US Capitol Building
U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC (EuroBanks / Adobe Stock)

By Valley Ag Voice Staff 

With the 2024 March primaries quickly approaching, the Valley Ag Voice sent questionnaires to the candidates of the 20th and 22nd Congressional districts to discuss policy stances for the agriculture industry.  

Candidates David Giglio (R), Marissa Wood (D), and Kyle Kirkland (R) shared their views on agriculture and water access in the valley. 

David Giglio, 20th Congressional candidate 

“I am the only candidate in this race who has a detailed and comprehensive plan for a long-term solution to the West’s ongoing water crisis. I intend to work alongside President Trump to build national support for solving this crisis so that we can utilize national defense funding to ensure all aspects of the plan are implemented. I plan to be a constant advocate for our farmers and ranchers and use my office as a bully-pulpit to educate the nation on why protecting California’s agricultural industry is something that every American should care about. Doing so is a matter of national security.”  

“One of my top priorities will be introducing legislation that would allow Congress to reassert its authority over the EPA. Unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats should not have the power to unilaterally draft and enforce rules and regulations that hamper the ability of our farmers to do their jobs. Congress must codify the Trump Administration’s interpretation of the WOTUS rule to reign in the EPA.” 

“I plan to work alongside President Trump to pass my comprehensive water solutions plan that aims to create more water storage, invest in desalination along California’s western coast, capture flood waters from around the US to stabilize the flow of the Colorado River, and invest in modernized water treatment facilities along the Delta so that less waste is dumped into the water and the need to “flush” said waste out to the sea is minimized.” 

Kyle Kirkland, 20th Congressional candidate 

“Agriculture is vital to our economy, our quality of life, and our national security. We must create policies that support agricultural businesses, helping them to thrive and pass on their legacy to future generations. Washington does not understand the needs of the farm community – I do. I will fight to reduce suffocating government regulations making it hard for our farmers to feed the world and their families.” 

“I will work towards improving water storage and delivery systems to ensure efficiency and reliability. I am committed to fighting for policies prioritizing agricultural water needs, ensuring that our farms have reliable access to the resources crucial for our crops and cattle. I understand the importance of streamlining regulations to make them more farmer-friendly and ensuring your voices are heard loud and clear when making decisions. My goal is to ensure that we not only preserve our rich farming heritage but also strengthen it for future generations.” 

“Our land is our legacy, and taking care of it is as essential as yielding crops from it. I understand the delicate balance we must maintain between nurturing the environment and meeting our agricultural needs. I believe in problem-solving, and this includes finding practical and sensible solutions that safeguard our natural resources while ensuring our farms remain productive and competitive. I am committed to advocating for policies that strike this balance effectively – policies that recognize the importance of our environment but also acknowledge the realities of farming.” 

Marissa Wood, 20th Congressional candidate 

“Water is a top priority for the Central Valley. Water shortage issues extend beyond the drought. The devastating wildfires plaguing the state demand we build up and manage our water storage capabilities to meet the needs of individuals, families, farms, and businesses. Equity and accountability are essential for all governing water agencies. The idea that one can profit from our shared resource of water is a large part of the problem. All stakeholders, farmers (family and corporate) and rural communities must have an equal voice in the allocation of our water.” 

“I am well aware that the agricultural production from the Central Valley literally feeds the world. I intend to keep lines of communication open so that when issues arise, we can work together to solve the issue. I always tell my students that while I am an excellent teacher, I do not know everything. Together we will find the answer. I would never profess to know everything about agriculture issues here in the valley, but I will promise, as I do with my students, to work together to find our answers.” 

“I know that the use of pesticides most times carries a negative connotation. As I have lived through the use of pesticides I know that when applied correctly and with accountability to regulations, they do not harm the environment and the local community members.” 

TOP CONTENDERS 

Two top contenders for the 20th district — Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux and Assemblyman Vince Fong — missed the deadline for the Valley Ag Voice questionnaire. 

Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, 20th Congressional candidate 

Sheriff Boudreaux detailed his thoughts on water policy through his campaign website. 

“Over the course of the last 30 years, Washington, Sacramento, and radical environmentalist allies have repeatedly developed policies to worsen droughts afflicting the San Joaquin Valley and short-change our community during heavy storms by letting water flush out into the ocean rather than capturing it for use by our farms and communities.” 

“I support reducing barriers to the construction of additional dams and reservoirs, increasing investment in water capture technologies. I also support renewing the key provisions of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act of 2016 to ensure that Federal water managers are using the most cutting-edge science to guide decisions of when to pump water south of the Delta to our Valley.” 

Assemblyman Vince Fong, 20th Congressional candidate 

The assemblyman’s campaign website also details his stance on water policy in the valley. 

“The Central Valley is highly regarded as the world’s most productive agricultural region because historically, we have been able to provide abundant, affordable water to irrigate millions of acres of farmland.” 

“Unfortunately, misguided environmental laws have routinely chosen to value small fish over our communities, and Kern County has paid the price in lost jobs and a weakened economy as needed water is pushed to the ocean and current water supplies have become harder and more expensive to obtain. The drought has made a difficult situation much worse, and recently passed regulations by the state to regulate groundwater will create even further challenges in the future.” 

“Agriculture is the foundation of our Valley’s economy and I have been fighting for over a decade to roll back restrictions that threaten to dry up our farms and devastate our economy. As an Assemblyman, I will continue this work in Sacramento to restore common-sense priorities and get our community the water it needs.” 

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