Corning farmer tired of politics; joins fray
A middle of the road, pragmatic Democrat is how 68-year-old Charles Rouse of Corning describes himself as he takes on two conservative Republicans in a race for the 3rd Assembly District.
Rouse will be campaigning for the seat against Tehama County Supervisor Bob Williams, also from Corning, and Assemblyman Dan Logue of Linda.
The top two vote-getters of the primary in June will move on to the general election in November.
Somewhat of an underdog in a predominately conservative district, Rouse remains unruffled by the odds.
"I'm tired of American politics as a jousting match between hard left and hard right," he said. "My concerns are for Northern California during a time of economic strain and I'm more concerned about the facts on the ground than I am about political theory."
Rouse explains he is more about problem-solving than any political crusade.
He retired as a rural postal carrier in the El Camino area nine years ago, and runs a small olive orchard near Corning that he and his wife, Angelica, have owned for 36 years.
"I work the orchard with my son. He does the labor and I do the paperwork," Rouse said.
He graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles and is active in the Saint Andrew's Episcopal Church in Corning.
For the past nine years, he has been a member of the Tehama County Democratic Central Committee, and while serving on the board, was a delegate to state Democratic conventions.
"I currently serve as vice president of the Corning Healthcare District board of directors, of which I have been a member for five years," Rouse said.
Ready to take on the Legislature, Rouse is hoping to provide practical solutions to what he believes most residents in the Third Assembly District would agree are problems.
"I don't want to take on national politics' hot buttons, such as reproductive rights. I want to solve the state and local problems such as public safety, education and economics," Rouse said. "That is why my campaign slogan is 'Practical solutions for real world problems.'"
He said nothing pains him more in recent times than to hear that a law enforcement officer has been laid off, or a fire station closing, due to a lack of funding.
"We live in a rural area, and believe me, we don't need that," he said.
Rouse feels the same about teachers being laid off.
"We don't need teachers laid off, we need them working in the classrooms. If we can't educate our children our state has no future," he said.
Rouse said the strain between the state, the cities and counties over funding is a "tragic situation that can't go on forever," and compares a solution to something like "disaster relief."
The olive farmer turned candidate said he looks forward to "lively discussions" with Williams and Logue on candidates nights.