Candidates endorsed by Farm Bureau


Issue Date: October 17, 2012

U.S. Senate

Dianne Feinstein
Saying she understands the economic and environmental benefits of sustaining California agriculture and has worked consistently to maintain a vibrant, diverse agricultural sector, the California Farm Bureau Federation endorsed Sen Dianne Feinstein for re-election to the U.S. Senate.

"Farmers and ranchers are in the business of getting things done, and that's one reason that we appreciate Senator Feinstein," CFBF President Paul Wenger said. "She has proven, again and again, that she can get things done in Washington and she has shown time after time that she will advocate effectively on behalf of California farmers and ranchers."

He noted Feinstein's unswerving support for long-term water solutions that include increased storage. He said the senator has authored legislation to ease the estate-tax burden on farmers and ranchers, and to reform federal immigration laws to create an effective program for agriculture.

"Dianne Feinstein has stood up for farmers and ranchers more times than we can count," Wenger said.

U.S. House of Representatives

Doug LaMalfa, 1st District
A fourth-generation farmer with a history of work to protect private property rights and increase the state's water supply, Doug LaMalfa has earned the CFBF endorsement in his candidacy for Congress.

After serving in both the state Senate and Assembly, LaMalfa, R-Richvale, seeks election in the 1st Congressional District representing all or part of Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama counties.

"As a farmer, Doug LaMalfa knows the importance of efficiency and running an economically viable business, one that he can pass on to future generations," Wenger said. "Doug stands up for what he believes in and knows how to get things done."

Wenger said LaMalfa will bring "clear thinking and solid work ethic" to Washington.

"With Doug LaMalfa in Congress, there will be another voice of reason when burdensome environmental regulations or shortsighted views of property rights threaten the ability for family farmers and ranchers to do what they do best," he said.

Kim Vann, 3rd District
Describing her as a candidate with a clear view of the needs of farming and ranching families, CFBF has endorsed Kim Vann for Congress. Vann, R-Arbuckle, seeks election in the 3rd Congressional District, representing all or part of Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Sacramento, Solano, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties.

Vann is a fourth-generation member of a farming family. On the Colusa County Board of Supervisors, she helped to protect thousands of acres of farmland by supporting the Williamson Act farmland-conservation program. She favors additional water storage and more reliability in water supplies.

"Farmland, water and other natural resources are vital to farmers and ranchers," Wenger said. "Kim Vann's work to sustain the Williamson Act program and increase water storage shows that she will advocate effectively in Washington on behalf of farming families."

Vann has seen the impacts burdensome regulations have on farms and other rural businesses, Wenger said, which will make her "a valuable asset in Washington working on behalf of her constituents."

Mike Thompson, 5th District
Citing his work on estate tax reform and his reputation for bipartisan problem solving, CFBF has endorsed Mike Thompson's re-election to Congress. Thompson, D-St. Helena, seeks election in the 5th Congressional District, representing Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Solano and Contra Costa counties.

Wenger noted that Thompson has championed estate tax reform intended to make it easier to transfer family farms and ranches from one generation to the next.

"Mike Thompson understands the importance of keeping the family farm in the family," Wenger said, "and wants to find a solution that works to sustain family farming in California."

Thompson is co-founder of the bipartisan Congressional Wine Caucus and a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, composed of moderate Democrats who support fiscally responsible solutions.

"Mike's willingness to cross the aisle to get things done, and his experience as a small vineyard owner, make him even more effective in working for family farmers and ranchers," Wenger said.

Dan Lungren, 7th District
A congressional leader actively working to reform immigration policies, Dan Lungren has been endorsed for re-election by CFBF. Lungren, R-Gold River, seeks to represent part of Sacramento County in the 7th Congressional District.

Wenger cited Lungren's deep legislative experience and his proposal for a "thoughtful and realistic approach" to immigration reform.

"Dan Lungren understands that California farmers depend on an immigrant workforce and must be able to hire people who have entered the United States legally," Wenger said. "The skilled people who come to California to harvest crops also need the certainty of a functional, legal immigration system, and Dan has worked hard to create a practical program for agricultural employees."

Wenger described Lungren as an advocate for limited government that lives within its means.

"We support his efforts to reduce government spending and to remove the layers of confusing and sometimes conflicting regulations that farmers must navigate," he said.

Ricky Gill, 9th District
A member of a farming family and small-business owner who promises to bring a fresh perspective to Congress, Ricky Gill has earned the CFBF endorsement as he seeks to represent the 9th Congressional District, comprised of portions of Contra Costa, Sacramento and San Joaquin counties.

"Ricky Gill has firsthand experience in small business, dealing with regulations and encouraging the expansion of trade to grow our economy and create local jobs," Wenger said. "His family's roots in agriculture have guided his life's path, and he will make the needs of farmers and ranchers a priority as he represents his district in Washington."

Gill, R-Lodi, has consistently supported property rights, regulatory reform and other issues important to family farmers and ranchers, Wenger said.

