Assemblymember Esmeralda Soria, D-Merced, has been appointed chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, which helps oversee California’s $50 billion farming industry.
The appointment, announced Monday, means that the state Senate and Assembly agriculture committees are now chaired by daughters of farmworkers from the Central Valley.
State Sen. Melissa Hurtado, D-Bakersfield, grew up in Sanger, about 55 miles from Soria’s hometown of Lindsay.
New Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, D-Hollister, is the son of farmworkers.
“I hold a deep connection with California agriculture,” said Soria, a former Fresno City Councilmember who won her Assembly race last November. “I pledge to continually engage with and bring the voices of farmers and farmworkers to the state Capitol.”
Her 27th Assembly District stretches from just south of Turlock to Merced, Los Baños, Mendota, Coalinga and a swath of Fresno. The region is largely agricultural.
Soria will lead an 11-member committee on issues including commodities, commissions, food access, fairs, food labeling, pest management, livestock/poultry, and the state Department of Food and Agriculture.
“As the daughter of first-generation immigrants and farmworkers, I worked alongside my parents in the Central Valley agricultural fields, and understand the importance of supporting both our agricultural industry and workers,” said Soria in a news statement.
“I’m grateful to Speaker Rivas for entrusting me with the important work of this committee,” she said.
Soria vowed to “continually engage with and bring the voices of farmers and farmworkers to the state Capitol.
“I hold a deep connection with California agriculture.” she said.
Juan Esparza Loera is the editor of Vida en el Valle.