26th District: A state Republican star seeks to move up to a new level

Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, meets with volunteers and supporters as part of his campaign for the 26th Congressional District. Six candidates are seeking to become the first new member of the House of Representatives from Ventura County since retiring Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Simi Valley, was elected 26 years ago.

Photo by Joseph A. Garcia, Ventura County Star // Buy this photo

Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, meets with volunteers and supporters as part of his campaign for the 26th Congressional District. Six candidates are seeking to become the first new member of the House of Representatives from Ventura County since retiring Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Simi Valley, was elected 26 years ago.

Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, meets with volunteers and supporters as part of his campaign for the 26th Congressional District.

Photo by Joseph A. Garcia, Ventura County Star

Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, meets with volunteers and supporters as part of his campaign for the 26th Congressional District.

Six candidates are seeking to become the first new member of the House of Representatives from Ventura County since retiring Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Simi Valley, was elected 26 years ago.

The new 26th District includes nearly all of Ventura County except for most of the city of Simi Valley.

Four Democrats, a Republican and an independent will be on the June 5 ballot. This week, The Star will publish personal profiles of one of the candidates each day. Future stories will more fully address the candidates' positions on issues.

Monday:
DEMOCRAT Julia Brownley

Tuesday:
DEMOCRAT Al Goldberg

Wednesday:
DEMOCRAT Jess Herrera

Thursday:
INDEPENDENT Linda Parks

Friday:
REPUBLICAN Tony Strickland

Saturday:
DEMOCRAT David Cruz Thayne

Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, is one of six 26th Congressional candidates seeking to become the first new member of the House of Representatives from Ventura County since retiring Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Simi Valley, was elected 26 years ago.

Photo by Joseph A. Garcia, Ventura County Star

Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, is one of six 26th Congressional candidates seeking to become the first new member of the House of Representatives from Ventura County since retiring Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Simi Valley, was elected 26 years ago.

From the time Tony Strickland, fresh out of Whittier College, began working on Republican political campaigns in the early 1990s, he was certain that someday he would become a candidate himself.

In that, he succeeded beyond any reasonable expectations. He was elected to the state Assembly at the age of 28 and was twice re-elected. He ran and lost for state controller in 2006, won a bruising campaign for state Senate in 2008, then lost again as the GOP nominee for controller two years ago.

This year, Strickland says, he's discovering that he's moved things up to a new level by running for the House of Representatives. In some ways, it's not unlike trying to take the step up from the minor league Los Angeles Lightning basketball team he played for in 2009 and 2010 to the NBA.

"People pay more attention to the federal stuff," Strickland said recently when asked about the difference between running for the U.S. House and his previous races. "I remember telling people that I was an assemblyman, and they'd ask, 'What do you assemble?' "

Running for Congress has always been an ambition, and Strickland knows that the opportunities are rare. Having grown up in Simi Valley, he remembers when that city's former mayor, Elton Gallegly, was elected to the House in 1986. After 26 years, Gallegly is retiring after this term.

"The last time there was an opening," said Strickland, 42, "I was a sophomore in high school."

Strickland's life has been Republican politics, and he has become one of the state party's unquestioned stars. He met his wife, Audra, at a state GOP convention. They were married at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library. He has held leadership positions in the party's legislative caucuses in Sacramento, recruited and helped promising candidates, and become actively engaged in supporting high-profile GOP candidates.

Two years ago, he was a co-chairman of Meg Whitman's campaign for governor and says he ran a second time for controller largely because she asked him to become part of her statewide Republican ticket.

He has twice served as a California chairman of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, befriended the Romney family and this winter flew to New Hampshire to help them campaign in advance of that state's critical early primary.

He is so close to House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield — the two served together in the Assembly — that the national online political magazine Politico recently noted their 20-year friendship.

Strickland believes those connections and friendships would serve Ventura County well if voters decide to send him to Congress.

"If Mitt Romney becomes the president, there wouldn't be too many freshman House members with that kind of relationship with the president," he said.

On policy issues, his positions are largely in line with those of the House Republican leadership.

He supports construction of the Keystone pipeline, would vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, wants to keep the Bush tax cuts in place for all taxpayers, opposes any cuts in defense spending, and praises House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan for "coming up with ways to reform Medicare."

On immigration, Strickland believes creating a legal pathway to residency for illegal immigrants who have lived in the country for years is "something to definitely take a look at" — but only after a number of other steps are taken first. That includes establishment of a guest worker program and expansion of legal immigration through the issuance of more HB1 visas for foreign workers in specialized occupations.

One area in which Strickland breaks from many Republicans is his support for the development of alternative energy. He is an investor in a company that received Federal Energy Commission permits to develop wave energy projects off the Northern California coast, lost them for lack of progress in pursuing development and has now reapplied.

