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Lodi-area Senator, Dave Cogdill, puts state budget in perspective

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Posted: Thursday, January 1, 2009 10:00 pm

Republican State Sen. Dave Cogdill has served the Lodi area in the 14th Senate District the past two years, succeeding Chuck Poochigian, who was termed out. He previously served six years in the Assembly, representing Stanislaus County.

Cogdill was elected Senate Republican leader by the Republican caucus in April.

Dave Cogdill

A Modesto resident since 1979, Cogdill was a real estate appraiser. He was elected to public office for the first time in 1975 as a member of the Bridgeport Fire Protection District board in Mono County and later served two terms on the Modesto City Council.

Born Dec. 31, 1950, in Long Beach, Cogdill and his wife, Stephanie, have been married since 1970. They have two children, David Jr., and Meghan, and two grandchildren.

Cogdill was interviewed Wednesday by News-Sentinel staff writer Ross Farrow.

Q: Although the state technically has an approved budget, an estimated $11.2 billion needs to be cut immediately, but there seems to be no room for compromise. How will the Legislature cut the budget if neither party is willing to budge?

A: We're continuing to negotiate. We put out our plan a couple of weeks ago. The frustration for us is that most of that stuff has been out there for two years. As far as negotiating goes, we are willing to negotiate within those parameters.

(Democrats) basically (tried to) increase the taxes for everything - sales tax, car tax, personal income tax - and allowed local governments to add a cent tax. It totals about $10 billion of their $18 billion solution over the next 18 months. We're concerned with impacts on the economy. There have been some give on both the Republican and Democratic side.

Q: Is the Republican Caucus bound to vote according to party leadership mandates? Do legislators have the flexibility to vote as they desire without being threatened by punishment?

A: They certainly do (have flexibility). The caucus is united on our position. The fact we held the way we did last year is unprecedented.

Q: What are Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg like when you're negotiating behind closed doors?

A: They're all honorable people, very capable. They know why they came to Sacramento; they're very staunch defenders of the way to govern the state. They're a fine group of folks to work with.

Q: Aside from the budget, what are your legislative priorities for 2009?

A: The biggest thing continues to be water. Sen. Steinberg indicates it's a priority for him. He said he'd like something accomplished the first 100 days. We need a comprehensive water plan. The biggest thing we need is surface water storage - reservoirs - at Temperance Flat in Fresno County, Colusa County and the expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir in Contra Costa County. The biggest problem is environmental interests.

Q: What do you think of Delta Vision and the possibility of a peripheral canal?

A: There needs to be a proved conveyance and secure area-of-origin water rights.

Q: Do you have any idea of what the state can do regarding the dry groundwater basin in northern San Joaquin County?

A: Surface water storage plays a major part. We need regulated control flow rather than allow flooding and water going out to the ocean. We need a 20- to 30-year plan.

Q: What do you see as issues for San Joaquin County?

A: The San Joaquin Valley as a whole has its own challenges. It's historically gotten much less than its fair share from the state in resources and available funding.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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