February 2022 Newsletter Articles

California Trailblazers Announces
2022 Candidate Training Program


California Trailblazers, the candidate training program of the California Republican Party, has announced its 2022 candidate training schedule which will extend through July 2022.

The next scheduled training is Nuts and Bolts in Sacramento on February 12.  Future sessions are scheduled to cover data, digital and in-person communications, fundraising, policy, and grassroots mobilization.  Programs include both virtual and in person training sessions and are listed in the graphic on this page.

California Trailblazers is open to Republican candidates for federal, state and local office so long as they are not challenging Republican incumbent officeholders. Founded in 2011 by CAGOP Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson and Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Trailblazers is based on the successful Young Guns program developed by the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee.

Initially an independent organization aimed at electing candidates to the California State Legislature, Trailblazers was brought into the California Republican Party when Jessica Patterson was elected as Chair in 2019.  CAGOP Political Director Krista Pittman serves as head of California Trailblazers, which has now trained GOP candidates at all levels.

One does not have to be a current candidate in order to attend Trailblazers programs.  In fact, it is an ideal opportunity for those thinking about running for office at some time in the future.  That allows a potential candidate to get the full benefit of the training programs prior to announcing for office.

California Trailblazers boasts an impressive list of alumni serving in the California State Legislature, including Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk, Assemblywoman and former State Senator Janet Nguyen and recent winner Senator Rosilicie Ochoa-Bogh.  You can learn more about California Trailblazers and register for upcoming programs by clicking on CATrailblazers.

Peninsula Leader Peter Ohtaki Runs for Congressional District 16

By Roger Riffenburgh

Crisis manager and former Menlo Park mayor Peter Ohtaki is running for Congress in the Peninsula/South Bay District 16 with a theme of freedom and opportunity.  He has an impressive record of leadership in both business and government.

Ohtaki says, “America stands for freedom and opportunity, but lately these seem in doubt. Failed policies in California are being adopted by other blue states and the Biden administration, while emboldening Russia and China to expand.”  He points to:

      • The demise of single-family zoning and local control by SB9/10. If elected, he would propose a neighborhood preservation act.
      • Labor Dept. blockage of California transit funding in an effort to overturn state pension reform. He says, “Our Congressmember should be fighting for billions from the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill to relieve traffic congestion in Silicon Valley”.
      • Rising inflation from trillion dollar deficits and rapidly increasing money supply.
      • “Smash and grab” crime
      • New foreign policy challenges from Russia and China.

Peter Ohtaki was elected to the Menlo Park City Council in 2010 and 2014, and additionally served as Mayor in 2013 and 2018.  He co-chaired the city’s first Housing Element update since 1994.  He worked with downtown businesses to rezone the long-empty car lots on El Camino Real to build housing and office space.  As Mayor, he negotiated a development agreement with Facebook.  After years of deficit budgets, he helped balance the city budget by paying down an expensive unfunded pension liability, and the budget stayed balanced throughout his eight years on the Council.  He also served previously as a Director and the President of the Menlo Park Fire District Board.  Some of his success comes from his ability to articulate conservative solutions in a way that gains bipartisan support.

Peter’s day job has been Vice President of Enterprise Incident Management for Wells Fargo Bank since 2014.  Before that, he led efforts to bring businesses and government together to improve disaster resiliency statewide at the California Resiliency Alliance, a non-profit public-private partnership.  He had worked earlier as the co-founder and CFO of a tech startup and in other finance positions.

After redistricting, the new Congressional District 16 roughly includes communities around Palo Alto (Atherton, Menlo Park, Woodside, Mountain View, Los Altos, etc.), some communities near Campbell (Los Gatos, Saratoga, and the Willow Glen, Cambrian, and Fairgrounds sections of San Jose), plus the entire San Mateo County coast, from Pacifica to the Santa Cruz County line.  It overlaps much of the old District 18.  You can go to this link and scroll down to CD16 to see a map.

Peter Ohtaki grew up in Menlo Park.  Asked about his parents, he related, “My father served in the US Army’s Military Intelligence Service (MIS) after the Manzanar internment camp during World War II. My mother started one of the few woman-owned businesses in Salt Lake City.”  Peter graduated from Woodside High School.  He attended Harvard University, where he earned his B.A. in Economics, magna cum laude.  He also earned an MBA from Stanford’s business school.

Peter and his wife have three teenagers in local public schools.  In his spare time, Peter enjoys cheering on the 49ers and Stanford football teams, and teaching his three kids to ski.  You can learn more about Peter on his campaign website, www.peterohtaki.com.  You can hear Peter speak at the San Mateo County Republican Party Chinese New Year Dinner on Feb. 4.

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