Gilroy’s Man in the House
Written By Robin Shepherd
ilroy forms the northeastern tip of the 20 th Congressional
District, which comprises Monterey and San Benito
counties and parts of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz
Counties. This is Jimmy Panetta’s turf, and he wants Gilroyans
to know he’s their man in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The issues he is currently tackling on Capitol Hill will have
direct bearing on the economic, social, and cultural future
of Gilroy, and ultimately, of South County. For two of these
issues—agriculture and immigration—the outcomes are inter-
twined. Congressman Panetta is highly focused on both.
Growing the Food, Feeding the Hungry
Congressman Jimmy Panetta on tour of Arteaga’s Food Center with
owner, Lupe Lopez (top) and speaking to committee for Double Up
Bucks program in May (above).
GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN
During his April visit to Gilroy, Panetta toured Arteaga’s Food
Center. Arteaga’s is participating in a healthy food incentive
pilot program called Double Up Bucks. The program is
helping low-income families put healthy food on the table
while at the same time promoting California-grown produce.
The program supports those eligible for the Supplemental
Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly referred to
as food stamps. SNAP has provided critical support to millions
of adults and children who struggle with food insecurity, often
going to work, to school, and to bed hungry.
According to Panetta, who is a member of the House
Agricultural Committee, “We are keeping an eye on this
program locally, and nationally. President Trump is proposing
a 21 percent cut to the USDA budget. We’ve got the Farm
Bill coming up in 2018, and eighty percent of that bill is
dedicated to SNAP, which offers nutrition assistance to people
in need while providing economic benefits to communities.”
The Double Up Bucks program is funded by grants
from the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI), which
operates in conjunction with SNAP.
“I want to make sure that not only consumers have access
to fresh, California-grown fruits and vegetables, but also the
farmers and farm workers who grow and harvest this produce,
so they and their families can stay healthy,” Panetta said.
Congressman Panetta toured Arteaga’s Food Center with
store co-owner and President Alonzo Lopez. “He wanted to
see firsthand how the program works,” Lopez said. “It’s a
win-win for customers eligible for the SNAP program and for
California farmers. It’s also a win for our business when peo-
ple come back to buy more. The program is going well.
I would love to see it continue.”
On any given day, a SNAP-eligible customer can spend
up to $10 on California-grown fruits and vegetables and get
a $10 coupon for a future purchase of any produce in the
store. The program is coordinated by SPUR, a Bay Area non-
profit, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food