obama ​​. [2] [7] [4] [5]

Early Life

Josh Harder is a a fifth generation resident of the Central Valley region of California ​. His great-great-grandfather joined a wagon train to Manteca, California ​ and established a farm there. Growing up in Turlock, California in the Central Valley region​, Harder was involved in the MoBand and the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra ​ and the Turlock Crossroads Church. ​ [5]

Josh pictured above with his immediate family: His mother Linda, his father Mark, and his younger brother David. ​ [5]

His mother, Linda Harder, serves as a volunteer grief counselor for Jessica’s House in Turlock and has held a variety of leadership positions within the Turlock Crossroads Church community. Josh’s father, Mark Harder, is a local eye doctor ​ and small business owner ​ who practices in Turlock, Modesto ​, and Manteca. His younger brother, David Harder, is a senior at Stanislaus State University ​.​ [5]

Josh’s parents met in the 1980's while serving as volunteers in a poverty health eye clinic in Latin America ​. Since then, Linda and Mark have continued to devote four weeks of every year to volunteering in Latin America ​ by establishing and operating eye clinics for those in need. ​ [5]

Personal Life

Josh Harder with his wife Pamela Sud. ​ [5]

On August 11, 2018 Josh Harder married his wife Pamela Sud. They originally met as sophomores ​ in college. ​ [5]


After graduating from Modesto Public High School ​ in 2004, Josh Harder earned a scholarship ​ from the local Rotary Club ​ and American Legion ​ to attend Stanford University ​. In 2008, he graduated from Stanford with a Bachelor of Arts ​ in Political Science and Economics ​​ with honors. [9] ​ ​ [5] ​​ [8] [10]

Harder later graduated from Harvard Business School ​ with a Master of Business Administration ​ (MBA) and the Harvard Kennedy School ​ with a Master of Public Policy ​ (MPP). [8] [10] [6]


After graduating from Stanford in 2008, Josh Harder began his career as a Consultant ​ with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). While working at BCG, he voluntarily took a leave of absence ​ to organize small farmers ​ in Kenya ​and Uganda ​ while working with the Gates Foundation ​ and other nonprofits ​. ​ [5] ​​ [8] [10]

After BCG, Josh worked at Accion Venture Lab, an investment fund focused on financial services for the poor in emerging markets ​, and at Ruma, a mobile banking ​ startup in Indonesia ​. [8]

Harder joined the venture capital firm ​, Bessemer Venture Partners ​ (BVP) in 2014 after graduating from the dual MBA/MPP program at Harvard. Harder was originally based out of their New York City ​ office and was brought on to focus on telecoms ​, mobile ​ and enterprise ​. [8] [10]

In September 2016, Harder was promoted to Vice President ​ at BVP after moving to their San Francisco ​ office. He worked closely with BVP portfolio companies, including Fuze, Vasona Networks, Affirmed Networks, LightCo, Anaqua and Qwilt. He also helped lead investments in Disco ( legal technology ​ e-discovery), Verato ( identity management ​), Bright Health ( insurance ​), Smashfly ( recruitment marketing ​) and SiSense ​ ( business intelligence ​). [8] [10]

After Harder was promoted to Vice President, BVP partner Bob Goodman said "I've worked closely with Josh on several investments at BVP, as well as portfolio company ​ projects and research in the mobile and telecommunications sectors. His experience has been an incredibly valuable addition to the firm, and we're thrilled to recognize his talents with this promotion." [8]

In 2017, Harder left BVP and started teaching Business Administration at Modesto Junior College ​ a public, two-year community college ​ in Modesto. [7] ​ ​ [24] [5]

2018 Congressional Campaign

Youtube Video
30-Year-Old Venture Capitalist Josh Harder To Run For Congress In Rural California | CNBC

In May 2017, Josh Harder announced that he would be running to represent California's 10th congressional district ​​ in United States Congress for the Democratic Party. Harder decided to run because he believes that the Central Valley has been left behind in economic growth and wants children born in 2018 to have the same opportunities he had growing up. [21] [5]

Harder advanced to the general election ​ after coming second in the June 11, 2018 two-top primary. The Republican incumbent ​, Jeff Denham ​​ got 37.8 percent of the vote and Harder got 16.7 percent. The two will face off in the general election ​ for the congressional seat on on November 6, 2018. [4] [2]

