Updated: May 31
Last night the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau of Erie County held a lovely and informative event at the American Legion in Waterford, PA. Even though the event was held outside of District 6, I was invited to attend along with my opponent.
Each candidate was allotted a five-minute period to talk about themselves and their campaign. I enjoyed every speaker and was genuinely interested in everything they had to say. Some spoke about their upbringings and backgrounds while others spoke of their qualifications and policy ideas. I was delighted to spend some time speaking with Mark Muir and his wife Edlyn of Muirstead Farms in Union City. Mark is the State Board Director of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau for District 14. Though I was one of the few Democrats in the room, I wasn't concerned at all about how people would look at me. The atmosphere was generally warm and inviting, and all of the candidates seemed to be running for office because they truly care about our region. It was refreshing to see so much passion for what we do here in NWPA. As I touched on in my words to the attendees last night, farming is an often underappreciated job, and in fact, is not just a job, but a lifestyle. I wanted to make sure that, though I know I'm no expert in their trade, they know that understand the importance of it and celebrate what farmers do every day for millions of Pennsylvanians.
Farming is the largest industry in PA, making up approximately $70 billion of our economy. Farmers are also the largest group of landowners in the state. It's time we listen to them, to ensure that struggling farms can grow their businesses to prosper once again, to provide Pennsylvania kids with Pennsylvania milk with their school lunches (helping PA dairy farmers in the process), to provide funds to help them afford good conservation practices when it comes to soil and water quality. Please join me in thanking farmers, whenever possible, for their role in feeding Pennsylvanians.