May 19, 2010
06:21 PMThe Wind Machine
● Oregon held its primary elections on Tuesday with few surprises at the federal level. James Huffman, who teaches law at Lewis & Clark College, has the Republican nomination to take on an incumbent, United States Senator Ron Wyden (D), in the fall. I believe Senator Wyden will be reelected on November 2.
● President Felipe Calderon of Mexico is in Washington, D.C., today on a state visit. His early discussions with President Obama focused on cross-border issues such as drugs, immigration, and the NAFTA trucking dispute. Hopes went unfulfilled that this meeting would serve as the opportunity to announce a settlement of the trucking dispute that has led to higher Mexican tariffs on U.S. products, including our cherries and pears. The Teamsters union has driven this negative outcome. It is now hard to see a solution being put into place and tariffs coming down until after this fall’s elections, at the earliest.
● A person from Oregon and familiar to the national produce industry was named on May 6 as the new leader of the California Association of Winegrape Growers. John Aguirre will now move from his current job with the Oregon Association of Nurseries to the Sacramento-based Winegrape Growers, where he will take over as president from Karen Ross, who left that association to serve as USDA Secretary Vilsack’s chief of staff in Washington, D.C.
I first became acquainted and worked with John Aguirre in the early 1990s when he lobbied on the Hill for the United Fresh Produce Association (then known as the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association). Given that the Winegrape Growers have been active members of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, I imagine I soon will have the opportunity to renew a positive working relationship.