Towards the end of June 2018, Josh Harder gained significant support. A June 27-July 1, 2018 poll ​ of 501 likely voters ​ conducted by the Garin Hart Yang Research Group in California’s 10th Congressional District found that Josh Harder and Jeff Denham were tied in support. Their findings show a head-to-head matchup between the two candidates is a 48-48 percent tie, with only 4 percent expressing no preference. Harder leads among independent voters by 53-35 percent, and has a large lead among Hispanic voters (70-26 percent). [23]

As of June 30, 2018 Harder's campaign had raised $2.5 million, spent 1.5 million, and had $2.4 million in cash on hand. His opponent, Denham had raised $3.4 million, spent $1.4 million, and had $1.1 million in cash on hand. [22]


Barack Obama

On August 1, 2018 former President Barack Obama tweeted his endorsement ​ of Josh Harder along with 80 other midterm election ​ candidates. [26] [2] [27]

Josh Harder thanked Obama for the endorsement in a statement. “The Central Valley remembers President Obama for his work to extend healthcare to millions of people, and for the dignity he brought to the White House. I am honored to earn his endorsement.” [27]

Community Leaders and Locals

  • Adam Weber - Vice President of the Stanislaus State Democratic Club [28]

  • Al Lucchesi - Former Mayor ​ and Police Chief ​ of Chowchilla, California

  • Alex Klassen - Tracy, California Resident

  • Alice Eversole - Leadership at Tracy Mom's For Progress

  • Astrid Zuniga - ADEM Delegate and Assembly District 21 Executive Board Member

  • Becky Campo - Former Mayor of Patterson, California

  • Bev Finley - Retired, CEO of Scenic Generic Hospital (currently Doctor's Hospital)

  • Bridget Hobbs - Knights Ferry School District Board Member

  • Carmen Sabatino - Former Mayor of Modesto, California

  • Carol Benak RN, LM, FT - Marriage and Family Therapist

  • Chi-Chi Nnodim Jack - Stanislaus County Board of Education Member

  • Chris Murphy - Founder and Publisher of ModestoView

  • Chris Ricci - Progressive Democratic Club

  • Chuck Walker Sr.- California Senior Legislature

  • Cody Seibel - Assembly California Democratic Delegate

  • Cristian Seja - Modesto Resident

  • Crystal A. Sousa - Denair Unified School District ​ Member

  • Dale Parkinson - Democratic Activist, Member of the Turlock Democratic Club

  • Dallas Marsh - Prospect Theater Board of Directors

  • Darin Haydale - Teacher at Tracy High School ​, IB Program

  • Darleen Patrick - Riverbank, California Resident

  • David Rockwell - Attorney

  • David Dowdy - Modesto Resident

  • David Froba - Retired Attorney

  • David Tucker - Democratic Central Committee Member District 1

  • Denise Hunt - Former Stanislaus County Mental Health ​ Director

  • Diane Nayares-Perez - City Clerk ​ for Ceres, California

  • Donna Murphy - Salida Sanitary District Director

  • Dotty Nygard - Democratic Candidate for Congress in 2018

  • Dr. Harinder Grewal - Chair of the Stanislaus County Democratic Central Committee

  • Dr. Roland Nyegaard - Former President of Medical Society, Delegate of California Medical Association ​, Former President of Doctor's Hospital Board of Directors, co-Chairman of the Ethics Committee for Doctor's Hospital

  • Dr. Dave Menshew - Forensic Biotech Teacher at Enochs High School, Adjunct Professor ​, Brandman University ​, Board Member of Bio-Link Depot Inc.

  • Dr. Jack Collins - Family Physician , Modesto

  • Eileen Kerr - History Instructor, Modesto Junior College

  • Emilie Gatfield - President of the California Democratic Council

  • Faye Lane - President of Board of Ceres Unified School District ​, California School Board Association Delegate, Director for California School Employees Association

  • Freda Motto - President of Board of Directors of Townsend Opera Modesto

  • Frank Ploof - Board Member, Stanislaus County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, Stanislaus County Housing Authority Commissioner, Appointee to Modesto Citizens Housing and Community Development Committee, Featured in the Homelessness Documentary Homeless in Modesto

  • Franklin Urteaga - Senior Campaign Advisor ​ to President Barack Obama and White House ​ Senior Aide to President Bill Clinton

  • Garrad Marsh - Former Mayor of Modesto

  • Gerald Pasa - Educator and Small Business Owner ​, Community Activist

  • Gina Bentayeb - Newman, California ​ Resident

  • Gloria Vallin - Central Valley Representative of California Dream Network- College Component of Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles

