Agriculture and family farms are an important part of the economy and character of the Second District. Whether it’s dairy operations in Whatcom County, seed farms in the Skagit Valley, exports headed out of the Port of Bellingham, or a farmers market on the San Juan Island, agriculture is an economic engine of Northwest Washington. As a former member of the House Agriculture Committee, I know how important research and crop insurance programs are to farmers in our state.
I voted in favor of the five-year Farm Bill that passed in January. This bill contains a number of important programs for nutrition, conservation, and food production. Unfortunately, cuts were made to nutrition programs such as SNAP, and I opposed those cuts. I am a strong advocate for hungry families in our community, which is why I supported directing Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) funding to food banks and introduced legislation to expand summer meal programs for children.
- Helped create the Specialty Crop Research Initiative and Special Crop Block Grants, which help fund projects to advance the unique berry, fruit, seed and vegetable industries in Washington state.
- Pushed to find funding for the Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research, which works to enhance the sustainability and profitability for the berry, grape, and wine industries.
- Supported legislation to create stability in dairy markets for Northwest dairy farmers.
- Championed strong provisions for agriculture in free trade deals, and encouraged the inclusion of provisions to loosen limits for U.S. exports abroad.
- Fought to protect Washington’s potato farmers from unnecessary restrictions on white potatoes in government programs.
- Cosponsored AGJOBS legislation that would create a long-term solution for agricultural labor needs in the U.S.
- Supported appropriations for organic agriculture in FY 2015.