Sen. Andreas Borgeas (R–Fresno) is in rarified air now.
Monday, California Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D–San Diego) announced that Borgeas would serve as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
“I am honored to chair the Senate Agriculture Committee, and I would like to thank President pro tempore Atkins for appointing me to serve in this role,” Borgeas said in a statement. “The Central Valley is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world, and we need strong, effective advocates in Sacramento on behalf of our agricultural community. I look forward to representing California’s agricultural regions and industries as Chairman of the Agriculture Committee.”
The appointment makes Borgeas the only Republican in either house of the Democratic-dominated legislature to control the gavel of a committee.
He’s the first Republican to chair this particular committee since 2012, Senate sources told The Sun.
Following a smattering defeats in the November election, Borgeas is one of nine Republican Senators among a body of 40 Senators.
The GOP holds an additional 19 seats in the 80-member California State Assembly.
Joining Borgeas on the Ag panel are two neighbors: Sens. Melissa Hurtado (D–Sanger) who will serve as vice chair, and Anna Caballero (D–Salinas).
Local agriculture leaders praised the move as another opportunity for representation in the state Legislature.
“During these challenging times for farms, ranches and rural communities throughout the state, Senator Borgeas will work in a bipartisan manner with all stakeholders to holistically address the critical matters affecting food and fiber production.”
Those sentiments were echoed by westside farming giant and Harris Ranch owner John Harris.
“Senator Borgeas will be a strong representative for the Valley as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee,” said John Harris, “I look forward to his leadership.”