From a young age, David’s parents instilled in him the value of hard work, the importance of family, and the love of God and country. The stories of hardship and perseverance of his family, and those of the countless other Americans that built this nation, inspired David in his formative years, and continue to do so.
A Product of the American Dream
In the early 1940s, David’s maternal great grandfather Earl W. Merritt began farming honeydew melons in Arvin, California. Prior to owning land to farm, Earl traveled up and down California during the harvest seasons as a migrant farmworker on various fruit and vegetable crops. After many hard years of working and saving, Earl realized his American Dream and purchased his own ground to farm, settling on the outskirts of Porterville and Terra Bella around 1945. Four generations later, David works alongside his uncles, aunts, brothers and cousins to sustain the family farm known today as E.W. Merritt Farms.
On the other side of David’s family, his paternal great grandfather Senon Alvarado emigrated from Guanajuato, Mexico settling in the outskirts of Bakersfield as a migrant farm worker. Having eleven children, the family grew up working in the fields as laborers picking various crops to help provide an income for the family. Senon and his wife Maria endured many hardships associated with being first-generation Mexican immigrants including losing two children to poverty-related circumstances.
The Values of the Central Valley
Despite the hardships endured by David’s family, it was their innate belief that there was an opportunity of providing a more prosperous life for future generations by coming to the United States to pursue the American Dream.
The youngest of five children, David spent much of his youth serving at the family’s local church and in the 4–H club. David is a first generation college graduate and attended junior college at Porterville College before graduating from UCLA. After graduating and working in other parts of the state, David returned home to work on the family farm. David works full-time at E. W. Merritt Farms, supervising the table grape operations throughout the year as well as assisting in other operations in the almond and pistachio orchards. As a farmer, David has seen firsthand the struggles endured by the working families in the valley as well as the obstacles that the out-of-touch Sacramento politicians create for farmers and farm workers.
David and his wife Christine are raising a family with their two young children Liv Merritt and Zion Philip, and their two French bulldogs Lily and Rosie. They reside in the outskirts of Porterville and attend church in Springville.
Grounded by his family history and eager to work towards a brighter future for the Central Valley, David represents a NEW GENERATION of Central Valley leadership.
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