The 2012 elections brought many new members on both the state and federal level to represent Californians. With almonds now the second largest California crop by value, it is important that industry members remain engaged with their local and national elected officials — particularly if they are to understand the variety and complexity of issues affecting the almond industry.
There are a total of 53 members of the California delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives; 14 — almost a third — are freshman members. As a result of redistricting, you may find that your Congressional representative has changed. In total, there are 11 members representing almond interests, and California now has six members on the House Agriculture Committee, including four from almond districts. California agricultural interests have not been this well represented on the Agriculture Committee in recent history.
In the California state Assembly, 38 new members were elected — almost half of the Assembly. There are 13 Assembly members representing almond districts. The new chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee is Susan Talamantes Eggman, who is from Stockton. Luis Alejo, from Salinas, is the chair of the Environmental Safety and Toxic Material Committee.
In the California state Senate, there are 10 new senators with two vacancies that will be filled following special elections in May. There are currently 10 Senate members representing almond districts. Because the Senate has staggered elections, only odd-numbered districts were affected by redistricting in the 2012 election. The new even-numbered districts will go into effect with the 2014 elections. This means that some voters currently fall into the old even-numbered districts as well as the new odd-numbered districts and have dual representation. Confusing? You bet! The Senate Agriculture Committee is now chaired by Cathleen Galgiani from Stockton.
Links to all legislative branches can be found on the Almond Legislative Report page of the Almond Board website.