"The lifeblood of the Valley of this agricultural community is water, and we are struggling really bad right now. 2022 is shaping up to be a nightmare at this point," said Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen.
Jacobsen said farmers are hurting across the Valley and want state leaders to take action and help solve the water crisis.
With the gubernatorial recall election looming, the Republican contender Elder said he wants them to know he's listening.
"I recognize that water is very important, jobs related to farming, and I am going to be putting that priority over the delta smelt," Elder said to reporters.
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Jacobsen was among the dozen farmers present at the Piccadilly Inn Airport and said Elder is not the first candidate to hear them out.
"We do think we can solve a lot of these water issues," said Jacobsen, "We are just not seeing the leadership we need to really take this head-on at this point."
The Fresno County Farm Bureau is not endorsing a candidate and remains hopeful the winner will take their concerns seriously, helping save one of the world's most productive agricultural regions.
"It's not going to be solved tomorrow, we need someone who is committed to understanding it's going to be longer than his or her term as governor, but you got to start somewhere soon, or this is all going to be gone before we know it," said Jacobsen.
Elder said he assures that if elected Governor, the water shortage is an issue he will act on.
"Shasta Dam should be raised about 18 feet. These projects are ready to go, but they are being held up for fear of lawsuits but what I intend to do is declare a public emergency on the water so these projects can be unleashed," said Elder.
Elder also addressed the influx of crime numbers throughout the state and the shift he promises to make.
"I am going to change this narrative that the police are engaging in systemic racism. The negative effect is police are becoming more passive because of the fear," he said.