David Sander is baffled by new state standards that hold farmers responsible for any E. coli bacteria found in agricultural runoff from their property.
The Rancho Cordova City Councilman, who holds a doctorate degree in molecular biology from Tulane University, said the state's sampling methods don't determine if the E. coli is from humans or animals.
So a farmer could be penalized from E. coli that's from a deer or coyote.
"I'm a scientist," Sander exclaimed over the phone during a recent interview. "I can tell them how to do the test to tell the difference."
It's that blend of activism and expertise that Sander hopes will take him to Sacramento. Sander, 39, is one of three Republican candidates vying for the chance to run for the Assembly District 10 post that will be vacated by a termed-out Alan Nakanishi, R-Lodi.
Sander is running on a boilerplate Republican platform that stresses fiscal responsibility, immigration reform, public safety and improving the state's transportation infrastructure. His stance on those issues is similar to that of his opponents, former San Joaquin County supervisor Jack Sieglock and Paul Hegyi the chief of staff for Assemblyman Van Tran, R-Garden Grove.
What Sander says sets him apart is his experience in both the private sector and public sector.
"I know what it's like to sign both sides of a paycheck," he said.
A native of rural southern Illinois, Sander said he grew up doing chores on his relative's farms so he has a good understanding of agriculture and issues confronting farmers.
Sander said the nation needs a secure, stable border but not at the expense of farmers' labor needs.
"Reforms have to be handled in a way that don't destroy our economy," Sander said. "If citizen workers aren't available I would support some kind of guest worker program but only if they're completely documented and only in conjunction with a controlled border."
Residence: Rancho Cordova
Occupation: Owner, Sander & Associates; Rancho Cordova City Councilman
Family: Wife, Dr. Maggie Parsons; 2-year-old son David
- Served on Rancho Cordova City Council since 2003.
- Board of directors, Rancho Cordova Chamber of
- Served on the Cordova Community Planning Advisory Council and
Cordova Community Council.
- Doctorate degree in cellular and molecular biology, Tulane
Sander came to the Sacramento area in 1998 after working in Washington D.C. as a Congressional science fellow. At the time, Rancho Cordova was still an unincorporated part of Sacramento County, but Sander quickly ingrained himself as a local leader and soon became the chair of the Cordova Community Planning Advisory Council and the president of the Cordova Community Council.
When the city incorporated in 2003, Sander said he was the "ranking public official" and citizens elected him to the city council.
Sander has served on the council since then.
He points to the city's balanced budget and substantial reserves to show he has the experience to balance the state's budget.
But the Republican is realistic in terms of what someone in the minority party can accomplish.
"I don't like the idea you get elected to vote 'no,'" he said.
Sander said his top priority will be using his state post to help his constituents. He said the city of Ione in Amador County has been trying to take custody of the Preston School of Industry from the state for years. The huge building, built in the Romanesque Revival style, dominates a hillside above Ione and is known as 'The Castle.'
If he was in office, Sander said he would make it his mission to find the bureaucrat who could make the decision to turn the castle over to local officials and do whatever it takes to make that happen.
|Major contributions to the Sander campaign|
|The following are major contributions to the David Sander campaign for the filing period from Jan. 1 to March 17. For a complete list of contributions visitthe California Secretary of State's campaign information Web site.|
|Patrick Willis, repossessions industry||$7,200|
|Cristo Bardis, real estate||$6,600|
|Sacramento County Deputy Sheriff's Association||$5,000|
|A. Teichert & Son, Inc.||$3,600|
|A.G. Spanos Cos.||$3,600|
|Brian Vail, developer||$3,600|
|Conservation Resources, LLC.||$3,600|
|Gerry N. Kamilos, developer||$3,600|
|Golden State Water Co.||$3,600|
|John D. Reynen, developer||$3,600|
|SD 320 LLC||$3,600|
|Stephen Beneto, president Beneto Inc.||$3,600|
|Sunrise Mfg. Inc.||$3,600|
|Thomas Winn, developer||$3,600|
|Douglas Ose, Ose Properties,||$3,500|
|James Regas, attorney||$3,500|
|Peter Pappas, developer||$3,500|
|John D. Reynen, developer||$3,300|
|Auburn Manor Holding Corp.||$3,000|
|Mather Development Partners||$3,000|
|Golden Bear Construction||$2,500|
|American Recovery Services Inc.||$2,000|
"I'd just annoy them to the point where they act," he said.
Sander is the owner of his own communications company, Sander and Associates, that works with bio-tech and pharmaceutical companies. In 2004, Sander won the "Friend of Housing" award from the Building Industry Association of California and in 2005 he received the Community Service Award from the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce.
Much of the $66,336 in campaign contributions Sander raised since the first of the year has been from developers or other business interests. The Sander campaign reports $182,819 in total cash, according to California Secretary of State campaign filings.
While Sander's name may not be that well known in the Lodi area, he did win the endorsement of the Lodi Firefighters Union.
Union President Pete Iturraran said he was part of the union committee that interviewed the District 10 candidates. He said Sander just impressed the committee with his thoughtful, well-informed answers to its questions.
"David just seemed to shine above the rest," he said.
Iturraran said the union was obviously still irked at former San Joaquin County Supervisor Jack Sieglock's vote to transfer ambulance dispatch to the private company American Medical Response.
Sander also received the endorsement of the Stockton Firefighters Association and the SacMetro Firefighters Association.
Pedro Hernandez, a Rancho Cordova resident who sat on the incorporation committee and has run for the council, has worked with Sander and he said the politician's leadership is needed in Rancho Cordova, not Sacramento.
"I think he needs to accomplish some more work in our community to bring it to its fullest potential," he said.
Hernandez admits he's being selfish, but he'd like Sander to focus on economic development and sensible planning in Rancho Cordova.
"You want to keep sure you're headed in the right direction," he said. "We want to make sure we're having opportunities of attracting more businesses to the area."