Shirley Peckosh of Peck’s Green Thumb Nursery, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, met with President Bush in a White House meeting last week. Peckosh, co-chair of the American Nursery & Landscape Association’s (ANLA) Legislative Policy Committee, was one of only 15 business representatives invited to meet with the President to discuss the importance of immigration and guestworker reform. Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez also participated, as did ANLA’s labor consultant, Monte Lake.
“The President is very knowledgeable about the immigration issue,” said Lake. “With Shirley Peckosh sitting next to the President and his asking her to be the first to comment, our industry had the best possible opportunity to express our concerns.” When asked, Peckosh outlined the industry’s connections to immigrant workers in both the agricultural and landscape service sectors to President Bush and his senior staff. She also mentioned the need for a safe, domestically produced food supply for her family.
Peckosh continued, “The President expressed both a good understanding and a genuine, personal familiarity with the role of immigrant labor in today’s workplace. He acknowledged the leadership that agriculture and our champion Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) have demonstrated in seeking practical solutions to the issue. He realizes that the solution may need to vary according to the unique needs of different industries.” Senator Craig leads the Senate effort to pass the “AgJobs” bill strongly supported by ANLA.
Peckosh was featured in live news coverage of the meeting on CNN television and in other media.