(Oct. 21) There were a couple of times when Oceanside Republican Rocky Chávez's 28-year path through the U.S. Marine Corps could have gone in a different direction.
One was the time he was contemplating law school under the auspices of the Corps. He dropped that plan after visiting a friend working as a lawyer for the Marines. Chávez remembers a basement office and towers of paperwork.
"I said, 'Do I want do I want to be in the building, or do I want to be outside shooting guns?' " Chávez recalls. "I didn't go to law school."
The other concerned wrestling. Chávez had qualified twice for Olympic trials, and while neither shot panned out, he later got a chance to wrestle for the Marines team. His commanding officer presented it as a choice between becoming an officer and devoting himself fully to wrestling.
"I went with Marine officer," said Chávez, who attained the rank of colonel.
About those Olympic opportunities: the first time, when Chávez was in high school, his family couldn't muster the money to send him across the country. The second time, when Chávez was in college, he had to undergo a last-minute training regimen when the money did materialize - he and a friend "drove across the country, and I ran there," Chavez said - but then, at the last minute, was admitted to a higher weight class.
"So now I had to go back and gain the weight I first lost," Chávez said.
He still made it to the third day.
The 2013-2014 Legislature features the largest freshman class in decades. In this recurring series, Insider Edition helps get you acquainted with the influx of newcomers.