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Cannella: no more games in Sacramento
Anthony Cannella will definitely feel outnumbered when he settles into the California State Senate next month.

The Ceres mayor will be a freshman among the endangered species of Republicans in the state capitol where the makeup of the Senate is lopsidedly in favor of Democrats, 24 to 14.

It will be harder for the GOP to have their way in the Sacramento after Nov. 2 election results that were disastrous to Republicans in California. The governor's office was taken by a Democrat, no Republicans were elected to statewide office and voters made it easier for Democrats to approve a state budget without Republicans having little say when they passed Proposition 25.

"The Democrats are currently in charge and own the budget now," said Cannella. "They've talked years and years about Republicans obstructing the budget process. They're not any more."

Republicans, however, rejoiced to see passage of Prop. 26 which binds the hands of Democrats seeking to make up for a sea of red ink with fee increases. It requires a two-thirds majority for increasing fees. It joins an already two-thirds majority requirement to increase taxes.

"They've got a $25 billion problem they've got to solve without increasing revenue."

Cannella is not happy about seeing Jerry Brown defeat Meg Whitman but he says he's sticking to his principles. Brown, the former two-time governor, will take the oath the same month Cannella takes his.

"He's the governor so ... the bottom line is the time for games is over," said Cannella. "It's a $25 billion shortfall. We have a serious problem in the state and there's no more games. It has to be addressed head-on. He (Brown) said he's up to the challenge and I hope he is."

Cannella said his priorities as a legislator will be seeing the state cut expenditures, and create a business friendly environment in California.

"Ultimately it's only through job growth and a thriving economy that we're ever going to get this ship righted," Cannella said. "For years and years the state has done everything they can to make it tough for businesses to operate here and we're paying the price. You know, 600,000 manufacturing jobs lost in the last 10 years. Business after business after business leaving the state. We've got to change that cycle. We can do that through regulatory reform, a fairer tax structure and make business feel welcome."

Cannella, son of former state Assemblyman Sal Cannella of Ceres, plans to continue having a stake in his firm, Mid Valley Engineering in Modesto, so that he'll have a job after he leaves Sacramento.

"It' not my intention, nor is it possible, to continue in this job as state senator indefinitely and I have to come back to a business to where - my kids will still be kinda of job - so I need to still have a career when I get out. So I'll be spending some time, enough to stay involved."

Cannella also plans on being at home in Ceres with his family. When county librarian Vanessa Czopek of Ceres mentioned at the Nov. 8 council meeting that she would miss seeing Cannella regularly at the gym, he replied that he was still going to show up there to stay fit.

Cannella said he was hapy to win on Nov. 2 despite being heavily outspent by opponent Anna Caballero, a Democratic member of the state Assembly.

"I was excited. We worked so hard. My wife and I decided that I would pursue this in March 2009 and I've worked very hard. It was a great relief. I went out there and shared my ideas and told them what I wanted to do and they believed in me.

"We did a ton of grassroots, reaching out to folks. I and another gentleman walked all of Atwater in two days. We walked all of Los Banos, I walked most of Ceres. I probably personally walked 7,000 to 8,000 houses. I spent so much time out there and went to every function I could, every debate that someone set up I went to. I wanted to get my ideas out there because ultimately I want someone to vote for me because they agree with me."