About 80 MFU members visit the Capitol
By Emily Pliscott, MFU intern
A big “thank you” to all who attended our annual Lobby Day Drive-In on Tuesday, Feb. 5. About 80 members took on Capitol Hill to meet with their legislators regarding health care, support for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, farm stress and more.
The first speaker of the morning was Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, a longtime MFU member himself, who shared his support of greater Minnesota, saying “If our farm economy is strong and healthy, our rural communities are healthy.” We were delighted that the governor came out of his way that morning to speak with us.
We were also excited to hear remarks from Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture, our former Government Relations Director Thom Petersen. Both Gov. Walz and Commissioner Petersen have had busy weeks, working on the state budget and tackling issues in agriculture, respectively.
The Speaker of the House, Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, also came out of her way to speak to us. She said rural issues are a big priority for her this session leading the State House. Thank you, Speaker Hortman, for making time for MFU.
We were also able to meet with Secretary of State Steve Simon and Attorney General Keith Ellison. Simon discussed topics around voting, such as township election processes and absentee ballots, which members took special interest in since many live in townships. Ellison was particularly interested in our Right to Repair priorities and concerns about corporate farming.
Around 45 legislators from both parties met with members to discuss issues such as MinnesotaCare options, rural mental health, the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit, property tax relief, buffer compensation and a strong budget for MDA. We were able to schedule appointments with legislators representing the areas where members live, making the crucial connections between constituents and policymakers. Members left copies of our Legislative Priorities with everyone we visited. You can get copies of this document by contacting us anytime, and the priorities are also listed here.
Thank you to all our members who attended Lobby Day. It is important to have farmers share our stories with legislators. We believe your visits and calls are one of the biggest factors in driving change in our rural communities.