"Ricky understands how the federal government can play a role in improving opportunity for people—and how it can interfere with economic expansion and job growth. We look forward to working with him in Congress," he said.

Jeff Denham, 10th District
A farmer, small-business owner and military veteran, Rep. Jeff Denham has earned CFBF support for re-election to Congress. Denham, R-Turlock, seeks to represent the 10th Congressional District, which includes Stanislaus County and southern San Joaquin County.

Through service on the Natural Resources Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Denham has been active in issues important to farmers and ranchers. Farm Bureau said he recognizes the need to assure long-term water supplies and to bring many interests together to find workable solutions.

"Jeff Denham makes it a high priority to assure California farmers can keep producing food and jobs," Wenger said.

Denham has led a working group among freshman House members to educate them about immigration and workforce availability issues.

"Jeff Denham knows that federal policies for immigration, taxes and regulations have been harmful," Wenger said. "He has worked to reduce taxes and regulations and will continue to help the region's and the state's economy to grow."

Jim Costa, 16th District
Commending his longstanding representation of California farmers and ranchers, CFBF has endorsed Jim Costa for re-election to the U.S. Congress in the 16th District, representing portions of Fresno, Madera and Merced counties.

Costa, D-Fresno, whose family has farmed in the Central Valley for more than 110 years, currently serves on both the House Agriculture Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee.

"Jim Costa has advocated forcefully and effectively on behalf of Central Valley farmers during his time in Congress," Wenger said.

He said Costa has been a consistent voice in Congress for enhancing water supplies and reforming environmental regulations, and that Costa has pushed for other changes to benefit family farmers and ranchers.

"As a third-generation member of a farming family, Jim knows the impact the federal estate tax can have on farmers' ability to pass their farms or ranches to the next generation," Wenger said. "He supports estate tax reform to reduce the burden on farm families."

David Valadao, 21st District
A farmer and legislator familiar with the impact of government on agriculture, David Valadao has earned the CFBF endorsement for election to Congress. Valadao, R-Hanford, seeks election in the new 21st Congressional District, representing Kings County and portions of Fresno, Kern and Tulare counties.

With experience as a state Assembly member and managing partner at his family's dairies, Valadao knows both how laws are made and how rules and regulations affect family farmers and ranchers, Wenger said.

"We need more members of Congress like David Valadao, who know what it's like to work hard to make a farm succeed, and what it takes to help other hardworking families succeed," he said.

In the Assembly, Valadao represents one of the most important agricultural regions in the nation.

"With his roots on the farm and his leadership abilities, David Valadao will continue to seek positive change in the Central Valley and the nation," Wenger said.

Kevin McCarthy, 23rd District
"Throughout his service in Congress, and before that in the state Assembly, Kevin McCarthy has promoted business-friendly policies that help farmers and ranchers create jobs in his district and beyond," California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger said. "He recognizes that agriculture provides the economic engine for the Central Valley and that government must work to enhance the competitiveness of family farms and ranches."

McCarthy is a fourth-generation Kern County resident who has firsthand experience operating a small business, gained while owning a deli as a young man. Since arriving in Washington, he has promoted job growth and advocated for improvements to the state's water infrastructure. In 2010, he was elected by his colleagues to serve as House majority whip.

"Kevin McCarthy's status within the House leadership is very beneficial to California farming families," Wenger said. "When Kevin talks about what is important to his constituents, his fellow members of Congress listen. We look forward to continuing to work with him on issues important to family farmers and ranchers, and to everyone who depends on the food and farm products grown in the Central Valley."

State Senate

Jim Nielsen, District 4
Describing him as an advocate for property rights and increasing water supplies, CFBF has endorsed Jim Nielsen in a special election for the state Senate. Nielsen, R-Gerber, seeks to represent the 4th Senate District, comprised of Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Nevada, Placer, Shasta, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity and Yuba counties.

"Jim Nielsen grew up on a farm and knows about operating a successful farming business. That experience shapes the decisions he makes as a legislator," Wenger said, adding that Nielsen has worked effectively both for his constituents and for the good of agriculture statewide.

"Two things are vital to California farmers and ranchers: land and water," Wenger said. "Jim Nielsen has worked to improve both."

Wenger pointed to Nielsen's role as author of legislation passed in 2010 to help counties continue to participate in the Williamson Act farmland-conservation program. He also cited Nielsen's support for new water storage to enhance water supplies and flood protection.

Bill Berryhill, District 5
A farmer who has worked on behalf of family farmers and ranchers through leadership roles both in and out of the state Legislature, Bill Berryhill has earned the CFBF endorsement in his campaign for state Senate. Berryhill, R-Stockton, has served in the state Assembly for four years and now seeks election in the 5th Senate District, representing portions of San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.

"Bill Berryhill has upheld his values in the state Assembly, working in a bipartisan manner to promote legislation helpful to farmers and ranchers by protecting and improving water supplies, as well as defending crops against invasive pests," Wenger said.

