But when the 69-year-old registered nurse heard that the county’s Republican Central Committee wasn’t backing a party candidate in the race for the 13th Assembly District, she decided to act.
Cooper said she was inspired by former Fox News TV host Glenn Beck to get involved as a candidate.
“I just got more and more angry about what’s going on,” she said.
Before jumping into the Assembly campaign, Cooper joined the Lodi and Stockton chapters of the Tea Party and became involved with the Republican Party of San Joaquin County, which has endorsed her, according to its website.
Cooper’s run was also prompted in part by a desire to take on the “liberal values” of Democratic candidate Susan Eggman.
“If we had one more almost Communist voice in government, our country would go down,” Cooper said, referring to Eggman. “She’s a big reason why I’m running.”
Cooper is also running against democrats Xochitl Paderes, of Tracy; Jennet Stebbins, of Stockton; and Republican Khalid Jafri of Stockton . The 13th District — redrawn by a citizens commission in 2011 along with all other Assembly, State Senate and congressional districts in California — includes Tracy, Mountain House, and Stockton.
Cooper describes herself as a conservative who reflects the values of the Central Valley.
“These are farming communities with people with values,” she said.
Cooper has worked at San Joaquin General Hospital, a private practice and is now a part-time nurse for Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp, which is run by the state corrections department. She said she raised two daughters as a single mother, and is no career politician.
“I am a real grassroots candidate,” said Cooper, who as of March 17 had not reported any fundraising activity, according to the California Secretary of State’s website.
Cooper disapproves of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to raise taxes to pay for education and other state services. She said that words like “education” and “public safety” are used by politicians to entice voters to approve tax hikes so elected leaders don’t have to make better fiscal decisions.
“They’re mismanaging what they have,” said Cooper, who lamented California’s status as a “welfare state.”
She added that regulations must be streamlined for business to flourish in the Golden State.
“I think overregulation is driving business out of the state, and (those regulations are) preventing business from entering,” Cooper said.
When it comes to education, Cooper believes one of the best things California could do for students is to stop accepting federal money, which is about $7 billion of the state’s K-12 education budget of $64 billion for 2011-12, according to the state Department of Education.
Cooper also said the culture of the university system also needs to be changed.
“They’re not taught history,” she said of current students, adding that it’s not a school’s role to teach evolution. “They’re taught a liberal agenda.”
Cooper is also a staunch defender of property rights and, if elected, would fight against what she describes as overly onerous environmental regulations that prevent landowners from developing what their own property.
She also is a defender of agriculture and favors increased water storage to protect the supply for both farmers and urban users.
Cooper also pledged, if elected, to be one of the few people in Sacramento committed to “conservative values” and would resist efforts by the Democrats to advance an agenda contrary to hers.
“I will not work with people across the aisle,” she said.