Dodd urges Governor to support farmworkers

Monday, September 26, 2016

NAPA, CA – Assemblymember Bill Dodd (D-Napa) urged Governor Jerry Brown this week to increase support for farmworker housing in the 2017-18 state budget.

“We need to support our farmworkers, and ensuring access to affordable housing in the communities they work is a crucial part of that,” said Assemblymember Dodd. “California’s agriculture is critical for our economy and preservation of open space and none of it would be possible without our hardworking farmworkers.”

Assemblymember Dodd has advocated for greater funding for farmworker housing in each of the last two state budgets. Thanks to the efforts of farmworker housing advocates, including Assemblymember Dodd and other legislators, the Office of Migrant Services received an additional $3.5 million in the 2015-16 state budget. However, there is still a significant unmet need.

As a Napa County Supervisor, Dodd helped establish and renovate several farmworker housing facilities across Napa Valley. Dodd has also pushed for access to health care for undocumented and low income residents, both on the Board of Supervisors and in the state legislature.

The farmworker housing model used in Napa County is primarily funded through annual assessments farmers placed on themselves, while also utilizing county and charitable contributions. While most farmworker housing run by the California Office of Migrant Services rely heavily on state funding, the state could incentivize the creation of more housing through these partnerships that get farmers to step up and minimize taxpayer costs for this housing. In Dodd’s letter to the Governor, he urges the state to promote this model which leverages private funding, so the state can stretch its investment to create more farmworker housing.

Assemblymember Bill Dodd represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Yolo, Sonoma, Lake, Solano, and Colusa Counties.