Speaking candidly with elected officials

We’re half way through AgriPOWER Class VI and I can hardly believe it! We’ve spent time getting to know each other, ourselves, how we can be the best advocates in Washington, D.C. and this month we focused on how we can influence policy and change here in Ohio. The November session was jam packed with meetings with state representatives, leaders of important Ohio organizations, and Ohio Farm Bureau’s own lobbyists.

We started off the session by braving the cold and heading to the Ohio Statehouse to meet with several state representatives on the House and Senate Ag Committees. I think that this was one of the most valuable opportunities we’ve experienced so far in AgriPOWER. We were able to speak candidly and openly with seasoned representatives and others who have been in office for only a few years, about their jobs, the state of agriculture policy and economic development in Ohio.

Afterwards, we had a terrific lunch at the Athletic Club (such a beautiful building) with Secretary of State Jon Husted. He spoke to us about what he is doing to help bring about better turnout and correct the terrible gerrymandering that is happening in Ohio.

We also had the opportunity this session to visit with officials at the Department of Agriculture and the EPA. We learned about how they interact with state government and the great services that they are providing the Ohio public that I had no idea about!

Next up was an amazing tour of the Ohio Supreme Court Building, a stunning fixture on the Scioto River downtown. Justice Judi French shared with us her journey to the bench, what it’s like to be a justice and why the balance among all three branches of government is important.

To cap off the session, we spent time with Ohio Farm Bureau’s lobby team to discuss how they decide which issues to cover and how to best leverage Ohio’s grassroots and contacts in the Statehouse to be as effective as possible.

This was one of the best sessions yet! I’ve loved the opportunity to be a part of this program so much and I’d suggest any and everyone apply! From meeting amazing people to learning about the incredible assets we have in Ohio, this program is well worth the time.