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TID Director to run for Congress
Michael Berryhill, a Republican, formally announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday. - photo by Photo Contributed
For 26 years Michael Berryhill has battled for his seat as Division 3 Director of the Turlock Irrigation District, but this year Berryhill will not seek reelection to the post he has held for so long.  
Instead, in the 2010 election year, he’ll be setting his sights on Washington, D.C.
Berryhill, a Republican, formally announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday. The Ceres resident, who grows grapes and almonds and operates a custom grape harvesting service, will compete against incumbent Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA18), whom Berryhill has naught but criticism for.
“Cardoza has voted for massive bailouts and tax hikes and refuses to even meet with his constituents to discuss his position on government-run healthcare,” Berryhill said. “That’s not the sign of a Representative of the people, that’s the sign of an arrogant career politician who wants to vote for a government takeover of healthcare.”
Cardoza became a Congressman in 2002. He first defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Gary Condit in the primaries amid questions regarding the disappearance of Condit’s intern Chandra Levy, and then bested State Sen. and current Stanislaus County District 4 Supervisor Dick Monteith (R) — in the general election.
Cardoza easily won reelection in the 2004 and 2006 campaigns and ran unopposed in 2008.
Berryhill believes that Cardoza has grown complacent, however, and that the region needs a Representative who will focus on downsizing government, growing jobs, and standing up for Central Valley issues.
“This district deserves a Representative who knows that Washington usually isn’t the solution to our problems, it usually is the problem,” Berryhill said.
Berryhill’s familiarity with local issues stretches from the fields of farming — as he has served as past director of the Stanislaus District Farm Bureau and the California State Farm Bureau, and as past chairman of California Young Farmers and Ranchers — to education, where he served as a trustee and chairman of the Ceres Unified School District.
Berryhill Elementary School in Ceres was named in honor of the three generations of Berryhills who have served on the board.
Given Berryhill’s past experiences and his political family connections, as two cousins serve the State Assembly and his uncle was a former State Senator and Agriculture Secretary, Berryhill believes he brings something to the table that past candidates could not.
“I felt it was critical that someone who has strong name recognition and a deep understanding of the issues challenged our incumbent Congressmen, who has decided he doesn’t want to hear from his constituents anymore,” Berryhill said. “We cannot have a member of Congress representing the Central Valley who is more concerned with protecting 3 inch fish and (Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi than in protecting the jobs and future of our families and farms.”
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.