On Monday morning, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce presented Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., with the Spirit of Enterprise award in recognition for his work toward immigration reform and water solutions.

The Spirit of Enterprise award "is given annually to members of Congress based on their votes on critical business legislation outlined in the Chamber publication, 'How They Voted,'" according to Chamber of Commerce.

According to The Hill, the Central Valley district freshman representative was one of the first Republicans of the House of Representatives to show his support for "comprehensive" immigration reform.

"To put it simply, if all members of Congress were as good on the issues that matter to you as David Valadao is, we'd have a stronger economy than we do today, more jobs than we do today, and, well, I think we'd all be just a little bit happier this Monday morning," Dick Castner, Chamber of Commerce western regional director, said at the award ceremony.

After the ceremony, Castner said that Valadao's popularity in the district, which has a population that is more than two-thirds Hispanics, shows that "Republicans don't have to concede."

"He's been a real leader within his own party," Castner said. "He is very much on the cutting edge of what's a tough issue. ... It's a pretty courageous place to be, but it's the right place to be. We need a lot more David Valadaos and we'd get this damn thing done. ... He's definitely blazing a trail in the direction that needs to be done if we're going to have a viable two-party system going forward because if you look at the demographics, they're pretty ugly for the party if they don't get a handle on how to appeal to more Hispanics than they do."

In addition to his stance on immigration, Valadao has won praise for his work on California's drought issue.

"Water policy ... it's difficult and probably the most confusing thing I've ever seen," Valadao said to the audience on Monday. "Well, immigration is a pretty close second."

Currently, Valadao is running his re-election campaign against Democrat Amanda Renteria, a former Senate member. Valadao's success in getting a bill to fight the drought, alongside House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and other representatives, however, reportedly gives him an advantage.

"It's not just about farmers, it's not just about big business, it's about people at home," Valadao, who is also a dairy farmer, said Monday. "I've talked to people all over the valley, whom their personal wells in their homes have gone dry. I know that I personally had to drill a few new wells on my farm. It's a scary point. We've really got to do something."


 Follow Scharon Harding on Twitter: @ScharHar.