Had my grandfather not come to the Salinas Valley in the 1940s to work in the fields, I would not be here today. My appreciation for the essential role of agriculture has made me both pro-farmer and pro-farmworker. We must continue to improve the way we produce food in a manner that respects the land, groundwater, and ensures that farmers and farmworkers are paid fairly.
The economics of farming are complicated and all sides of the issue demand careful attention. We must decide how much we value healthy food production and what policies are required to achieve that goal. A system that tries to produce as much as possible at the expense of labor and other resources is not sustainable.
Our district’s groundwater aquifers are being dangerously over-pumped. The Salinas and Pajaro Valley groundwater basins are in overdraft, meaning the rate of extraction is faster than the rate of refill. Several towns and rural communities in our district have wells contaminated by nitrate pollution from fertilizers. Too many communities are suffering from toxic pesticides being sprayed near homes and schools. That must stop.
If farming is going to continue for future generations, then we must stop the over-pumping and pollution before it is too late. As your Congress Member I will not sit back and point fingers. I will work with all stakeholders and levels of government to ensure we are building a healthy and fair agricultural system while protecting our water supply for future generations