California Citrus Mutual president and board chair offer endorsement to gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa
EXETER – California Citrus Mutual (CCM) believes they’ll have a friend in Sacramento after an industry round table meeting in Clovis with gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa. It was not until after the roundtable did CCM president Joel Nelsen and board chairman Curt Holmes present their endorsement for the Democratic candidate.
“Antonio Villaraigosa has made a concerted effort to learn about our industry and better understand the issues impacting family farmers,” says Nelsen.
“Our board of directors has had several productive conversations with Mr. Villaraigosa. We have asked very targeted questions on specific issues affecting our industry and he has provided direct, honest, and substantive responses. We are confident that as governor, Mr. Villaraigosa will continue to engage with our industry and offer this same level of openness and transparency,” Nelsen said.
Villaraigosa is in a four way race for the Governorship and is losing ground in the polls. According to a Sacramento Bee article, “Republic rising against Gavin Newsom in California governor’s race, poll finds” published on March 21, Villaraigosa dropped from 21% of likely voters voting for him in the June primary to just 12. At the same time businessman John Cox gained ground in his favorability rating moving from 7% in February to 14% on March 21.
Meanwhile Newsom saw his numbers only continue to rise from 23% of likely voters voting for him to 28%. But despite Newsom’s surge in the polls as the days before the primary wane, CCM believe the former Los Angeles mayor is their candidate to represent their views.
“Mr. Villaraigosa is committed to working with all stakeholders to implement public policy that is balanced and in the best interest of all Californians. He has demonstrated a willingness to listen, learn, and engage with the agriculture industry in order to create policies that support the economic and business interests of farmers and respect the employer-employee relationship,” concluded Nelsen.
“As a citrus grower in the Central Valley, I am incredibly concerned for the future of agriculture if our elected leaders do not move forward with real solutions to our water supply crisis,” said CCM board chairman Curt Holmes. “I believe Mr. Villaraigosa when he says ‘a deal is a deal.’ We, the people of California, made a deal to build surface water storage. I trust Mr. Villaraigosa will make good on that deal.
“At the end of the day, we need a governor who will give us a seat at the table, hear our concerns, and factor them into the decision. Mr. Villaraigosa has committed to do that,” concludes Holmes.
CCM is the only advocacy organization representing California citrus growers on the economic, regulatory, and political issues that impact them most. Their 2,500 members represent 75% of California 270,000 acre, $3.3 billion citrus industry.