Quarterly Meeting Report
1) Rural Committee co-chair Danielle Garbe Reser outlined possible resources available from the State Party to LPO’s for party building.
2) Statement on Lower Snake River dams: Approved with language tuning.
3) LD 19 Resolution on Siting of Renewable Energy: Approved.
4) Resolution opposing HB 1750 on ag worker overtime, which weakens 2021 legislation. Presented by Bennett Massey, co-chair Rural Committee. Approved.
All three action items posed hard questions of balance. ARC position on the dams is a responsible recognition of external pressures (environmental, political and legal) but Democrats will pay a political price. Renewable energy is a collective priority but communities have a responsibility for local land use planning. Ag producers do not set their prices and must absorb increased social costs, but we can legitimately expect that ag conforms to commonly accepted labor standards.
Thank everyone for attending and contributing to a good conversation.
Ag and Rural Caucus Annual Report: 2021
The Ag and Rural Caucus re-organized on 14 January 2021. Elected officers were Chair: Don Schwerin; Vice Chairs: Teresa Purcell and Robert Schutte; Secretary: Claus Joens; Treasurer: Marty Gilmore.
The purpose of the Ag and Rural Caucus is:
ARC shall identify existing problems and common goals as they relate to the agricultural and rural communities of Washington State. ARC shall join together in common cause through education, [and] lobbying … to advance and protect our rural and agricultural communities so vital to Washington State.
1) ARC hosted issue and industry briefings:
- January: WA Strong (SB 5373) briefing
- February: WA Cattlemen’s Association
- March: Forest Thinning and Wildfire Behavior
- April: Simpson Plan: Lower Snake River Dams
- April: Biochar: Promise and Business Plan
- May: Shellfish Farming
- June: Nuclear Energy: Future?
- July: Population Health, Community Collaboration and Rural Health
- September: Solar Siting
- October: Dairy Industry: Carbon Net Zero
- November: Hydrogen Hubs
2) ARC issued five issue briefings under the “Making Government Work for All of Us” heading. Briefings began in August and followed monthly: Broadband, Climate Commitment, Police Reform, Long-term Health Insurance, and Clean Fuels.
3) The ARC chair and several members testified in support of WA Strong (SB 5373) and in opposition to Climate Commitment (SB 5126).
ARC revised its governing structure and adopted new by-laws in September, at the request of the Rules Committee of the Washington State Democratic Central Committee.
The ARC executive board/policy committee met monthly with ex officio status extended to the chairs of the Small Business Caucus, Hispanic Caucus, Native American Caucus, Progressive Caucus, and the Rural Committee. Five experts were appointed to the Executive Board/Policy Committee.
ARC endorsed no candidates and made no campaign contributions in 2021.
Contributions were received from Adams, Jefferson, and Pend O’Reille Counties. ARC made no expenditures, and ended the year with $3,056.98 bank balance.
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Ag and Rural Caucus of State Democratic Central Committee
Our mailing address is: Ag and Rural Caucus 2921 Mud Creek Rd Waitsburg, WA 99361