Vote on Nov. 6: It’s your opportunity and your obligation

Issue Date: October 17, 2012

If you've ever thought about why the United States holds its general elections in November, you'll realize it's because of our history as an agrarian nation. In 1845, when Congress set presidential and congressional elections on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November, they did so mainly to make it easier for farmers and other rural citizens to get to the polls. Early November was after the main harvest season and before weather turned too wintry to make the roads impassable.

As 21st century California farmers, we represent a small fraction of the state's population but a big part of the economy—and one of the few economic sectors in California that has remained stable during the recession.

That makes it even more important for farmers and ranchers to vote in the November election and to support candidates who understand the need to maintain a thriving agricultural economy in our state and nation.

The California Farm Bureau Federation goes to a great deal of effort during each election cycle to find, encourage and endorse candidates for office who will protect California family farmers and ranchers. In this election guide, you can read about 17 candidates who earned the endorsement of the CFBF Board of Directors this year.

While there are no candidates running for office who anyone would agree with 100 percent of the time, the goal of CFBF is to determine those individuals running for office who have supported agriculture, and who deserve the support of our Farm Bureau members.

Our goal is to recommend candidates who are open to learning about and understanding what it takes for California farmers and ranchers to farm profitably. We take this duty very seriously and act in a bipartisan fashion, evaluating the individual candidates. We do not evaluate candidates on issues beyond those that impact agriculture.

Just as no two farmers farm the same commodity in the same way, individual Farm Bureau members may differ in their views. Endorsements by the Board of Directors are intended to be a guide for our members, based on our evaluation of those candidates. However, the ultimate choice is yours when you go to the voting booth or fill out your absentee ballot. The most important thing is to VOTE!

Voting is an obligation that every Farm Bureau member should do. If you don't even vote, you have little reason to complain about the outcome of an election.

It's also important to support those candidates who you want to see elected. Being an officer for the California Farm Bureau Federation has proven to me the importance of being engaged in the political process and working together to elect legislators who understand and support agriculture.

Our representative form of government is about choice. For it to be successful, there must be divergent opinions and options to consider. We must evaluate all the pros and cons a particular candidate or ballot measure offers, and then decide for ourselves how to cast our vote.

We hope you find this election guide useful and that you will fulfill your opportunity and obligation to vote on Nov. 6.

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.