Calif. state Senator opens El Dorado Hills office

By: Art Garcia, Telegraph Correspondent
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About 70 constituents and friends of State Sen. Ted Gaines (R-Rocklin) attended an open house celebrating his new constituent service center on Town Center Boulevard in El Dorado Hills last Tuesday evening, March 12.

Attendees toured the new office staffed by two full-time employees and one part-timer, discussed goals and priorities for 2013 with the senator, met district and Capitol staff and noshed on cookies, coffee and Cokes.

Gaines, who will be 58 next month, represents the 1st Senate District, made up of 11 Northern California counties and nearly 1 million people. The diverse district includes El Dorado Hills, Folsom, Placerville and South Lake Tahoe.

In an interview, Gaines confirmed a report that he is considering challenging freshman U.S. Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) for his seat in Congress in 2014. Gaines said he has formed a committee to explore the possibility.

“I think I would represent it well,” he said of Bera’s district. “I’ve represented about 60 percent to 70 percent of it as a state senator.”

Bera’s district voter registration is almost evenly split between Republicans and Democrats “but I think there’s an opportunity for me to get elected in a 2014 race,” Gaines said.

As word spread of his interest, Gaines posted on his Facebook page that he is “heading to Washington soon to explore potential opportunities” but has downplayed his earlier comments about a possible congressional run.

A former state assemblyman from 2006 to 2011, Gaines was elected to the senate in 2010. His wife, Beth Gaines, ran for and won his former assembly seat, representing the 4th Assembly District. The Gaines family resides in Rocklin.

Debbie Manning, president and chief executive of the El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce, said her organization is “absolutely thrilled” Gaines opened a downtown office in El Dorado Hills.

“From a constituency standpoint, it’s really great for our community and our county to have our senator with a satellite office in our community,” she said.

“This makes him extremely accessible and what better way to hear what people have to say when they can walk in and tell you?” said Manning, who was at the local open house.

Sen. Gaines, who prides himself on “being one of the most accessible public servants,” said he spends “a lot of time out in the district and I will be in the El Dorado Hills office as frequently as possible.”