  • Gricelda Garcia - Stanislaus Union School District Board Member

  • Hallie Hall - Retired Ceres Police Officer

  • Harold Hill - Del Puerto Health Care District Director

  • Isaiah Cane - Ripon, CA, California Resident

  • James Leonard - Patterson Joint Unified School District ​ Board Member

  • Jane Manley - Board Member of Stanislaus Library Foundation

  • Jeanne Langner - Manteca, California Resident

  • Jocelyn Cooper - Democratic Outreach Chair

  • John Lane - Chamber President of the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce

  • John Miller - Market Development Manager at E. & J. Gallo Winery

  • Johnny Hernandez - National Tejano Music ​ Legend, Featured on PBS ​ & CNN

  • Julian Bentayeb - Newman Resident

  • Julissa Ruiz Ramirez - Hughson, California Resident

  • Kari Khoury - Assembly District 13 Delegate to the California Democratic Party

  • Kate Nyegaard - Former Member of Modesto City School Board, Founding Board of the Gallo Center for the Arts ​, Founding Board of Trustees for University of California Merced ​, Former Board Member of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Board Member of George Lucas Education Foundation

  • Laura Stokes - Modesto Resident

  • Lee Kooler - Professor of Psychology ​, Modesto Junior College

  • Leng Power - Salida, California Municipal Advisory Council

  • Leroy McDonald - City of Newman Council Member

  • Lisa Battista - Attorney, Vice President of Modesto Progressive Democratic Club

  • Lydia Kim - Tracy Resident

  • Marciela Vela - Grayson, California Community Services District Board of Directors

  • Marjorie Sturdy - Licensed Clinical Social Worker ​ in Modesto

  • Martha Carlton-Magaña - District Attorney

  • Mary Menz - Employment Development Department

  • Mary Martin - Modesto Resident

  • Marilyn Crawford - President of the Healthy Aging Association

  • Matthew Jacobs - Vice Mayor ​ of Turlock

  • Manuel Zapata - Vice President of the Democratic club of Greater Tracy, AD13 Delegate to the CA State Democratic Party

  • Melissa Goeke - Tracy Resident

  • Michael Eggman - Beekeeper ​, Democratic Candidate for Congress in 2014, 2016 and 2018

  • Nelson Gomez - Owner of Mexican Radio Company La Favorita Broadcasting Inc.

  • Paulina Miranda - Candidate for District 8 of the California State Senate

  • Rebecca Murphy - Modesto Resident

  • Rhodesia Ransom - Tracy City Councilwoman

  • Rickey McGill- President, African American Democratic Club

  • Ron Vincent - Former Teacher at Modesto High School ​, Josh's Former Teacher

  • Ruth Ann Villarreal - Gratton School Board Member

  • Ryan Segoviano - Patterson Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees

  • Sanford Kingsley - Modesto Resident

  • Sam Pierstorff - Longtime Modesto Junior College English professor and former city poet laureate

  • Sohel Sareshwala - President of ACCU-Swiss

  • Sue Zwahlen - Former Member of Modesto City School Board of Education, Democratic Candidate for Congress in 2018

  • Susan S. Elliott - Stanislaus Union School District Board Member

  • Tina Lane - Instructor at Oakdale Joint Unified School District

  • Tom Hallinan - City Attorney of Ceres, City Attorney of Patterson

  • Tony Madrigal - Modesto Council Member

  • Vicki Stewart - Educator and Community Activist

  • Virginia Miller - OB-GYN Nurse Practitioner

  • William Broderick-Villa - Former Mayor of Waterford, California

  • Yvonne Allen - Co-Founder of Haven Women's Center


Political Positions


Youtube Video
Harder Personal campaign ad

Josh Harder is a supporter of a Medicare for All ​. The issue is close to his heart as his younger brother, David Harder was born premature and his medical bills ran up to $2 million. The family was only able to afford the bills because they had good health insurance. In the short term, before implementing Medicare for All, he believes in improving the Affordable Care Act ​. To reduce the rising cost of health insurance, Harder wants to increase the competition on health insurance marketplaces by letting people buy into Medicare, curtailing prescription drug ​ prices, and bringing more people into the marketplace. He supports legalizing the import of Canadian prescription drugs to increase competition, leading to lower drug prices. To improve the quality of care in the US, Harder proposes tying health care providers pay to quality of care rather than just volume. [29] [17]


