Ahead of California election day, Senator Alex Padilla spends day with farm workers
The action came as part of the United Farm Workers (UFW) and UFW Foundation’s Take Our Jobs campaign, demanding immigration reform and more for farm workers.
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U.S. Senator from California Alex Padilla spent all of Friday, June 3 in the fields of Muranaka Farms in Moorpark, California working alongside the farm workers picking parsley and radishes before holding a town hall with the workers later in the day.
Padilla’s presence and work was part of the United Farm Workers (UFW) and UFW Foundation’s “Take Our Jobs” campaign, which is pushing elected officials like him to achieve immigration reform and grant a pathway to citizenship for immigrant farm workers.
The same invitation was extended to all U.S. senators by the UFW, but only Padilla responded, making him the only U.S. senator to work a day in the shoes of a farm worker, according to the organization
“Today I experienced just a small taste of the demanding work that farm workers do every day to keep millions of families in America fed,” Padilla was quoted by the Los Angeles Blade. “I was here for just one day, but the people I worked alongside are here every day toiling, often under the hot sun, to make sure there’s food in our stores and on our tables. Farm workers are essential to the success of our country. That’s why I’m fighting to fix our immigration system and to provide immigrant farm workers the pathway to citizenship they have earned.”
Both are issues close to Padilla’s heart, as the Los Angeles native was born to Mexican immigrants — one working as a short-order cook and the other cleaning houses.
Once in the Senate, the first bill he introduced was the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act, which would grant an expedited pathway to citizenship for more than 5 million essential workers, including the farm workers he worked alongside in the fields on Friday. Padilla also supports the House-passed Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which is another bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship for many undocumented farm workers.
"They're unsung heroes and deserve a lot better from the government in terms of labor protections, in terms of a pathway to citizenship," Padilla was quoted by Los Angeles’ ABC7.
Padilla first took office in the U.S. Senate at the beginning of 2021 after his appointment by California Governor Gavin Newsome to replace Vice President Kamala Harris. Upon his appointment, he became the first Mexican-American and Hispanic U.S. senator from California in its history. He also joined an upper chamber of Congress as the sixth Latino senator serving, alongside fellow Democratic Senators Ben Ray Luján, Catherine Cortez Masto and Bob Menendez, and Republicans Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
On Tuesday, June 7, Padilla also faces the beginning of what is an odd reelection cycle. First, he must traverse a special election that covers Harris’ initial term, which ends this year, and then a regular election that leads to a standard six-year term that begins in January 2023. Padilla has been campaigning for the elections since he first took office, and is a heavy favorite to retain his post in D.C.