Kerman farmer Paul Betancourt told CNN this week that balancing agriculture, business and politics remains “messy” under President Donald J. Trump through he also thinks some clarity could come in the future under the administration.
The former president of the Fresno County Farm Bureau was featured this week on Anderson Cooper 360 for a segment entitled “Farmers, workers fearful of Trump immigration.”
Betancourt spoke with Van Jones about how he supports Trump while disagreeing with the president’s policies that could cost California farmers their workforce of undocumented labor.
“I have no problem voting for the president and disagreeing with him on trade and immigration because I think he’s wrong on those issues,” Betancourt said.
“He’s the deal-maker; he’s the negotiator. And I’m hoping we can get past the rhetoric, past the Tweets, and he can bring people around the table and we can start coming up with real solutions.”
Betancourt, who in 2004 was a Republican candidate for the 31st Assembly District seat but lost to Juan Arambula, said he voted for Trump because “the alternative was unthinkable.”
“Continued pressure from the federal government was squeezing us out. The big issue here is water. We got no help from Washington during the drought. The regulatory burden continues to increase, so continuation of what we had was unthinkable.”
But Trump’s policies, Jones pointed out, could also take away Betancourt’s workers. How does he deal with that?
“This is where I disagree with him. … We need a solution for the whole country where we can bring people out of the shadows so we don’t have this problem,” Betancourt said.
“This is messy. The farmers are not in lock step. You get three farmers together, you get five different opinions.”