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Preparing For Change

Calif. Farm Bureau President Assesses Election Results

EDITOR’S NOTE – Doug Mosebar was re-elected president of the California Farm Bureau Federation in December of 2007. In this article, he discusses how local and national election results may affect agriculture in his state.

On Election Day, voters throughout America voted for change, and a historic number of Americans turned out to vote.

While we are disappointed that our choice for president, Sen. John McCain, was not elected, we do offer our congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama. His administration can be assured that Farm Bureau will work with it on all issues concerning our country and its all-important farming community.

Now that Americans have spoken, what kind of “change” can we expect from an Obama administration and the new Congress?

In the weeks and months ahead, we will learn more about this “change.” For example, will the President-elect appoint pragmatic and experienced people to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other key resource and environmental-related posts? In his first 100 days in office, will the new president deliver on his campaign promise to adopt measured policies that rebuild our nation’s economy and restore confidence in Wall Street?

Big Advantage In Congress

Not since times prior to the “Republican Revolution” of 1994 have Democrats held such a commanding majority in Congress. What will be the consequence of one party ruling Washington?

Only with time will we know whether Congress will stand against powerful interest groups that are calling for more taxes, overreaching regulations and labor laws that could further damage or even cripple America’s small business and farm economy. If special interests prevail, only then will we find out how selectively President Obama uses his veto pen.

We are pleased that with the support of Farm Bureau, four farmers and ranchers were elected to the California state legislature, including newcomers to the Assembly, Jim Nielsen and Bill Berryhill. Our FARM PAC dollars were put to good use in television ads to help elect Danny Gilmore, who will be representing the Central Valley’s 30th Assembly District when longtime friend, Assembly Member Nicole Parra, steps down.

Neither party will hold a two-thirds majority in either house, thus requiring cooperation between parties in approving the state budget or any new taxes. While we welcome 25 new faces to the state legislature, it remains to be seen how friendly they will be to agriculture.

Propositions Supported

Among the state ballot measures concerning Farm Bureau most, the results are mixed. With ballots still being tallied, voters are approving the Farm Bureau-supported Proposition 11 by a slim margin. This measure establishes a citizens’ committee to draw legislative districts instead of allowing politicians to draw safe seats that make them less accountable to voters.

Voters also approved the Farm Bureau-opposed Proposition 2, a ballot measure that will have a crippling impact on our state’s egg business.

The results of the 2008 election clearly offered some mixed blessings and disappointments. But even as the economic and political landscape appear to have become more challenging, you can be assured that Farm Bureau remains aggressively engaged in the political process and will inform you of how public policy impacts your bottom line. This will never “change.”

As Americans, you too have an obligation to become engaged in the political process by recognizing elected officials for their achievements, but challenging decisions that threaten the farming way of life. Your representatives need to hear from you – and often. Together, we can influence our changing political environment and our future, too.

California Farm Bureau Federation contributed information for this article. Contact the organization’s office in Sacramento, Calif., at (916) 561-5500 or www.cfbf.com.

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