Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner touted tax cuts and regulatory reforms as a path to economic stability for the state in a Friday visit to the Modesto Chamber of Commerce.
"Everyone agrees the state is broken right now, so we have to take advantage of this opportunity," said Poizner, the state's insurance commissioner.
He's one of three early GOP contenders vying to succeed Gov. Schwarzenegger in Sacramento. The others are former Rep. Tom Campbell and former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman.
The winner of the Republican primary could face a well-funded and well-known opponent in Attorney General Jerry Brown.
Poizner has paid more attention to the Northern San Joaquin Valley than his counterparts and has secured endorsements from State Sen. Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto, Assemblyman Tom Berryhill, R-Modesto, Modesto Mayor Jim Ridenour and Stanislaus County Supervisor Jim DeMartini.
Berryhill, who is considering a run for Cogdill's seat after the senator's announcement last week that he would not seek re-election, introduced Poizner to about 30 chamber members and representatives from other government offices.
Poizner stressed that he wanted to make California a more business-friendly state by reducing taxes by 10 percent, revising labor laws, pursuing tort reform and clarifying state business regulations.
He pointed to recurring multibillion dollar deficits despite temporary tax increases as a reason to change course.
"The problems can be fixed. We can get California back on track," he said.
Bee Assistant City Editor Adam Ashton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2366.