Obama yet to visit Central Valley, at a time when he is most needed

27 Aug

By: Nicco Capozzi

President Obama has yet to visit California’s Central Valley. As a presidential candidate, Obama likewise never made a trip to the region. As a candidate, Obama’s tactic was to visit the political powerhouses of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and similar money havens while leaving untouched the millions of voters residing in the Central Valley—the nation’s breadbasket.

The campaign has come and gone and the Central Valley needs President Obama’s leadership, his political influence, and his vision for change. California faces an unprecedented deficit, an amount that far exceeds the entire spending packages of several states. Though the national media reports on California’s bad news, very few outside the state realize just how big of an impact California’s problems have on the nation as a whole. Most states are having difficult times, but none compares to California’s economy—an economy so big it ranks in the top ten for the world. Moreover, in California resides one out of every eight Americans, accounts for nearly 13 percent of the nation’s GDP ($1.7 trillion as of 2006), and is as big economically as Italy, Russia, Spain, and Canada.

California is hurting. In July, the state’s unemployment rate topped 12.1 percent, retail sales are continually slumping, and the housing market solution seems forever out of reach. In 2008, personal income dropped for the first time since the Great Depression; with this, revenues from income tax dropped nearly 34 percent during the first months of the year. California also has the nation’s largest auto retail industry to which declining sales are now widespread. Not to mention the water crisis, which could potentially turn into one of the biggest problems California has ever faced. In fact, Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger petitioned President Obama in June to declare California’s drought a national emergency. The White House denied the petition and Schwarzenegger has asked for reconsideration—the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has not distributed disaster funds for drought to California since 1977.

California’s slumping economy hits the Central Valley counties especially hard, chiefly because of the water crisis. Water is the lifeblood of the valley’s 42,000 square miles (about the same size as Tennessee). More than 6.5 million people live in the Central Valley—the fastest growing region in California.

The valley is indispensable to California and California is indispensable to the nation. By a matter of simple logic then, it is plain that the Central Valley is indispensable to the nation. California’s agriculture is a $36.6 billion industry that generates at least $100 billion in related economic activity; this makes the state the fifth largest supplier of food and agriculture commodities in the world. California is also the leading dairy state, which generated $47 billion for the state in 2004 and employed over 434,000 people.

Concerning California agriculture, the Central Valley is the chief player. Occupying less than 1 percent of total U.S. farmland, the valley produces 8 percent of the nation’s agriculture. Therefore, 8 percent of the nation’s nearly 300 million residents rely on the Central Valley. And the valley relies on its water, and one-sixth of all irrigated land in the U.S. is in the Central Valley.

To take it one-step further, agriculture is the primary industry in Fresno County, and with over a million residents, it is one of the biggest counties in the Central Valley. In 2007, agriculture production in Fresno County totaled $5.3 billion—the largest agricultural county in the nation. Therefore, since the nation’s needs California, California and the nation needs the Central Valley, and Fresno is a vital player in the Central Valley, the nation and California need Fresno.

So why has Fresno and its sister counties received so little attention by the Obama administration? Why has Obama never stepped foot in Fresno or in the Central Valley? As mentioned, the answer is simple—money and politics. Compared to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and a few other mega metropolitan areas, the Valley has very little to offer Obama—at least that is the conventional wisdom. What Obama has failed to realize is that the 2008 election was close in the Valley and many would be McCain voters simply did not vote in the election. The Central Valley contains nearly 7 million voters and Obama won California by 3 million. He carried Fresno with less than 1 percent of the vote.

Sure the state has received federal stimulus funds and the administration is beginning talks over the water crisis but much more needs to be addressed and accomplished. If there were one state that was vital to the nation’s recovery, it would be California. And if California is to receive the attention it deserves, the Central Valley and Fresno deserve the same attention. Funds can be channeled and discussions can ensue but what is really needed is bold and unfettered support, direction, and leadership from the Obama administration. As the saying goes, ‘a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single foot step,’ President Obama needs to take his first step into the Central Valley. Otherwise, the journey to recovery will be but one more step out of reach.

Courtesy of: http://www.examiner.com/x-20271-Fresno-Political-Buzz-Examiner~y2009m8d26-Obama-yet-to-visit-Central-Valley-at-a-time-when-he-is-most-needed

Found By: Lili

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3 Responses to “Obama yet to visit Central Valley, at a time when he is most needed”

  1. Barack Obama August 31, 2009 at 10:48 am #

    Hi this is Barack again from Michelle’s laptop. Thanks again.

  2. lililately August 31, 2009 at 4:01 pm #

    Thanks

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Barack Obama - August 31, 2009

    president of this country is me i am satisfied how great you made me look.

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