Republican and Democratic presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have provided their respective game plans on critical industry issues.
Asked about immigration reform, food safety regulation, agricultural policy, estate taxes and nutrition, presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have provided answers to the United Fresh Produce Association.
The questions were submitted to both campaigns and the answers were posted Sept. 4 on the United Fresh Produce Association’s Washington Public Policy Conference web site.
“I think it is great the candidates took the opportunity to address the concerns of the produce industry specifically by responding to our submitted questions,” said Ray Gilmer, vice president of communications for Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh. “It gives folks in the industry a chance to make a decision themselves.”
Gilmer said it is often difficult to get presidential campaigns to answer specific questions of concern to the fresh produce industry.
Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign said he recognizes the current system for issuing work visas to temporary seasonal workers is “broken.”
“As president, Mitt Romney will make the system for bringing in temporary agricultural workers and other seasonal workers functional for both employers and workers,” according to the statement from the Romney campaign.
Meanwhile, President Obama’s campaign answered the question about immigration reform and farm labor with a pledge to work for comprehensive immigration reform.
“I support legislation — that until recently had bipartisan support — that would invest in border security, hold employers accountable, demand responsibility from undocumented immigrants while creating a path to legal status,” Obama said in his statement.
Romney’s position on food safety regulation emphasized the importance of industry input.
“Gov. Romney believes preventative practices are best developed by growers, handlers, processors, and others in the supply chain with specific knowledge of the risks, diversity of operations in the industry, and feasibility of potential mitigation strategies,” according to the Romney statement. “Governor Romney believes the FDA must collaborate with industry, in cooperation with state agencies and academia, to develop specific guidance for the commodities most often associated with food-borne illness outbreak.”
While touting the new authorities the Food and Drug Administration has to provide oversight for food safety, Obama also stressed coordination with industry.
“I am committed to working to ensuring that food safety regulations do not place an unreasonable burden on the food industry,” Obama said in his statement.