Best Moderate Politician: A reasonable blend of fiscal conservatism and social conscience

John Dutra

Talk about bipartisan credentials: During his final two years as an assemblyman, John Dutra voted against the budgets of both a Democratic and a Republican governor. In both instances, he feared the guvs were irresponsibly borrowing money to temporarily “balance” the budgets. Dutra, a Democrat from Fremont now running for state Senate, insists that the state budget needs a structural fix — not the Band-Aid solutions of recent years. The millionaire real-estate developer and business-friendly Democrat has been calling for tax increases on people such as himself — the wealthy. Amazingly, he’s been advocating for tax hikes on the campaign trail. He bills himself as a “fiscal conservative with a social conscience.” His centrist views have a lot to do with his personal background as a poor high-school dropout who went on to become a successful businessman. By 1999, his family business, Dutra Realty Enterprises, boasted more than $900 million in annual sales. He served in the Assembly from 1998 to 2004, when he was termed out. During his tenure, he chaired the Moderate Caucus — nicknamed the Mod Squad — a group of Democratic legislators hoping to give the party a more business-friendly image. While Dutra is seen as pro-business, he’s kept up a good relationship with local labor leaders and earned the endorsement of the Alameda County Central Labor Council earlier this year.

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