Tokay High School graduate Ricky Gill announced his candidacy for Congress before about 100 people on Tuesday morning just south of Lodi Memorial Hospital, where he was born.
Gill, who turned 24 earlier this month, will run in what is now the 11th Congressional District, whose seat is held by Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton. The congressional boundaries may change due to reapportionment, and political followers believe that the East Bay portion of the 11th District may be in a different district from San Joaquin County.
The deadline for new legislative maps is Aug. 15.
Gill, a Republican, cited skyrocketing health-care premiums, generating jobs that will encourage young people to remain in San Joaquin County, make agriculture prominent on the national agenda, ensuring that farmers get their fair share of water, tort reform and public education.
The son of Lodi physicians Param and Jasbir Gill, Ricky Gill was born at Lodi Memorial Hospital and has lived in Lodi his entire life except while attending Princeton University in New Jersey. He is completing classes at Boalt Law School in Berkeley.
If elected, Gill will barely meet the age qualification for the House of Representatives. House members must be at least 25 years old.
“I think his youth is a very positive factor,” said Lodi winegrape and cherry farmer John Ledbetter, one of three people to introduce Gill to the stage on Tuesday. “I don’t think the ‘mature’ politicians are doing a lot for us these days.”
Former Lodi Mayor and San Joaquin County Supervisor Jack Sieglock said after the press conference that the federal bureaucracy will not overwhelm Gill.
“I don’t think Washington will get the best of Ricky,” said Sieglock, who’s known Gill since he was 2 feet tall. “I think Ricky will make Washington a better place.”
Former Lodi Mayor Susan Hitchcock, who also spoke on Gill’s behalf, said that she taught Gill’s two brothers when they were in eighth grade. She cited Gill’s outstanding interpersonal skills and his understanding of having a high-quality public education system.
“It is now time for Ricky Gill to make a difference at the national level,” Hitchcock said.
During his address, Gill called for San Joaquin County representation, adding that no Congressional, Assembly or State Senate district is represented by a county resident.
“We deserve a seat at the table in American politics,” said Gill, who has opened a campaign office in Flag City.
Gill’s comments also focused on tort reform as a tool to curb medical malpractice insurance costs.
After Gill concluded his remarks, supporters waited in a long line for Gill’s autograph on their campaign signs, much like a reception line at a wedding.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.