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Manteca new leader for San Joaquin Republican group
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David Cushman is no stranger to local politics.

Ever since he was a teenager the Manteca native has been a staple on the local conservative Republican scene – earning his stripes as a founding member of the Manteca TEA Party Patriots and progressing on to a number of positions over the years.

And he can now add president to his resume. 

On Monday, Cushman was named the president of the San Joaquin Conservative Republicans after the untimely passing of the group’s founder last month. 

“I’m just really humbled,” Cushman said. “Our precious president, Sara Blicharz, who was also the founder of the club back in 2012 I believe, passed away on March 23. 

“She was my mentor and really got me started in local politics, so it’s bittersweet that I’m succeeding her but I want to continue the vision she had for the group, which is to mobilize conservatives in San Joaquin County and elect Republicans at every level of government in our area.”

Cushman was sworn in to his new role on Monday evening at a Stockton restaurant. He will begin immediately pursuing the group’s goal of getting conservative politicians elected to offices throughout the county – both partisan and non – and furthering the goal of mobilizing conservative voters as a Presidential election approaches. 

As much as Cushman wanted to step into the top role of the organization, he has been a part of since 2016 – starting out as a communications director before moving on to vice president and then grassroots director – he knows he’ll have big shoes to fill. 

“She had been involved in so many conservative causes since the 1980s – she was known throughout the state,” Cushman said of Blicharz. “When I was working for John Cox, I would be travelling all over California and no matter where I went there was a very good chance I would meet somebody who knew who she was. 

“Much of what I’ve come to learn about politics was because of her mentorship.”

While the role is an administrative one for an organization that hopes to get candidates elected to office, Cushman said he realizes that sometimes the most important offices are the local ones that are more often than not non-partisan – it’s those, he said, that have the biggest impact on local residents and require somebody who will do what is best for the will of the people and not an agenda. 

There will still me emphasis on all races, Cushman said, but at the end of the day the grassroots nature of the organization will not be lost on him as he helps shape the group’s policy agenda and its voter outreach efforts. 

“I think that a position like this translates directly into local politics because as a grassroots organization in our county we work with volunteers who are active and are very passionate about the issues that are affecting them locally where they are,” Cushman said. “And across much of San Joaquin County, much of the time it’s the same issues that folks on both sides of the aisle care about – better roads, affordable housing, better schools, cost of living.

“As a conservative, I believe that the place where our elected officials should be taking action on the issue are at the local level, as opposed to the federal or state level.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.