October 6, 2006
Exercise your right to vote Nov. 7
By Kenneth Dierschke
As we approach the very significant elections of 2006, there are, as usual, many important issues on the line. The farm and ranch families of Texas have an important stake in nearly all of them.
The national pundits view the 2006 elections as a referendum on the president. To them, it boils down to a numbers game. Will the Democrats be able to capture enough seats to take over the House, or perhaps even the Senate? If so, they can better organize their attempts to oppose President Bush's programs and initiatives.
Closer to home, it's hard to look at it that way. I believe the legislative success of Farm Bureau and the electoral impact of AGFUND are in part due to a laser-like focus on issues and the non-partisan approach to elections. We've stuck to that formula in 2006.
Elsewhere in these pages of our special AGFUND issue, you'll find the recommendations of AGFUND for this election cycle. No doubt the individual reader will find something with which to disagree in these recommendations. This is not something we try to avoid. In fact, we welcome it. Scrutiny of candidates and issues will produce discussion, activism and better public servants.
The goal of these AGFUND endorsements is to provide options for Farm Bureau members. When you read about the endorsed candidates, you can be assured that the AGFUND board has done three things.
First, they have weighed the input of Farm Bureau members and leaders in local and statewide races.
They have examined the issues involved in each race and applied the "test" of TFB policy and the stands of the candidates on those issues, along with the candidate's experience.
They used their best judgment of how those candidates will perform for agriculture and rural Texas.
Many folks can look over this issue and pick out a few candidates who might not agree with us individually or organizationally on a single issue. Farm Bureau, however, is not a single issue organization. All our issues are important to us, and we fight for every one of them. It's still important to support a candidate who agrees with us on the majority of issues.
Having said all that, it's very important that I add this fact. These recommendations are a guide for you, an evaluation of the candidates based on the issues and Farm Bureau policy. Your right to vote and to choose among candidates is yours alone. Regardless of how you choose, your vote is so very important.
Farmers and ranchers still have considerable influence because we vote in numbers far in excess of our percentage of the population. Because of this, Farm Bureau can still be a powerful and effective voice of agriculture and rural Texas. Please vote on Nov. 7.