When Rep. Julia Brownley visited The Sun Valley Group’s Oxnard, California, location on May 7, the congresswoman toured the company’s facility, met with employees, talked industry issues — and got a firsthand look at a very busy time in the life of a flower grower.
“We got a call several days before from her local office, asking to coordinate the visit, and of course we said yes,” said Rodi Groot, Sun Valley’s product manager and Sun Pacific Bouquet manager. “I did tell them that, with Mother’s Day around the corner, they were about to see us at our busiest.”
The buildup for the holiday only added to what Groot classified as a “great, productive” visit. Brownley has toured Sun Valley before, most recently in 2015, and Groot also met with some of her key staff members in March during the Society of American Florists’ Congressional Action Days.
Brownley was first elected to Congress in 2012 to serve as the representative for California’s 26th District, which encompasses most of Ventura County. She sits on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where she serves on the Subcommittees on Aviation, Highways & Transit, and Water Resources & Environment.
During the May 7 visit, Groot and other members of the Sun Valley team led Brownley and her staff around the company’s greenhouses, bouquet department and warehouse. They also talked candidly about some of their key challenges as growers — including the need for increased industry research funding and solutions for the country’s broken immigration system. Groot also talked about Sun Valley’s commitment to the American Grown and California Grown movements.
“She shook hands with some of our team members who were working, picking the flowers,” he said. “She was very approachable and seemed well informed on the issues.”
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