Cross posted on Daily Kos
Democrats in Yolo County are fired up and ready to go. They met last night at the historic Palms Playhouse in Winters for a rally sponsored by the Western Yolo County Democratic Club.
Over 100 people came out to listen and cheer as guest speaker CDP Chairman Art Torres, along with candidates Lois Wolk (SD-05), Mariko Yamada (AD-08), and Jeff Morris (CA-02), talked about “Why Rural Families are Voting Democratic – Taking Back Red California.”
Oh, and the old-time music and the free spaghetti dinner weren’t exactly deal-breakers either.
The speaking schedule was full. In addition to the politicians, there were local food and farm activists, as well as local organizers like Claire Black-Slotton, the executive director of Yolo United, and Ryan Loney, the Northern California Field Director of Students for Barack Obama and an Obama delegate to the Denver convention.
A major theme that emerged as speaker after speaker addressed the audience was the real need for California activists to get involved in local Congressional races, whether it’s for Jeff Morris in CA-02, Bill Durston in CA-03, Charlie Brown in CA-04, or Jerry McNerney in CA-11. There was a clear sentiment among those who attended that just winning back the White House in 2008 will not be enough; we must have strong Congressional majorities to support Pres. Barack Obama as he leads our nation.
One speech in particular that really resonated in this rural setting came from Richard Rominger, a former Deputy Secretary of Agriculture in the Clinton administration who is currently advising the Obama campaign on agriculture affairs. Here’s what Rominger had to say:
Richard Rominger, Art Torres, Lois Wolk
What are rural Americans thinking about these days? Farm prices, food prices, fuel prices, health care costs, the war in Iraq, immigration, climate change.
A couple of quotes from Senator Obama: “When we strengthen our rural communities, we lift up our entire nation.” “I think that people who live in rural areas can feel confident that I’m not a newcomer to this.”
Senator Obama supported passage of the current Farm Bill, but said he wanted more reform. The Farm Bill was passed by overwhelming majorities in both the House and Senate over President Bush’s veto. Senator McCain opposed the Farm Bill, saying he would have vetoed it just as Bush did. The bill included more money for conservation programs, including the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program; more money for nutrition programs, including more fruits and vegetables for school lunch programs, more help for farmers markets, and increases in food stamps; more support for agricultural research; and a boost for renewable energy. It is clearly better than the previous Farm Bill, although it is far from perfect.
Senator Obama has repeatedly voted to fund agriculture programs while Senator McCain has repeatedly voted against funding agriculture programs.
Senator Obama would limit farm subsidies to prevent very large farms from collecting the vast majority of subsidies. Senator McCain voted against capping subsidies.
Senator Obama has voted for emergency assistance for farmers in times of disasters. Senator McCain has repeatedly voted against emergency assistance for farmers.
Senator Obama supports immediate implementation of Country of Origin Labeling, starting with meat products. Senator McCain voted against Country of Origin Labeling.
Senator Obama voted for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Senator McCain repeatedly voted against it.
Barack Obama has a comprehensive energy plan to help Americans cope with the energy crisis in the short term, and make the long-term investments we need to break our addiction to oil. He will use some of the oil companies’ record-breaking profits for an Emergency Energy Rebate of $1,000 per family or $500 per individual. He will also release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to cut prices.
Within ten years we could save more oil than we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela combined, by increasing fuel efficiency standards for our vehicles, working with the auto industry to put 1 million plug-in hybrid cars – cars that get up to 150 miles per gallon – on the road by 2015, and investing in the development of new fuels.
Senator Obama will help create five million new jobs by investing in a clean energy future: Investing $150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze private efforts to develop clean energy technologies, from jump starting the commercialization of plug-in hybrids to advancing the next generation of biofuels. These are five million jobs that can’t be outsourced.
Barack Obama would diversify our energy sources by adopting an aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard, requiring 10% of our electricity to come from renewable sources by 2012 and 25% by 2025. That will spur significant private sector investment in renewable sources such as wind and solar, creating thousands more new jobs. (You may have noticed the recent news articles about 11 shiploads of wind turbine parts being unloaded at the Port of Sacramento for a new wind farm near Rio Vista).
As president, Obama will implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. And he’ll work with our allies abroad to develop effective emissions reduction efforts.
Senator Obama has proposed a plan to extricate the U.S. from the misguided war in Iraq. Senator McCain would prolong the Bush policies.
Senator Obama supported the expansion of the successful State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Senator McCain joined President Bush in opposing the expansion of this successful program.
Senator Obama supports increasing access to health care in rural areas by investing in Health Information Technology and TeleMedicine. When Senator McCain was asked about his rural health care plan he admitted it does “not sound too serious.” In 2003, Senator McCain voted against funding for rural Medicare health care providers.
On immigration, Senator Obama supports comprehensive reform, including secure borders, an Ag Jobs Program, and a path over a period of years for those already here illegally to earn resident status. Senator McCain originally supported comprehensive legislation, but has since backed away from it.
For the estate tax, Senator Obama supports the limits that will be in effect in 2009, which is $3.5 million per person, $7 million per couple, which will exempt 99% of farms and businesses. Senator McCain supports higher limits which will allow wealthier tax payers to escape the tax.
To sum up, an Obama administration, along with Democratic majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives will provide an economy that answers the needs of farmers and all of rural America, as well as our urban and suburban neighbors, and returns the United States of America to its former position of leadership and respect in the world.
Online Organizing Director
California Democratic Party