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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.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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