The prospect of running for an open seat in the state Assembly in November 2016 already has drawn three candidates.
Modesto City Schools board member Cindy Marks, former San Joaquin County Supervisor Ken Vogel and Modesto Councilman Bill Zoslocki say they have started campaigning to succeed Kristin Olsen to represent the 12th Assembly District, which covers eastern Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties and Turlock, Manteca and part of Modesto.
Olsen, R-Riverbank, will be termed out of office in 2016 after three two-year terms in the Assembly. The three candidates also are Republicans, and the district leans Republican. For instance, Republican Mitt Romney received 52.4 percent of the district’s vote vs. 45.1 percent for President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential race, according to the Around the Capitol website.
The Assembly race could draw even more candidates. Olsen said she has spoken with four other Republicans who have expressed an interest in running. Three Democrats are rumored to be considered entering the race, but The Bee could not confirm that.
Olsen said she has not made any decisions about her future, though she has formed a committee for state Senate District 8 in the 2018 election. Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, represents the district – which includes Tuolumne and Calaveras and parts of San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties – but term limits will prevent him from running for re-election in November 2018.
“Right now,” Olsen said, “I’m really focused on being the best Republican leader I can be for our caucus, our community and the state.” She said she has not endorsed anyone for her seat but is pleased it appears there will be a big field of strong candidates.
Marks, 53, has served on the Modesto City Schools board since 1997 and was re-elected for four years in November 2013. She also is a community volunteer, including serving on the Latino Emergency Council board of directors, as Pray Modesto Prayer Breakfast chairwoman, on Olsen’s education advisory committee and on Republican Rep. Jeff Denham’s women’s advisory committee.
As an assemblywoman, she said she would work on making sure students are prepared for college or work after they graduate high school, safe communities, safeguarding the region’s water supply and creating jobs. “I just believe that my local, state and national leadership positions have prepared me with the knowledge and experience to be a collaborative leader.”
Vogel, 69, is a longtime Linden-area cherry and walnut farmer and wrapped up his second term on the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors in January. Term limits prevented him from running for a third term. He is a retired school administrator, a former Army reservist and former Linden Unified School District board member. In 2013, he announced his intention to run for Olsen’s seat.
Vogel said he wants to fix the region’s aging transportation infrastructure, support agriculture, improve public schools, make rural communities safer and keep the region’s water here, instead of having it diverted to other parts of the state. He opposes the state’s plan to connect the Bay Area and Southern California with high-speed rail via the San Joaquin Valley but supports extending Altamont Corridor Express trains to Ripon, Manteca and Modesto.
“I’ve been involved in water issues, ag issues and the other issues during my time as supervisor and during my entire career,” he said. “I hope to continue working on these issues in the state Assembly for the benefit of my district.”
Zoslocki, 61, was elected to the Modesto City Council in November 2013 after running unsuccessfully for mayor in 2011. He has been rumored to be a candidate for November’s mayoral race, but said he is not running. Modesto Mayor Garrad Marsh is seeking a second term.
Zoslocki is a real estate broker and a builder, whose projects have included affordable housing complexes. He also is a former president of the Building Industry Association of Central California.
“My first goal is to create jobs,” he said. “At the state level, there is a lot more that I can do to address the bureaucratic regulation and other issues that have affected our ability to create jobs.”
Zoslocki serves on the the Stanislaus County Water Advisory Committee and said protecting the region’s water supply is a top priority as California weathers a fourth year of drought. He also is concerned about public safety, and drug abuse and the toll it takes on society.
He is using Carl Fogliani as his campaign’s general consultant. The Fair Political Practices Commission in July approved $32,500 in fines against Fogliani and former Turlock Councilman Kurt Vander Weide for their roles in four robocalls placed during the 2008 council campaign and for other violations.
Zoslocki said his Assembly campaign is about his qualifications and ideas and not about those who help him. “The candidate is responsible for the tenor of the campaign,” he said.
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2316.