Gary Podesto wins Farm Bureau endorsement for State Senate
» September 8, 2004 «
Machado Loses Support of Long-Time Political Allies
The California Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors has endorsed Gary Podesto in the 5th state Senate District race. Podesto and California Farm Bureau President Bill Pauli announced the endorsement today, during events in Stockton, Woodland and Vacaville.
Podesto, a Republican and the mayor of Stockton, is challenging state Sen. Mike Machado, D-Linden.
"In a Senate district dependent on the success of its agricultural economy to create jobs and fund public services, farmers and ranchers will be a strong voice for change in this November's election," Pauli said. "Gary Podesto is California agriculture's choice in the 5th Senate District."
Pauli noted that Farm Bureau had been among the earliest groups to endorse Arnold Schwarzenegger's candidacy for governor, and said the Podesto endorsement comes from the same motivation.
"The election of Governor Schwarzenegger provides new opportunities for California agriculture to reform the business of government," Pauli said. "Our governor needs more leaders to serve in the Legislature who put taxpayers' interests first and protect our tax dollars."
Pauli noted that, when Podesto first ran for mayor eight years ago, Stockton suffered from many of the same issues that confronted California at the end of the Gray Davis administration: chronic budget deficits, high taxes and job losses.
"Under Mayor Podesto's leadership, Stockton is now one of California's finest cities," Pauli said. "Podesto has balanced budgets, reduced taxes and created new jobs. With Podesto as a member of the State Senate, California's best days lie ahead."
In 2002, Stockton had its first balanced budget in 20 years and now has had balanced budgets for three straight years. And Stockton is one of only two California cities with a net increase in jobs since 1997.
On the other hand, Pauli said, Sen. Machado has failed to deliver on promises to hold government accountable for the money it spends.
"Senator Machado was a loyal foot soldier for Gray Davis and should share blame for the largest budget deficit in California history," Pauli said. "Instead of demonstrating political independence and fiscal responsibility during the Davis administration, Mike Machado voted for budgets that squandered a $7 billion surplus and created the largest budget deficit in California history - a $38 billion deficit."
The Farm Bureau president noted that a taxpayer watchdog group, the California Taxpayers' Association, has given Machado an "F" grade for consistently voting for higher taxes on small businesses and family farms.
Pauli said Machado's voting record is particularly disappointing, because the senator is a former San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation president who chairs the Senate Agriculture and Water Committee.
"Simply put, Machado's voting record has hurt the local economy by making it too hard for family farms to make a living," Pauli said. "Machado forgot his farming roots and small-town values."
"The choice before voters is clear, and the choice for local farmers and ranchers is even more so," he continued. "Gary Podesto will fight side-by-side with Governor Schwarzenegger to restore California's greatness and will create jobs by protecting California's family farms and small businesses."
The counties in the 5th Senate District-Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano and Yolo-produce almost $2.3 billion worth of crops and commodities annually.
The California Farm Bureau Federation, the state's largest farm organization, will mobilize nearly 90,000 members statewide to influence the outcome of the November election. Many political observers predict that the 5th Senate District will be the most competitive and expensive race in California history.
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