Changes in Congress mean changes in leadership. This includes the leadership of the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus that was launched by a bipartisan effort of Congresswoman Lois Capps and Congressman Duncan Hunter in 2014. Since it’s inception, the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus has grown to include four co-chairs (two republicans and two democrats) and over 25 members of Congress. The purpose of the caucus is to help advocate and drive awareness for America’s flower-farming families and the value they bring the economy and their communities. After an amazing tenure of advocacy for America’s flower farmers, for which she was honored in December, caucus co-chair Lois Capps retired from Congress at the end of 2016.
Last week, freshman Congressman Jimmy Panetta announced that he had accepted the co-chair position for the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus and would be taking on the leadership position to help advance the mission of the caucus on behalf of the flower farmers in his district and the rest of the country. Congressman Panetta was elected to the 20th District of California, replacing Congressman Sam Farr who also retired at the end of 2016. The district includes flower farms in the Santa Cruz and Monterey region, once the largest producing region of cut flowers in the United States.
Congressman Panetta attended a reception co-hosted by the Wine Institute and Certified American Grown during last week’s annual flower farmer fly-in to Washington, D.C., showing his support for the future of America’s flower farmers and encouraging his fellow members of Congress to join the caucus.
I’m personally excited to have Congressman Panetta as part of the caucus and look forward to his leadership as an advocate for our farms. I also have great appreciation for the family legacy of support the Panetta’s have had for America’s flower farmers. Congressman Panetta’s father, Secretary Leon Panetta, also represented the district as a Congressman and worked hard to try and level the playing field through legislation for flower farmers during the implementation of the Andean Trade Preferences Act in the early ’90s.
We look forward to working with Congressman Panetta and the rest of the caucus leadership and members in the year ahead as we continue our advocacy efforts on behalf of our country’s flower farmers.