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Candidate Q&A with Tom Hallinan
• Candidate for District 5 Supervisor's seat answers questions from the Courier
Tom Hallinan is a candidate for the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors.

Age:  58

How many years in Ceres: 11

Education:  Local schools from kindergarten to Modesto Junior College; Fresno State University; Lincoln Law School.

Career/Employment History: Injection Molding Machine Operator; Warehouseman; Vac Truck Operator; United States Department of Justice; City/Special District Attorney.

Wife:  Annamarie

Children:  Marco, 36; Cecilia, 25; Logan, 20.

Clubs/Other Affiliations:  Former member of Board of Directors for: Chamber of Commerce; Big Brothers/Big Sisters; Senior Opportunity Service Programs; Former Vice-President, Latino Community Roundtable; 38th District Agricultural Association/President, Stanislaus County Fair.

Key Political endorsements:  Ceres Mayor Chris Vierra, former mayor, supervisor and state Assemblyman Sal Cannella, Sheriff Jeff Dirkse, Stanislaus Sworn Deputy Sheriffs Association, Patterson Mayor Deborah Novelli, Newman Mayor Robert Martina, Grayson Community Services District President Maricela Vela, Crows Landing Community Services District President Lance Perry, Westley Community Services District President Ida Tucker, and nine out of 10 city councilmembers across the district who have endorsed.

1). What life or job experiences make you more qualified to serve on the Board of Supervisor than your two opponents?

I believe my 25 years as a City/Special District Attorney, working full-time on local governmental issues; and my 20 years representing Ceres on the Yosemite Community College Board (MJC) where I made difficult decisions related to a $120 million budget, set me apart from the other candidates.

2). Why did you decide to run for this office?

I decided to seek this office after receiving encouragement from others after Anthony Cannella chose not to run.  They said I was uniquely qualified to run, and could really improve the quality of life for District 5 residents and the entire county.

3). What will be your specific priorities as a county supervisor?

Public safety, homelessness and economic development.

4). Is there something Stanislaus County government is not presently doing that you would like to see done if you are elected?

I would like to see the county and the cities work better together and be partners instead of rivals so we can more effectively fight state decisions which adversely affect us.

5). Supervisors are paid approximately $83,000 per year while chairmen make $94,134. How much time and effort do you plan to give this job if elected?  In other words, will you leave your present employment to devote full-time effort to being a county supervisor?

If elected I will leave my current job and devote my full-time effort to being a county supervisor.

6). How accessible will you be to attend meetings of city councils, commissions and MACs within your district?

I will be extremely accessible.  I current attend six of those meetings already.  If elected I would be able to spend full-time attending the few others I don’t already.

7). How important is it to you that you serve out a full term of four years should you have desires to run for a higher office?

I intend to serve out a full term, and have no plans to run for anything else.

8). There have been calls from fringe groups to make Stanislaus County a so-called Sanctuary County. What is your position on the topic?

As I understand it, this movement seeks to bar county employees from enforcing state laws they believe are unconstitutional.  Generally speaking, local governments only have the powers granted to them by their states.  So, they can’t just ignore state laws they don’t agree with such as recent state laws regarding the legalization of cannabis.  However, if the federal government steps in directly, or an issue is litigated between the feds and the state and the national government prevails, the locals would be required to defer to them over the state.

9). How much do you expect to spend on your campaign?

I expect to spend $50,000 on my campaign.  Unfortunately, it takes money to communicate with all the voters in this large district.  I walk almost every day, but I can’t reach everyone – particularly with all the commuters who have to drive to the Bay Area every day for work.

10). We invite you to make a statement, if you wish, regarding any issue or topic that we not have asked you about above.

I believe the homeless Issue is particularly important right now.  It also affects the two other main issues of economic development and public safety.  Homelessness has many components.  We need to help those who have just fallen off the economic edge and need training and temporary shelter; we need to maintain and increase mental health and substance abuse programs; we also need to address those who chose to be on the street and commit crimes.  Police need every tool they can get to deal with this problem, and when major violations are committed, they need to be prosecuted by the District Attorney.  No one wants to criminalize homelessness, but these so-called petty crimes are no small matter when it’s your car that is the one getting broken into or it’s your family or business patrons which have to witness open urination, public drinking, and drug use.