Chad Condit makes no apologies.
He doesn’t care about party politics. He isn’t courting special interests in search of campaign donations.
His first and foremost focus is the Central Valley.
“We can’t afford to be partisan,” Condit said. “We have to be regional.”
Condit is taking advantage of the first ever open primary where the top two vote getters regardless of party affiliation or lack thereof in the June 5 primary face each other in November to run as an independent for Congress.
The newly drawn District 10 seems tailor-made for Condit who has lived most of his life in Stanislaus County. The district encompasses all of Stanislaus County as well as Manteca, Ripon, Tracy, and Escalon. Condit spent 37 years in Ceres where he played football and golf at Ceres High going up against teams from Manteca and East Union high schools.
He recalls “having the snot beat out of me” in golf by Kevin Wentworth of Manteca High when they met on the course in Valley Oak League play. Wentworth went on to play on the PGA.
Condit served as the governor’s aide for the San Joaquin Valley from 1999 to 2001 under Gov. Gray Davis.
Why Condit is convinced someone who is not beholden to a political party and instead has their first and foremost allegiance to the Central Valley is the way to get results for District 10 is based on things that happened previously when he was working in Sacramento.
Topping the list is the University of California at Merced campus that involved Republicans and Democrats coming together in Sacramento plus then Vice President Dick Cheney and former Democratic Congressman Gary Condit. They worked as a team to make sure the Northern San Joaquin Valley got a UC campus as part of an overall, long-term strategy to improve the regional economy and standard of living.
“It (UC Merced) was a great exercise in non-partisanship,” Condit said.
Today, Condit contends the San Joaquin Valley doesn’t even rate an afterthought in Washington, D.C., despite pressing employment, water, and air quality issues. He vows to “shine a light” on District 10 as an independent.
“We’re (the San Joaquin Valley) like the little brother and little sister of the Bay Area and Southern California,” Condit said.
Condit indicated that would change if the District 10 congressman made it a point to carry the region’s message and its critical role in feeding the country.
When it comes to high speed rail, Condit has also has managed to stake out an independent position.
Since “the voters voted for high speed rail” he believes that their will should be implemented but with a caveat. Condit noted the voters were told the price would come in much lower than is now being pursued. Condit said elected leaders have an obligation to deliver high speed rail at the price they promised instead of simply proceeding or trying to stop the project.
Condit believes high speed rail will be a game changer for the valley and bring sorely needed jobs.
Condit places heavy emphasis on making sure that the water needs of valley farmers are addressed by the Bureau of Reclamation. He noted “the best job program for the Central Valley is a strong commitment to agriculture.”
He promises to push for practical and sensible reforms to Social Security, Medicare and the tax system emphasizing “it is in everyone’s interest to make these programs work for people now, and in the future.
District 10’s status as ground zero for the national foreclosure crisis prompts Condit to pull no punches. After noting that the federal government bailed out the banks and not homeowners, he added “it’s time politicians represent the people who elect them.”
Condit pointed out that it was Congress back in 1998 that weakened lending standards that put the housing crisis into play.
His foreign policy platform is to the point: “It’s time to stop policing the world,” Condit said. “We can’t afford it. It doesn’t work. Let’s bring our troops home.”
Condit contends his primary competition in the June 5 election do not appear to have the Northern San Joaquin Valley at the top of their list. Condit noted Democratic candidate and former astronaut Jose Hernandez who is moving into the district from Stockton likes to point out that he’s the pick of the party apparatus.
As for Jeff Denham who moved into the district to Turlock from Atwater, Condit lauded him for standing up to Democrats but added the problem was that “he doesn’t stand up to Republicans.
For more information on Condit go to www.ChadCondit.com