Valley Voices

Manuel Cunha: Perea is sticking up for Valley

Manuel Cunha, president of the Nisei Farmers League, opposes Senate Bill 350, which would cut carbon emissions dramatically. He says passage of the bill would be the “last straw” for farmers.
Manuel Cunha, president of the Nisei Farmers League, opposes Senate Bill 350, which would cut carbon emissions dramatically. He says passage of the bill would be the “last straw” for farmers. Vida en el Valle

In response to the Aug. 31 commentary by Dean Florez, “Two bills, two momentous choices for Valley lawmakers,” I ask this:

How dare he condemn Assembly Member Henry T. Perea for standing up for the Valley?

Mr. Florez, as you may recall, was our former representative in the Legislature. During his tenure in Sacramento, the Fresno County economy literally went in the tank. Tens of thousands of jobs vanished. Farms all across the Central Valley were lost. Our community was devastated.

After spending 12 years in the Legislature — doing more harm than good for local growers – Mr. Florez packed his bags and moved to Pasadena, leaving the Valley to pick up the pieces.

Thankfully, we have a genuine leader in Assembly Member Perea. Our current representative in Sacramento cares deeply about water, jobs, rural communities and energy. He has proven that he understands the people of this community time and time again.

The Valley is lucky to have such thoughtful representation at a time when power brokers in Southern California and the Bay Area continue to push policies that run roughshod over our communities.

Senate Bill 350 would be devastating to agriculture and farmers in California’s rural counties. At a time when our state’s drought has put an immense strain on growers, Sacramento’s attempt to go after our fuel would literally be the final straw for agriculture.

For the record, farmers in California already use the cleanest diesel fuel in the world. Cutting fuel supplies in half will only drive up prices and put many hardworking Central Valley farmers on the road to hardscrabble.

Perhaps Mr. Florez thinks about us from time to time in Pasadena. I certainly hope he does. Senate Bill 350 will impact the food we grow, package and deliver to his table each and every day.

I know I speak for farmers and ranchers when I say: Thank you, Assembly Member Perea, for your leadership and defense of the Central Valley.

Manuel Cunha is president of the Nisei Farmers League, which has its headquarters in Fresno.

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