Mid-term elections and Public Question #2

03 Nov 2014, Posted by admin in executive director

What? You thought I would use this blog to post my own endorsement for the 2014 election campaigns? Not quite. I won’t do that, but I will offer a few comments.

Farm Bureau in New Jersey has always had mixed feelings about offering endorsements. It’s mostly because we feel farming and agriculture is a bipartisan issue and we like to attract support from members of both political parties. By and large we do, and issuing an endorsement almost sends the wrong message of excluding one over another.

Another factor is that we have a history of working well with incumbents, legislators we have gotten to know and developed a rapport with over the years regardless of political party. Challengers always seem like the used car salesman… telling you almost anything in order to get elected. So why would one do all this interviewing of challengers and incumbents as if they were on an equal plane? If an incumbent stumbles , its fair game to point that out. Otherwise, their record is out in the open for all to see and decide on their reelection accordingly.

These House races in 2014 seem pretty routine to me. Incumbents from districts with meaningful amounts of farms and farmland – LoBiondo, Lance, Garrett, Smith – all appear headed for reelection . Rush Holt is retiring from an ag-affiliated district and will likely be succeeded by Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman from Mercer County. The race for Jon Runyan’s seat was spirited between Aimee Belgard and Tom MacArthur. We interviewed them both, and we could work with both. It was interesting to me that the liberal-oriented Philadelphia Inquirer endorsed MacArthur the Republican for being “more qualified” to serve in Congress. His policies on fixing Obamacare and reducing taxes/regulation appear closer to ours.

The open space ballot question… should be supported by everyone in agriculture. It is unthinkable to have this farmland preservation program run out of funding. True, we need to monitor the policies and actions of the SADC to be sure that they adhere to farm viability, but those who are concerned about that have plenty of other avenues to voice those concerns rather than vote no on this ballot question. Others who view land preservation as a luxury for state government have thrown a brickbat or two at the referendum. This argument falls way short in my mind. I look at $75 million annually in a $34 billion state budget as a drop in the bucket, one that will loom mighty large in just a few short years when we will wish we would have saved every possible acre of farmland to feed, clothe and fuel a fast-growing world population… as we fight to keep New Jersey farmers economically viable in the short-term. (Next blog – gestation crates).