One of the Coachella Valley’s leading agriculture groups has endorsed Jeff Gonzalez, R-Indio, for the 56th Assembly District.

The Growing Coachella Valley Board of Directors are officially supporting Gonzalez’s candidacy over incumbent Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella.

We believe you possess the qualities of a good leader and know that you will be an excellent role model for the community,” Blaine Carian, president of Growing Coachella Valley said his letter of support to Gonzalez.

“We appreciate the time you have spent getting to know us,” Carian said.  “You appear to have a genuine grasp of the challenges we and our employees currently face.  It is important for our industry to remain viable, not just for us, but for our employees, the residents of Coachella Valley, and the citizens of the California.  Agriculture is a very important component of the California economy with a gross value of $50 billion and $100 billion in economic activity.”

Gonzalez told Uken Report on Monday that he has had the opportunity to get to know many of the community members that work on the farms and in agriculture as a whole.

“This endorsement is one of the most important ones that I’ve received to date, because it says that they trust me and believe that I will fight for them and not for the Sacramento special interests,” Gonzalez  said. “I am truly humbled by this letter of confidence from Growing Coachella Valley.”

The current California legislative climate is making it burdensome to farm as usual, Carian said.  Changes are being made as a result of the recent overtime bill, increased minimum wage, and other legislative hurdles. Mechanization, crop adjustments, and fallowing are a few things growers are implementing to survive.  Some will not be as lucky and will unfortunately go out of business.  Agriculture is very important to Assembly District 56, with a combined gross value total of $2.74 billion.  Any reduction in production could have detrimental effects to these communities.

“As agriculture continues to face uncertainty in California, if elected, we know you will stand up for everyone in our farming community as you have while serving our country with great determination and honor,” Carian told Gonzalez.  “Assembly District 56 has longstanding roots in agriculture and we need a representative who will go the distance for us to assure our farming legacy will continue for generations to come.  We believe you have the initiative and dedication to make a difference.”

Headquartered in Coachella, Growing Coachella Valley is a not-for-profit organization that fosters support from key industries, local businesses and residents to secure resources for the future of the Coachella Valley. The organization focuses on issues surrounding the availability of water and other resources that contribute to the standard of living and economic development of region’s agriculture.

The 56th Assembly District encompasses all of the Imperial Valley and parts of the Coachella Valley, or about 13 percent of Riverside County. The district is primarily rural with significant agriculture and heavily Latino. Coachella Valley communities in the district are Bermuda Dunes, Blythe, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Center, Desert Hot Springs, Indio, Mecca, Thermal, and Thousand Palms.