A slice of Ted Gaines … after an appearance at the Bridgeport Old Fashioned Political Picnic on Sept. 25, the candidate and his wife stopped by Giovanni’s for some pizza before heading down to a public meeting in Crowley Lake. (Photo: Geisel)
When the Nov. 2 elections are behind us, there will still be one more race to be decided on Jan. 4. Voters will participate in a special election to fill the District 1 State Senate seat left open by the recent death of Senator Dave Cox. Backed by the Republican Assembly, recent polls indicate the front runner for the seat is Republican Ted Gaines, who currently serves as State Assemblyman for District 4, which covers all or part of Alpine, Placer, El Dorado and Sacramento counties.
Gaines credits Cox with instilling in him his door-to-door approach to canvassing, which he still uses today. “I knew Senator Cox well, and worked with him. I admired him; he was such a hard worker,” Gaines recalled. “I remember what my dad said when Dave Cox, who was running for the Sacramento utility board, walked up to the front door: ‘Anyone who makes that kind of effort is okay with me.’”
Gaines has visited all 12 counties in District 1, making several stops in each.
How did he get turned onto politics? “I had a Civics teacher in high school who got me interested in politics, and had a friend whose dad was in State Assembly,” he recalled. “It was then that I got in the habit of reading Time, Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal, which I still read.” That led to work on the 1976 campaign to elect President Gerald Ford, during which he got to meet then candidate Jimmy Carter, former Georgia Governor at the time. “I told him who I was working for [President Ford], and he said jovially, ‘I hope you’ll reconsider your vote.’ Very nice fellow.”
Similar to Teri Murrison, who ran for the GOP’s 25th District Assembly nomination in June (she lost to Kristin Olsen), Gaines thinks that jobs leaving California has been a major problem and is his top priority. “I’ve interviewed California businesses that left the state for Nevada. Taxes were an issue, but even more so were regulatory restrictions that were smothering businesses,” he stated. “We have to get a handle on taxes and regulations that make us less competitive.” Gaines proposed a bill to look at regulatory reform, which he modeled on British Columbia. The Canadian province, he said, sought to eliminate 25% of existing regulation, and by eradicating duplications, and untenable, outmoded or conflicting code, got rid of 42% (or 160,000) of its regulations. He asserts this has contributed to an economic boom B.C. is currently experiencing.
Having served on the Assembly Banking and Finance, Health and Labor and Employment committees, he’s kept an eye on the legislature’s fiscal fiasco.
“There’s no sense of urgency,” he said, blaming the majority party [Democrats] for lack of flexibility and cooperation.
Gaines opposed the state’s attempt at a 2009 tax increase, and favors extending the Bush-era tax cuts. His generally conservative stand, among other things, has earned him endorsements from U.S. Congressman Tom McClintock, the California gun owners, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and other anti-tax advocating committees, and Assemblyman Dan Logue (R-District 3), who he called the father of the November ballot’s Prop 23, which if passed would suspend and possibly rescind AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act. “I hope to suspend that at least until we get unemployment down,” Gaines suggested. “It’s another example of the state dictating through regulation. I’m not convinced of the science behind it. It’s badly thought out and [regulatory agency] CARB (the California Air Resources Board) is an unaccountable, unelected bureaucracy with tremendous power.”
Unsurprisingly, his campaign website emphasizes the word “conservative.” I want to hold the GOP accountable and get back to low taxes, free enterprise and job creation. I’m that kind of Republican.”
He’s also got definite opinions on the Tea Party, and thinks that in addition to its national profile, the movement will have a sort-of trickle-down effect on state and local races, including school boards and city councils. “The most exciting thing to come out of the lack of confidence in government is that people are waking up,” Gaines posited. “I talked to an emergency room physician, who said she’s voted, but has never been heavily involved in politics. She told me she’s become so concerned about overspending and such, that she’s attended three Tea Party events.”
A fifth-generation Roseville resident and local businessman, Gaines’ family first came to Placer County during the Gold Rush. “My great, great grandfather, James Kaseberg, built a sheep ranch next to the present day site of the Placer County Fairgrounds.” The ranch home from the 1860s still stands. Gaines got his degree in Business Administration from Lewis and Clark College in Oregon, and today he is the owner of Point West Insurance in Sacramento.
He served on the Roseville Planning Commission and the Placer County Board of Supervisors, including as delegate to the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) and Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization (SACTO).
Married since 1985, the Gaines family includes six children.
What can we expect from Gaines if he’s elected? “A fighter for lower taxes, smaller government, reform and pushing hard to give local government more decision-making. As a former county supervisor, I was frustrated for years by unfunded mandates.”
Gaines’ only real competition is from fellow candidate and Assemblyman Roger Niello, who was scheduled to appear at a Candidates Forum in Walker on Friday, Oct. 1, in the Community Center.