One of the floral industry’s biggest advocates in Congress will deliver a “pep talk” to CAD participants before they meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The Society of American Florists secured Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-California) to speak at the Grassroots Breakfast during the 38th Annual Congressional Action Days in Washington, D.C., March 12-13.
“Congressman Panetta has been an advocate for the agriculture and floral industry since his first day in office,” said SAF Growers Council member Jamie Kitz of Sakata Seed America in Salinas, California. “He is proactive, championing many issues that affect our industry overall and the floral and agriculture businesses on the central California Coast.”
Kitz knows firsthand. 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.ral.
“Congressman Panetta was very interested in discussing the economic impact that potential policy changes will have and are having on our industry,” Kitz said. Meeting topics included crop protection, the Farm Bill, biotechnology and immigration.
Louie added, “Like his father, Leon Panetta, he’s an advocate for what we grow and what our industry represents to our community and the economy. 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 January 3, 2017. SAF supported his 2016 congressional campaign.
Panetta represents California’s 20th Congressional District, representing the Central Coast — 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 wine grapes.
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 said. “Much of the information from D.C. revolves around uncertainty, and his proactive, bipartisan approach represents a positive influence. He is working to ensure that changing policy support our industry, not cripple it.”
Louie agrees. “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…the flowers,” she said. “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 CAD, visit safnow.org/cad. The cut-off date for guaranteeing the SAF room rate at the CAD hotel is February 16. The early-bird registration fee is $295 for members and $395 for non-members by February 23. Your 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; please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
SAF’s 38th Annual Congressional Action Days is underwritten by Platinum Partner CalFlowers and Gold Partners BloomNet, FTD and Teleflora.
Read more about Kitz and why she thinks CAD is a must-attend event for all industry members in the February issue of Floral Management.