A 30-year-old high school teacher at a small charter school near Vernalis is one of six Republican candidates who hope to oust Rep. Jerry McNerney from the seat he's held for three years.
Jeff Takada, who lives in Manteca, doesn't consider himself a typical Republican. Although he says he consistently votes Republican, Takada said he has major issues with his party as well as with the Democrats.
"I have a distaste for politicians," Takada said. "Political parties do not tell us the way we need to go."
Takada touts his honesty and a strict interpretation of the Constitution as reasons he should be nominated in the June 8 primary for the 11th Congressional District. He will face Tony Amador, Robert Beadles, Elizabeth Emken, Brad Goehring and Larry Pegram.
"I'm a man of ideas and solutions," Takada said. "Other (Republican) candidates' platforms leave me with a lot of questions. I am not convinced of the deep-thinking nature of the candidates."
That's why Takada wants Congress to adhere exactly to what the Constitution allows and doesn't allow the federal government to do.
Quoting the Constitution, Takada makes it clear he is running for "U.S. Representative," not "Congress." Being a representative, to him, means being more of a public servant. He said he's also a firm believer in states' rights.
Takada credits President Barack Obama for his honesty, though it is a backhanded compliment.
"Obama's not a liar; he'll tell you exactly how he's going to ruin the country," Takada said.
Here are some of Takada's views on the issues facing Congress, taken from his Web site and a News-Sentinel interview:
Size of government: "We citizens are being asked to foot the bill for an unprecedented and unconstitutional expansion of the federal government. ... The only way Congress will spend less is if it is given less to spend."
Taxes: He wants to slash them.
Afghanistan war: He strongly opposes the war for two reasons -- the United States won't succeed there and because the United States should be more humble with other nations and avoid meddling in disputes among other nations.
"If we have a death wish, we'll stay (in Afghanistan)," Takada said. "(Osama) bin Laden has one stated goal -- to replace the kingdom of Saudi Arabia with an Islamic state. Let him start a civil war in Saudi Arabia. Let them destroy themselves, which they inevitably will."
Health care: "The key to fixing the health care crisis does not lie in the hands of government, but in the hands of patients and doctors." He advocates a combination of deregulation, tort reform, health savings accounts and tax deductions.
Bailouts: Takada says bailouts to private industry are unconstitutional and "economically wrongheaded."
Peripheral canal: He wants to keep Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta water in the delta and empower agencies that are in the delta.
Guns: He strongly supports the right of individuals to bear arms, as stated in the Constitution.
Abortion: He considers it a "moral outrage" but believes the issue should be decided by each state.
Infrastructure: Takada says it's a good idea, but federal money should be given out equitably to states and local agencies.
Illegal immigration: Policies must be changed to empower legal immigrants and discourage undocumented workers.
Education: He advocates greater local control. As a person who attended a traditional public high school and taught at a traditional and a small charter high school, Takada sees value in both.
At New Jerusalem High School, a charter school of about 300 students just north of Vernalis, he likes the idea of serving entire families, not just "warehousing kids." Traditional high schools have their value, too, he said.
Veterans: He credits McNerney, a Pleasanton Democrat, with improving conditions for veterans but says it doesn't make up for his other flaws. Takada also advocates tax cuts for employers who hire veterans.