By Ellen Durrer, member, CA Dairy Leaders Class XI
Members of the California Dairy Leaders Class XI got an up close and personal view of the State Capitol this week as they participated in the second session of the year-long leadership program.
Class members met Tuesday evening with WUD’s Director of Government Relations Gary Conover and Jim Collin, Chief Consultant, Assembly Agriculture Committee. Conover and Collin gave a brief overview of the legislative process, including the journey a bill must take from the time it is written until it may become law and the reasons why lobbyists are important. Often times the job of educating our legislative personnel, who may know little or nothing at all on the matters of ag and dairy topics, falls on the lobbyist.
Dairy Leaders met with Assemblywoman Connie Conway (R-Tulare). From left, Jennifer Beretta, Rebecca Spaletta, David Dewit, Jenny Mesenhimer, Trevor Nutcher, Assemblywoman Conway, Jared Mello, Ellen Durrer, Robby Thommen and Lauren Reid.
On Wednesday, the class toured the Capitol and a portion of the grounds, as well as had the opportunity to learn about the history of the building and our State government. The class spent the remainder of the day visiting members of the Senate and Assembly including Assemblywoman Connie Conway (R-Tulare); Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), chairman of the Senate Ag Committee; Assemblyman David Valadao (R-Hanford); Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco); Sen. Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto); Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Bill Berryhill (R-Modesto). We also sat in on hearings for both the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee and the Assembly Agriculture Committee.
The representatives shared their experience, or lack thereof, in the agriculture field and expressed an interest in hearing more from us on our views on issues that may arise. They each shared their political experiences and what brought them to the arena in the first place. Everyone we met with was very interested in learning from us, to help make a more educated vote, based on our experience in the field.
Before we adjourned on Thursday, we were introduced both on the floor of the Senate, by Sen. Cannella (R-Ceres) and the floor of the Assembly, by Assemblyman David Valadao (R-Hanford). This was a very exciting experience and an honor to represent California Dairy. The class is looking forward to Session 3, which will be held in August and focuses on economic issues. June 15, 2012 WUD Friday Update