After a turbulent year on the Riverbank City Council, 20-year-old Jesse James White is setting his sights on Sacramento.
White announced Thursday that he intends to join the race for the 25th Assembly District. If White files papers, he'll face off in the June primary against Modesto Councilwoman Kristin Olsen, former Modesto Councilwoman Janice Keating, Tuolumne County Supervisor Teri Murrison and former Turlock City Councilman Kurt Vander Weide.
They're vying to succeed Republican Tom Berryhill, who's not seeking re-election.
White was 19 when voters elected him to the Riverbank City Council in November 2008. Since then, he's weathered a recall attempt. A grand jury report called for his removal from office.
Recently he moved to block a proposed sewer rate increase, making good on a campaign pledge to not vote for new fees or taxes. White, a self-employed hair care distributor, said his biggest accomplishment on the council has been restoring a senior lunch program at the Riverbank community center after a three-year absence.
"Even though my record is short, I can stand by it," White said. "With my one year of experience, I do what I say I'm going to do, and I think that's better than having a bunch of experience that's gotten us into the mess that the state's in."
White isn't the only addition to the crowded Assembly race. Calaveras County Democrat George Fry is joining the race.
Fry, 63, is a retired county planner and California Youth Authority parole agent who lives in Angels Camp. He's served on two Calaveras County school boards.
He lost a bid for an Angels Camp City Council seat in November. He calls himself a "very conservative" Democrat who wants to right the state's budget woes. He lists education reform and water as his other top priorities.
Fry believes his fiscally conservative approach will resonate with 25th Assembly District voters. "Some people paint Democrats as being ultraliberal, and I'm just not one of those Democrats," Fry said. "I'm very centrist. And fiscally, I'm to the right."
Fry said he'll count on fund-raising support from the state prison guard union and teachers' and nurses' unions.
Among the 25th District's 244,600 voters, 36.8 percent are registered Democrats; 42.3 percent are registered Republicans. The district spans from Modesto to the foothills, covering all of Calaveras, Mariposa, Mono and Tuolumne counties.
The filing deadline to enter the race is March 17.