He notes that he was one of just three Republican lawmakers in Sacramento to support a law that requires electrical utilities to attain 30 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Strickland has a reputation as a tireless campaigner and prolific fundraiser — indeed, his first-quarter fundraising placed him in the top 10 nationally among House candidates. His campaigns are reminiscent of his own roots: staffed by energetic young workers.

On a recent Thursday afternoon, two full months before Election Day, his Camarillo campaign office was staffed by eight volunteers, all in their 20s, handwriting postcards and making phone calls.

"Who knows? One of them might make a great representative in the future," Strickland said.

© 2012 Ventura County Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 55

CAPEDad writes:

Romney will lose by at least 100 electoral votes. Watch and see.

Careful folks - this guy is a Paul Ryan clone. Better vote Parks.

RTisdale writes:

There is no one better for our community than Tony Strickland!

TomLin writes:

We need more Republicans in Congress that support alternative energy. I will be voting for Stickland.

JMeeks71 writes:

Strickland for Congress! He is by far the best option!

PoliticalJunkie88 writes:

Tony Strickland: a tremendous leader, and the best candidate for the job! He has my vote, let's send him to Washington!

JMeeks71 writes:

in response to CAPEDad:

Romney will lose by at least 100 electoral votes. Watch and see.

Careful folks - this guy is a Paul Ryan clone. Better vote Parks.

Strickland is so much better than Parks. He's offering a plan for jobs and economic recovery. She's offering her favorite ice cream flavors.

socalfres writes:

I will be voting for Tony Strickland this election because he knows our county better than anyone and will fight for us in Congress.

regularjoe writes:

Don't forget he's Pro-Life and Pro-Proposition 8!

JMeeks71 writes:

in response to regularjoe:

Don't forget he's Pro-Life and Pro-Proposition 8!

He's the only candidate with a plan to get people working again and help rebuild the economy. California is drowning and businesses are fleeing. He has spent his life fighting the uphill battle to retain them and grow the California economy. He would be a great leader in Congress.

Bondy writes:

Go Tony!!!!!

anyonecansee writes:

He's actually not the only candidate with a plan to get people working again.
http://sendlinda.com/message-to-the-n...

RTisdale writes:

in response to anyonecansee:

He's actually not the only candidate with a plan to get people working again.
http://sendlinda.com/message-to-the-n...

I guess you Parks plants are going to be pretty bored on June 6th. Better stock up on the Rocky Road.

PoliticalJunkie88 writes:

in response to anyonecansee:

He's actually not the only candidate with a plan to get people working again.
http://sendlinda.com/message-to-the-n...

At the rate Parks changes her mind (and political affiliation), it's hard to believe she'll actually sand by her 10 Point Plan for Jobs...or anything else for that matter.

book_worm writes:

Tony Strickland has lived in VC for decades and is the only candidate who knows the needs that we have. He is committed to keeping jobs in the area and that is why he has my vote!!!!! Im so happy that Tony Strickland will be our next Congressman :)))))

VenturaVoter21 writes:

Linda Parks has been a underperforming supervisor for years. Why would we send her to DC?
Name 1 job that Parks created in VC besides hiring her own staff. Any answers any one??
How about you Tom Cat? any ideas.

And Brownley, another rubber stamper that just put hundreds of locally convicted felons back on our streets. Ask any local COP if they would vote for Pavley or Brownley? I'm positive of the answer. But, you need to hear it for yourself.

rjlebeck writes:

in response to TomLin:

We need more Republicans in Congress that support alternative energy. I will be voting for Stickland.

The only thing green about Strickland is the campaign cash he is swimming in. Tony may be conservative, but a conservationist he is not.

Voting for Tony Strickland is an affirmation of all that is wrong with a Congress that is bought and paid for with corporate money and all the political corruption that money can buy.

That's why I'm voting for Linda Parks.

JMeeks71 writes:

in response to TomcatDriver:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"Stupid" is supporting people like Brownley who, along with fellow Democrats in the legislature, have dragged California so low it's almost unrecognizable. It's time for new leadership and economic recovery. Strickland is the man for that job.

reachout writes:

Tony created a sham green energy business so that he could put "green energy businessman" on the ballot when he ran for comptroller. They NEVER did a lick of actual business, it was political Kabuki theater. Everything he does is calculated for it's long term political value to HIM. He is the most dangerous kind of political animal.

pilgrim writes:

I find it hilarious how the Strickland's always run on a platform of smaller govt and cutting spending yet their entire careers have been funded by our tax dollars. Oh Hypocrisy!

