Leroy Ornellas has no love for Sacramento.
However, he's willing to put in his time at the State Capitol in order to improve life in San Joaquin County, Galt and parts of Stanislaus County.
"My two opponents want to remain in Sacramento so badly," Ornellas said. "I don't want to go there. I have to go there in order to help here."
Ornellas is a San Joaquin County supervisor and third-generation dairy farmer from Tracy. He is running for the open 5th Senate District seat in the June 5 primary against Republican Assembly members Bill Berryhill and Democrat Cathleen Galgiani, who both recently moved to Stockton to live in the district.
Considered the underdog in the campaign by political observers, Ornellas acknowledges that Berryhill and Galgiani are considered the likely candidates for the Senate seat in the November election.
"That's what Sacramento thinks," Ornellas said. "We will send a shock wave. They are going to have fun when they have to deal with me."
Ornellas considers himself more conservative than Berryhill, his Republican opponent. He's less likely to adopt a state budget if Democrats insist on tax increases and more spending. In fact, on Thursday he announced he had signed a statement pledging no new taxes.
Nevertheless, Ornellas said he can negotiate with Democrats on issues like water and the proposed peripheral canal. He looks at former President Ronald Reagan and former House Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill as a model of elected officials from opposite parties working together to get some positive things done, Ornellas said.
The key to working with those with basic political differences, he said, is to "compromise, but not sell out."
While both major parties want to gain more control of the Senate and Assembly, Ornellas said the state needs more balanced representation. That way, both parties would be more willing to give and take when deliberating the budget and other issues.
"I think that part of the problem is we have such a one-sided majority; (Democrats) don't hold the minority with any kind of respect," he said. "It puts the minority in an extreme disadvantage."
Ornellas opposes Galgiani's dream for a high-speed rail system because he questions the cost, especially the annual operating cost.
"We are in a deep recession in California," he said. "A high-speed rail is an extremely risky venture."
A high-speed rail system would also be unfair to farmers in the San Joaquin Valley because it would wipe out their property rights, Ornellas said. What would make more sense, he said, is to construct a fast train from Sacramento to San Joaquin County, and then west to the Bay Area. Another good test would be a train from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, he added.
Other priorities for Ornellas include expanding enterprise zones to provide tax incentives for businesses wanting to locate in the area, and making sure that Brown's "realignment plan" to move some inmates from state prisons to county jails doesn't force the early release of dangerous criminals into local neighborhoods.
Other priorities for Ornellas include reducing government regulations for farmers, promoting private property rights and stopping eminent domain abuse.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.