California governor candidate stresses need for water in Central Valley
It's not surprising that Republican candidate for governor Travis Allen has earned the support of farmers in the central San Joaquin Valley.
His words are music to their ears.
"We need to flood the Central Valley with water," Allen said Wednesday during a stop in Fresno. "When I drive up and down I-5 I want to see green fields, not a bunch of dirt."
Allen, who is currently in fourth place in the race for California governor according to recent polls, appeals to conservative Valley farmers because of his tough, Trump-like talk about water and government.
"We need to complete the California State Water Project and build new water storage, above and below ground," said Allen, an assemblyman from Huntington Beach. "We need to build Sites Reservoir, Temperance Flat and raise Shasta Dam. We don't need to steal water from the north. We just need to store it when it rains and not let it wash out under the Golden Gate Bridge."
Kristi Diener, founder of California Water for Food and People Movement, said she appreciates Allen's support for building Temperance Flat, a key to the Valley's water future.
"He has a genuine interest in fixing the water mismanagement issues our state has faced for decades, and will demand accountability and proof of results," said Diener, whose family has farmed on the westside for four generations.
Along with recognizing the need for more water storage, Allen promises a shakeup at several state agencies that have been at odds with California's agriculture community, including the State Water Resources Control Board.
"As the next governor of the state of California I will appoint new agency heads that understand the value that the Central Valley brings to all of California, all of the country and all of the rest of the world," he said. "We grow the nation's best fruits and vegetables right here in the Valley and to restrict water to this region makes absolutely no sense."
If elected, Allen also said he would work to repeal the state's gas tax, pull the funding for high-speed rail, and eliminate the state's sanctuary status for undocumented people.
He is collecting signatures to place a measure on the ballot that would reverse the state's sanctuary status. His Republican challenger John Cox was in Fresno last week, urging cities and counties to opt out of the state's sanctuary policies. The policy limits cooperation between local agencies and federal immigration officials.
Allen rejected criticism that his efforts where anti-immigrant.
"This isn't about someone's grandmother who is sitting at home on the couch," he said. "This is about someone who has come to the state illegally, committing crimes and is now being sheltered by taxpayer dollars. It's unconstitutional, illegal and dangerous."