Jeff Denham calls himself a “local farmer” on his campaign signs. A little investigating shows that he graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, but his degree was in political science, not agriculture. He worked for ag-related companies after graduation, one providing plastic containers for agriculture and Fresh Express, a salad packaging company. He then started his own business providing plastic containers. Nowhere does he put his hand to the earth and grow crops, as I would expect a farmer to do.
I did discover that Denham bought a farm in 2003, but this is after he was already elected as state senator, a full-time political position. His financial disclosures show he always made more money from political office than from farming. This, plus his degree in political science, indicates a passion for politics, not for tilling the soil.
While I am sure that Denham meets the legal requirements to call himself a farmer, neither I nor our Founding Fathers find legal hairsplitting rises to the level of virtue needed from those who represent the people in the U.S. Congress.
Daniel Brown, Modesto
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