A Path To Better Cen­tral Val­ley Jobs

Riverbank News - - PERSPECTIV 4E - By JOSH HARDER

I’m run­ning for Con­gress here in Cal­i­for­nia’s Dis­trict 10 be­cause I’m tired of see­ing the Val­ley’s econ­omy fall be­hind. Our un­em­ploy­ment rate is dou­ble the Cal­i­for­nia av­er­age. A few months ago, Seneca Foods Corp. an­nounced it will close its Modesto plant, which dur­ing peak sea­son had 2,000 em­ploy­ees. A cou­ple decades ago, this same plant had 10,000 jobs. Eighty per­cent of these jobs have been au­to­mated or out­sourced. I am sick and tired of see­ing sit­u­a­tions like that of Seneca Food Cor­po­ra­tion. We can do better than this Cen­tral Val­ley.

In my busi­ness ca­reer, I have helped en­trepreneurs and small com­pa­nies de­velop their ideas and grow high-pay­ing jobs. As your Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, I will work to help small busi­nesses and work­ing-class Amer­i­cans have the op­por­tu­ni­ties they need to be suc­cess­ful.

Here are my plans in Con­gress to jumps­tart the lo­cal econ­omy here in Cen­tral Val­ley:

Agri­cul­ture

In­vest in long-term ef­fi­ciency for farm­ers: By pro­vid­ing tax in­cen­tives for farm­ers to buy mi­cro ir­ri­ga­tion drips, we dra­mat­i­cally de­crease wa­ter us­age while in­creas­ing pro­duc­tion, cre­at­ing for a thriv­ing econ­omy for Ag.

Build enough wa­ter stor­age for the Val­ley for the next 100 years so that when it does rain we use it to recharge our aquifers and ground­wa­ter. Six years of drought were fol­lowed by one year of flood­ing. We have to be better pre­pared to take ad­van­tage of the rain when it comes. One of the stor­age forms I will pri­or­i­tize is in­land de­sali­na­tion plants.

Fight for a Path­way to Cit­i­zen­ship. Amer­ica is a na­tion of im­mi­grants and we rely on im­mi­grant la­bor to keep our eco­nomic engine hum­ming. Nowhere is that more ob­vi­ous than in the Cen­tral Val­ley, where im­mi­grants are the bedrock of our com­mu­nity. Fifty­five per­cent of farm­ers in Cal­i­for­nia re­port they are strug­gling due to the lack of la­bor here in the Val­ley. We need to wel­come these hard­work­ing in­di­vid­u­als out of the shad­ows and pro­vide them with a sim­ple path­way to cit­i­zen­ship.

Ca­reer-Spe­cific Ed­u­ca­tion

Work to make col­lege and technical train­ing pro­grams more af­ford­able and ac­ces­si­ble in the Val­ley, in­clud­ing by fight­ing for tu­ition-free com­mu­nity and technical col­lege.

Fund ap­pren­tice­ship pro­grams, like those that Gallo and Ama­zon put into place, teach­ing lo­cal high school stu­dents the skills lo­cal com­pa­nies need. Upon gradu- ation, these kids have an of­fer from these com­pa­nies for $25 per hour jobs with ben­e­fits. We need to make sure our grad­u­ates have path­ways to ca­reers that have a fu­ture.

Pri­or­i­tiz­ing Cen­tral Val­ley Res­i­dent Jobs

In or­der to en­cour­age em­ploy­ers to hire lo­cally and in­vest in train­ing em­ploy­ees here, we need to of­fer busi­nesses tax cuts on em­ploy­ees in ar­eas with high un­em­ploy­ment. This way, we en­cour­age com­pa­nies to come to the parts of the Cen­tral Val­ley with high un­em­ploy­ment and de­velop long term plans to stay in the Cen­tral Val­ley.

I stud­ied eco­nomics, busi­ness, and pub­lic pol­icy at Stan­ford and Har­vard to equip me with the knowl­edge to fight for busi­ness poli­cies on the fed­eral level that will help jumps­tart the econ­omy here in the Val­ley. For the past ten years, I was for­tu­nate enough to have ap­plied these prin­ci­ples in my busi­ness ca­reer. I hope to ap­ply these plans on be­half of you and other Cen­tral Val­ley cit­i­zens in Washington, D.C. I humbly ask for your vote on June 5.

Josh Harder is a Demo­cratic can­di­date seek­ing elec­tion to the 10th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict. The opin­ions ex­pressed here are those of the au­thor.

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