Bee endorsement: Stanislaus County deserves one of our own at State Capitol

Modesto Bee, Sept 29, 2022

In the California Senate’s most improbable campaign pairing this fall, Tim Robertson deserves a nod ahead of fellow Democrat Marie Alvarado-Gil. Both know that the Senate District 4 victor was supposed to be a Republican. In a life-is-stranger-than-fiction twist, six GOP candidates in the June primary — all salivating at a Republican-voter majority in a huge district incorporating several conservative Mother Lode counties — unwittingly diluted the GOP vote.

The result that stunned all onlookers: two Democratic candidates emerged instead, and advanced to the November ballot. So a Democratic state senator will spend the next four years trying to figure out how to represent a right-leaning district, which could prove a tricky proposition in today’s divided world. Robertson has the tools to succeed.

Robertson has spent years establishing common ground and honing negotiating skills in his labor management career — skills that will come in handy as he represents the interests of people across the political spectrum. Issues like housing, jobs, schools and safety are important to all without regard to partisan interest, Robertson noted in a lively debate with Alvarado-Gil before The Modesto Bee Editorial Board.

“My focus is jobs and the economic conditions of working families,” he said. “The vast majority of (voters) don’t care what the party is — that’s a construct of the political system,” he said. Most families are moderate, not extreme, and polarizing distinctions “fade away” as he reasons with them, he said. Robertson’s experience with three boards focused on better jobs — especially the promising Stanislaus 2030 initiative — is a huge plus. His knowledge of and personal involvement with workforce development, including improving high school students’ job prospects, helped him provide a more solid answer to a debate question about education than his opponent, an educator. If that isn’t enough, Robertson also has developed himself as a public servant. His time on the Keyes Community Services District demonstrates a willingness to improve his community — our community.

ONE OF OUR OWN IN SACRAMENTO Yes, the Fourth Senate District sprawls over 13 counties — but its heart is right here in Stanislaus County, home to more voters than any of the others. We deserve to have one of our own representing our interests in Sacramento. It’s curious that Amador County’s Alvarado-Gil, in The Bee’s debate, downplayed Stanislaus’ role as the anchor of this senate district. She has many fine qualities, but there are good reasons that so many locally respected public figures and entities endorse Robertson, including Modesto Mayor Sue Zwahlen, the Stanislaus Latino Community Roundtable, and Modesto police and firefighting units. “I have a career in bringing people together,” Robertson said.

He offered a stronger, clearer defense than his opponent of the voluntary agreements being negotiated with state water officials affecting Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced river water. He knows that water policy may affect our economy as much as any issue batted around the State Capitol. Tim Robertson’s skills, experience and commitment to public service make him the best candidate to represent Senate District 4.