DoctorDude writes:

Remember last election when it wasn't popular to be a Republican, so Toni pretended to be a 'Green Business Owner" to get elected? HAHAHAA! Politicians of his ilk are gross.

Allmen writes:

Tony Strickland. Do we really have to pretend he has a plan and is experienced enough to be a US Congressmen. The guy never has had a real job. He and his wife spend all their time running for office. Look to the money supporting him to figure out who really wants Tony Strickland in office.

moondoggie writes:

Phony Tony hasn't shown an honest bone. The only people he has wanted to get back to work are named Stricklands and only to work for the government that he wants to cut. He has earned the name Phony.

TOaksLover writes:

"I remember telling people that I was an assemblyman, and they'd ask, 'What do you assemble?

Read more: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/may/0...
- vcstar.com
Wish he had been an assembler ANY THING but BOTH he and Parks have NO clue what a REAL job is!! What it is to meet payroll get a business permit Have a seal as a CPA or Attorney They are loosers!! Feeding from the system Phony because he wants a lean , mean Govt (cut SS, student help etc.) She as sd a weatherwane who passed Soar so as to make a name for herself and other NO growth things to whip up supporters into a frenzy
I say close Pt Mugu & China Lake Lets be a corridor for hi tech MED like Amgen, Baxter and TEN MORE. We will do it with a PROVEN Leader like Julia!!

carthomas7 writes:

NewsFlash Vons/Ralph managers puzzled in dramatic drop in Rock road icecream Baskin Robbins drops flavor in Ventura County!!
Phony is DANGEROUS he has helped cause the GRIDLOCK in Sac & will be worse than Paul Ryan as NO Job; no schooling Arts easy degree from Whittier; Scott Mitnick TO City Mgrs home town as well as tricky Dick's
Jesse why not run for Oxnard Council Thayne you for TO Council b4 wearing the big boots
Don't steal votes from our Joan of Arc "Julia"

Honestcop writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

bajawahoo writes:

To all the Strickland fans, and others, please get over and beyond the "ice cream" crap, and other irrelevancies that have been programmed into your minds, and look who is funding Strickland to take control of Ventura County's Congressional seat. Over 80% of his money, and it is BIG money, has come from outside our county - oil companies and D.C. special interests account for much of it. Are you so willing, so indoctrinated, to sell out your home county for a puppet of that outside money??

bajawahoo writes:

Timm showed his stripes in this slanted piece, and they certainly weren't the stripes of a tiger. Mr. Herdt, please get over your reluctance to acknowledge that Linda Parks is our most viable candidate.

PoliticalPal writes:

Finally a candidate who has a plan. Tony Strickland will help create and keep jobs in Ventura County, a place I call home. My vote is with Tony.

Ventucky writes:

here's to his finally getting a job assembling things...somewhere other than sacto or dc!!

greaterthanroomtempIQ writes:

When I hear the name Strickland the first word that comes to my mind is "grifter". If I remember correctly old Tony & his wife paid each other 100K from campaign money for "political consulting"--whatever happened to that flap? And apparently he set up some sham green business?

No matter what your political affiliation is, why would anyone vote for someone like that? I would think that anyone running would be better.

anyonecansee writes:

in response to greaterthanroomtempIQ:

When I hear the name Strickland the first word that comes to my mind is "grifter". If I remember correctly old Tony & his wife paid each other 100K from campaign money for "political consulting"--whatever happened to that flap? And apparently he set up some sham green business?

No matter what your political affiliation is, why would anyone vote for someone like that? I would think that anyone running would be better.

Here's an article about that: http://www.vcreporter.com/cms/story/d...
Between Tony and Audra, they had multiple campaign chests from their runs for Assembly, Senate, Controller, Secretary of State, Supervisor, Treasurer, office holder accounts, re-election to the Senate 2012,and even some initiative account.
I think money-grabber is pretty accurate. The Stricklands have perfected the art of taking special interest money.

2BR_BZT writes:

strickland would slip right into a chair next to the failed policies of the republican party.
Off and on he might propose miniscule legislation like: 'you can't be trusted to wash your own belongings' so I'll legislate that.
Ventura County is unique, ask any tourist who spends time here, they will tell you how they see this place on Earth as something very special.
strickland will start out listening only to his new cronies in Washington D.C.; a city which is thousands of miles from here.

raylaw43#321876 writes:

in response to OHGATE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"Intelligent and informed voters".... Like you?

I agree that Strickland is not a "money grabber". He makes his money the old fashioned way: on the public payroll and from campaign contributions.

