By Jack Hamm, SJFB President
Autumn has arrived and hopefully everyone’s harvest is coming to a close and met their expectations. Every two years this season is sometimes called the “silly season.” Election Day is right around the corner. We all get mailboxes full of flyers, billboards line the streets and the television and radio ads explode in front of us.
It is easy to make fun of all this, but it really is one of the most important things that we as Americans can do, and this year is no different.
As farmers we are seeing more regulations and higher taxes, called “fees,” in every part of our businesses, whether it is our water, labor, land or air. Some people in government believe they have a better understanding and a better way to handle our businesses. The worst part is they want to be paid to make you do it their way. We did not get into this position overnight and we won’t get out of it overnight. It is vital that we in the Central Valley work together to protect and restore our property rights. This is why it is important that we elect legislators in our districts that can work with either party to get results.
What I have written here best explains the reasons for our endorsements. Our county is divided into three Assembly districts. The Northeast is Assembly District 9, the Central and Western part is District 13 and the Southeast is District 12.
In District 13, San Joaquin Farm Bureau endorsed Susan Eggman. Assemblymember Eggman has proven herself in this last session. As chairman of the Agriculture Committee, she was instrumental in getting the Ag Incentive Grants reinstated in the budget. She worked until the last hour to defeat the groundwater bills. Although they passed, she and other valley Assembly members of both parties worked hard and stood together. We feel with her position of leadership our county will have a true voice in Sacramento.
On the subject of leadership, Assemblymember Olsen got our endorsement because of her leadership in Sacramento that resulted in her being placed in the leadership position of the Republicans. Assembly Member Olsen has been an advocate for San Joaquin County agriculture her whole tenure.
There is an open seat in District 9. We endorsed Jim Cooper because of his record of working with the Sacramento County Farm Bureau. He was an Elk Grove City Council Member who was able to work with agriculture.
We did not take a position on the water bond. The California Farm Bureau Federation did endorse the bond. We could not come to a consensus. There is money and language for water storage, but there is also a lot of money for nonsense. Everyone needs to weigh for themselves what water storage is worth.
In the U.S. House race, we endorsed Jeff Denham, because of his work on water and being an articulate voice on immigration reform.
What we did at SJFB was the easy part. We now need everyone in agriculture to take their stand and vote for people who will understand and help us achieve goals that put California back to where it belongs.