Josh Harder is against the Immigration policy of Donald Trump ​ especially the proposed border wall and increased deportations. He supports a clean DREAM Act ​ as a teacher who has taught many DREAMer students at Modesto Junior College ​. Harder believes that undocumented or illegal immigrants should have a pathway to citizenship. Harder has pledged to support immigration reform bills such as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 ​.​ [29]


The main reason why Josh Harder decided to run for Congress was that he wanted to improve the Central Valley's economy. As of 2018 the Central Valley has an unemployment rate ​ twice the state average. Harder wants to build on the region's success in agriculture and turn the region into the agricultural technology ​ capital of the USA. He supports making college and technical training programs more affordable and accessible in the Valley, including by fighting for tuition-free community and technical college. He supports investing in infrastructure ​, so that new companies have a strong foundation from which to build. To ensure that students learn skills that local companies need he supports increasing funding for apprenticeship ​ programs. [29]


Water shortages are one of the main issues faced by farmers and residents of the Central Valley. To improve the situation, Harder supports introducing tax incentives for farmers to buy micro-irrigation drips which decrease water usage ​ while increasing crop production. Harder believes that their needs to be more water storage ​ so that when rains, rainwater ​ can be used to recharge the region's aquifers ​ and groundwater ​. Six years of drought ​ in the region were followed by one year of flooding ​ due to a lack of water storage. To increase water production, Harder supports building a system of inland desalination plants ​. [29]

Electoral Reform

Josh Harder believes that corporations have too much influence in elections. He is against Citizens United ​ which ruled that the free speech clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the government from restricting independent expenditures by organizations in elections. He believes that corporations should not be able to spend unlimited amounts of money in elections and that their needs to be a constitutional amendment ​ that states that corporations are not people and are not protected by the First Amendment. Harder is a supporter of the Voting Rights Amendment which was rolled back by the United States Supreme Court ​. [29]

Women's Rights

Josh Harder calls himself a "fierce advocate" for women’s rights ​ including economic security ​ and reproductive rights ​. He is pro-choice ​ and supports the reimbursement ​ of cancer screenings ​ and STD testing ​. He believes that all women should have access to affordable and quality reproductive services. Harder supports paid family leave ​ and expanding early childhood education ​ to help working parents ​. Harder supports strengthening protections in the workplace for women including setting up systems that punish sexual predators ​, empower victims, and promote equal pay ​. [29]


Harder is against the Donald Trump ​ and Betsy DeVos ​' attempts to privatize parts of the education system as someone who was educated in public schools. He is committed to modernizing public schools with new technology and investments in STEAM ( Science ​, Technology ​, Engineering ​, Arts ​ & Math ​) and computer science ​. He is a supporter of increasing teacher pay. He believes that all students should have access to affordable, equitable, high-quality universal pre-kindergarten ​ education. Harder believes that college is too expensive and has pledged to make community college ​and vocational training ​ programs tuition-free. He also wants to invest in public universities ​ so that more students have access to higher education ​. [29]


Josh Harder believes that the government must help protect the environment especially in the Central Valley which has some of the most productive soil in the world. He grew up with childhood asthma ​ because of the high level of air pollution ​ in the Central Valley. He believes the district must improve their adherence to clean air and water standards and invest in children’s health. He strongly believes in the scientific consensus ​ that climate change ​ is real and man-made. He is against the Trump Administration’s attempts to deregulate ​ environmental laws under the Environmental Protection Agency ​ and undo international agreements on climate change. He believes that the government must make sure there are adequate incentives to invest in clean energy ​ sources and move away from polluting fossil fuels ​. [29]

Gun Violence

Josh Harder believes that California has implemented gun control ​ laws that prevent criminals, domestic abusers, and terrorists from obtaining guns while protecting gun owners rights to protect their families and hunt. He believes California's reforms should be implemented nationwide. [29]


As the grandson of a veteran ​ who served two tours in the Vietnam War ​ and Korean War ​, Josh Harder believes more needs to be done by the government to help veterans. Increasing educational benefits, investing in job training, and expanding job placement ​ services for veterans are top priorities for Josh. He has pledged to work to provide troops with high quality mental health care ​ and substance abuse treatment ​ while they serve and after they come home. Josh has pledged to work to cut red tape and end the claims backlog in the Department of Veterans Affairs ​. [29]

Housing and Homelessness

Josh harder considers the issue of rising house prices and homelessness ​ one of his top priorities. He believes that the root cause ​ of homelessness is mental illness ​ and that there needs to be more programs to help treat mental illness. Harder is also focused on increasing the support for housing affordability at a federal level. [29]

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