● After arriving in the nation’s capital on Monday, the 17th, for a meeting later in the week of the Executive Committee of the National Council of Agricultural Employers, I walked past McPherson Square near the White House, where the “Occupy D.C.” protest originated. It was a nice, sunny day and at least a dozen of the protesters took advantage of the weather to engage in yoga exercises. Maybe a hundred in total were camped out in the city square. This provided an interesting contrast to the day before, a Sunday, when I was in Atlanta for the Produce Marketing Association’s convention. That day I was caught up in the crowd leaving the nearby football stadium, where 69,047 had watched the Atlantic Falcons play.

● Dennis Cardoza (D), a five-term member of the House of Representatives, announced last week he will not run for reelection in 2012. Mr. Cardoza, from the Central Valley of California, was a leader on behalf of fruits and vegetables and other specialty crops during the legislative formation of the current Farm Bill.

● The United States Apple Association’s director of consumer health and education, Allison Parker, is leaving USApple effective November 4 to take a job in Austin, Texas, with the public relations firm of Fleishman-Hillard.

● Ambassador Isi Siddiqui, the top agricultural trade negotiator at the Office of the United States Trade Representative, made a quick trip to the Yakima Valley on October 11. The ambassador’s visit from Washington, D.C., to meet with tree fruit industry leaders on economic initiatives of the White House, including the pending passage by the U.S. Senate of three Free Trade Agreements, was coordinated by our office.

● A past USTR official and current head of Western Growers’ Washington, D.C., lobbying office, Cathy Enright, is leaving WGA to join BIO, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, as its new executive vice president of the food and agriculture section.  This job change will occur November 7.

POLITICAL FRUIT: “Fine. And I’m going to be getting a bushel basket that has apples and oranges in it, because I’ve got to pay both taxes, and the people of Nevada don’t want to pay both taxes.” Mitt Romney from transcript of CNN-sponsored presidential debate of Republican candidates in Las Vegas on October 18, 2011.