As political campaigns become more aggressive, expensive and heated, it can be difficult to sort through 30-second television ads and glossy mail fliers that simultaneously praise and demonize candidates. In addition, redistricting in Ohio could change who represents you in Columbus and Washington, D.C. For these reasons, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s Agriculture for Good Government Political Action Committee (AGGPAC) is swinging into action.
“There’s a lot happening on the political landscape, and we want to make sure Farm Bureau members realize that the legislative districts are being drawn and that they know what district they will be in for the next election,” said Doug Foxx, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s director of political and legislative education.
AGGPAC is Ohio Farm Bureau’s political action committee that routinely monitors the voting records and political campaigns of Ohio’s elected officials at the state and national levels. Lawmakers who have a positive voting record on OFBF’s key issues receive “Friend of Agriculture” designations.
Funding for AGGPAC comes from voluntary contributions by Farm Bureau members and is governed by a committee of bi-partisan Farm Bureau leaders. AGGPAC funding is used to make campaign contributions and inform voters about candidates and the issues through Buckeye Farm News’ election guide and www.farmvotesmatter.org.
Having a strong political action committee is important because it ensures that Farm Bureau can support candidates who understand and support agriculture.
“Farm Bureau helps legislators develop their platforms to make sure they understand ag issues and the role agriculture plays in the state. We want to make sure agriculture is part of their platform,” Foxx said. “We look at their voting records and support those who are farm friendly.”
This year AGGPAC is trying to increase its exposure with associate members by having an informative mailing and contribution card mailed out with Farm Bureau membership cards. This will reach those who have received their memberships through Farm Bureau associated groups such as the workers’ compensation program or Medical Mutual group. Farm Bureau members will continue to have the option to make voluntary contributions when they renew their memberships.
In September, AGGPAC will be offering a campaign management seminar to help educate potential candidates. It is open to Farm Bureau members and non-Farm Bureau members for an additional fee.
“We’re hoping next year to make AGGPAC a more visible entity within the Farm Bureau brand and to make members more aware of it and its purpose and how to engage politically,” Foxx said.