Opinion

Why haven’t we seen Tom Berryhill campaigning or voting?

Sen. Tom Berryhill, right, is seen speaking to Sen. Cathleen Galgiani in July 2017. He missed every vote we checked in July and August and is said to be recovering from a broken hip.
Sen. Tom Berryhill, right, is seen speaking to Sen. Cathleen Galgiani in July 2017. He missed every vote we checked in July and August and is said to be recovering from a broken hip. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Has anyone seen Tom Berryhill lately?

He’s running to represent District 4 on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors, so you’d expect to see him everywhere – at the Sacramento Water Rally, shaking hands on every corner, and especially walking neighborhoods. Word is, Berryhill can’t do any of those things because he’s suffered a broken bone.

We’re not sure, but we believe it’s a broken hip. That’s what a member of Berryhill’s local staff told members of the Stanislaus Republican Central Committee in August.

We checked senate voting records, and couldn’t find a single vote he’s cast since late June. He even missed his going-away “tribute” on Tuesday.

We left a message with the office of Presson & Associates, his campaign consultant, but no one got back to us.

When we called Berryhill’s Sacramento senate office, we were referred to communications director Mike Zimmerman, who was unavailable. It was the last day of the legislative session, so he was probably busy.

We called Berryhill’s Oakdale office, but we were hurriedly referred to Sacramento.

There is no mention of a health issue on his senate website – which isn’t updated very often – or his campaign website.

No one wishes injury to anyone. Broken hips are especially dangerous, requiring long recuperation.

And while it wouldn’t necessarily keep Berryhill from carrying out his supervisor duties, we’re concerned that so much effort is being made to keep his condition quiet.

Berryhill’s health problems are well documented. He received a heart transplant in 2001, which inspired him to become active in the Donate Life California Donor Registry.

In April, we urged him not to continue his campaign for supervisor because, frankly, he didn’t seem to be up to the challenge physically. This only makes it worse.

VOTERS IN CONGRESSIONAL District 10 have an extremely important choice to make in November, with as many national implications as local. Democrats see electing Josh Harder as essential to flipping the House; Republicans see re-electing Jeff Denham as essential to holding it.

By agreeing to meet with our editorial board on Sept. 20, Rep. Denham and challenger Harder have committed to helping voters choose.

For that, we are grateful. But gratitude won’t earn either candidate a free pass.

Our first obligation is to provide readers with information and context. That means we won’t avoid touchy subjects – of which there’s no shortage.

We try not to be rude or discourteous, but we will absolutely ask both candidates questions about water and immigration.

And we’re anxious to ask Rep. Denham about his legislative support for Donald Trump’s agenda. We’re equally anxious to ask Harder why such a large percentage of his contributions – around 70 percent, from our count – come from the Bay Area donors.

Such questions are fair, but they’re also fairly predictable. Both men are smart, and will have anticipated them.

If there’s a topic you fear we’ll overlook, send an email to mdunbar@modbee.com. No “gotcha” questions and nothing that can’t be fact-checked. The session will be on Facebook Live.

Mike Dunbar is opinions page editor of The Bee. 209 578-2325.

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