State Secretary Bill Jones arrives in Valley

October 09, 2001|By LAURA MITCHELL, Staff Writer

Secretary of State Bill Jones stopped in the Imperial Valley on Monday to announce key local endorsements in his race to become the republican nominee for governor in the 2002 election.

Three of five county supervisors, Hank Kuiper, Wally Leimgruber and Gary Wyatt, have endorsed Jones, as well as Brawley Mayor Wayne Johnson.

Jones, 52, also garnered the support of local Republican Party county Chairman Jim Hamilton, Vice-Chairman Phil Falkenstein, and Southwest Republican Women President Linsey Dale.

"He represents the principles and ideals I would expect to have of someone in such a high office," said Kuiper, the District 2 supervisor.


Fifth District Supervisor Leimgruber said the county has a tremendous responsibility to provide services. He said he likes Jones because Jones feels strongly about giving control back to local government.

Wyatt, who represents District 4, said Jones' background as a farmer is a great advantage to the area.

Jones is a rancher in the Fresno area. His grandfather moved to the Imperial Valley from Texas in the early 1900s.

"His understanding of the backbone of our economy will certainly help us with the issues we need to address," Wyatt said. "It's one of the greatest strengths he will bring to us."

Jones was a sponsor of California's three strikes law that was put in place in 1994. The law requires a person convicted of three felonies to serve a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life, usually without parole.

Prior to becoming the Secretary of State, Jones served 12 years in the Legislature and also served as minority party leader.

Jones' opponents, 71-year-old former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan — who has not yet officially declared his candidacy — and William E. Simon Jr., 50, a Los Angeles businessman, have deep pockets, said Bob Ham, Jones' local campaign chairman.

Jones does not have a comparable amount of money raised, Ham said.

"But he has an incredible grass-roots movement," he said.

Jones pointed out that his competition does not have the experience he has at the Republican party grass-roots level.

"And they most certainly do not have roots in the agricultural tradition of the Golden State," Jones said.

Ham sees a campaign like the last democratic primary governor's race, where Jane Harmon and Alfred Checchi each spent over double the amount of money Gray Davis spent, but Davis got the party nomination.

Staff writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or

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