KERN COUNTY - With just days to go until the 16th State Senate District election, 17 News continues to examine each candidates' ad claims. Andy Vidak said he created 2,000 jobs. We found out those are temporary jobs that exist for weeks.
Vidak owns a cherry orchard and is a partner in a lettuce cooling plant. He told us those operations employ workers a month or two a year. Vidak counts each of those temporary jobs, as a job created.
"I created over 2,000 jobs right here in our Valley," said Vidak in one of his ads.
Vidak has made this claim many times.
"Vidak created 2,000 Valley jobs himself," a Vidak ad said.
Vidak even mentioned this from a KGET debate last month. "I created over 2,000 jobs yes I have."
But, where does Vidak get that number? According to his campaign statement of economic interest form, he has stakes in two businesses: a cherry orchard in Tulare County and a lettuce cooling plant in Kings County. Vidak claims he created 2,000 jobs between the two operations. Vidak estimates he provided jobs to 150 to 175 workers a year for 16 years. Thus, 150 jobs times 16 equals 2,400 jobs.
"They didn't exist before I put this thing together," said Vidak.
According to Vidak, the jobs lasted six to eight weeks.
"Every year varies, but that's my job and God willing we have a crop every year. I mean I have a lot of faith in God and I work very hard," said Vidak.
Vidak says it's accurate to count each temporary job as a job created. He cites the Bureau of Labor statistics, which defines a job created as all persons on the payroll including permanent, short-term and temporary work.
"That's the way the government reports them," said Vidak.
His campaign manager Tim Orman goes on to say in an e-mail "2,000 jobs created is a conservative number... the 2,000 jobs doesn't count the jobs that are created at the packing facility and the people who transport the crops."
However Vidak's opponent, Leticia Perez, says that number is misleading.
"We bring it up simply to say be forthcoming about what you've done and what you're capable of doing," said Perez. "You can't just throw a number out there."
"It's amazing that folks don't realize how jobs are created, but I guess if you've never created one and you've been a staffer or a politician then you just stood in the way of them," said Vidak.
Vidak could not tell us how much or how his employees were paid. "I just don't know how to respond after that," he said.
The election to fill former State Senator Michael Rubio's seat is Tuesday, July 23rd.