As political truisms go, some are famous—“All politics is local.” Others are funny—“Politicians and diapers should be changed frequently, for the same reason.” And one, in particular, is factual—“The world is run by those who show up.”
Farm Bureau is here to help you show up.
In a few short months, Ohioans will elect a governor, state and federal lawmakers, state officers, Supreme Court justices and a slew of local officials. And, regrettably, recent history says many of us won’t participate. In three of the last four elections, fewer than half of Ohio’s registered voters cast a ballot. We should do better. And as Farm Bureau members, it’s easy to do better.
I believe people are more inclined to vote if they have a connection to the candidates. Position papers, TV debates and Twitter feeds may be informative, but it’s inspirational to look someone in the eye and ask what they believe in, what they stand for and why they deserve your vote. Your Farm Bureau membership opens the door to that kind of personal political participation.
Candidates gladly engage with Farm Bureau members because they know it helps their cause.
In the last election, 95 percent of Farm Bureau-endorsed candidates won. They earned Farm Bureau’s approval in part by being accessible. They got to know our members by visiting our farms, homes and businesses. They replied to our questionnaires and returned our phone calls. And once elected, they don’t forget us. This past February, 103 of 132 members of the General Assembly visited with Farm Bureau members who rallied at the Statehouse. And in March, when your county Farm Bureau presidents went to Washington, D.C., 16 of Ohio’s 18 lawmakers met with us. Bottom line: Farm Bureau members have better access than the average Ohioan. We’ve earned that access through 95 years of being informed, fair, civil and bipartisan.
Short of direct engagement, Our Ohio will help prepare you to vote. Your September issue will have an election guide that will include what your fellow members learned from the candidates. There will be analysis of ballot measures. It will get into the importance of judicial elections and why it’s important we become more informed about these races. And the guide will include direct responses from the gubernatorial candidates to questions our members have on key policy matters.
Those policy issues are wide-ranging because Farm Bureau’s interests are diverse: taxes, immigration, health care, trade, education, regulation and environmental strategies. And high on the list are jobs and the economy. Farm Bureau members’ priorities don’t stop at the farm gate; we’re immersed in the issues that affect all Ohioans.
Occasionally I’ll be reminded that not everyone likes the idea of Farm Bureau being politically active. Unease about the “powerful farm lobby” is often linked to a belief that our influence comes by way of our pocketbook. In truth, it comes from our people—Farm Bureau people who take politics seriously enough to study the candidates, assess their opinions and gauge their character. People who are attuned to what government can do to or for their families, farms, businesses and communities. People who choose to show up.