Maldonado pointed out that he was a champion for the open-primary concept and that he believes it is having an impact. “When I introduced the open primary bill, I wanted to achieve three things – I wanted to attract candidates who were open-minded, reasonable and pragmatic. That is what’s lacking in Sacramento and DC – people who want to make tough decisions and move forward.” He said he remains optimistic that the open primary system will help boost moderate legislators.
He lamented the trend toward bigger and bigger farming operations. “The mid-sized grower doesn’t exist anymore. I want that mid-sized farmer who was there when I was growing my business. It seems like those small banks are not there anymore either,” he noted.
Maldonado was nominated by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in November, 2009 as Lieutenant Governor to fill the vacancy created by John Garamendi's election to the United States House of Representatives. A State Senator from 2004 until his appointment as Lieutenant Governor, Maldonado ran unsuccessfully for California State Controller in 2006. He represented a swing district in the Senate and is considered a moderate. Prior to serving in the State Senate, Maldonado was a member of the California State Assembly and Mayor and City Councilmember of Santa Maria. Maldonado was defeated in the 2010 lieutenant governor election by Democrat Gavin Newsom of San Francisco and recently announced his withdrawal from the Governor’s race.
Arizona counties eligible for drought relief
Farmers and ranchers in 11 Arizona counties can seek USDA financial relief from the impact of the intense drought. With this federal designation, farm operators and ranchers in Apache, Coconino, Greenlee, Mohave, Navajo and Yavapai counties – and neighboring counties of Cochise, Gila, Graham, LaPaz and Maricopa – are eligible to apply for low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency (FSA). The other four counties – Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Yuma – were eligible starting on Feb. 27.
“This announcement is great news for Arizona farmers. The extreme drought creates a host of issues for our agricultural partners including significant land damage and financial losses,” said Jack Peterson, Interim Director for the Arizona Department of Agriculture. “No matter what the weather forecast is, we have a significant hill to climb to emerge from this drought.”
With the disaster designation, the USDA found that agricultural production losses in the counties were sufficient to warrant federal assistance. Eligible farm operators in the affected areas have eight months to apply for low-interest emergency loans from the FSA, at which time the agency will determine whether damages and production losses are sufficient to warrant the funding.