This week Congressman Josh Harder was appointed to two committees that will allow him to oversee three of the issues most important to the Central Valley — education, jobs and agriculture.
Harder announced on Tuesday he had been selected to serve on the House Education and Labor Committee, and on Wednesday night was appointed to serve on the House Committee on Agriculture.
Committees play in an important role in the legislative process, providing members the opportunity to study, debate and amend bills. Representatives seeking assignment to a specific committee author request letters, which typically include justifications relevant to the committee like prior professional experience, district demographics and geography.
Harder sought to utilize his background in education and business when seeking appointment to the Education and Labor Committee, the former venture capitalist and Modesto Junior College adjunct professor said.
The committee’s basic jurisdiction is over education and labor matters generally, including oversight over matters related to higher and early education, workforce development and protections, and health, employment, labor, and pensions. Under current Chairman Bobby Scott, some of its platforms include affordable health care for all and dismantling the school to prison pipeline.
While serving on the committee, Harder hopes to bring better-paying jobs to District 10 and provide its communities with state-of-the-art workforce development training.
“Serving on the Education and Labor Committee allows me to directly advocate for the Central Valley on the issues that matter to our families — better paying jobs, worker’s health care access, retirement readiness, job training and adult education, and the success of the next generation of leaders. I am honored to have this opportunity,” Harder said.
On the Agriculture Committee, Harder will serve as a voice for the Valley while discussing bills that address the country’s diverse needs when it comes to ag. Different regions have varying products, climates and experiences, but the ultimate goal of the committee is ensuring federal policies empower American farmers and helps them meet 21st century needs, such as conservation, food safety, technological innovation and keeping pace with an increasingly globalized economy.
The committee also oversees a wide range of issues including agricultural research and development, renewable energy, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, rural development, crop insurance, international trade, futures market regulation, animal and plant health, bioterrorism, forestry and other vital issues.
Agriculture is one of the driving forces behind District 10’s economy and serving on the committee will allow him to be a leader on the topic, he said. In 2017, Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties produced over $8.7 billion in agricultural commodities, and the agriculture sector supports over a third of all jobs in Stanislaus County alone.
“Agriculture is the backbone of the Central Valley economy — with nearly $8 billion of agricultural commodities produced in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties alone, we feed the nation and much of the world,” Harder said. “But we also have critical challenges that we must meet head on, beginning with sensible solutions to expand our water supply, better manage our existing water resources, and help our communities better prepare for droughts.”
On Tuesday, a bipartisan amendment co-sponsored by Harder passed the House, securing an additional $1.9 billion for farmers affected by the California wildfires and other natural disasters — a sign of what can be accomplished when both sides of the aisle work together, he said, as the government shutdown heads into its 29th day on Saturday.
Over the weekend Harder will be back in the district, meeting with constituents during one-on-one office hours in six different cities through Monday. Harder will also host his first town hall event from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Ceres Community Center, 2701 4th St. All events are open to the public and everyone is invited to attend. For more information, including office hours and locations, visit facebook.com/RepJoshHarder.