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Former Ceres councilman running for State Senate seat
Businessman Jeff McKay eyes 4th Senate District
Jeff McKay
Jeff McKay

Jeff McKay, a successful businessman and former Ceres City Council member, announced he is running for the newly carved 4th district of the California State Senate.

The new district encompasses all of Stanislaus County and takes in the vast area to Lake Tahoe all the way south to Inyo County. The district, which runs 636 miles from the north to the south, has a four percent Republican Party registration advantage. It also includes part of Plumas County and all of Calaveras, Amador, Alpine, El Dorado, Tuolumne, Mariposa and Mono counties.

McKay, a 60-year-old Republican who graduated from Ceres High School in 1979, said he’s tired of the direction of California. He’s especially concerned about Democrats trying to pass AB 1400 to have the state take over the healthcare system in California.

“I’ve been sitting on the fence but I just couldn’t stand back any more and just watch the direction that we’re going, so I’m jumping in,” said McKay. “We’re losing jobs, crime is up, fires keep ravaging our state, and our farmers don’t have water. Politicians have been fumbling the basics for too long. I’m running for State Senate so if my daughters decide they want to start a family or a business, they want to do it in California because it’s safe, affordable, and livable for not just their generation, but for generations from now.”

“I would try to see what I could do for incentives to bringing more jobs to the district,” said McKay. “I’m a business person and so for me that’s of interest and concern to me.”

He also is concerned about farmers not having enough water, about expanding the Valley jobs base and about minimizing forest fires in the mountains with better fire management practices.

The 4th Senate District is so large and has no incumbent so it’s likely to attract competition in both parties. McKay hopes that he can manage to win in June without going to the general election in November.

McKay said the state running healthcare would be disastrous to Californians, especially small business owners.

“It would just decimate the state,” said McKay. “They want to put on an excise tax which goes on your gross (income). It would put most businesses out of business. You would pay more than you make. Finally, I’ve just had enough. It’s just one voice but it is one of 40 so it counts for something. We’ve got to stand up.”

McKay said he’s assembled a good campaign team as he gears up for the June 7 primary. He said he’s kicked off fundraising and reported “it’s going very well.”

“I expect to be very well funded, although part of it I’m funding myself. Thankfully I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to afford to fund a portion of the campaign.”

McKay owns a number of businesses which he has partners and managers to run operations while he courts voters and donors. His Jessee Equipment Manufacturing Company in Chico produces agricultural equipment, such as almond dryer, conveyors and hullers. McKay also owns Intermountain Truss Company in Oakdale. He also owns Wholesome Nut Company in Modesto which processes almonds. Another company, FP Omni Technologies, offers debit card processing to a variety of businesses, including the cannabis industry and jewelry stores. McKay also recently purchased the two Chicken Barn restaurants in Modesto with his daughter Madison and her fiancé.

“I’ve been fortunate,” said McKay, who lives in the prestigious Del Rio neighborhood in north Modesto. “I took some risks. Most of them panned out. A few didn’t but you learn through some hard knocks. I like to think I’m a Ceres boy made good.”

He graduated from Modesto Junior College and studied at Chico State University before graduating from California State University, Stanislaus. McKay served on the Ceres Planning Commission before he was appointed to the Ceres City Council in 1983. He was twice re-elected and spent 10 years on the council. Since moving to Modesto he has been elected to and still serves on the Stanislaus Union School District board of trustees, a seat he has held for 11 years.

For 26 years

McKay and his wife of 26 years Brenda, a 1986 Ceres High graduate, have two daughters. Besides, Madison, his youngest daughter, Morgan is a student at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

His parents, Richard “Dick” and Isabel McKay are Ceres residents.