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Bill Berryhill seen as moderate Republican in the Senate race

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Bill Berryhill

Posted: Monday, May 21, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:58 am, Mon May 21, 2012.

Two-term Assemblyman Bill Berryhill has lived most of his life in Stanislaus County, but he knows San Joaquin County as well. He owns a ranch in Clements and has served almost four years as a 26th District assemblyman, which includes Victor, Lockeford, Clements, Morada and eastern Acampo.

In battling Republican Leroy Ornellas and Democrat Cathleen Galgiani for a spot in the November general election, Berryhill said he is campaigning heavily to give himself a head-start in the general election campaign. For example, he's reached out to Hispanics.

"If I can get them to vote for me in the primary, they will vote for me in the general," Berryhill said.

Berryhill is considered somewhat of a moderate in Republican circles, saying he is willing to negotiate with Democrats on budgetary and other issues. He considers it an advantage that he hasn't signed the "no new tax" pledge.

"Because I didn't sign the 'no tax' pledge, I was the only (Republican) allowed to work with the governor's office," Berryhill said. "To not talk at all is a mistake. It is wrong to sit on your hands and sign the pledge."

As it turned out, Berryhill's willingness to negotiate with Democrats on the state budget didn't work out last year.

"We didn't come to an agreement last year, but I established some relationships, and that's always good," Berryhill said.

Berryhill opposes Galgiani's ideas for a high-speed rail system. It's wasteful spending, he said, when you have so many Central Valley residents who are unable to pay their mortgage. He said an east-west train from the Central Valley to the Bay Area is more important than a north-south project.

Berryhill supports road repairs; tax cuts for families, farms and businesses; relaxing environmental policies against farmers; more charter schools to better prepare students for the workforce; a top-to-bottom evaluation of what he considers a broken prison system, and the addition of more prisons to house criminals who belong there.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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