By April 2, 2015 Read More →

InterView – Senator Cathleen Galgiani

Senator Cathleen Galgiani
By Chris Murphy

Modesto, CA is the epicenter of the central valley. We are at the crossroads of food production, wineries, entertainment, and the home of American Graffiti and one of the birth places of Rock and Roll and Rockabilly music. We have a lot going for us.
But we also have our challenges and we need to make sure that we are on the radar and are a priority in Sacramento and in Washington DC. ModestoView and my company Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group have been reaching out and talking to our elected officials to champion our issues. In September we were in DC in support of Highway 132 and other food industry related issues. This month, we reached out to Senator Cathleen Calgiani who represents the 5th District, which includes Stockton, Tracy, and Modesto.

As a 5th generation Stocktonian, Cathleen has lived and worked in the San Joaquin Valley all of her life. She has been involved in a wide range of issues including protecting agriculture, cutting government waste and fraud and fighting for Cal-Grant expansions so that more kids can go to college. Additionally, she helped to secure funding and support for UC Merced.

Galgiani has worked to improve education, protect health-care funding, increase public safety, enhance public transportation and save taxpayer dollars. Additionally, Cathleen continues to work diligently on Homeownership Preservation through legislation and local workshops. In 2008, Galgiani authored AB 3034 which approved the first phase of the High Speed Rail system in California – the largest infrastructure project in the California since the state highways were built. This project will be an incredible boost to California’s economy and the Central Valley by creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. She is also active in the reducing frivious ADA lawsuits with SB-67. She is focused on creating opportunity and equality for all. Let’s meet Senator Galgiani.

What do you think the Modesto area and our region needs to do to accelerate our climb out of the tough economy?
Senator Galliani: We need to develop and attract new industry which can provide greater job opportunities to the community. It is important to capitalize on our strengths such as our vibrant agricultural and food production industries, our affordable cost-of-living, and our central location to the Bay Area, the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Sacramento.

MV: Do you think creating civic pride is helpful to our economy?
SG: I think it is crucial to good economic development and Modesto definitely puts its’ best foot forward when it comes to civic pride. Numerous community events such as the Harvest Luncheon, American Graffiti Summer and the Farmers Markets as well as Art and Music venues like the Gallo Center and the State Theatre clearly display a strong sense of community and pride.

MV: How special do you think it is that Modesto is the home of American Graffiti?
SG: American Graffiti really resonated with a couple of generations of people throughout the country. Modesto being the hometown of George Lucas and the site of the American Graffiti story has for years brought great attention to Modesto as the classic small American city where young people celebrate their last summer before moving toward adulthood. It revives a special, memorable feeling for many people and is true Americana.

MV: Our agriculture industry feeds the world, what role do you think this has in the next century?
SG: Food production will become ever more important over the next decades with continued world population growth. Our agriculture industry produces the most diverse array of crops and food products in the world, from staples such as fruit, vegetables and dairy to specialty products such as our world class wines, our classic and gourmet cheeses and most of the world’s supply of almonds.

MV: How do we lead the ag tech world with the risk of long-term drought?
SG: Central Valley agriculture has been at the hub of ag and water technology for many years. Our water storage and delivery systems began well over a century ago and have continuously modernized to adapt to changing conditions. Over the last several decades our farmers produce ever more crops per acre with less and less water due to technology. The current devastating drought has made it clear that our state and federal water infrastructure must be expanded for the first time in decades to add additional storage to agriculture’s conservation efforts. That was the goal of last year’s State Water Bond. In the meantime our farmers and water districts continue to seek new technology and science to adapt to the changing and challenging conditions.

MV: If you had a magic wand, what change would you make to improve our area?
SG: Today I would have to start with a more dependable water supply system. But overall I would have to say greater education and job opportunities.

MV: What made you want to devote your life to public service?
SG: I started out at age 18 working on the city council campaign of a friend which later led to me working for several state legislators. I realized that it was possible to have an effect on public policy in your community and even your state. I admired the determination with which these persons pursued good policies to improve their communities and the state even when it was difficult and took a long time. Assemblywoman Barbara Matthews, whom I last worked for, and other persons in the district encouraged me to run to succeed her because I brought 20 years of working with local legislators on the issues that are important to our Central Valley and I could continue some of the efforts that they had begun.

MV: What was a very memorable experience when you were growing up that shaped who you are today?
SG: When I was in 4th grade, a young woman who was developmentally disabled lived in our neighborhood. The kids teased her, but they were also afraid of her because she was different. I befriended her and started teaching her things when the other kids saw me playing with her, they began to accept her too. This taught me that sometimes it takes just one person to speak up and say something shouldn’t be the way it is. And when one person speaks up, others will follow.

MV: What are you the most optimistic about for the role of women in our future?
SG: When I started in politics, I didn’t see very many women role models. I remember campaigning for Stockton’s first woman Mayor, and for our area’s first Assemblywoman Barbara Matthews. I’m so pleased to see young women today in every field of work, who choose their careers, and families, and never question whether it’s possible.

MV: And our favorite question, Beatles or Stones?
SG: I love the Rolling Stones!



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About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.