Berryhill's family has lived in the Central Valley for four generations, and for the past 30 years, he has run a successful winegrape growing and harvesting business.

"In his work to protect water rights and stop overreaching regulations, Bill has a proven track record of standing up for the priorities our members hold," Wenger said.

Jerry Hill, District 13
Noting his dedication to conserving open space to sustain family farming, CFBF has endorsed Jerry Hill for state Senate. Hill, D-San Mateo, seeks to represent portions of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties in the new 13th Senate District.

As a member of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and later in the state Assembly, Hill has shown a commitment to the success of family farming and ranching in the region.

"Even though he serves a largely suburban area, Jerry Hill understands that thriving cities and suburbs depend on thriving farms and ranches," Wenger said. "He recognizes that successful farms contribute not only to the economy but to the environment by caring for productive open space."

Wenger said CFBF appreciates Hill's longstanding relationship with the county Farm Bureaus in his district, as well as his bipartisan approach and his service on the Assembly Agriculture Committee.

Jeff Miller, District 31
Citing his experience as a businessman and a business-friendly legislator, CFBF has endorsed Jeff Miller for state Senate. Miller, R-Corona, seeks to represent western Riverside County in the 31st Senate District.

"Jeff Miller's goals are ones we can all share: Get the economy growing, balance the budget, protect the community and keep our roads and other infrastructure in good shape so commerce can continue," Wenger said.

Miller has a long history of working with leaders of all parties to accomplish goals for Riverside County.

"Jeff Miller recognizes the need to reduce regulations and the tax burden that harms California businesses, but also that we need to invest wisely in order to generate growth," Wenger said. "He understands the important role agriculture plays in his district and throughout the state in generating jobs at a time when many other sectors of the economy have struggled."

State Assembly

Brian Dahle, District 1
A four-term member of the Lassen County Board of Supervisors with a proven ability to accomplish public policy goals, Brian Dahle has earned the CFBF endorsement as he seeks election in Assembly District 1, representing all or parts of Butte, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta and Siskiyou counties.

"Brian Dahle shares our goals for a balanced budget, the reform of overburdening regulations and for economic freedom," Wenger said. "His extensive experience on land use, finance and conservancy issues, coupled with his knowledge of what our rural communities need, will make him an asset in the Legislature."

Dahle, R-Bieber, farms more than 2,000 acres with his wife, Megan. The family also operates and manages a seed business and a nursery. A past chair and current board member of the Regional Council of Rural Counties, Dahle also serves on the California Sierra Nevada Conservancy and has assumed leadership roles with the National Association of Counties.

Frank Bigelow, District 5
A lifelong commitment to farming and ranching as well as a consistent focus on responsible fiscal management helped earn Frank Bigelow a CFBF endorsement for state Assembly. Bigelow, R-O'Neals, seeks election in Assembly District 5, serving Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Madera, Mariposa, Mono and Tuolumne counties.

During his tenure as a Madera County supervisor, Bigelow has worked to build a budget surplus and has remained focused on reducing government spending and economic reforms to require government to live within its means.

"Our state needs not only to attract new businesses, but to sustain the ones we have and help them thrive," Wenger said. "Frank Bigelow has shown that he wants to keep our farms, ranches and the rest of the business community moving forward."

Bigelow takes an active role in operation of the family cattle ranch, Bigelow Farms, and serves as vice president of a local telephone company.

Peter Tateishi, District 8
A longtime community leader who will work to improve the California business climate, Peter Tateishi has earned the CFBF endorsement in his campaign for state Assembly. Tateishi, R-Carmichael, seeks election in the new 8th Assembly District, including portions of Sacramento County.

"Peter Tateishi has deep ties to the area and will work to ensure residents in his district succeed, including family farmers and ranchers," Wenger said. "Peter understands that agriculture is an important part of the economy within his district, and he has won the support of the Sacramento County Farm Bureau."

Tateishi also has experience as chief of staff for Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River. He supports reducing regulatory burdens on businesses.

"Family farms and other small businesses often struggle with the burden of regulations, and we appreciate Peter Tateishi's commitment to work across party lines for reforms," Wenger said. "With his congressional staff experience and cooperative approach, Peter will be an effective representative for his constituents."

Rocky Chavez, District 76
A candidate with a history of service and a commitment to economic development, Rocky Chavez, has earned the CFBF endorsement in his bid for the state Assembly. Chavez, R-Oceanside, seeks election in the 76th Assembly District, representing northern San Diego County.

"San Diego County is a unique and important agricultural region, and Rocky Chavez has the background and experience to represent the area well in the Assembly," Wenger said.

Noting that Chavez worked on farms during college, Wenger said Chavez's experience with the day-to-day demands of farm life "gave him firsthand knowledge of how hard work leads to success."

A veteran of 28 years in the Marine Corps, Chavez is a former Oceanside City Council member who also served as undersecretary and acting secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs.

"Rocky's time in the Department of Veterans Affairs also gave him insight into how to make government more efficient and accountable," Wenger said.

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