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Robert Rivas wants to use small-town charm to wield big political power in California. Will it work?

Source: LA Times

SAN BENITO COUNTY, Calif.  —  In case it wasn’t obvious on the two-lane highway that carves through golden hills, cow pastures and rows of grapevines, a sign inside the roadside Paicines General Store makes the point clear: “Welcome to the country.”

When Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas was a boy in the 1980s, his grandmother would walk him and his brother to the store for ice cream before heading to her night shift at a local cannery.

“I remember coming here often, and not much has changed,” Rivas said during a recent stop inside, surrounded by racks of cowboy hats, rodeo posters and a bulletin board pinned with business cards for horseshoers and beekeepers.