We are in the homestretch of a year-long primary battle between our incumbent Congressmen, Tim Huelskamp, Republican, and his challenger, Dr. Roger Marshall. This race has taken on a life of its own, garnering outside money, attention and headlines.
I have spoken with several reporters about the race – some as far away as Washington, D.C., – to explain the backstory, the different views of the candidates and why the agriculture industry is firmly backing one candidate. I have always had an interest in politics but this race has allowed me to be involved as a whole different level.
Like anything going on in my life, my passion for the race and the candidate I am supporting – Dr. Roger Marshall – has spilled over to my social media feeds. Most have been understanding and tolerant of my posts but a few have responded with their own posts that they are sick of it all and want nothing to do with politics. Fair enough but when you work in the agriculture industry, politics isn’t going to leave you alone.
Like I explain to the reporters that call, politics drives many aspects of the farming world. From the EPA’s proposed new water regulations to spending bills that limit infrastructure and rural development programs, not to mention the Farm Bill, which basically determines what types of insurance and commodity programs we can use in times of need.
The number of rural districts in the US is declining and so too are the number of representatives carrying the torch for rural America and agriculture. For those that do remain, they must be our voices, our advocates and our representatives in Washington. If our legislators do not speak up on our behalf, others will step in an fill that void, making decisions and passing laws that may not be in our best interest.
I understand that political battles and partisan speech aren’t everyone’s idea of a good time. But to believe that burrying you head in the sand and opting to simply not pay attention means politics won’t knock on your front door, then you are wrong. The work Congressmen and Senators do in Washington impacts nearly everything we, as farmers and ranchers, do. That’s why our founding fathers protected the freedom of the people to elect their representation. Those individuals are the voice of their people and their eyes and ears in government.
You don’t have to volunteer for a campaign or spend your evenings reading every article in Politico but I encourage everyone to educate themselves of the people and politics shaping their world and, most importantly, vote. The agriculture industry faces several substantial obstacles right now and simply ignoring the issues and the government won’t solve our problems. Elections are your opportunity to do your part, speak your mind and shape your government, one elected official at a time.
“Nobody will ever deprive the American people the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.” – Frankin D. Roosevelt