Gaines seeking re-election to Assembly

Cox to run again; Aanestad, Keene undecided on future post-term candidacies
By: Jenna Nielsen Journal Staff Writer
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Ted Gaines is in. The first-term state Assemblyman filed re-election papers in Auburn Friday. Three local incumbent legislators also discussed their upcoming plans Friday. I want to continue to represent voters in terms of fiscal responsibility, which is important given the economic condition of the state currently, Gaines said of his decision to run again. I also want to continue to see if we can create a new practice of how we function as government. Gaines, R-Roseville, said he has many priorities on his legislative agenda. I want to see businesses prosper, I want to help reduce (government) regulation and continue to represent family values, Gaines said. A big priority is to continue his work on Assembly Constitutional Amendment 3, which would keep state spending in line with inflation and population growth. The budget would have grown at half the rate, had we had ACA 3 in place, Gaines said. Now more than ever, we must get serious about fiscal discipline. Sen. Dave Cox, who will term out in 2012, said he has pulled election papers. I am definitely a candidate for re-election, Cox said. I have never thought about not running. Cox, R-Fair Oaks, said he hasn't thought about plans after this year's election. Who knows what 2012 will bring? he said. We have to get through 2009, 2010 and 2011 first. Cox said his major focus in the coming year will be the state's budget. It is the No. 1 issue in 2008, he said. We have to get the budget back in shape and make sure our economy is moving along in a positive direction. Other concerns on his list include water, health insurance and prisons. We need to prioritize our issues, he said. Public safety is the No. 1 public issue. Education, social programs, we need to prioritize our issues based on if it's doing what it's expected to do. And we have to be open about making adjustments and changing those things around. Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, was re-elected to his final senate term last year, which will end in 2010. He said Friday that three years is a long way away, but he does have a few plans for what he wants to do when his term ends. Go fishing and spend time with my grandkids, Aanestad said. I still practice as an oral surgeon so I may continue to do that. I don't have many specific plans but we will just cross those bridges when we get there. Aanestad said he is also considering a run for lieutenant governor. I pulled papers a year ago and I have about another year to make a decision, Aanestad said. We will have a Republican come forward for that position and I am looking into seeing if that Republican is me. Aanestad said this year and for the remainder of his term he will focus on the budget and job creation. The budget is overriding everything this year, he said. But with three years left, my priorities are pretty much unchanged. I want to find ways to stimulate the economy and create new jobs. I want to find reasons for families to stay in the North State instead of having to move away. Assemblyman Rick Keene, R-Chico, will serve the remainder of his last term this year. He said a lot still needs to be done during his last year in office and that it's a little to early to say what he will do next, though many are encouraging him to run for Aanestad's seat in 2010, he said. At this point, what I want to do is keep my eye on the problems we have been given today, Keene said. When we are constantly talking about the future, it becomes the job we are not doing today. I need to focus on being the best legislator I can be because that is what the people elected me to do. Keene said the state's budget is also the No. 1 concern for him. The budget is something that affects every district, he said. Levee repairs are also a big issue, as is worker's comp. We've only been in session six weeks. I want to continue to work on those issues. Asked about the likelihood of running for Aanestad's seat, Keene said, possibly. I have been getting a lot of encouragement, he said. And I am thrilled about that. People want me to continue on, but right now I want to be faithful to them and get the job done I need to now. The Journal's Jenna Nielsen can be reached at or comment on this story at