Esparto farmer and Iraq war combat veteran Charlie Schaupp has taken out papers to run for the Assembly in District 4.
He will be the first Republican vying for the seat being vacated by termed-out Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis.
He faces three Democrats: Napa County Supervisor Bill Dodd, Davis Mayor Joe Krovoza and Davis Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk. The top two vote-getters in the June 3 primary will advance to November’s election.
That presents a challenge for Schaupp in a district where Democrats benefit from a nearly 20 percent registration advantage and his opponents have raised upwards of $1 million already.
“Republicans need someone on their ballot who represents their point of view and who is a credible candidate,” he said on Thursday. “If I can hold the Republican base, we can at least have a frank discussion of the issues affecting the future of this state.”
A self-styled Reagan Republican, Schaupp, 59, said he wants to empower county supervisors and local school board members to make their own decisions.
“We have to put the trust back into the people of the state. When we do, it will be a golden state again,” he said.
That begins with creating a more pro-business climate, said Schaupp, a former director of the Yolo County Taxpayers Association and county GOP chairman.
“We’ve had companies leaving the state left and right because of oppressive bureaucracy in Sacramento,” he said. “There’s a huge problem with over-regulation. Even in farming, you can’t believe the amount of paperwork we have to do. We have to hire professional accountants now.
“For small businesses, it’s even worse, with all the red tape and regulation.”
Schaupp said he believes he brings valuable knowledge to discussions of agriculture and, by extension, water. His family settled in Yolo County in 1880 and continues to farm 3,000 acres north of Esparto.
He earned an associate degree in agricultural business from Yuba College and a bachelor’s in agriculture from Chico State University with an emphasis on soils, irrigation and drainage. Schaupp said he also studied viticulture and enology in a graduate program.
He opposes Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin-tunnel plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Schaupp calls it an underground version of Brown’s earlier, failed peripheral canal plan — which Schaupp rounded up signatures to oppose.
There needs to be more focus on clean rivers, flood control, irrigation and hydroelectric power for Northern California, he said, while working with San Joaquin Valley farmers to meet their water needs. But you won’t hear him use the word “compromise.”
“Compromises kick the can down the road for another generation,” he said. “What we need is leadership.”
Schaupp said he considers himself “a conservationist, not an environmentalist,” that air, water and soil can be protected by common sense, like rotating crops on the farm.
“I want to use what’s there for the good of humanity, not to overprotect things to where we can’t use, sensibly, the great resources of the state,” he said.
Rather than “one glove fits all,” he said, air quality regulations on gasoline, for instance, need not be as strict in remote parts of the state as in Los Angeles.
Schaupp said he also is troubled by “a culture of corruption or quid pro quo in Sacramento that needs to end.”
A U.S. Marine Corps reservist for 28 years, he served five years in Iraq, including in the battle for Fallujah, as well as time in Kuwait during the first Gulf War and as a peacekeeper in Bosnia.
He twice lost primary elections to then-Assemblyman Jim Nielsen. In 2012, Schaupp briefly joined a crowded Republican field in the District 3 congressional race before bowing out.
He serves as one of the directors of the Esparto Community Services District. During the 1990s, voters elected him to two terms on the Esparto school board. As its president, he helped pass a bond issue to build Esparto Middle School, the community’s first new school in 30 years.
— Reach Cory Golden at [email protected] or 530-747-8046. Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden