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Assembly hopefuls come from diverse backgrounds
22nd Assembly District art

With the filing deadline now passed for the June primary election, the final list of candidates running for Assembly District 22 is set. Voters will choose between candidates from all across the political spectrum and with a diverse set of backgrounds. 

Assembly District 22 is a newly-drawn district which encompasses Ceres along with Modesto, Turlock, Patterson, Newman, Gustine, Hilmar, Snelling and Stevinson.

Chad Condit, a Democrat, is entering the campaign again after running for Congress in 2012. Condit is a Navy veteran and is a political veteran. He has served as chief of staff to Dennis Cardoza in the California State Assembly, as an assistant to Gov. Gray Davis and worked as a Senior Legislative Assistant for Majority Leader Charles Calderon in the State Assembly. Currently, he is a public relations consultant in his hometown of Ceres.

“I think I could make a difference and I think my experience lends itself to being an effective legislator,” said Condit. “It’s a great district with great people; my wife is very supportive and we live in Ceres, right in the heart of District 22. I’m just running to make a positive difference.” 

Condit believes people “want someone that will listen and put the partisan aside” and plans on giving all voters the same message regardless of political party. One of the first priorities he would tackle is to “immediately” vote to suspend the gas tax and find a way to “allow oil companies to produce more freely and become self-reliant.”

Condit believes his experience and independent nature makes him the most effective candidate.

“I know the community and this is a position where you need an effective person,” he said. “I’m running as a Democrat, but first and foremost I’m an American and a member of Stanislaus and Merced counties.”

After previously announcing he would once again run for Stanislaus County Sheriff in 2022, Republican Juan Alanis has pivoted his campaign and will seek election in the newly-created District 22 of the State Assembly. 

Alanis, a Modesto resident and sergeant with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office, ran against Sheriff Jeff Dirkse in the 2018 election. Alanis had planned to challenge Dirkse in this year’s November election, but the redistricting process moved Assemblyman Heath Flora north and he saw an opportunity to pursue something that many had already suggested to him. Alanis has worked for the Sheriff’s Office for 27 years, and much of Stanislaus County is included in the new District 22.

Alanis said his priorities if elected include public safety and reducing crime, introducing more technology in areas like agriculture, water rights for consumers and growers and protecting personal freedoms for citizens as the pandemic continues. He also believes that he would bring bipartisanship to the Senate.

“I used to tell everyone in the Sheriff’s race that I’m not a politician, which was easy because the Sheriff is for everyone. I try to think of the Assembly in the same way in that I’m here for everybody, whether you’re a Democrat, Independent or Republican,” Alanis said. “I think that’s what Sacramento needs more of…The only way it’s going to happen is if you actually step up and try to make changes that take everyone’s good points from both sides. Compromise and make things better with the community in mind, not politics.”

Jessica Self is an attorney for Stanislaus County, member of the Commission of Women and has earned the endorsement of the California Democratic Party. After living in Southern California and going to law school in Orange County, Self moved to Modesto in 2011 and put down roots in the Valley.

She wants to “have long-term planning” and think about what the district will look like in 30 or 40 years. Some of her priorities are affordability, housing and jobs.

“You’re going to have to invest in low-income and medium housing,” said Self. “We need to utilize unique and innovative approaches. There’s a thousand ways for us to be creative, you’re just going to have to go out there, learn and have people willing to try new things.”

Self believes the issues she is discussing are areas everyone, regardless of political party, are passionate about and will resonate with. She also said she has worked for Republicans in the past and knows how to reach across the aisle.

“This is a beautiful place to live and we just need people with the ideals that match their residents,” she said.

After considering himself an underdog in the race last time, Joel Campos feels more comfortable this time around and has earned the endorsement of both the Republican Party of Stanislaus County and the California Republican Party.  

He works as a regional planner with the San Joaquin Council of Governments and is no stranger to politics. Campos sailed past the 2020 primary election for Assembly District 21 as a write-in candidate, and lost to Assemblyman Adam Gray after receiving 40 percent of the vote in the general election.

Campos says his top priority in the Assembly would be to address crime and safety. He’s against Proposition 47, which reduced penalties for various theft in California and wants to decrease crime in the Valley because it’s something he’s witnessed in his own front yard.

“I believe this is just the next step for me to be able to serve Stanislaus County, and I love my community,” said Campos. “People hate on Modesto, people hate on Turlock, but I don’t because this is where my family lives. This is where I grew up. And I’m still here.”

Guadalupe “Lupita” Salazar also ran a write-in campaign in the 2020 race, but ended up falling short and coming in third in the primary. She is running to cut through party politics and represent all voters in the district. 

“I want to be a real voice for our community,” she said at a meet and greet in Patterson in March. “We have a lot of bureaucracy and we really haven’t had the real representation we should have.”

Another priority she has is to not let campaign contributions affect policy decisions. 

“I see that there’s a complete imbalance in our legislation,” she said. “There is a lot of party politics on every side. There’s dirty money, there’s big money and it plays a huge role in what we’re seeing happen.”