CFLCA Jumps into Political Campaigns
Since our first year as an organization, CFLCA has held an annual Legislative Action Day, inviting FLCs and their supporters to Sacramento to learn about legislation impacting agricultural employers and labor, and to meet with legislators to educate them on what FLCs are all about, and to share our perspectives/concerns on critical proposed legislation. It is an important annual program. But we always wondered how we could be more effective in our relations with a legislature dominated by Democrats often beholden to labor interests.
This year, the CFLCA board of directors approved the formation of a Political Action Committee, and also initial seed-funding of $50,000 from CFLCA funds. We have officially formed the California Farm Labor Contractors PAC, giving us the ability to gain increased visibility, access, and hopefully influence with those who are supposed to represent all of California.
On August 27th, members of the Cal FLC PAC committee and other CFLCA members met with Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom. According to recent polls, he is projected to be the next governor of California by a significant margin.
We may not agree with his proposed policies, but it's important that he understand the critical role FLCs play in California's huge agricultural sector, and to understand our concerns on certain policy issues.
Coincidentally, Mr. Newsom uses the services of one of our members, Renteria Vineyard Management, on his wine grape vineyard in Napa County (one of his 23 businesses). This grower-FLC relationship helped create the opportunity to meet with Mr. Newsom and to further educate him on FLCs and some of our concerns. He listened to us, and also asked many questions to which we provided informed answers.
He agreed that he needed these types of perspectives to inform his decisions, particularly during his transition period. He stated several times that the transition period would be critical. We are determined that he will include us among the voices he hears in policy decisions and also in making appointments to key agency and government board positions.
Cal FLC PAC would like to thank members Blanca Wright (Renteria VM), Peter Nissen (Nissen VS), Oscar Ramos (OFR Inc), Joe Garcia (Jaguar FLC), Pete Richmond (Silverado Farming Services), Fred Beyerlein (Hall Ag), and Joe Martinez (DLL Insurance) as well as Cheri Diebel (Pandol), Chris Valadez (Calif Fresh Fruit Assn), and Hernan Hernandez (CVFF) for their participation and/or financial support of this event. Special thanks to Joe Garcia who was particularly helpful in arranging this meeting. It was great first step for our PAC.
Our PAC has met with several political consultants to help create our strategies to develop stronger relations and determine where to allocate our funds to achieve maximum impact. We will continue our efforts to support and gain influence with significant policymakers here in California and beyond. We thank our members for their support, and we will continue to keep you informed of our progress.