This nurse plans to challenge California's Rep. Jeff Denham for his Central Valley seat

Registered nurse Dotty Nygard will challenge Rep. Jeff Denham in the Central Valley's 10th Congressional District.

“I’ve lived and worked within this community for 24 years and feel I can actually lend my voice as a strong voice to my constituents,” said the 60-year-old who lives in Tracy, Calif.

Nygard, a Democrat, is an emergency room nurse at Sutter Health in Sacramento and a member of the influential, progressive California Nurses Assn.

Nygard said she was drawn to the race because of attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Denham voted for the House GOP repeal bill last week), her concerns about the environment and climate change, and a desire to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“My advocacy for my patients goes far beyond the bedside,” she said. “I can’t idly sit by and watch the things that are happening.”

Nygard has a nursing degree from Cal State Hayward. She served on the Riverbank City Council from 2010 to 2013.

Denham won reelection by less than 5% in 2016 after Democrats sought to tie him to now-President Trump, who lost the district. Democrats are aiming for him again, but the nonpartisan analysis website Cook Political Report still lists the district as “lean Republican."

“It is going to be an uphill climb, and I do see the challenge,” Nygard said.

She does not plan to accept contributions from corporations or political action committees, she said.

“That’s what our communities are wanting to see, people that stand for them and with them, not bought by corporations, not influenced by big money,” she said.

Denham also faces investor Josh Harder of Turlock and a few other challengers.