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Zoe L.
Democrat CA 19

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  • Honoring and Celebrating the Accomplishments of Sig Sanchez

    by Representative Zoe Lofgren

    Posted on 2013-02-04

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    LOFGREN of california in the house of representatives Monday, February 4, 2013 Ms. LOFGREN. Mr. Speaker, I rise to acknowledge and honor Sig Sanchez.



    Sig was born to Spanish immigrant parents, as the second of eleven children. His mother worked in a cigarette factory in San Francisco and his father was an agricultural laborer. In 1942, Sig moved to Gilroy because of his involvement in agriculture. For 20 years, Sig owned a melon-packing operation with two of his brothers and a 600-acre farm to the south of Los Banos.

    Sig entered public service over 55 years ago when one of his tractors broke down. He went to repair his tractor and the owner of the shop was on the Gilroy City Council. The councilmember proceeded to encourage Sig to join him on the council. Sig served for five years as a councilman and another five years as the mayor. He then served 16 years on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. As a county supervisor, Sig advocated for the merger of the Santa Clara County Flood Control and Water District with the Santa Clara Valley Water Conservation District to better address floor management and water importation. In all his years of public service, he tried to never leave his office without returning every phone call.

    In 1980, Sig was appointed as an at-large director to the water district board. He was a key player in the 1987 merger of the Gavilan Water District in South County with the Santa Clara Valley Water District, which allowed for full integration of all the county's reservoirs and groundwater facilities. Sig was a charter board member in the 1992 development of the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority, a joint organization of 32 water and irrigation agencies that contract with the US Bureau of Reclamation for water from the Central Valley Project. He was also instrumental in water importation into Santa Clara County with the county Board of Supervisors, South Bay Aqueduct, water district board, and the San Felipe project. As the longest serving member of the water district's board of directors, Sig guided the agency on pressing water quality problems, steered the valley through both floods in the 1980s, and helped it survive the 1987-1992 drought.

    Sig has served as a board member of HOPE Rehabilitation, Wheeler Hospital Foundation, and the Gilroy Elks Club. As a passionate advocate for water and flood control issues, he has been an active member of national, state, and local water resource organizations, including the Agricultural Water Advisory Committee, Central valley Project Authority, Pajaro River Watershed Flood Prevention Authority, San Luis & Delta Mendota Water Authority Board and Finance Committee, Uvas/ Llagas Flood Control and Watershed Advisory Committee, Santa Clara Valley Water Commission, Santa Clara Valley Water District Board Ad Hoc Audit Committee, and the South County Regional Wastewater Authority.

    In recognition of his service and contributions, Sig was inducted into the Gilroy Hall of Fame in 1991. A building in San Martin is named after Sig. He also has a 10-mile portion of state Highway Route 101, the Sig Sanchez Freeway, named in honor of his 12-year effort to lobby various government agencies to build the highway.

    Sig is being honored as the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce's 2013 Man of the Year on February 9. I join in honoring his decades of contribution and service to the betterment of our society. The community is very fortunate to have benefited from his dedication, commitment, and advocacy. He has left his mark in the community and I know he will continue to play a positive role in the years to come.

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