Rep. Jimmy Panetta, (D, CA), one of the floral industry’s biggest advocates in Congress, will deliver a pep talk to the Society of American Florists’ (SAF) Congressional Action Days participants before they meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Panetta will speak at the Grassroots Breakfast during the event, which is being held March 12-13 in Washington, DC.
“Congressman Panetta has been an advocate for the agriculture and floral industry since his first day in office,” says SAF Growers Council member Jamie Kitz of Sakata Seed America in Salinas, CA. “He is proactive, championing many issues that affect our industry overall and the floral and agriculture businesses on the central California Coast.”
In August, Rep. Panetta participated in a 45-minute tour of Sakata greenhouses and met with Kitz and former SAF Growers Council member Janet Louie of Green Valley Floral.
“Congressman Panetta was very interested in discussing the economic impact that potential policy changes will have and are having on our industry,” Kitz says. Meeting topics included crop protection, the Farm Bill, biotechnology, and immigration.
“Like his father, Leon Panetta, he’s an advocate for what we grow and what our industry represents to our community and the economy,” Louie says. “He understands that we produce good jobs, we’re stewards of the environment, and represent a unique piece of the agriculture landscape in our country.”
The son of former White House Chief of Staff, CIA Director, and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Jimmy Panetta was sworn in as member of the 115th Congress on Jan. 3, 2017. SAF supported his 2016 congressional campaign.
Panetta represents California’s 20th Congressional District, representing the Central Coast, including all of Monterey and San Benito Counties and southern portions of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties. His region produces flowers and many other agricultural products, including artichokes, strawberries, lettuce, and winegrapes.
He serves on the House Agriculture Committee, and its subcommittees on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research; and Nutrition. He also serves on the House Armed Services Committee. Panetta is the founder and co-chair of the Agricultural Research Caucus and is the co-chair of the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus.
“He has been a positive voice this first year in office. He’s inspiring and his passion is infectious,” Kitz says. “Much of the information from Washington revolves around uncertainty, and his proactive, bipartisan approach represents a positive influence. He is working to ensure that changing policy supports our industry, not cripples it.”
“Every segment of the floral industry will appreciate his passion for our industry, for agriculture, and the importance of supporting the roots of what makes the rest of our industry possible,” Louie says. “It starts at the farm, which means we need a workable immigration plan, and he will help to underline just how important passing comprehensive reform is for everyone involved.”
For details about this year’s Congressional Action Days, go to Safnow.org/cad. The cut-off date for guaranteeing the SAF room rate at the CAD hotel is February 16. Early-bird registration is available through February 23, and registration includes an additional free registration for a second person from your company who has never attended CAD before. This offer is not available online, so contact [email protected].