Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Republicans holding Presidential debate in Ventura County, but Democratic Party also making a splash

Biden/Harris Campaign Manager July Chaz
Lance Orozco
Biden/Harris Campaign Manager July Chavez Rodriguez speaks at a Tuesday afternoon media event in Moorpark, where the United Farm Workers union announced its endorsement of the Biden-Harris ticket.

Biden's campaign manager appears at event in Moorpark, where United Farm Workers endorsement is announced

It’s a hot sunny afternoon, and we're standing in the middle of a parsley field just outside of Moorpark.

It seems like an unlikely place to be talking about politics, especially presidential politics, but that’s exactly what’s happening.

"This is a President, and Vice President that have been the most pro-union, pro-labor in my lifetime," said President Biden’s campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez.

She was on hand for a news conference announcing a major labor union endorsement. It’s natural that she would be a part of the event, because her father was a famed labor and civil rights leader Caesar Chavez. He fought for farmworkers rights. There are about a dozen farmworkers taking part in the event. She tells them that the Biden Administration is committed to improving their working conditions.

"To fight for justice, to insure fair wages, to insure living wages, and protections for our workers," said Rodriguez.

Bonita Villalobos Rivera is a United Farm Workers official who announced the UFW endorsement. "The union members decision was quite clear," said Rivera. "Through his life, President Biden has been an authentic and meaningful champion for workers, and working families, regardless of where they are from, or where they work."

Farmworkers at a Moorpark event in which the United Farm Workers union announced its endorsement of the Biden-Harris ticket.
Lance Orozco
Farmworkers at a Moorpark event in which the United Farm Workers union announced its endorsement of the Biden-Harris ticket.

Some of the farmworkers say the President did things to look out for them during the pandemic. Other admit they are worried about what would happen if former President Donald Trump was re-elected.

"The President is really important to us, and we've had a lot of help from him, especially during the pandemic," said one of the workers.

The timing of this event is very intentional. The endorsement by the union isn't a big surprise. But, it took place just a few miles away, and the day before Wednesday’s Republican Presidential debate in Simi Valley.

With hundreds of reporters in Ventura County for the debate, the Biden campaign hoped to tap into the pool. There were reporters from the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times in the dusty field for the announcement, along with crews from NBC and CNN.

When asked about the symbolism of the timing of the event, Rodriguez first talked about where the event took place.

"For me, it couldn't be any more powerful than taking place on a farm, and to have the farmworkers (on hand). To be here, on the verge of the second debate, there's not a clearer contrast between what it is President Biden and Vice President Harris continue to fight for, who they're fighting for in terms of the workers of this country," said Rodriguez.

She said what she expects to see from the Republican candidates at the debate is an extreme, anti-worker agenda.

With an army of reporters on hand for the debate in Simi Valley, the Democratic party will have some its leaders on hand, offering up interviews to try to counter some of what comes out of the debate.

With the Spanish language television network Univision one of the debate's sponsors, the Biden campaign will have some surrogates on hand to try to reach Spanish speaking Latino voters.

Hillary Clinton dominated the Latino vote in 2016, and Joe Biden did in 2020. But, Donald Trump actually did slightly better with the Latino vote in 2020 than he did four years earlier.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.