Farm Bureau leader: Farmers have ‘opportunity to change Sacramento’
December 9, 2013
Saying the agriculture business appears to be as strong as at any point in his lifetime, California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger challenged farmers and ranchers to use that strength to bolster their political influence.
In his annual address during the organization’s 95th Annual Meeting in Monterey today, Wenger said CFBF will refocus its efforts on advocacy and the work it does for California farmers and ranchers, noting that that work also drives membership in the organization.
Wenger said farmers and ranchers “have the opportunity to change Sacramento” as a result of changes in the Legislature brought by the “top-two” primary system that took effect in 2012. Under that system, the top two candidates in a primary election advance to the general election, regardless of party.
As a result, he said, newly elected legislators are “ethnically diverse, urban and open-minded,” and that leaves him optimistic about the prospects for advancing legislation that benefits family farmers and ranchers.
Another recent change—allowing members of the Legislature to serve up to 12 years in the same office—means that elections to be held in 2014, 2016 and 2018 will be “extremely important for the political future of California,” Wenger said.
“The challenge is: Are we going to step up and do something about it, or are we going to sit back and let somebody else determine who is in those seats?” Wenger asked.
That means Farm Bureau needs to continue to build its political fundraising, he said.
“It is what we have to do to make sure we are relevant, and that we have a presence in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.,” to help business-friendly candidates win office, he said.
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 78,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.
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