In that he is flush with campaign cash, who by name and function are his paid staffers and advisers?

reachout writes:

in response to reachout:

Tony created a sham green energy business so that he could put "green energy businessman" on the ballot when he ran for comptroller. They NEVER did a lick of actual business, it was political Kabuki theater. Everything he does is calculated for it's long term political value to HIM. He is the most dangerous kind of political animal.

You miss the point scapegoat, when you say "Obama wants to be green too, only he spent hundreds of millions of borrowed money to be so" Tony DOESN'T want to be green. He is lying about his interest in green energy. It's the lies and plotting that should worry voters.

VintageRacer writes:

in response to OHGATE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

<choke, gag, puke>

carthomas7 writes:

i am glad we have ONE candidate with a proven track record as a legislator who CARES about US the PEOPLE Julia!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue5xh8... Julia on KADY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miJ8C2... ad julia by DNC only one

VintageRacer writes:

in response to socalfres:

I will be voting for Tony Strickland this election because he knows our county better than anyone and will fight for us in Congress.

You're a shill. All nine of your posts are the same

TheCrusader writes:

If Strickland is a "star" then the Ca GOP is in a more sorry state then I thought! www.dontvoteforphonytony.com.

JMeeks71 writes:

in response to bajawahoo:

To all the Strickland fans, and others, please get over and beyond the "ice cream" crap, and other irrelevancies that have been programmed into your minds, and look who is funding Strickland to take control of Ventura County's Congressional seat. Over 80% of his money, and it is BIG money, has come from outside our county - oil companies and D.C. special interests account for much of it. Are you so willing, so indoctrinated, to sell out your home county for a puppet of that outside money??

Strickland has raised more money from INSIDE the district than any other candidate. You can try any spin you want but the fact is that he has more support, more personal relationships and has represented every city in the congressional district. No other candidate can say that.

Julia Brownley wants to make owning private health insurance ILLEGAL. She co-authored Obamacare on STEROIDS (SB 810). Obamacare is tremendously unpopular. What does that mean about a plan that is much more socialistic?

VC voters don't know Brownley. Strickland has the money to expose her ugly policies and people are not going to like it one bit.

nowaste_council writes:

in response to RTisdale:

There is no one better for our community than Tony Strickland!

We do not need career politician.
We hope he can find the real job to make a living.

wowza writes:

jmeeks71 - You want people to ignore that 80% Strickland's money comes from outside the district and claimed that he's raised more money from inside the district than any other candidate, but you're still missing the point. In terms of support from individual people inside the district he lags.
I feel that the major problem with all of this is that the vast amounts of money from outside the district drown out the voices of those within the district. I say this as one who always voted for the Stricklands up until the time that they rented an apartment in Thousand Oaks so that Audra could run against Linda Parks. My home was flooded with the most vile campaign material I had ever read. Now I am hearing from Democrats that they are getting the same sort of nonsense from their party.

VenturaVoter21 writes:

Congratulate TOM CAT:

OVER "4,000" negative posts to the Star and counting. Are you sure your not on their payroll?

Lets_Be_Truthful writes:

in response to VenturaVoter21:

Congratulate TOM CAT:

OVER "4,000" negative posts to the Star and counting. Are you sure your not on their payroll?

Averaging 10 posts a day is an accomplishment.

Lets_Be_Truthful writes:

I'm curious why the story that the Star had up about Berkshire Hathaway's huge first quarter profit was suddenly taken down.

Politics77 writes:

If Romney does become President, which I pray not to happen almost every day, then yes I want Strickland if his relationship will pay off for our district. In the end I want the person who will benefit our district the most. If Obama wins, and he will, then we need a strong willed Democrat who won't run to the left and will be able to work with the Republicans to pass bills out of the House. David Cruz Thayne is that man.

NoGodLove writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

carthomas7 writes:

TomCat The huckster independant has a dumb $212K buy with Time Warner (so who cares about Fios, Dish, Direct TV homes)
She also APPOINTS those who support her Over 100 so far.
Smell the roses like The 2 county unions, Patagonia, Lacayos, Bennet ALL former friends and supporters List is looong!!

raylaw43#321876 writes:

Interesting but useless discussion. Tony will win the primary because the Republicans will vote for him in lockstep; Republicans wouldn't be Republicans today if they thought for themselves on an issue by issue basis rather than party line.

The other candidates will split the vote in the primary, so either Parks or Brownley will come in second.

But in the general, I do not see Tony getting any crossover votes. The Dems and independents will coalesce around either Parks or Brownley. Thus, what Tony gets in the primary will likely be close to his total vote in the general.

guardianofto writes:

Tony Strickland is the best chocie fo Congress and will use his connections to connect Ventura County to its bright future!

3buddy1 writes:

Wow, a record like that deserves everyone's support. That is such a good article, I had no idea that he had done so much in our community.

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