Cathleen Galgiani may be representing south San Joaquin County and parts of Stanislaus and Merced counties in the Assembly, but she’s very familiar with Lodi.
Galgiani is a 1982 graduate of Tokay High School and got her political feet wet by serving in the school’s assembly through government teacher Steve von Berg.
Those days at Tokay led Galgiani to serve three terms in the 17th Assembly District. Facing term limits after the 2012 election, she has announced she is running for the new 5th Senate District seat, which includes Lodi and Galt.
Galgiani entered politics when one of her teachers at San Joaquin Delta College encouraged her to volunteer in a political campaign. She chose Patrick Johnston, a Democrat who was running for Assembly in 1982.
She was later an intern in Johnston’s office and later a paid staffer. Before being elected to the Assembly for the first time in 2006, Galgiani worked for John Garamendi when he was California’s insurance commissioner and as chief of staff for Assemblywoman Barbara Matthews.
In a telephone interview with the News-Sentinel, Galgiani described herself as “a very moderate Democrat.” She said she works across party lines to seek compromise with her Republican colleagues in the Legislature, characteristics she thinks can win over Lodi voters. She listed business and the California Chamber of Commerce among her supporters.
Galgiani considers it a feather in her cap that the Assembly Republican Caucus invited her to a tour of Texas, where she learned that energy costs there are half what they are in California. One solution to reducing energy costs in California, she said, is to add power to the energy grid.
Other passions of Galgiani include preserving agriculture in the Central Valley and her pursuit of high-speed rail between Northern and Southern California. Those are major reasons she wants to remain in the state Legislature, even though term limits will prevent her from serving in the Assembly after 2012.
Galgiani said she’s excited that the first step in high-speed rail construction is due to begin in September 2012, between Madera and Kern counties. The project will generate 120,000 jobs in the Central Valley along and 600,000 construction jobs for the entire project, which will go north to Sacramento and west over the Altamont Pass to the Bay Area, she said.
Galgiani anticipates many construction workers from San Joaquin County looking to get jobs for the high-speed rail project.
She also noted her work to bring a school of medicine to the University of California, Merced, which she considers important because of the tremendous shortage of health care providers in the San Joaquin Valley.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at email@example.com.