While Tuesday marks the 2010 general election, there is a special election for Galt voters as well. With the death of State Sen. Dave Cox in July, three Republicans and a Democrat have filed for the 1st Senate District seat. They are:
- Barbara Alby, a Folsom Republican, who is a former assemblywoman and currently serves as acting board member for the California Board of Equalization.
- Ken Cooley, a Democrat, who is mayor of Rancho Cordova. He lost the Democratic primary for the 10th Assembly District in 2002.
- Ted Gaines, a Republican assemblyman from Roseville.
- Roger Niello, a Republican assemblyman from Fair Oaks.
All four candidates will be on next week's ballot. If anyone receives more than 50 percent of the vote, that person will take office. Otherwise, Cooley, as the lone Democrat, will face the leading Republican vote-getter on Jan. 4.
The 1st Senate District covers hundreds of miles. In addition to Galt, the district covers eastern Sacramento County suburbs, the foothills and — get this — the Highway 395 corridor. Except for the portion of the highway that goes through Nevada, the Senate District covers all of Highway 395 from Mammoth Lakes to Modoc County.
The Senate election brings back memories of the June primary, when Republicans in races throughout the state bent over backwards to say they're more conservative than their GOP opponents.
On her website, Alby says she is the true conservative candidate who vows to not raise taxes. Meanwhile, she paints Niello and Gaines as liberal Republicans. But Gaines says he's the major conservative in the race.
Gaines said he opposes legalizing marijuana, wants to streamline the state prison system and supports suspending state greenhouse gas regulations because of the hardship it would have on businesses during the recession. He also opposes an $18 annual vehicle registration surcharge to finance state parks, and wants the Legislature to adopt a spending cap.
Niello, who will step down at the end of the year from the Assembly due to term limits, says he opposes legalizing marijuana, wants to eliminate government waste and cut health care costs, supports suspending greenhouse gas restrictions, opposes the surcharge for state parks, wants to reduce regulatory requirements on employers and wants to continue insisting that the federal government reimburse California for the cost of incarcerating illegal immigrants.
Niello said he cut his own pay for Assembly service by 10 percent, doesn't use a state car and doesn't accept a daily living allowance.
Cooley said on his website that while he knows the election is about jobs, California first needs a Legislature known for problem-solving instead of personal attacks. Jobs can't be created, he said, until the Legislature works together to adopt the state budget on time, revive the Legislature's constitutional government oversight powers, adopt balanced budgets and consult with the district's 12 counties on each county's top priorities.
Cooley says he opposes marijuana legalization, opposes suspending greenhouse gas regulations and supports the vehicle surcharge to fund state parks.
Alby prides herself for being a welfare mom in the 1960s who got on her feet after then-Gov. Ronald Reagan cut her welfare benefits. She is also proud of authoring Megan's Law, which informs the public when a registered sex offender moves into their neighborhood.
Alby said she opposes legalizing marijuana, supports suspending global warming regulations and opposes the vehicle surcharge for parks. She also advocates developing a working group of Democrats and Republicans to pursue reforms and not rely on the "Big 5" — the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Assembly and Senate, plus the governor.