Democratic Senate candidate spotted in Chico

Marianne Bopp-Smith, a Democrat running for state Senate in a heavily Republican district, has begun to surface across Northern California in recent weeks to try to get her name known in a district that she believes “has been left behind in a lot of ways.”

The District 4 candidate and self-described “moderate Democrat” said she wants to bring what she believes will be a “more cooperative” approach to legislation and Butte County’s piece of the state budget, something only a Democrat can do in the Democratic-controlled Senate, she says.

An entrant in the May 4 Chico Celebration of People Parade, she crisscrossed the parade route from sidewalk to sidewalk, greeting potential voters. Two days later she stumped at the Upper Crust Cafà, where she offered her views about Butte County’s need for educational funding, affordable health care and protection for its growing senior population.

Bopp-Smith’s ideas for higher education involve more funding for the struggling community colleges and even attempting to get a University of California campus to locate in the area.

“Everyone laughs at that idea,” she said, “but if no one proposes it, then nothing will ever change”

Bopp-Smith sees a need for better public education as well. A Nevada County native, Smith says her county “is kind of an anamoly in this state because of how successful their K-12 education is. I would like to see a replica of these successful school systems.”

The candidate, who will be going up against another Nevada County resident, Assemblyman Sam Aanestad of Grass Valley, in the November election, also touched on the need to provide affordable health care for the growing senior population.

“There has to be better accessibility,” she said. “HMOs may be a hot topic, but the reality is that health care providers are leaving this area, and managed care is better than no care. It is not an ideal or permanent solution, but a state contract for managed care will ensure that every district has accessible coverage.”

Bopp-Smith said she would provide a level of representation for the district that Aanestad fails to deliver. “The position is as a representative, and Aanestad is not doing that,” she charged. “He’s never there with the people. My whole camp is working with everyone. If you leave out portions of the populations … then you aren’t representing your district properly.”

Having the district represented by a conservative Republican such as Aanestad is detrimental in a Legislature controlled by Democrats, she added.

Bopp-Smith has developed a mixed bag of teachers, women’s groups, unions and even some Republicans as supporters.

"I wasn’t too optimistic about the race at first," she said, "but I grow more optimistic every day. … I can’t save the world, but I can definitely fight for us at the state level."