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Representative for area surrounding Lodi won't be living in community

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Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2002 10:00 pm

Residents living in communities surrounding Lodi can expect to be represented by an assembly member living out of the area come November.

That's because all five candidates vying for the state seat that will represent Lockeford, Clements and most of Victor and Acampo hail from either Modesto, Stockton or Ripon.

They are Democrats Tom Hallinan Jr. and Tim Weintz Sr., and Republicans Rick Veldstra, Greg Aghazarian and Chuck Winn.

Most believe the new district boundaries will have little impact on their campaigns, citing similarities between Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.

Hallinan, a city attorney for several Valley communities, lives in Modesto. He also serves as a captain in the California National Guard.

The 39-year-old candidate grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and graduated from California State University, Fresno. After law school, he became a criminal prosecutor with the United States Department of Justice.

He is currently a trustee for the Yosemite Community College District and director of the 38th District Agricultural Association/Stanislaus County Fair Board. He is also a member of the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau, vice president of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and Latino Community Roundtable, member of the board of directors for a local Meals on Wheels program, a member of the Stanislaus County Adult Day Care Planning Council and the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Board of Directors.

Some of the board he's served on encompass both counties.

"I am proud that I am the only candidate who has represented both San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties," he said.

If elected, Hallinan's top priorities include increasing student transfer rates to four-year colleges, expanding vocational programs and public/private business partnerships, and "doing the public's business in public," he said.

Weintz, an analyst, is also vying for the Democratic nomination. The 43-year-old from Stockton is a single-father, having raised a 13-year-old and a 20-year-old.

The candidate's main issues revolve around civil rights and anti-discrimination measures.

"I want to pass a broad-base civil rights legislation," said Weintz, a Stockton native. "I don't like what I see going on, and I want to change it."

Weintz also wants to see the decriminalization of petty theft and drug abuse. He favors improved access to government, tax deductions for child support, additional rights given to single fathers and restrictions on investor-owned utilities.

"I want the government to lighten up a little," he said.

Weintz plans to try to eliminate cancer-causing agents in air, ensure local farmers receive grain permits, and wants to see Auburn Dam completed.

He unsuccessfully ran for the 17th District in March 2000.

On the Republican side, Veldstra, 48, also of Stockton, lists his top priorities as balancing the state's budget without a tax increase, addressing California's education shortfalls by involving parents, and tackling the energy issues facing the state.

"I think there's good reason to invite the energy negotiators back to the table," he said.

As a Valley farmer, he said the state agency in charge of storing water isn't developing any new supply.

"We all use water. It takes only two years of low rainfall to put us in trouble," he said.

He also wants to give control back to local school boards.

Veldstra served as a member of the Almond Board of California from May 1994-March 2001. He also chaired the Farm Bureau Water Committee and was a former director of the San Joaquin County Farm Bureau.

The candidate earned a business degree at Westmont College.

Aghazarian, a businessman and school board trustee for the Lincoln Unified School district, also lives in Stockton. His family owns Aghazarian's of Stockton, a local landmark store for 30 years.

The candidate, a graduate of the University of Southern California and McGeorge School of Law, is active in the Stockton Rotary and the San Joaquin A+ program to improve literacy. He is also a member of the San Joaquin County Farm Bureau and a commissioner with the city of Stockton's Department of Parks and Recreation.

Aghazarian is interested in issues affecting education reform and improving the local quality of life, according to a profile. He could not be reached for an interview.

Winn, 56, is a California Highway Patrol captain in Stanislaus County.

He attended a Bakersfield college until entering the United States Marine Corps in 1965 and joined the California Highway Patrol in 1968.

The candidate has chaired a number of local committees, including the Office of Traffic Safety committee made up of local officials to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents in the city of Modesto and Stanislaus County in 1999.

Currently, he is the chairman of the Safe Communities committee to reduce traffic accidents throughout Stanislaus County. He is also member and past president of a number of police-related organizations, and the founding member of Christian Public Servants.

As a Ripon resident, he was involved in organizing a community effort to convince the local school board to keep questionable material out of the high school, he said, and in 1994, Winn was appointed to a committee by the Ripon City Council to revise the adult business ordinance. He was appointed to the city's Planning Commission in 1998.

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