UFW President Arturo S. Rodriguez issued the following statement from the union’s Keene, Calif. headquarters following the passing of former Bakersfield Mayor Harvey L. Hall:
We in the farm worker movement learned over the years that courage is not about doing what comes easily; it is doing what comes hard. By that measure, former Mayor Harvey Hall was a courageous public servant.
He was a committed Republican who in 2013 met with UFW Foundation Executive Director Diana Tellefson Torres, Cesar Chavez Foundation President Paul F. Chavez and I at the National Chavez Center in Keene to get to better know the farm worker movement. We asked Mayor Hall to join us in advocating for immigration reform. That year he marched in Bakersfield with the UFW, UFW Foundation and other immigration rights activists, calling for enactment of the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the U.S. Senate that year.
“It is time to eliminate the divisions among us and offer attitudes of unity, caring, love, kindness, compassion and justice, thus creating a clear pathway to legal residency and a track to citizenship,” the mayor said then as the crowd cheered.
Mayor Hall was instrumental in helping arrange a meeting for us with then-House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, and he joined Diana Tellefson Torres and I at the meeting.
The mayor had a special quality about him, a willingness to bring people together to find solutions to tough issues and a commitment to serving the entire community he represented. He was truly a mayor for all the people. The farm worker movement is grateful for his service and joins his family and many friends in mourning his passing.