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Gray, Mobley competing in Ceres for votes in Assembly race
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Adam Gray, the Democratic candidate for 21st state Assembly District, received the endorsement of all five members of the Ceres City Council. How did he pull that off considering they're all Republicans?

Ceres Mayor Chris Vierra said while he "struggled" with making the endorsement - fearing Gray would vote the Democratic Party line - he feels Gray has been more aggressive and more accessible than Republican hopeful Jack Mobley.

"My main concern is with the city of Ceres and I felt I'd have more of a voice that I could reach out to with Adam," said Vierra. "And I feel he has vested interests in the community with connections to the Condits."

Gray recently married Cadee Condit, daughter of former Congressman Gary Condit.

A longtime Merced resident, Gray entered the election season early, tapping into the agriculturally rich district with credentials relating to his family's Merced Dairy Supply business. As a result, he won key endorsements and raised a lot of cash. He has worked hard to make himself known in Stanislaus County, attending a lot of events in Ceres such as the Imperial Knights fundraiser and Friday's Ceres Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

"Over the past year, I've had the opportunity to attend lots of great events and visit with folks throughout Stanislaus County," said Gray.

Most would agree that Gray has been more determined in campaigning. But Mobley has been on the attack. Mobley's barrage of radio ads portray Gray as a Sacramento insider and a "Trojan horse" to allow special-interests and Democrats to take over the district from the hands of a conservative in Bill Berryhill.

Berryhill decided not to seek re-election in the newly re-drawn district, which encompasses all of Merced County, Ceres and the west side of Stanislaus County. The district has a 15 percent Democrat advantage in voter registration over Republicans. Instead Berryhill, a Ceres grape farmer, has moved to Clements to run in the newly drawn 5th Senate District where he faces Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton.

Gray's background

Gray attended public schools in Merced and was a member of Golden Valley High School's first graduating class. He worked his way through college, splitting time between his family's Merced Dairy Supply and Merced Community College, before furthering his education at U.C. Santa Barbara.

Fresh out of college, Gray worked for then Assemblyman (now retiring congressman) Dennis Cardoza. Gray helped exempt fuel and farm equipment from the state sales tax, otherwise known as the "Tractor Tax," which encouraged farmers to upgrade their equipment and save jobs. He also worked on legislation to provide tax incentives to small businesses, and to protect family farms from scrap metal theft. Most recently, he helped pass a law that provides tax credits to first-time homebuyers and protects homeowners against fraudulent loan modifications.

Cardoza said Gray "understands our community's urgent need for jobs and economic growth."

Today he manages a small public affairs and communications firm and serves as a course assistant/lecturer on the state legislature at UC Merced.

Mobley ran before

Mobley himself is no stranger to politics. He previously ran in the 17th Assembly District against Galgiani and lost.

This time he is appealing to voters to end the mismanagement of Sacramento.

"If we continue down the path we are on, we will never get out of the state budget mess," said Mobley. "The politicians will come after us with new taxes every year, and it will never be enough. There will always be a deficit. The ultimate outcome of continuing the status quo in Sacramento is a bankrupt state of California. We are almost there now.

"If we continue to send the same tax and spend candidates to Sacramento, we will continue to get the same results. More tax burden simply means a greater flight of business and jobs to other states. Where does it end?"

He said higher taxes are not the answer to California's economic woes, saying instead that "it's the development of an environment that encourages more business." He feels if the state wants business start-ups and relocations to California, "we have to do something about excessive taxes and senseless regulations that drive businesses to other states."

Mobley said Gray is in the pockets of unions, adding: "The one thing we cannot afford is to continue sending people to Sacramento whose campaigns are substantially funded by public employee unions. The hard choices that have to be made will require truly independent elected officials. Unfunded and out of control public pensions have been identified as major contributors to our chronic budget shortfalls. This problem must be addressed or everyone loses - including public employees and retirees."

Mobley is a decorated 22-year Air Force veteran of both Desert Storm and Kosovo. Mobley started a ServiceMaster Clean franchise in Merced 22 years ago, while serving in the Air Force Reserves. It was his Air Force service which brought him to Merced, where he met and married Sandra Fletcher in 1987.

His campaign website notes that "Since that time, he has employed some two thousand people, at least half of whom have been Hmong and Mien people from Merced's large Southeast Asian refugee community. Jack Mobley did what government programs had failed to do for these immigrants - that is to provide meaningful private sector jobs."

Mobley has served on the Merced County Planning Commission, and is a member of the Merced County Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club and Merced Boosters. He received the Business of the Year Award from the city of Merced in 2011.