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Gill: Farm boy hopes to serve district in DC

STOCKTON – Ricky Gill hopes to bring local representation to the newly formed 9th Congressional District.

This is an area that includes much of San Joaquin County including Lathrop, East Contra Costa County, and South Sacramento County. Manteca, Ripon, and Tracy are part of the newly created 19th Congressional District.

Gill, who born and raised in Lodi – he described this home at last week’s “A Conversation With…” series at the San Joaquin County Office of Education as rural San Joaquin County, just off Eight Mile Road near Stockton – was urged by individuals and not the Republican Party to oppose Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton) come Nov. 6.

“This is a real organic effort that started right here,” he said.

The top two candidates with the highest totals were given the opportunity to participate in this sit-down conversation format with Superintendent of Schools Mick Founts. Not all accepted.

According to Assistant Superintendent James Mousalimas, this series was not an endorsement of any particular candidate by SJCOE.  “This (series) was to better inform the voters,” he said.

Gill is no newcomer to the political arena. At 17, he was the youngest member to serve on the California State Board of Education.

He recalled back then debating about the California High School Exit Exam.

“I was for it,” said Gill, who graduated from Tokay High.  “I thought it would serve as a meaningful bar towards a high school diploma.”

He attended Princeton University thanks in part to the Frank H. Buck Scholarship, awarded in honor of the late Democrat Congressman. Gill enrolled in Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, graduating Phi Beta Kappa.

He later attended law school at the University of the California, Berkeley.

Gill also credits his learning experience to that of growing up on his family farm.

“Since you got paid only once, you learned to prepare for the unexpected,” he said. “We would have to hope that the winery would take our (grape) crops.”

Both of his parents were immigrants and doctors. “They lived the American dream,” Gill said.

If elected, he’s aware of the traveling involved of going back and forth to Washington, D.C.

“I’m in my mid 20s and I’ll get a white hair. In some cultures that’s considered good luck. But now I’m getting three, four and seven (white hairs),” Gill said.

He knows, as a freshman congressman, his Republican Party would be the majority party. Yet he believes in crossing party lines based on issues that he supports such as foreign trade, for example.

More importantly, Gill would like nothing better than to serve on the Agriculture Committee.

“There’s no Republican on that committee,” he said. “Not a single Californian (representative).

“(For me) serving on the Ag Committee would be an honor.”