If there's one thing that Ricky Gill isn't lacking, it is confidence. He just turned 25 — the youngest a member of Congress can be — and he thinks he has what it takes to unseat three-term incumbent Jerry McNerney.
Gill, a 2005 Tokay High School graduate, says he objects to San Joaquin County not being represented by a county resident at either the state or federal level. McNerney lived in Pleasanton until moving to Stockton on May 1. State Sen. Tom Berryhill is from Stanislaus County and Assemblywoman Alyson Huber is from El Dorado Hills, although she has Lodi roots.
Except for his college years in Berkeley and at Princeton University, Gill has lived his entire life in Lodi. In fact, he was born at Lodi Memorial Hospital.
Although Democrats have an advantage in registration in the new 9th Congressional District, Gill sees it as a swing seat. Barack Obama won what will become the new 9th District in the 2008 election, but George W. Bush won in 2004.
"If there's anybody who's ready for a change, I think it's us," Gill said of the new district.
Gill considers McNerney, a Democrat, his major opponent in the June primary, even though Republican John McDonald is also on the ballot. Gill accuses McNerney of failing to represent San Joaquin County interests, whether it involves the recession that has rocked the county, agriculture or charter schools, something Gill strongly supports.
"Our focus has been creating that contrast," Gill said.
Gill said he will push for a mandatory balanced budget amendment if he's elected to Congress. More than 40 states have balanced budget requirements, he noted.
Other goals Gill seeks include having sunset laws on federal statutes and that congressional bills be limited to a single topic.
Regarding health care, Gill seeks to repeal the new plan adopted by Congress and signed by Obama. A one-size-fits-all approach that puts power in the federal bureaucracy is not the solution to the nation's health-care crisis, Gill said.
He says he would prefer a market-based solution that retains protections for those with pre-existing conditions, extends coverage for younger family members, and prevents caps on medical payouts.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.